A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.
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THE EDUCATION OF THE WORKING CLASSES TO 1870
The exclusion for the purposes of this history, of the cities of London and Westminster puts the historian of education at something of a disadvantage, especially when he wishes to give a general description of the evolving pattern of educational provision, for, in the period under review, city, parochial, and even county boundaries are of little significance in the story of educational progress. Outstanding schools exemplifying a whole facet of metropolitan education-for example, Joseph Lancaster's model school in Borough Road, Southwark-happen to be situated beyond the borders of the county. Middlesex children can be found attending what we would now call 'out-county' schools; numerous Middlesex children for example, attended a famous school for the deaf and dumb in the Old Kent Road. (fn. 1) In the same way, selected girl orphans found wandering in the streets were, from 1758, moved to the 'Asylum or House of Refuge situated on the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge', and there maintained by the alms of generous citizens, many of whom were from Middlesex. (fn. 2) Pauper children from parishes in and around the metropolis were often sent into the country either as infants under Jonas Hanway's Acts, (fn. 3) as pupils to Poor Law Schools in other counties, (fn. 4) or as labourers to northern factories. (fn. 5)
On the other hand there was also a movement of children into the metropolis; strong 'uncontaminated' country children could get employment as servants (fn. 6) and some institutions acquired reputations sufficient to attract children from all parts of the kingdom. Perhaps the most notable in this respect was the Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children (i.e. the Foundling Hospital) founded by Captain Thomas Coram in 1739, and in the mid-18th century it became a profitable business for travelling tinkers and others to bring unwanted babies to the Foundling Hospital from all parts of the country. (fn. 7)
In the inner metropolitan area, therefore, the county boundary is not of great significance in the story of education. Beyond, however, lay the rural areas, crossed first by roads and later by canals and railways along which trade and people moved between London and the rest of the country. Middlesex grew prosperous from this traffic and small towns such as Enfield, Harrow, Uxbridge, Staines, and Brentford developed. By the mid-19th century the county had a great variety of social settlement and a corresponding diversity of educational provision. There was the overcrowding of the environs of the cities of London and Westminster, with the rich in their squares and the poor in their courts, and unique local problems such as that in the east with the Jews of Whitechapel, the Huguenots who came to Spitalfields at the end of the 17th century, and the Irish who came too in the 17th century, first to St. Giles-in-the-Fields, then to Lisson Grove and, at the end of the century, to the notorious Calmell Buildings near Portman Square. Further out were the suburban areas of Tottenham and Hackney, rich in schools for the middling classes, and beyond that again the townships and intervening countryside as rural as any part of the kingdom. It is not surprising, therefore, that the area can produce examples of every type of school. Private venture schools of all kinds, both charitable and profit-making, industrial schools, Sunday schools, charity schools, 'National' schools, 'British' schools, Jewish schools, Roman Catholic schools, dissenting schools, ragged schools, reformatories, orphanages, poor law schools, and even factory schools, are all to be found. (fn. 8) There were, too, unusual establishments such as the school opened in 1647 by the East India Company for the education of orphans left by employees. The school had a nautical bias and was attached to an almshouse established by the Company in 1627 for the care of injured men, widows, and orphans. (fn. 9) Then there was the school established in 1702 in the St. James's workhouse in Clerkenwell by Quakers who sought to implement the ideas set out by John Bellers in 1695 (fn. 10) for a 'colledge of industry'; the school acted as a refuge for the old and the infirm as well as a place where poor children were taught a little reading and writing while they learned spinning and weaving. (fn. 11) There were proselytising schools such as the East London Irish Free School in Goodman's Yard, Minories, in 1818, (fn. 12) and the Irish Free School in George Street, St. Giles, in 1816, which became known as the 'Protestant Bible School' because of its attempt to wean the children from Roman Catholicism. (fn. 13) Free schools for Jewish children were established in 1807 and 1811 in the East End by the London Society for the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews. (fn. 14) There were experimental schools such as 'The British Union School' opened in Farmer Street, Shadwell, by Joseph Fletcher in 1816, to serve Wapping, St. George's Middlesex, Limehouse, Shadwell, and the hamlet of Ratcliff, and to show how to solve the religious question by avoiding denominationalism. Specially-printed chapters from the Bible were used without comment by the teacher, and Fletcher seems to have obtained the co-operation of the Roman Catholic clergy. After two years Fletcher was able to report that his school had a substantial number of dissenters and Roman Catholics as well as Church of England boys and girls; in 1819 the school had 550 pupils on its registers. (fn. 15)
The great diversity of educational provision in Middlesex was largely due to special advantages conferred on the area by the presence of the capital. The City of London was the place in which many of those who supported the schools made their fortunes and the city's need for clerks created a market for boys who could write and calculate. (fn. 16) The concentration of population also created a never-satisfied demand for well-trained girls for domestic service, and the attraction of metropolitan life made it possible to recruit and retain a better type of teacher than could be obtained in more distant parts. The well-to-do living within reach of the capital were often ready to found, support, endow, or subscribe to a school and even royal patronage could be obtained, if, like Mrs. Trimmer in Brentford, (fn. 17) one went about it in the right way.
