Bishopsgate Institute EC2

Here is the Bishopsgate Institute entrance, seen from the other side of the road.

Bishopsgate Institute, west entrance, 28th Dec 2022 in Sketchbook 12

The Bishopsgate Institute opened in 1895, as a centre for adult learning. Amazingly, it continues this mission to this day, with a huge range of courses and classes, as well as a library and an event programme: https://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/

The Institute was founded by Reverend William Rogers (1819-1896), a clergyman who took action to improve the lot of London’s poor and provide educational opportunities for people of all backgrounds. He secured funding for his educational initiative by using charitable funds from the City of London:

On arriving at St Botolph’s, Rogers discovered that a pot of charitable donations had been accumulating in the City for over five hundred years. These donations were often death bed bequests, with the donor hoping to secure his or her place in heaven by making a gift of money to the poor.

In Rogers’ view, these funds were no longer being fairly distributed. Rather than going towards “jollies” for the local great and the good (one purpose to which he suggested they were being used by the nineteenth century) he believed the bequests should be redirected towards his proposed polytechnics of the people scheme.

William Rogers began exploiting personal connections established at school and university to petition his friends in high places to introduce a change in the law that would make it possible to divert the City’s charitable income towards educational initiatives. He was successful in this.

The terms of the City of London Parochial Charities Act (1883) allowed Rogers to work with like-minded educationalists to draw up a visionary plan of action. According to this plan, three new learning institutions would be built in the City: the Cripplegate Institute, the St Bride Institute, and our own Bishopsgate Institute.

https://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/our-history/william-rogers (downloaded 29 Dec 2022)

The building was designed by the architect Charles Harrison Townsend. I particularly enjoy those complicated spires, which Pevsner describes as “sturdy, oddly detailed spires” [Nicolas Pevsner, City of London, p288]

The blue van is a police vehicle. There is a police station just south of Middlesex Street, so the police vehicles park on Bishopsgate.

Here is work in progress on the drawing:

It was cold and raining, so I completed the pen on location and then did the colour at my desk.

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