Arts and Minds

by Anton Howes

Category: Business & Economics

Book Reviews

About Book

"For almost 300 years, an organisation has quietly tried to change almost every aspect of life in Britain. That organisation is the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, often known simply as the Royal Society of Arts. It has acted as Britain's private national improvement agency, in every way imaginable - essentially, a society for the improvement of everything and anything. This book is its history. From its beginnings in a coffee house in the mid-eighteenth century, the Society has tried to change Britain's art, industry, laws, music, environment, education, and even culture. It has sometimes even succeeded. It has been a prize-fund for innovations, a platform for Victorian utilitarian reformers, a convenor of disparate interest groups, and the focal point for social movements. There has never been an organisation quite like it, constantly having to reinvent itself to find something new to improve. The book rewrites many of the old official histories of the Society and updates them to the present day, incorporating over half a century of further research into the periods they covered, along with new insights into the organisation's evolution. The book reveals the hidden and often surprising history of how a few public-spirited people tried to make their country better, offering lessons from their triumphs and their failures for all would-be reformers today"--

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