Happy New Year

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.

WW1 1 1916 prospectus  Leicester Municipal Tech school - 1916- prospectus

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.

Leicester Municpal Tech School Prospectus 1916004

The First World War was having a serious impact on the Technical School, as this page from the Prospectus shows:

Leicester Municpal Tech School Prospectus 1916005

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.”

Leicester Municpal Tech School Prospectus 1916007

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.

Leicester Municpal Tech School Prospectus 1916008

About Katharine Short

When I was 13 every careers questionnaire I did at school suggested I become an archivist. In rebellion I studied History of Art at Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute before giving in to the inevitable and undertaking a qualification in Archives Administration at Aberystwyth University. I worked at King’s College London Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives before becoming the Archivist here at DMU in January 2013. My role is hugely varied: answering enquiries and assisting researchers, sorting, cataloguing, cleaning and packaging archival material, managing our environmentally controlled storage areas, giving seminars, talks and tours, researching aspects of University history, liaising with potential donors and advocating for the importance of archives within the organisation. I am one of those incredibly fortunate people who can say ‘I love my job’ and really mean it.
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