THE GUILDS AND THE HANDICRAFTS.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:1
should like to add a few words to the information elicited from correspondents by your article on "A Technical Institute," in the Spectator of October 13th. We hear much of what the Clothworkers' Company has done for technical education in Leeds by building, equipping, and endowing the admirable technical college attached to the Yorkshire College in that town. I have never heard the wisdom of this means of bestowing aid to the special industry in which the Clothworkers' Company is directly interested called in question ; and those outside the Leeds district who know what has been done there usually speak highly of the plan thus originated of helping local centres of industry, rather than centralising a largely endowed institution which is out of reach of the majority of the operatives in most of the special industries. It is, however, not sufficiently well known that the Drapers' Company were early in the field in making a similar experiment. For six years the technical department of the University College, Nottingham, which is mainly engaged in teaching the technical subjects required by the lace and hosiery hands, has been largely sup- ported by a subsidy from the Drapers' Company. In fact, this department actually originated in a promise of such help from the Drapers' Company. It is true the grant has not been large in amount, but it was professedly given only as an experi- ment; and the whole scheme has thus far been carried on in small hired buildings and on a small scale. But the results attained have been so satisfactory, that permanent and com- modious buildings are about to be erected which will enable the scheme to undergo very considerable development ; and this is undertaken with the full sanction and approval of the Company, whose delegates have kept the Company well informed as to what is being done. This is, therefore, another instance of one of the more important City Com- panies undertaking to support local instruction in the centre of industry itself, where it is most required and most certain to be largely used by all classes of people en- gaged in the industry. The lace and hosiery centre is naturally selected by the Company most interested in lace and hosiery manufacture. And by associating the help ren- dered with a University College, the basis of instruction is prevented from being simply technical, in the narrowest sense of the term, since students are required to attend certain college classes the subjects taught in which underlie their special industry. Surely this method of aiding an industry must recommend itself to all.—I am, Sir, &c, FRANK CLOWES.
University College, Nottingham, November 6th.