It has further been suggested that education in and around the metropolis profited by the high infant mortality rates in 17th-century London; the generosity of London merchants towards education may, in part, be due to the fact that so many of them were left childless. (fn. 18) Finally, when, first in the 17th and then in the 19th century, the great societies took a prominent part in the development of a system of elementary education, it was natural that their first and indeed their most spectacular achievements were to be found in the metropolitan area.
What type of education are we concerned with in this article? The history of our country can provide many examples of the gifted but poor 'boy of parts' using the educational ladder to climb to a position of distinction. Cranmer's often-quoted opinion puts the point well: 'If the gentleman's son be apt to learning let him be admitted; if not apt let the poor man's child being apt enter his room'. (fn. 19) But for present purposes we are interested not in the means by which the talents of a few outstanding men were garnered up and put to good use but in the attempts made by the well-intentioned to provide for the children of the poor an education deemed to be suited to their supposed needs as members-and permanent members-of the least privileged class in the community. We seek, therefore, not the escape-route offered to a select few but the broad road of educational advance available to the many.
Interest in this chapter lies not, therefore, with the kind of education provided in grammar schools and other schools of the classical type. It is focused instead on schools offering the type of programme once associated with elementary schools and now- albeit mistakenly-with primary schools. Robert Lowe had the distinction clear when he wrote of 'the education of the poor or primary education and the education of the middle or upper classes'. (fn. 20) It is then a basic, vernacular education of which we write, a utilitarian, practical, and unequivocally non-classical education; the basic skills, reading and writing, are prominent with occasionally some 'casting of accompts' (a skill not without significance in the environs of the City of London) and, perhaps, 'industrial' training. Religious instruction is always prominent, whether as a means of establishing what one early-18th-century preacher called 'little garrisons, against Popery', (fn. 21) or as an insurance policy against revolution and discontent. It was, then, an education designed- to quote the same sermon-to provide 'the plaine accomplishments which best become the generality of the people'.
