The Education of the Eye: The history of the Royal Polytechnic Institution 1838-1881

The Education of the Eye: The history of the Royal Polytechnic Institution 1838-1881The University of Westminster has always been at the forefront of technological change in the heart of London, providing educational programmes shaped by the changing needs of the capital. It has also contributed to the social and cultural life of London in some remarkable ways.

When the University’s predecessor, the Polytechnic Institution opened to the public in the newly fashionable Regent Street in August 1838, it was committed to the promotion of science. It achieved this aim by visual means, exploring innovative ways of demonstrating practical science and new technologies to a general audience. The Royal Polytechnic Institution became a major Victorian  tourist attraction. Visitors could be submerged in the diving bell, have their photograph taken in Europe’s first photographic studio, see the new industrial machines in motion, or watch a spectacular lantern show in the Polytechnic Theatre.

The Education of the Eye tells this exciting story for the first time, drawing on an extensive range of primary and secondary sources. In keeping with the Polytechnic's reputation for visual spectacle, it is lavishly illustrated with more than 70 contemporary images, many of which have not been previously published.

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Author: Brenda Weeden

Date published: November 2008

ISBN: 978-1-85757-097-7

Price: £20.00 per copy plus p&p