The evidence for this society comes from the syllabus for the Spring 1862 session and from the three extant issues of a magazine produced in manuscript by its members (see ‘Additional Notes’ below). The ‘Order of Readers’ at the front of the April 1862 issue lists 21 readers (presumably all male; the July issue only lists 17), which suggests that this was a relatively small group.
At the front of the April 1862 issue of The Albion Journal can be found a flyer for the April to June 1862 syllabus. From this, we know that members met weekly on Wednesday evenings at 1 Cross Gibson Street in the Gallowgate area (in the heart of the city centre). They read essays and held debates on a variety of subjects. According to a note at the bottom of the syllabus, ‘Grammar, &c., will be engaged in each evening’, and a formal ‘Conversation’ between the members on a pre-arranged topic was held on nights when essays were read.
Within the April 1862 issue is transcribed an address given by their President to the group at the inauguration of the society in September 1860. Speaking for the society, he said that it was through their mutual improvement class, through reading, writing and debating — indeed their ‘labour‘ — that members hoped they could improve their position in and contribute to society.
Date of Existence
13 September 1860-1863?
Source of Information
1. The Albion Literary Journal: A Quarterly Magazine of Instructive and Recreative Literature, Conducted by the Members of the Albion Mutual Improvement Union, No. II, April 1862; No. III, July 1862; No. IV, [June or July 1863?];
2. ‘Syllabus’, Albion Mutual Improvement Union, April-June 1862 [loose printed brochure located in front of No. II April 1862 issue]
Mitchell Library Special Collections
Mitchell (AL) 891260/1-3
See also entry for The Albion Literary Journal: A Quarterly Magazine of Instructive and Recreative Literature on our sister website, Literary Bonds.