Dr Henry Dyer

Member of Glasgow School Board

Engineer and education pioneer Henry Dyer (1848–1918) has been the subject of books and conferences both in Scotland and in Japan, where he became first principal of the newly-created Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo in 1873. He was recommended for the post by Glasgow's Regius Professor of Civil Engineering, Macquorn Rankin, to Japan's future prime minister, Hirobumi Ito. The latter visited Scotland on the 1872 Iwakura Mission to gather information to facilitate the future industrialisation of Japan. However, Dyer was only 24, and had still to sit his engineering finals at Glasgow University: nonetheless, he 'spent the next ten years turning [Imperial College] into the most advanced [engineering] institute in the world'. 1

On his return to Glasgow in 1882, Dyer promoted Imperial College 'as a model for ... technological education in Britain' and supported evening classes for 'the artisan type of student', trying unsuccessfully to have suitable after-hours scientific courses recognised as university-equivalent in 1912. 2 He was a governor of Glasgow & West of Scotland (later Royal) Technical College between 1887 and 1918, of the West of Scotland Agricultural College, of the Glasgow School of Art and served on Glasgow School Board for 27 years, as Chairman from 1914. 3

He also wrote on social matters for progressive bodies such as the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society; on the future of advanced technical education and on the culture of Japan. 4


1: Glasgow Herald, 26 September 1918, p. 4; The Times, 27 September 1918, p. 1A; 'Homepage' and 'Commemorating Henry Dyer', Henry Dyer (1848–1918) website, University of Strathclyde and Dyer Family (webmaster R. Hunter), http://homepage.ntlworld.com/r.hunter/hd [accessed 7 October 2012]; 'Culture and Education: Historical Relationship', website of Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh, www.edinburgh.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/culture.htm [accessed 7 October 2012]; Nobuhiro Miyoshi, Henry Dyer: Pioneer of Engineering Education in Japan, Folkestone: Global Oriental, 2004, Online Content Summary (by Synthetic Solutions), British Library Main Catalogue [accessed 3 November 2012]; 'Henry Dyer Collection', Special Collections, Mitchell Library, Glasgow Libraries, www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/Pages/home.aspx [accessed 23 October 2012].

2: David Allsobrook and Gordon Mitchell, 'Henry Dyer: Engineer and Educational Innovator', Paedagogica Historica, 33, 1997, pp. 433–57, content abstract (published online 2006), www.tandfonline.com [accessed 7 October 2012]; Glasgow Herald, 31 October 1912, p. 10.

3: ‘Dyer, Henry’, Who Was Who, London: A. & C. Black, 1920–2008, online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2007, www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whowaswho/U195913 [accessed 7 October 2012]; Scotsman, 3 April 1914, p. 9; 27 September 1918, p. 4; Glasgow Herald, 27 September 1918, p. 6.

4: Scotsman, 10 June 1910, p. 9; 'Some of Henry Dyer's Publications', and 'Commemorating Henry Dyer', at Henry Dyer website, University of Strathclyde and Dyer Family (webmaster R. Hunter), http://homepage.ntlworld.com/r.hunter/hd/Bibliography.htm [accessed 7 October 2012].