The number of grammar schools founded at the close of the Middle Ages has perhaps been somewhat exaggerated. (fn. 22) There was, however, an undoubted increase in the number of grammar schools in early Stuart times, and a recent historian of English philanthropy, commenting on 'the great, the prodigal outpouring' of funds for grammar schools in this period, (fn. 23) claims that 'it is not too much to say that the basic structure of English secondary education as it was to exist for a very long time was literally created in the early Stuart period'. (fn. 24)
These pages are, however, concerned not with developments in the field of secondary education but with the existence, which such a development must presuppose, of a system of elementary education to give the pupils of the grammar schools that grounding in the vernacular which was necessary before they could proceed to the study of Latin. Curtis is convinced that in the 16th and 17th centuries primary education of this kind 'was more widespread than was formerly believed'. (fn. 25) Certainly one is entitled to ask where the pupils of St. Paul's acquired their early schooling, for Colet's statutes of 1518 required each new entrant to know his catechism and to' read and write competently, else let him not be admitted in no wise'. (fn. 26) In 1560 Westminster had similar requirements. (fn. 27) Other grammar schools may not have been so well placed in this respect but there is evidence of arrangements whereby senior boys or a specially appointed master undertook the elementary instruction of the pupils in the basic educational skills. (fn. 28) Teaching at this level was not highly regarded, however, and a grammar-school teacher complained in 1612 that it was 'an unreasonable thing that the Grammar Schools should be troubled with teaching A B C'. (fn. 29) In 1641 Hezekiah Woodward, in language almost identical with that used by Mulcaster in 1581, (fn. 30) complained that 'a good scholar will not come down so low, as the first elementary, and to so low a recompense also; it shall be left to the meanest and therefore to the worse'. (fn. 31)
It is quite clear that much of the elementary education available was provided not by scholars but by tutors, dames, tradesmen, and others in their homes and shops; their numbers and their continuing activity may be inferred, as Adamson has pointed out, from the fact that it was worth publishing in 1596 a self-help guide for such teachers, which became a quite remarkable educational best-seller, continually re-printed until 1704. This book was designed to help 'such men, and women of trade as taylors, weavers shopkeepers, seamsters and such others as have undertaken the charge of teaching others'. Study it diligently, the reader was told, 'and thou mayest sit on they shopboard, at thy looms or at thy needle and never hinder thy work to hear thy scholars, after thou hast once made the little book familiar to thee'. (fn. 32) Further confirmation of the type of person undertaking this class of teaching may be found in the complaint of a London grammar-school master in 1660 that elementary teaching was undertaken by 'poor women, or others, whose necessities compel them to undertake it, as a mere shelter from beggary'. (fn. 33) The same writer pointed out that inadequate teaching by such people meant that children were coming to the grammar school to learn Latin when they were still inexpert in the vernacular; he also mentioned that there had been some attempt to meet this difficulty by establishing schools specially designed for the needs of the 'petits':
Some nobler spirits, whom God hath enriched with an over-plus of outward means, have in some places whereunto they have been by birth (or otherwise) related, erected Petty-School-houses, and endowed them with yearly salaries; but those are so inconsiderate towards the maintenance of a master and his family, or so over-cloyed with a number of Free-Scholars, to be taught for nothing, that few men of parts will deign to accept of them, or continue at them for any while; and for this cause I have observed such weak foundations to fall to nothing. (fn. 34)
Foundations of this sort were likely to be much less securely established than the grammar schools. Jordan has calculated that London merchants created by endowment no fewer than 153 educational foundations in the years 1480 to 1660, of which 15 were in Middlesex. Of the 153 at least 18 and possibly 23 were endowed elementary schools. (fn. 35) It is clear that the type of education which is the subject of this chapter did not attract the greatest number (or the most valuable) of the endowments. Elementary education was more often provided for by the smaller endowment, by the augmentation of existing small endowments, or by the small outright gift to help a few poor children. Such gifts, unlike the spectacular grammar-school endowments, tend to pass unnoticed. (fn. 36) Parish records occasionally produce evidence of such gifts and one can see how over the years and even centuries the benefactor's wishes were fulfilled. In Acton, for example, Lady Conway's bequest of 1637 provided one shilling a week to teach six poor Acton children to learn to read English and was regularly used until, in the 19th century, it became impossible to get anyone to teach six children for a shilling and the money was then paid to the National school. (fn. 37) Hanwell, nearby, was the fortunate possessor of the Hobbayne Charity. In 1484 William Hobbayne surrendered his lands to 'godly uses'; the proceeds from this gift were used for many different and sometimes unusual purposes (such as the conveying away of witches in 1634) but in 1683 a decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses ordered that the residue was to be used for apprenticing and otherwise providing for poor children of the town. Thenceforth the charity became a means of providing schooling for such children, until at the beginning of the 20th century the last school aided by this charity was taken over by the Hanwell School Board. (fn. 38)
Many of the writers quoted above were asking for an improvement in that kind of elementary education which might more properly be called preparatory, since its aim was to give the child the basic vernacular tools which he needed before he could profit from the teaching provided in the grammar school. There can be no doubt that children of the working class did in fact benefit from these arrangements and in surveying the period 1480-1660 Jordan claims that 'it seems very probable that no deserving boy with requisite ability could have failed to find a place in some London school'. (fn. 39) It would be wrong, however, to regard the types of education received by these fortunate and gifted boys as being typical of that received by those members of their class who did become literate. The dame and the impoverished tradesmen not the usher are the archetypes; literacy of the most elementary sort, not the classical curriculum, was the concern of these 'A B C darians'.
