Category Archives: Education

Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain, 1830-1918

JUST PUBLISHED   In 1830, women of all classes were repressed in a male-dominated society. By 1918, largely through their own struggles, they had seized control over most areas of their lives. Some of these sought access to the public … Continue reading

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Who were gentlemen in the nineteenth century?

The involvement of landowners on boards of manufacturing and commercial companies was complemented by the continuing movement of industrial and commercial wealth into land and an increase in intermarriage between the classes. By 1830, London bankers and merchants such as … Continue reading

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Why did the professions expand after 1800?

The development of a substantial and powerful professional group within the middle-classes gathered considerable pace in the later Victorian period.[1] The growth and maturation of the world’s first modern capitalist economy played an important role in this process and the … Continue reading

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Higher education 1870-1914

The vast growth in and attempt to systematise secondary education was paralleled by a significant, though relatively small, growth and innovation in the university sector. Higher education was still only accessible to a tiny minority. There were changes in the … Continue reading

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Grammar and public schools, 1870-1914: revised version

Between the Endowed Schools Act 1869 and the appointment of the Bryce Commission in 1895, four main developments had taken place in secondary education. First, the endowments and management of the grammar schools had been widely reformed. Secondly, their curriculum … Continue reading

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Elementary education 1870-1914

Religious squabbling continued in the elections for School Boards and in the attempts[1], particularly by Anglicans in county areas, to forestall the imposition of the School Boards.[2] Initially the advantage lay with the existing voluntary schools and even by 1880 … Continue reading

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Educating girls 1870-1914: revised version

The effect of the 1870 Education Act was to widen the gap between the educations of different classes. It marked the increasing involvement of the state in the financing and control of elementary education.[1] The age of compulsory schooling was … Continue reading

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Educating girls 1800-1870: revised version

The education of women and girls had been an issue in England since the 1790s.[1] Certain social pressures gave the claims of writers like Mary Wollstonecraft[2], that equality of education with boys was a means of securing independence for women, … Continue reading

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Technical education 1820-1900

In the 1820s, there was an attempt to create a scientific culture and technical education for the working-classes.[1] George Birkbeck, a Glasgow doctor who had settled in London, was instrumental with Benthamite radicals in establishing the London Mechanics’ Institute in … Continue reading

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University education 1800-1870

These were not glorious years for the ‘ancient’ universities. Cambridge[1] and Oxford[2] reposed in a social and curricular inertia that limited their value to society.[3] Their intake was socially remarkably stable and narrow: between 1752 and 1886, 51% of Oxford … Continue reading

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Educating the middle-classes 1800-1870

Before 1850, no one seriously argued the need for the state to provide schools for middle and upper-class children largely because it was thought the free market was functioning effectively. Certainly it seems there was considerable activity and formal schooling … Continue reading

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The state intervenes 1833-1862

Everyone was agreed that any education worth the name had a moral and therefore a religious core. But if religious, which denomination? Anglicans, as members of the established church, argued that any school named in law and supported by government … Continue reading

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Emerging day schools and religion

From the 1780s, working-class enthusiasts and middle-class reformers alike were much concerned with what might be done to extend working-class children’s schooling through the voluntary principle. Among the most successful enterprises were Sunday schools. They originated in the eighteenth century … Continue reading

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Elementary education: introduction

English elementary education grew in the face of constant fear and opposition from sections of the upper- and middle-classes.[1] Education, it was believed, would teach the working-classes to despise their lot in life, enable them to read seditious literature and … Continue reading

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Literacy: revised version

Literacy is difficult to define with any degree of accuracy and, in the first sixty years of the nineteenth century difficult to quantify.[1] The concept of literacy can be defined very broadly as a person’s ability to read and sometimes … Continue reading

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