GILCHRIST EDUCATIONAL TRUST
Telephone 01903 746723
Founder: Dr. John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841). During medical service
with the East India Company, Dr. Gilchrist developed an interest in oriental
languages which was to become a motivating force in his life. Obtaining leave
of absence, he lived among the local population until he had acquired a good
colloquial knowledge of Hindustani and then wrote a grammar and dictionary,
believed to be the first of their kind. After resigning his medical post, he
became successively Professor of Oriental Languages at the Marquis of Wellesley’s
Under the terms of his Will, Dr. Gilchrist left the residue of his estate to the Trustees “for the benefit advancement and propagation of education and learning in every part of the world as far as circumstances will permit’.’ Partly because of the long litigation which followed his death, and which culminated in a Hearing before the House of Lords in 1858, the educational trust thus founded could not start its work until 1865.
The principle which guided the
Trustees in the administration of the funds under their control was that of
doing pioneering work, such as seeking to fill up educational gaps; making some
provision for the educational needs of classes of persons not already provided
for; aiding new educational movements, experimental in character but giving
promise of valuable results which, for lack of public support at their
initiation, needed financial help to enable them to grow in strength. They
began by establishing scholarships to bring natives of
The Trust is perhaps best known for its establishment of the Gilchrist Lecturers, 1867-1939, which were given in industrial communities by eminent men and were attended by many thousands of people. After the Lectures began, the University Extension movement started to develop; the Trust worked in close association with it and, later, with the Workers’ Educational Association.
Since its inception, the Trust has been fortunate to have as Trustees men and women prominent in the field of education or in public life.
Registered Charity No. 313877