It is possible that this society was named for Henry Brougham (1778-1868), a highly influential advocate of social reform who helped to found the Edinburgh Review, and whose utilitarian philosophy was behind his Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) was founded in November 1826, largely under the direction of Henry Brougham, who, along with George Birkbeck, George Grote, and William Tooke, formed a committee that became the SDUK, whose aim was the education of the working and middle classes through the production and publication of cheap educational books and materials. The society ceased to exist after 1848. (For an overview of the history of the society, see Robert Stewart, Henry Brougham, 1778-1868: His Public Career (London: The Bodley Head, 1985), pp. 188-95.)
There is little currently known about this club. From its listing in the Glasgow Post Office directory for 1863-1864, we know that beginning in 1861, the group met every Friday evening from September until April. The meeting place of the club was listed as being 38 Hutcheson Street, the address given in the same directory for ‘Patton, John spirit merchant’, so members were gathering at a local pub.
Date of Existence
Source of Information
1.’Brougham Literary Club’, ‘Literary and Scientific Societies’, Post Office Glasgow Directory for 1863, 1864… (Glasgow: William Mackenzie, 1863), p. 88;
2. (For the Brougham Literary Institute, see ‘Brougham Literary Institute’, Glasgow Weekly Mail, 1 March 1862, p. 4)
National Library of Scotland (NLS)
General Reading Room (stored offsite), Y.233, available no. 1-34 25th Jan. 1892-Jan. 1925 (NLS) (Glasgow Post Office Directory)
Multimedia room George IV Bridge (stored in GIVB), Mf.N.306, no. 1-2777 Mar. 1, 1862-May 15, 1915 (NLS) (Glasgow Weekly Mail)
The Glasgow Post Office directories are available at the Mitchell Library and the National Library of Scotland. Digitised copies are available through the NLS website: <https://www.nls.uk/family-history/directories/post-office/index.cfm?place=Glasgow>
The Glasgow Weekly Mail is available at the Mitchell Library and National Library of Scotland on microfilm. See also the British Newspaper Archive: <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/>.