175th Anniversary

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 01:20:00 GMT

175 anniversary












To mark the 175th Anniversary of the Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society, a predecessor institution, the University of Huddersfield has organised a series of celebratory events.

The University has created a special 175 anniversary website that includes a timeline that traces the story of the institution from 1841 to the present day.  It is heavily-illustrated and includes mini-essays on important developments and key people in the story.  It also features news and events and a greetings map which staff, students and alumni can pin their details to wherever they are in the world.

Commemorative staff badge

Schools and Services have been provided with a supply of commemorative badges as a gift from the University to mark the occasion.  These badges will be distributed within your School or Service.

Alumni Roll of Honour

The Alumni team has created a Roll of Honour of alumni who have made an outstanding, noteworthy contribution to the fields of science and technology, learning, the arts, business and the professions, and/or in public life via community involvement, meritorious heroism or significant philanthropy, be it regionally, nationally or internationally.

175 timeline

It began in the 1840s, when a small group of ambitious young men met in Huddersfield, aiming to broaden their minds.  Their project has developed into an award-winning university with an international profile.

The University of Huddersfield is directly descended from an educational initiative of 1841 and 175 anniversary now it is inviting its students, staff, alumni and the wider public to celebrate 175 years of progress.  There will be a concert, a series of special lectures and the interactive website featuring a timeline.

The month of May 1841 saw the foundation of a Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society in Huddersfield (pictured left). Its main founder was the philanthropic German-born industrialist Frederic Schwann (pictured right), who had relocated to Huddersfield to take over a family business. There were just 30 students to begin with.175 anniversary

‌In 1844, it was renamed the Mechanics’ Institution.  Occupying a number of increasingly large and well-equipped buildings in Huddersfield, it was one of the most successful examples of a Victorian movement that aimed to give the working classes access to education and qualifications in a range of scientific and cultural subjects.  Also, local industries such as textiles and dyeing would benefit from a stream of skilled employees.

In 1884, the Huddersfield Technical School & Mechanics’ Institution, as it had become known, moved into the large and ornate Ramsden Building – still used for teaching – that was fitted out with laboratories and workshops for classes in all aspects of cloth manufacture, dyeing and chemistry.  There were also classrooms for the teaching of science art, languages and commerce.

175 anniversary By 1896, the institution was renamed Huddersfield Technical College and its reputation and scope grew over the decades.  There were mergers with other local colleges and in 1970, after an intervention by locally-born Prime Minister Harold Wilson (pictured left), it became a Polytechnic – one of a new wave of modern Higher Education institutions.  In 1992, it assumed the title University of Huddersfield.

Now, after a special launch on 18 March at the University’s Heritage Quay archive centre, the 175-year journey is being celebrated in a wide variety of ways, details of which can be found on the website.





Back to news index - March