Mason Science College

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Not to be confused with Josiah Mason College, a specialist Sixth Form College (established 1983).
Edmund Street elevation of the college shortly after it was built

Mason Science College was a science college in Birmingham, England. Founded in 1875 by industrialist and philanthropist Sir Josiah Mason, the college was incorporated into the University of Birmingham in 1900. Two students of the college, Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, later went on to become British Prime Ministers.


The college was established by an English industrialist and philanthropist Sir Josiah Mason in 1875.[1] The building of the college in Edmund Street, Birmingham was opened on 1 October 1880 and was marked by a speech by Thomas Henry Huxley.[2] In the speech, Huxley considered the opening of the college as a victory for scientific cause and supported Mason's antagonistic views on the classics and theology. The college developed various liberal and vocational subjects, but forced out the artisans. It also took over the Birmingham Medical School.[3]

In 1898 it became Mason University College, with Joseph Chamberlain becoming the President of Court of Governors of the college. In 1900 it was incorporated into the University of Birmingham.[4]

William A. Tilden was professor of chemistry from 1880 to 1894. In September 1893 Francis William Aston began his university studies at the college, where he was taught physics by John Henry Poynting and chemistry by Frankland and Tilden.[5]

In 1881 Charles Lapworth became the first professor of geology at the college.[6] In 1891 physics professor John Henry Poynting successfully calculate the mean density of the Earth.[7]

The original Victorian neo-gothic building was demolished in 1962, along with the original Central Public Library and the Birmingham and Midland Institute, as part of the redevelopment within the inner ring road. The current Central Library stands on the site of the old college.


In 1882, Departments of Chemistry, Botany, Physiology, Physics and Comparative Anatomy were founded at the college.[7]

Alumni and faculty[edit]

Notable alumni and faculty of the college include:


  1. ^ Warner, D. and Palfreyman, D., ed. (2001). The State of UK Higher Education: Managing Change and Diversity. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0335206599. 
  2. ^ "Modern History Sourcebook: Thomas H. Huxley (1825-95): Science and Culture, 1880". Fordham University. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Robert (2006). British Universities Past and Present. Continuum. p. 77. ISBN 978-1852853471. 
  4. ^ "Mason College". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society Vol. 5, No. 16 (May, 1948), pp. 634-650". JSTOR. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Professor Charles Lapworth LL D FRS". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Foundation of the University 1767 -1899". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  8. ^ K. Feiling, The Life of Neville Chamberlain (London, 1970), 11-12
  9. ^ K. Feiling, The Life of Neville Chamberlain (London, 1970), 11


  • Ordnance Survey 1st Edition Map, 1890

Coordinates: 52°28′48″N 1°54′18″W / 52.4800°N 1.9051°W / 52.4800; -1.9051

External links[edit]