Over the course of the nineteenth century the Mechanics Institutes came to hold a central role in adult working-class education. The first institution with these aims had been established two years previously, with the founding of the School of Arts of Edinburgh (which has since become Heriot-Watt University). In 1823, the first three organisations which explicitly called themselves 'Mechanics Institutes' were set up in Glasgow, Liverpool and London. Their ideals spread across the country, and by the middle of the century, most towns had a branch. Their aim was to provide working men with a useful education, particularly in technical areas. Often set up by wealthy industrialists, their patrons believed that more educated workers would u…
Editors. "Establishment of mechanics institutes in Glasgow and London". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=4596, accessed 27 April 2015.]