Memorial to the Royal Commission on the City Livery Companies for the Council of King's College, London.
The Council of King's College, London—believing
that the result of the inquiry of the Royal Commission
on the City livery companies may probably include
some recommendation to the companies to extend that
application of their resources to educational objects,
which has already been liberally begun—desire, as the
governing body of one of the colleges which have for
the last fifty years represented higher education in London, to submit to the Commission the claims of King's
College, for consideration in any scheme which may be
framed for advancing education in London, by the grant
to existing institutions of such endowment as may increase their usefulness, by enlarging the scope of their
teaching, and by bringing it within the reach of a
greater number of students.
(I.) The City companies appear to have had for their
chief original purpose the promotion of technical excellence, and therefore of technical education. But, by
undertaking the direction and support of public schools,
by the provision of scholarships at the universities, and
by other means, they have always recognised the importance of general education and its claim to some
support from the resources entrusted to them. Now it
is a leading principle in King's College (as also in University College) to promote various branches of technical
education, and at the same time to unite these with the
pursuit of general (or liberal) education, as giving the
necessary foundation for all special professional training.
It is, therefore, conceived that the support of such institutions may naturally find a place among those objects
to which the resources of the City companies may be in
part devoted, and indeed their claims have already been
recognised by the companies, both directly and through
the City and Guilds Institute. We would gratefully
acknowledge the liberal assistance which our own
college has already received from many of the companies, and the signal services which they have rendered
to education, both in London and the provinces.
(II.) But the London colleges are still but inadequately furnished for the important work which they
have to undertake. Although considerable sums have
been contributed to both colleges for building and other
necessary purposes, they still remain almost entirely
unendowed as regards the teaching staff; while the
assistance offered to students in scholarships, &c. is
far from adequate. (fn. 1)
In both respects the London colleges are very unfavourably placed, not only as compared with the older
universities of Oxford and Cambridge, whose annual
aggregate income is believed to amount to 750,000l.,
but even in comparison with the new provincial colleges, which have been, or are being founded, with the
aid of private endowments, in Manchester, Liverpool,
Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Bristol, and
elsewhere; in many of these colleges the professorships are endowed to the extent of 300l. or 400l. per
annum in addition to students' fees. The university of
Glasgow has recently succeeded in raising, through
private munificence, the sum of 260,000l., which has
been augmented by a grant of 140,000l. from the Government, for the construction of new buildings. The
students of this and the other Scotch universities receive
liberal assistance in the form of bursaries and prizes,
amounting in all to not less than 20,000l. per annum.
The Government contributes annually to the Scotch
universities 18,992l. for the purpose of augmenting the
salaries of the professors, to the universities and colleges of Ireland, sums amounting in the aggregate to
25,836l.; and the Royal Commission on higher and intermediate education in Wales have recommended
annual grants of 4,000l. to the University College of
Aberystwith, and the new college to be. founded at
Cardiff, together with further contributions to meet the
expenses of building.
Thus the London colleges have been completely left
behind in respect of endowments, and are obliged to
depend for their income mainly on the students' fees.
While they are thus cramped in resources, they have
received no advantages whatever in relation to the
University of London, which—itself discharging no
educational function except that of examining—con-
ducts its examinations and confers its degrees without
any reference to the place or the conditions of study. (fn. 2)
Hence—however valuable the work which has been
accomplished—the results are altogether inadequate and
unworthy of the great City in which these colleges alone
have attempted to fulfil the real duties of a university.
The number of our students, although considerable,
falls very far short of those in attendance at Edinburgh
or Glasgow. At the former university the classes
number 3,237; and of these no less than 1,047 belong
to the faculty of arts, which represents general culture
as distinct from professional training. The Scotch
universities, moreover, retain their students for a longer
time, the course of study extending over three or four
years; and a large proportion of their students proceed
to degrees. This success is undoubtedly connected with
the privilege of granting degrees directly to their own
students, which the universities of Scotland possess;
but it is also in part due to the low scale of the fees,
which amount to hardly more than a fourth of those
charged at our colleges.
The usefulness of these institutions might be indefinitely increased, and they might be raised to a magnitude and importance worthy of the metropolis, if the
existing drawbacks were removed, by the aid of the
City companies, through such measures as the following:—(a) the reduction of the fees, with a view to
extending more widely the benefit of higher education
to the middle classes of London; (b) the partial endowment of the professorships, so as to facilitate such
reduction of fees, and the foundation of such additional
professorships, as may be found necessary to satisfy the
growing requirements of professional or commercial
education; with ample provision for class teaching by
assistant lecturers, so as to meet the increased number
of the students, and limit the size of the classes; (c)
provision for extension and maintenance of laboratories
and the purchase of scientific apparatus, with a view to
more thorough practical instruction; and lastly, (d)
liberal assistance to poor students in the form of scholarships, which should be dependent on diligence and
success in work. It may be observed that the expenses
of living in the metropolis, combined with the present
cost of education, place the London student at a great
disadvantage, which can only be obviated by endowment.
(III.) A brief survey of the educational work at King's
College may be appended, as establishing its claim to
such support as is contemplated in the above suggestions.
The various departments, now seven in number,
which have been successively established since the
opening of the college 50 years ago, constitute the
college an university in all essential particulars, excepting the right of granting degrees.
(a.) The original departments were those of general
literature and science, and of medicine (in addition to the
school). The former of these departments provides a
liberal education, both of the old classical and modern
type, and corresponds to the faculty of arts in the
Scotch universities. The latter is an important medical
school, having attached to it a hospital, which does
service of infinite value to one of the poorest and most
neglected parts of London.
