The Mechanics’ Institute of Great Yarmouth was part of a nationwide network of adult education establishments. These posters detail lectures to be delivered at the Institution from April to December 1831, on subjects ranging from the fine arts to chemistry, entomology to elocution.
The first Mechanics’ Institute was founded in 1821 in Edinburgh, Scotland, with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the arts and sciences to working men and women. M.I.’s were often funded by local industrialists, which enabled communities to attend lectures free of charge. The patrons of Great Yarmouth’s Institute, however, paid an annual subscription fee of ten shillings (about £25 in today’s money), or five shillings if you were a woman.