The DMU Special Collections team would like to wish all our readers a very happy 2016!
Here’s a look at what DMU was like 100 years ago, in 1916. At that date the institution was known as the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School and was based entirely in what is now the Hawthorn Building, which was not yet complete – only the Magazine Square side and the Richmond Street side had been constructed.
The Technical School was run by John Hawthorn – the Hawthorn building is named after him. Subjects included Boot and Shoe Manufacture, Commercial classes (the forerunner of today’s Business School), Dressmaking, Hosiery Manufacture, Pharmacy and Sciences (biology, botany, chemistry, electricity and physics, engineering, geology, natural sciences and pharmacy). Evening classes were also available in the above subjects. Many of the students at the Technical School were supported by their employers in local industries, who paid their fees and released them from work to attend classes.
The First World War was having a serious impact on the Technical School, as this page from the Prospectus shows:
The Art School was run by Benjamin Fletcher, himself an artist and strong believer in the Arts and Crafts movement. This philosophy is evident in the way he managed the School, as this quote from the prospectus shows: “In the Craft Classes training is given largely through practical exercises, and the teaching shows that beauty is the result of perfect economy of perfect means : that the artist is only real when a workman, and the practical man only practical when he is an artist in his work.”
Art School classes included Architecture and the Building Crafts, Cabinet Making, Wood Carving, Gilding and Relief Design, Printing and Book Production, Silversmithing and allied crafts, Embroidery and Lace Making, Historic Costume and Dress Design, Painting, Figure Composition, Drawing and Geometry.