In 1823 a dispute between the Mechanics' class and the managers of Anderson's Institution, the precursor of Strathclyde University, led to the foundation of the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution, the first of its kind. In 1831 John Leadbetter, one of the city's leading manufacturers and a president of the Mechanics', provided new premises designed by Robert Black on North Hanover Street. The city's first James Watt monument, by John Greenshields, was erected on top of the building. The property subsequently was acquired and demolished by the Glasgow and Edinburgh Railway Company.
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