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Sir Joseph Whitworth (BART)

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A potted History of Openshaw Technical College
by Arthur Brown


Some limited technical education available at the Mechanics Institute
(latterly the Openshaw Lads Club), located in the Crossley factory


Royal Commission on Technical Education: Technical Education in Great Britain is compared to the technical education provided in America and Europe


The Technical Instruction Act: Authorised the newly set up Local Authorities "to spend up to the product of one penny rate on technical and manual instruction"

Early 1900s

The Mechanics Institute was acquired by the "Lads" Club and the club committee instituted a scheme of technical education for local apprentices.
This was little more than a day continuation school. About this time the Local Education Authority opened the day continuation schools and the branch technical schools. Successful completion of a course at the continuation school gained entry to the technical courses available at the branch technical schools.

Manchester Education Authority opened six branch technical schools; Openshaw Branch Technical School was one of them.

As Sir Joseph Whitworth's factory was close by it can be assumed that apprentices from the factory attended Openshaw Branch Technical School.


A syllabus for this period shows only a limited amount of subjects, mainly linked to the local industry, e.g. railway carriage work and general technical subjects. A contemporary report stated that the courses were not always popular with the apprentices. Students were often tired and ill prepared to gain any real benefit from their courses.

Around this time the Whitworth Institute, comprising a free library and public hall, was opened. The project was financed by a legacy from the estate of Sir Joseph Whitworth, with financial support from the City of Manchester Technical Instruction Committee and the Town Hall. The Whitworth estate also gave to the site.

The Institute was the location of the Openshaw Branch Technical School.

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