Stuart's Resignation

Not only did Professor Stuart have to fight for new buildings and facilities, he had also to establish Engineering as a Tripos exam. This he failed to do, having become rather unpopular through his involvement with politics (he was elected Member of Parliament for Hackney in 1884).

General disagreements with the University, particularly with regard to the value of the Workshop in the teaching of engineering eventually led to Stuart's resignation in 1890.

In the early eighties, nearly seventy students attended the Mechanical Sciences courses in the workshops. In addition to the regular courses, Stuart brought in practising engineers to give lectures on such subjects as bridge design, foundations of viaducts and piers, tunnelling and sewage engineering. This was all a great success, but relied on the energy of one man. Stuart's liberal views and support for women were not popular with the University and when he was elected Member of Parliament for Hackney in 1884, his interest waned.

Stuart arranged for the university to purchase the Workshops from him, this was undertaken with much acrimony and haggling over its valuation. He turned his attentions to setting up an Engineering Tripos, but he failed to gain support for this reform. A syndicate was finally appointed in 1889 to consider the whole question of the management of the Workshops and their value to those training to be engineers. This prompted James Stuart to resign.

The continued existence of a Department Workshop which still performs most of the functions for which Stuart created it, can be regarded as his principal memorial.