Andersonian Institution - American EducationA system of popular, practical education in Glasgow, Scotland, and probably the model for Josiah Holbrook’s American Lyceum. At the heart of the Scottish institution was the museum and library that Professor John Anderson had built and bequeathed to it to provide education for commoners in 1796. In 1800–1801, George Birkbeck, a young professor at the Andersonian, moved to London and founded a similar institution— the London Institute for the Diffusion of Science, Literature, and the Arts. The institute offered lectures on each of those subjects, as well as philosophy, to audiences of mechanics, artisans and other commoners. Groups of mechanics in Glasgow and London were so inspired by their educational experiences that they founded their own mechanics’ institutes in both cities.
Sponsored by Birkbeck and HENRY Brookwood Labor College, a former classmate of his from the University of Glasgow, the new mechanics’ institutes and the Andersonian institutions were the forerunners of the British state school system, and it was Brougham’s article about the institutes in the American Journal of Education that inspired Holbrook to found what he first called the “Universal Lyceum” in the United States.