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Bloomsbury Institutions


Gilchrist Educational Trust


It was established under the will of John Borthwick Gilchrist, who died in 1841, for the advancement of education worldwide; after lengthy litigation it actually began operating in 1865

It also established a series of Gilchrist Lectures, given in industrial locations, in 1867 (until 1939)

Its trustees in 1890 included Sir Ughtred Shuttleworth, Sir Lyon Playfair, and Professor James Stuart (The Times, 1 February 1890)

In 1890 Charles Middleton-Wake wrote to The Times to complain that the Trust had introduced a new clause excluding students of the Female School of Art from its two-year scholarship of £50 per year, because they were so often successful in winning it (The Times, 1 February 1890)

Dr Robert Davies Roberts became its Secretary in 1889 and held the position until his death in 1911 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It continues to provide financial support for university students in difficulty or who need a period of study in another country

It also awards money for expeditions and for geographical fieldwork

In 1950 it endowed a fellowship in rural sociology at the new Whiteknights campus of the University of Reading (The Times, 2 March 1950)

What was reforming about it?

It provided financial assistance to new and experimental educational movements, and to those previously excluded from education

This included scholarships bringing students from India to England and later for women to study at university level in England, including scholarships at Girton College, Cambridge (The Times, 23 December 1872)

Where in Bloomsbury

Its founder John Borthwick Gilchrist was heavily involved with education (particularly relating to India) in Bloomsbury, being the founder of the London Oriental Institution and having been appointed in the 1820s to a post at University College London

The Trust was based at 28 Great James Street in the early 21st century

Website of current institution

www.gilchristgrants.org.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

D. H. S. Cranage, Pioneering Work in Education: An Address delivered before the Bolton Educational Society [by Lord Shuttleworth in 1910], with a Postscript bringing the Record of the Work of the Trust up to 1930 (1930)


The archives of the Trust to 1999, and of Borthwick’s other Bloomsbury enterprise, the London Oriental Institution, are held in UCL Special Collections, ref. GB 0103 GILCHRIST; details are available online via UCL Special Collections (opens in new window)

See also Anthony Farrington, The Records of the East India College, Haileybury, & Other Institutions (1976)

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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