The 17th century was also, however, the century of Hartlib, Dury, Milton, Comenius, and Locke, and in the writings of these men and also in the ordinances of the Interregnum, we find signs of an awareness of the need for a national system of education, of a system of state-supported schools to be established not only as a safeguard for 'true religion' and the community, but as an antidote to vagrancy and crime. This awareness shows in the resolution of the Commons of 1641 that 'all lands taken from deans and chapters shall be employed for the advancement of learning and piety'. A broadsheet of 1646 issued in London (fn. 40) makes it clear that something more fundamental than the support of grammar schools was being considered, and it is interesting to notice that John Dury drew up in that same year a plan of public education which included common schools where children intended for trades and 'servile work' would be taught 'in their mother tongue the right notions, names, and expressions of things'. (fn. 41) Then in 1650 came Samuel Hartlib's London's Charity Inlarged, an eloquent plea for money to provide 'work for the employment of the poor and education for poor children, who many of them are destroyed in their youth for want of being under a good government and education', (fn. 42) and in the year of the Restoration came Charles Hoole's plea for petty schools 'within and about the City unto which certain poor children out of every Parish may be sent, and taught gratis, and all others that please to send their children thither may have them taught at a reasonable rate'. (fn. 43) In surveying these significant events Foster Watson declares that' England was on the verge of an organisation of an elementary, if not of secondary, education', (fn. 44) but although the Restoration seems to have put an end to theorizing of the kind outlined above, the idea of providing education for the poorest members of the community emerged again at the end of the century and, having been joined to a new financial device, produced one of the first really significant developments in the story of education for the children of the poor, the charity school movement. This movement is of particular importance in the present context since it had its greatest triumphs in and around the metropolis.
'There is', wrote John Strype in his 1720 edition of Stow's Survey of London, 'yet another sort of charity in this city, maintained by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, very singular and extraordinary. . . . And that is the erecting of schools in many parishes of London and Westminster (especially the great parishes in the suburbs) called Charity Schools for the free education of poor boys and girls and also for their maintenance in apparel and afterwards disposing of them abroad in honest callings'. This 'singular and extraordinary' occurrence was, in fact, 'the beginning of an attempt to extend elementary education among the poor'. (fn. 45) Miss M. G. Jones, the historian of this movement, (fn. 46) has defined more closely the function of these schools. 'They provided a particular kind of education for a particular class of children, financed in great part by a particular method, and, by so doing, they established the idea of elementary education not, as in earlier ages, as a stage preliminary to the grammar schools . . . but as a system complete in itself.' (fn. 47) Miss Jones subtitles her history 'A study of eighteenth century Puritanism in action' but she makes it clear that the origins of the movement are to be found in the 17th century. In fact 13 of the 55 endowed non-classical schools in Middlesex listed by the Charity Commissioners in 1818-43 were endowed before 1698 and this proportion is maintained when the figures for the whole country are examined. Similarly 7 out of the 33 Middlesex charities for elementary education not attached to endowed non-classical schools listed by the same commissioners were of pre-1698 origin. (fn. 48) It is certain that many of the schools which eventually became known as charity schools were founded before the term itself had been invented and before the S.P.C.K. had in 1699 begun to co-ordinate the movement. The first use of the term has been said to