The Storey Institute
Mechanics’ Institutes were educational establishments, set up to provide adult education to working men. They were often funded by local industrialists in the hope that they would benefit from having more knowledgeable and skilled employees, providing them with profitable way to spend their free time and as an alternative to gambling and drinking in pubs. The world’s first Mechanics’ Institute opened in Edinburgh, Scotland in October 1821. Lancaster wasn’t too far behind Edinburgh, opening the first Mechanics’ & Apprentices Library in the town in 1823.
The library expanded and moved house several times, before finally settling on the corner of Meeting House Lane and Castle Hill in the 1850s. In 1887, to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, local businessman and Mayor of Lancaster, Thomas Storey offered to rebuild the Mechanics’ Institute. The building was renamed The Storey Institute in his honour in 1891. As a young man Thomas had spent much of his free time at the institute and was grateful for the help it had given him in improving his prospects later in life.
The new building cost about £12,000 to construct which would be more than £1,200,000 in today’s money. In 1906 Thomas Storey’s son, Herbert, paid another £10,000 towards the cost of an extension, almost doubling the size of his father’s building, creating more rooms for teaching. This was to done mark the accession of Edward VII to the throne.
The official purpose of the current building was “the promotion of art, science, literature, and technical instruction”. It was designed by the famous Lancaster architects Paley, Austin and Paley whose office stood nearby on Castle Park. It contained a reading room, a library, a lecture room, a laboratory, a music room, a picture gallery, a school of art, and accommodation for a caretaker.
Over the years, the building has been used as the City Art Gallery, a public library, a girls’ grammar school, and from the 1950s to 1982 as the Lancaster College of Art. In the 1960s there were touring exhibitions of works by famous artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Francis Bacon. The permanent art collection was moved in 1968 to Lancaster City Museum. In the early 21st century the institute was converted into a multi-use building by Lancaster City Council, and was renamed The Storey. Today it provides units for small businesses, a café, gallery & exhibition space and Lancaster’s Visitor Information Centre.
Wizarding Schools around the world:
There are eleven long established and prestigious wizarding schools.
Three of which take part in the Triwizard Tournament. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Time for a closer look at Hogwarts competitors for the tournament;
Durmstrang Institute is the Scandinavian wizarding school. Located in the northernmost regions of either Norway or Sweden, the school is willing to accept international students as far afield as Bulgaria. Durmstrang is notorious for prominently featuring the Dark Arts in its curriculum.
Although believed to be situated in the far north of Europe, Durmstrang is one of the most secretive of all schools about its whereabouts, so nobody can be quite certain.
Durmstrang once had the darkest reputation of all eleven wizarding schools, though this was never entirely merited. It is true that Durmstrang, which has turned out many truly great witches and wizards, has twice in its history fallen under the stewardship of wizards of dubious allegiance or nefarious intent, and that it has one infamous ex-pupil, Gellert Grindelwald.
Beauxbatons Academy of Magicis thought to be situated somewhere in the Pyrenees. The school takes many of its students from France, as well as large numbers from Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. It is said that the stunning castle and grounds of this prestigious school were part-funded by alchemist gold, for Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel met at Beauxbatons in their youth, and a magnificent fountain in the middle of the school’s park, believed to have healing and beautifying properties, is named for them.
The school’s coat of arms consists of two golden wands crossed over one another, each shooting three stars.if
Beauxbatons has always enjoyed a cordial relationship with Hogwarts, though there has been a healthy rivalry in international competitions such as the Triwizard Tournament, in which Beauxbatons has sixty-two wins to Hogwarts’ sixty-three.