To these have been added new departments for more
technical education, as occasion has arisen.
(b.) In the year 1838, the department of applied
sciences was founded, and its scope has been gradually
enlarged so as to provide the scientific training, both
theoretical and practical, required for civil engineering,
telegraphy, surveying, architecture, and the higher
branches of manufacturing art. This combined system
of practical and theoretical teaching might be extended
considerably beyond its present limits, especially in the
direction of the industrial arts, with the assistance necessary for improved teaching appliances, the working
expenses of this department (especially in the departments of physics and metallurgy), being of necessity
In connexion with the same department a physical
laboratory was established in 1868, under the charge of
Professor W. Grylls Adams, for practical study and investigation in all branches of experimental physics;
some of the classes being specially designed for the
science examinations of the London University, in addition to the individual teaching of students in the various
branches of physics, and especially in electrical science.
More than 300 students have been trained in the
Wheatstone laboratory, many of whom have obtained
important posts in the works of some of the leading
electrical engineers. (fn. 3)
More recently, schools of practical fine art, of practical art, and of metallurgy have been opened, thanks to
the liberal aid received from the City and Guilds of
London Institute. The former school includes such
branches of decorative art as drawing on wood, painting
on china, etching on copper, &c. In order to extend
its usefulness, especially for artisans—many of whom
already attend the classes—assistance is needed to provide one or more assistant teachers and extra lecturers;
also a larger library for reference and additional casts
for purposes of study. With such aid the school might
accommodate 100 or 150 more students.
The work accomplished in these several departments
of practical science and art is so closely connected with
the original objects of the City livery companies that
we trust that it will be definitely recognised in any
plans for the promotion of technical education.
(c.) In 1847 a theological department was created,
supplying a branch of higher education, which from the
nature of the case could not be represented in University College or the University of London; and through
this more than 600 clergy have been trained, chiefly for
the service of the metropolis.
(d.) In the year 1856 an evening department was
opened, which at first numbered 200, and now numbers
nearly 500 students. These classes have been of great
benefit to those occupied in business during the day.
The curriculum includes almost every subject taught in
the college, (fn. 4) and the instruction is thoroughly systematic.
The teachers are 36 in number, and nearly all the
classes are conducted by professors and lecturers of the
regular college staff.
The fees are considerably lower than those of the other
departments, averaging about a guinea and a half for
the session of five months. This department might,
however, be greatly enlarged and the evening teaching
opened much more freely to students of the poorer class,
by reducing the fees still lower, and by providing
gratuitous lectures from time to time on subjects of
general interest. For this purpose some endowment
would undoubtedly be required, as it is even now found
impossible to remunerate the lecturers at all adequately;
and it may be observed that the other evening classes
which have been recently established are for the most
part supported by endowment.
(e.) In 1881 it was resolved to extend the work of the
college so as to embrace the higher education of women;
and although the new department has not yet been
included in the system of the college, yet classes have
been for some years at work at Kensington, under the
direction of the staff of the college, and on the same
principles on which the college itself is conducted.
(IV.) It will be seen that the work which is done in
the two great London colleges has grown to a very considerable magnitude; (fn. 5) and the necessary expense of
maintaining it taxes most severely their resources, so
that the amount left available for the payment of the
staff and for teaching appliances is entirely insufficient.
It has been thought that the present income would require to be augmented to the extent of half its present
amount by endowment, independent of fees, in order to
secure to the colleges their proper influence and
efficiency as centres of higher education in London.
Such increase may be estimated at about 25,000l.
annually for each college. This endowment should be
so employed as to effect a considerable reduction of the
present scale of fees, wherever it may be possible; to
provide for largely increased aid to students; to improve the appliances for practial teaching; and to
supplement the emoluments of the teaching staff by endowment on such a scale as to raise them to the same
standard as those of the professors in the other leading
colleges or universities in England and Scotland.
The Council trust that, in case of the grant of any
endowment through the City companies, the governing
body of each college would be left free, by agreement
with the courts of the various companies, under any
controlling authority which might be created, to dispose of it with a view to the carrying out of these
But it may be desirable to add that, taking the standard of 25,000l. already indicated, the benefits of endowment might be virtually divided between the students
and the college itself, under something like the following scheme:—
1. An annual sum of 7,000l. towards working expenses,
and towards the maintenance and extension of museums,
laboratories, and apparatus, would render it practicable
to reduce the fees by about one third on the average.
2. For the purpose of direct assistance to students, a
sum of 6,000l. annually would furnish twenty entrance
scholarships at 50l., and twenty foundation scholarships
at 100l., each tenable for two years. It has been
suggested that some of the latter might be connected
with special studies, and that pecuniary aid should be
specially offered to intending teachers so as to render
the college directly useful in stimulating and improving
3. In regard to the endowment of the teaching staff,
the slightest examination will show that the present
stipends of the teachers are extremely inadequate, as
compared not only with those of corresponding positions
elsewhere, but with those attached to lower kinds of
educational work. In order to meet the necessary
expenditure for educational purposes, and to raise the
stipends of the teachers to anything like an adequate
standard (allowing for the suggested reduction of fees
as well as for addition to the teaching staff, in case of
increase of number of students), about 10,000l. annually
would be required, and a further annual sum of 2,000l.
for the purpose of a retiring fund.
It is thought that such an apportionment—assigning
nearly half the total endowment through scholarships
and reduction of fees to the direct benefit of the students
—would provide adequately for the public interest; and
that the City livery companies, to whose munificence
our college is already indebted, would regard such an
endowment as entirely consistent with the educational
objects to which their resources are already in considerable measure devoted.