The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in 1826 and was a London organisation that published inexpensive but high quality maps intended to adapt scientific and similarly high-minded material for the rapidly expanding reading public. It was established mainly at the instigation of Lord Brougham with the ambition of publishing information to people who were unable to obtain formal teaching, or who preferred self-education. Particularly the town plans that were produced often included beautiful and intricate vignettes of the cityscape. Importantly, SDUK (as it is often called) recorded the latest discoveries in Australia and America at the height of the European exploration of both nations. It received quite a lot of criticism from scholars and the elite due to its progressive influence in education reform; however despite its opposition, the forward-looking ideals of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge played a meaningful part in nineteenth-century educational history.