be in connexion with a school founded in 1685 at Highgate by William Blake and called the Ladies' Charity School, (fn. 49) although the boys' charity school in Norton Folgate founded in 1692 laid claim to the title 'first charity school in London'. (fn. 50) Charity schools of an earlier date are to be found, however, in the metropolitan area; Wapping's charity school was first erected in 1690, (fn. 51) and what became the girls' charity school at Isleworth had an even longer history; already in 1623 it was marked on a map and in 1630 it was further endowed by Dame Elizabeth Hill who was quite clear as to whom she wished to help-'Young girls and maids of the Town of Isleworth, not vagrants or bastards, but fatherless and without friends'. (fn. 52) Yet even this charity school may not be as old as that in St. Dunstan in the West, Fleet Street, which is said to have been founded in the reign of Elizabeth I. (fn. 53)
Although it is possible in this way to discover early foundations which eventually became charity schools, the movement itself may be said to have begun with a notable meeting in the room of Serjeant Hooke in 1699 when Dr. Thomas Bray with four friends formed themselves into a voluntary society, which became the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, resolving that 'we consider tomorrow morning how to further and promote that good design of erecting Catechetical Schools in each parish in and about London . . .'. (fn. 54) The 'Catechetical Schools' became the charity schools, founded, supported, and endowed by charitably disposed people in parishes in all parts of the country but especially in and about London. The S.P.C.K. did not itself organize, own, or found schools. It acted rather as a means of so directing and focusing the goodwill of charitable people that they themselves set up local organizations responsible for organizing and financing schools. The society showed such people how to co-ordinate their individual efforts on behalf of the poor, how, in fact, to make their alms-giving more productive by employing the techniques of the joint-stock financier. Miss Jones has pointed out (fn. 55) that this new device made it possible for the middle-class subscriber to take a hand in what had hitherto been a task for the rich, and certainly this partly explains the extraordinarily rapid initial spread of the idea in and about London. Within months of the founding of the Society, charity schools were organized in Holborn, Poplar, Whitechapel, Shadwell, and Shoreditch, and in many other places north and south of the Thames. (fn. 56) A successful school soon attracted endowments (fn. 57) and, in some cases, having risen in status became in course of time a classical school providing what we would now call a secondary education. When the school depended on subscriptions only its position was less secure; for example, a slump in the dockyard caused the traders of Deptford to reduce their subscription to their charity school, and at Highgate when enthusiasm for the Ladies' Charity School waned, so did the subscriptions. (fn. 58) Similarly at Brentford in 1708 a fall in subscriptions brought the school into great difficulties. (fn. 59)
Another method of fund-raising was that of the charity sermon, and here again the schools in the populous metropolitan areas had advantages both in the eminence of the preachers they could engage and in the size and affluence of the congregations they could attract. Beginning in 1704 the London schools had a joint procession and service which attracted great crowds and equally great collections. This service was held first in St. Andrew's Holborn, then elsewhere, and finally in 1782 at St. Paul's (fn. 60) where it drew from William Blake in his Songs of Innocence (1789) the following verses:
'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green, Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with words as white as snow, Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames' water flow.'
O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London Town! Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own. The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs, Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.
