Bishopsgate Institute is 125 years old in 2020.
Discover our Victorian origins through three short profiles outlining the contributions of the key figures involved in Bishopsgate Institute’s early years.
Reverend William Rogers of St Botolph’s Church on Bishopsgate was the visionary churchman responsible for our establishment and early direction and character. All but forgotten today, in the nineteenth century Rogers was famous for his energetic efforts to create a more just and equitable society.
Charles Harrison Townsend was the grandson of a virtuoso violinist who trained as an architect before winning an anonymous competition to design Bishopsgate Institute in the early 1890s. He was involved in every aspect of the building’s design and fit-out, drawing on influences from both the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements.
Charles Goss was the self-educated plasterer’s son who managed our library for almost fifty years. Goss began collecting working-class histories when "history from below" was rarely considered worth recording. In the wider library world, our chief librarian was known for his expertise in local history (particularly his obsessional interest in street directories) and his extravagant moustache.