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quentin hogg and the youth's christian institute
The forerunner to the Regent Street Polytechnic - an interesting example of educational innovation developing out of a ragged school.
Youths’ Christian Institute, 48-49 Long Acre, WC2 (Also Endell Street WC2 - building no longer there). Founded by Quentin Hogg (1845-1903) in 1870. He began in 1864 by establishing a ragged school in a room in York Place just off The Strand (with Arthur [Lord] Kinnaird). When they ran out of space they moved to Endell Street (with an entrance onto Castle Street) and there were also able to offer accomodation for 40 boys. Hogg’s sister also developed work with young women there ‘until the enchroachments of the other sex drove her to a house of her own’ (Hogg 1904: 73). The ‘Institute’ which was the front part of the house and ‘devoted to the better classboys’ had become fearfully cramped and in 1878 moved to Long Acre. The Institute as well as providing fellowship, developed a substantial educational programme including trade classes, and a monthly magazine Hope Tidings. The building - aside from the Abbey National looks much as it did in contemporary drawings. The Institute was the forerunner to the Regent Street Polytechnic, 309 Regent Street W1. Founded by Hogg in 1892. The buildings had originally been used by Royal Polytechnic Institute - founded by George Cayley in 1838. The old Polytechnic had sought to advance ‘practical science in connection with agriculture, art and trade’ - but it had turned into an odd mix of instruction and amusement - and had hit problems. Hogg’s was an ambitious (and successful) scheme. He sought to set up a large institution ‘for the promotion of industrial skill, general knowledge, health and wellbeing of young men belonging to the poorer classes’. In 1885 15 Langham Place W1 was opened as an Institution for Girls. Many of the Regent Street classes were opened to young women. Having joined with other colleges, the Polytechnic is now the University of Westminster and as such the historical focus tends to be on its contribution to the development of technical and vocational education. Yet this was only half of Hogg’s vision. There was a substantial emphasis on social and athletic clubs (there were well equipped gymnasiums); concerts; and holiday tours (during the Paris exhibition in 1889 there were weekly parties). Hogg persuaded the Charity Commissioners to endow a number of Polytechnics in London (by 1904 there were 12). Kinnaird went on, with T. W. H. Pelham (who was also involved with Hogg and the Institute), to form the Homes for Working Boys in London (1870) (Eagar 1953: 244). Pelham (1847 - ?) had been called to the Bar and later worked as a senior civil servant. He also wrote the first significant introduction to boys club work (1889) placing a distinctive emphasis on small, local institutions characterised by friendly relationships. Pelham was also the first chair of the London Federation of Working-boys Clubs and Institutes formed in 1888. References Eagar, W. M. (1953) Making Men. The history of Boys' Clubs and related movements in Great Britain, London: University of London Press. Hogg, E. M. (1904) Quentin Hogg. A biography, London: Archibald Contable and Co. T. W. H. Pelham (1889) Handbook to Youths' Institutes and Working Boys' Clubs, London: London Diocesan Council for the Welfare of Young Men.   © Mark K. Smith 1997

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