Outside the metropolitan district similar local functions played an important part in financing schools; in the early 19th century when the schoolmistress in a Tottenham charity school was being paid £28 a year (apart from the usual 'two chaldron of coals') the income of about £55 a year from the annual sermon was considerable. (fn. 61) In Twickenham in 1809 two sermons yielded £80. (fn. 62) The usual methods of fund-raising were thus endowments, subscriptions, and annual sermons. A few schools had, however, unusual ways of adding to their income: St. Paul's Shadwell farmed its street lamps, for example, and the trustees of the school at St. Katherine near the Tower, being land-tax collectors, donated their poundage to the school. (fn. 63)
Naturally these charity schools were in most cases closely associated with the parish and clergy, but in London, at any rate, an attempt to turn them into parish schools was successfully resisted by the general committee of trustees, a body organized to keep the control of London schools in the hands of the subscribers. (fn. 64) The subscribers themselves were not of one religious view, however, and the subdued tussle between High and Low Church subscribers became overt after the passing of the Schism Act in 1714. It was the London schools in particular which were said to have become a threat to the security of the nation. At the Brentford election in May 1715 and on other occasions the charity children had contributed to public disorders, (fn. 65) and in 1716 the Archbishop of Canterbury told governors of the charity schools in and about London and Westminster to 'purge' masters and mistresses who instilled 'factious or seditious principles into their children' or who allowed them to participate in 'those tumults and riots which are so great a scandal as well as prejudice to the good order and peace of the realm'. (fn. 66) In 1723 Mandeville's essay On Charity and Charity Schools further heightened the controversy. Then, in 1723, 'Cato' in the British Journal made the most bitter attack of all; the children were taught, he wrote 'to babble out "High Church and Ormonde"' as soon as they could speak and the managers of the schools were 'staunch Jacobites or Furious High Churchmen'. (fn. 67) This venomous article brought an appropriate reply and the Grand Jury of Middlesex brought in a presentment of the authors, publishers, and printers of the British Journal for libel as 'villifying and traducing the members of the Church of England for their excellent piety in contributing to erect and maintain Charity Schools for the instruction and education of poor children, a design so good and so much tending to the honour of God and the service and glory of our country, so universally applauded and practised by almost the whole body of Dissenters themselves as the most laudable institution of the best of Charity'. (fn. 68) 'Cato' and Mandeville were silenced and the London schools, having received firm guidance from the Bishop of London in his Directions given on 14 November 1724, (fn. 69) henceforth eschewed political and religious controversy and became once more 'the glory of the age'. (fn. 70) Enough had occurred, however, to induce some dissenters to withdraw children and subscriptions from the S.P.C.K. charity schools.
Matthew Henry, the distinguished nonconformist minister of Hare Street Meeting House, Hackney, recommended that dissenters should open their own charity schools. (fn. 71) The dissenters' charity school in Shakespeare Walk, Ratcliff Highway, was set up in 1712 but the most famous of the London nonconformist charity schools-Horsely Down-lay south of the river. (fn. 72) The Jewish community also played its part; there were founded in 1712 the Ashkenazi Orphan Charity School and in 1731 the Villa Real Charity School. (fn. 73)
Many charity school buildings are still standing, often, as at Wapping, (fn. 74) embellished with alcoved figures of a charity boy and a charity girl. Occasionally there is also a legend such as that on the old charity schools building at Edmonton: 'A structure of Hope, Founded in Faith On the basis of Charity'. (fn. 75) The schools sometimes became known as Blue schools or Green schools after the colour of the distinctive uniform provided for as many as possible of the the 'little eleemosynaries'. The subscription charity school at Pentonville in the parish of St. James Clerkenwell, was typical in this respect; in the early 19th century 60 of its 130 pupils were clothed and the rest were given shoes. (fn. 76) The evidence given to a select Committee of the House of Commons in 1816 by the S.P.C.K. shows that at that time most charity schools in the Metropolitan area were clothing some of the pupils and that frequently charity children were also required to wear a badge, (fn. 77) which, at Isleworth, was a simple 'I.C.' (fn. 78) An enlightened benefactor at the Norton Folgate Charity School in 1783, although willing to clothe the boys, objected to 'clothes, caps or bands of any kind of uniform dress or colour'. The boys were provided therefore with 'clothes of good common cloth with suitable linen' which although not a uniform in time became equally distinctive, for the pattern was not changed until 1868. (fn. 79)
