17 St James Street

Mr James Granger aged 85 was present as a boy at the inaugural meeting of the Mechanics in 1837.
During its early years the Institute was only open between the hours of seven and ten in the evening for lectures of Chemistry, Physiology, Astronomy, Music, Poetry, Silk Manufacture, Railways, Printing, and Botany .

In 1838 the Committee also undertook direct learning courses studying English Grammar, Writing and Arithmetic, French, and plain and Architectural drawing.

Amongst the early privileges of members was the free admission to dissections within the medical school also based within Number 17 St James Street.

So great was the popularity of the Mechanics it was decided it needed its own building, funds being raised by holding The Nottingham Mechanics Exhibition, which opened on June 8th 1840. Two hundred and twenty thousand visitors paid for admission ; the total receipts amounting to £ 2,996, with net profits of £ 802 11s. 2 and a half d.

This was the first recorded art Exhibition held in Nottingham.
The Nottingham Date Book refers to the inaugural ceremony in the following passage.


At half-past ten in the forenoon a public procession was formed at the Guild hall as follows :Band of the 7th Dragoon Guards; officers of the Mechanics Institution; several magistrates; the Mayor and Corporation, with their gold and silver maces; the Committee and a number of gentlemen. The Exhibition occupied the noble suite of the Exchange Rooms, lengthened by the addition of a massive wooden building, extending through the large window partly over the Market Place, and presenting to the eye at one sweep a range of one hundred and eighty feet. The gentlemen forming the procession were welcomed on their arrival by the pealing strains of an organ, and three times three hearty cheers. The Exhibition was the most attractive ever witnessed in Nottingham. Its prominent features were a superb collection of paintings, statuary, antiquities, architectural models, machinery, and specimens of natural history; the whole representing especially when illuminated a most brilliant and enchanting sight.