Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,360 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

From Graces Guide

1826 The Society was founded, largely at the instigation of Lord Brougham.

The object of the Society was "the imparting useful information to all classes of the community, particularly to such as are unable to avail themselves of experienced teachers, or may prefer learning by themselves"

It sought to achieve this object by acting as the intermediary between authors and publishers in several different, and often ambitious, series of publications. The Society fixed the form and selling price of treatises, frequency of publication and payments to authors; the publisher made arrangement with the printer and organised the distribution and sale of publications.

A General Committee of not less than 40 and not more than 60 members was in charge of the Society's affairs. Prominent on the Committee besides Lord Brougham were James Mill, Lord John Russell, Lord Althorp, Zachary Macaulay, Joseph Hume, Robert Aglionby Slaney and Augustus De Morgan.

The Society was responsible for many series of publications including: 'Library of Useful Knowledge'; 'British Almanac'; 'Library of Entertaining Knowledge'; 'Farmer's series'; 'Maps'; 'Working Man's Companion'; 'Quarterly Journal of Education'; 'Penny Magazine'; 'Penny Cyclopedia'; 'Gallery of Portraits'; 'Library for the Young'; 'Biographical Dictionary'.

1829 there were 515 annual subscribers to the Society

1842 the number of subscribers had fallen to 49.

1846 The Society's active life lasted until 1846 and its affairs were wound up in 1848.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • 'The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 1826-1846 and its relation to adult education in the first half of the XIXth Century' (unpublished London University PhD thesis, 1932, by Monica C Grobel).
  • [1] National Archives

Also see [2] ODNB