The Royal School of Mines

The Times (January 1892)

Sir,–Such of your readers as may have perused the report of the proceedings at the annual dinner of the Royal School of Mines in The Times of to-day will probably have arrived at the conclusion that the Institution, which began so humbly in Jermyn-Street 40 years ago, and is now important enough to ask a favour of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was, from the beginning, intended for a school of mines alone, and that, as such, it has grown to its present dimensions and justifies its present claims. If I am right in this supposition, the report must be erroneous, because no one knows better than my friend Sir Lyon Playfair the remoteness from fact of any such supposition. No one had more to do with the original plan of the school, and no one deserves more credit than he for the first attempt to found a broad and liberally organized technical college in this country by the establishment of the Government School of Mines and of Science applied to the Arts; in Jermyn-street, in 1851, and its subsequent reorganization, two years later, as the Metropolitan School of Science applied to Mining and the Arts.

From that time onwards the name of the institution has undergone several changes, but, in substance, it has never been narrowed to a simple school of mines. As a chemical school it has possessed at least an equal practical importance; as a school of geology and of biology it need not be ashamed to speak with its enemies in the gate. At the present moment the title of Associate of the Royal School of Mines is given to those who pass out in two of the eight divisions into which the instruction of the Royal College of Science at South Kensington is divided, and I am afraid that without the other six there would not have been the least necessity for the council to press for larger accommodation.

My interest in the success of all divisions of the college is equally great; nothing can be more satisfactory to me than to observe the value attached by the public to the instruction given in mining and metallurgy; but I feel bound to protest when the other three-fourths of the work of my colleagues appear to be published ignored.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

T.H. Huxley, Dean of the Royal College of Science of London

Eastbourne, Jan. 13


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University