This group of working-class young men met fortnightly on Tuesdays at 8pm in the Committee Rooms (and later in the North Hall) at Greyfriars United Presbyterian Church. The church was located at 186 Albion Street in the city centre (now site of the Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde). (For more information about this church, see ‘Greyfriars UP Church‘ on The Glasgow Story website).
The subscription fee was one shilling half-yearly, which was cheaper than the average for literary societies during this period (2s 6d per session). The object of the group was its members’ improvement that included the intellectual, moral and religious.
An article in the February 1897 issue of The United Presbyterian Magazine on the jubilee of this institute provides a report of the speech of Mr William Brown, Secretary of the Institute, who recounted the group’s origins in April 1847. At that meeting held in Greyfriars Session House, 30 young men were present. Since then, Brown reported that over 450 young men had been members.
Another newspaper clipping attached to the same autograph book was from the Glasgow Daily Mail. The article also reported on the jubilee, and gave Brown’s account of the then current state of the institute, which had 44 members on the roll.
It is currently unknown how long the group continued to meet after its jubilee.
Date of Existence
28 April 1847-(at least 1906, year of Diamond Jubilee Celebration)
Source of Information
1. (New material added to Mitchell Library Special Collections, 26/02/18: Greyfriar’s Young Men’s Institute, Minute Book, 19 January 1875-18 April 1882, ref. TBD)
2. Greyfriars United Presbyterian Church, Young Men’s Institute, Autographs of members & friends, present at Jubilee Celebration, 7th Jan. 1897 [and] Diamond Jubilee Celebration, 10th Jan. 1907 (MLSC, Mitchell (GC) 285.241443 GRE)
Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)
National Library of Scotland (The United Presbyterian Magazine)
(See Source of Information, and below)
The United Presbyterian Magazine is available at the National Library of Scotland (check library catalogue for availability in different formats). The Glasgow Daily Mail is available at the Mitchell Library and the National Library of Scotland. Digitised issues are also available through the British Newspaper Archive: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/