The curriculum offered to these children consisted principally of moral and religious instruction following closely upon the Church Catechism, (fn. 80) reading and usually writing, sometimes 'casting accompts', and, occasionally singing. For a few something more might be available; the boys from St. Andrew's Holborn, for example, were sent to Neale's Mathematical School in Hatton Garden three days a week. (fn. 81) A master who thought of trying any of the higher flights had, however, to take note of what happened in 1712 to John Honeycott, Master of Clerkenwell Charity School, who mounted a production of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens; the trustees were so scandalized that they asked the Bishop of London to recall his licence to teach. (fn. 82) The preacher at the anniversary meeting in London of 1755 put the point clearly: 'There must be drudges of labour . . . as well as counsellors to direct, and rulers to preside. . . . These poor children are born to be daily labourers, for the most part to earn their bread by the sweat of their brows. It is evident then that if such children are by charity brought up in a manner that is only proper to qualify them for a rank to which they ought not to aspire, such a child would be injurious to the community'. (fn. 83) It was this philosophy which led many of the charity schools, with varying degrees of success, to introduce industrial training into the curriculum. As early as 1669 the school which became the Isleworth Blue School was employing a schoolmistress who agreed to train the girls in 'reading, ciphering, knitting, spinning, sewing, brewing, baking, washing, cooking and housewifery'. (fn. 84) It was, however, in the early years of the 18th century that the labour-orletters controversy became most prominent. In the event the failure of the working school, especially in rural areas, was partly responsible for the charity school movement losing some of the extraordinary impetus it had developed in its earliest days. Henceforth the ethos of elementary education in this country was to be found in literacy rather than in labour. (fn. 85) The idea of the working school was not dead, however, and it was to reappear in the following century.
A development of particular significance for education in the London area was the growth of a boarding-school side to the establishment. Trustees soon discovered that the environment of the streets in the evening undid the work of the school by day, and so, when endowments made it possible, they arranged to have some or all of the children maintained in the house as boarders. Thus the girl's charity school in St. George in the East transferred pupils to Raine's Hospital (fn. 86) and the Ladies Charity School in St. Sepulchre's parish became a boarding-school; other charity schools to take in boarders were those of St. Andrew's Holborn, St. Marylebone, and St. Ann Soho. (fn. 87) In the rural areas boarding was rarely offered and in one case-Isleworth in 1715-a reorganization of the school actually put an end to a boarding arrangement of long standing, although the trustees did find lodgings for a few destitute pupils. (fn. 88)
Clothing, education, even lodging, did not, however, complete the list of benefits provided for the charity pupil. The trustees and benefactors continued a charitable tradition which went back long before the 18th century, the tradition of establishing apprenticeship funds and other arrangements to ease the passage of the child from school to work. In 1816 the S.P.C.K. produced a statistical return of the charity schools in and around the metropolis and was able to show that since the start of the movement thousands of boys and girls had been put out to apprenticeships, to the sea, to service, or had been taken out by friends. St. Andrew's Holborn had managed to apprentice no fewer than 2,026 of the 4,508 children it had educated since its foundation some 120 years before; the Poplar and Blackwall boys' school, founded in 1711, had educated 1,341, apprenticed 709, sent 66 to sea, and had put 516 to service or out to friends. Raine's Hospital in St. George in the East followed its ex-pupils even further: 'After the age of 22 six of [the girls], producing certificates of their good behaviour during their servitude, draw lots, twice in the year, for a marriage portion of £100 to settle them in the world with an honest, industrious mechanic'. (fn. 89)
The charity child with his free education, free clothing, and possibly board, and with the help which charitable funds gave in procuring an apprenticeship, was indeed a privileged member of his class. Wise parents were therefore anxious to place their children in such schools and trustees were able to select the objects of their charity. It was those deemed to be the 'deserving' poor who were usually helped, those whose children were, as the Rotherhithe trustees of 1739 put it, 'descended from such as have lived in reputable manner in the parish but through misfortune [are] incapable of bestowing proper education on their children'. (fn. 90) The Edmonton trustees in 1804 were equally intent on maintaining standards for they resolved 'that if any girl belonging to this school shall . . . visit the Edmonton Theatre that she be immediately expelled the school'. (fn. 91)
There was then in the 18th century a class below that which patronized the charity school, a class whose children were educated, if at all, at the dame schools. The relative status of these two types of school is made quite clear in the resolution of the Brentford trustees at their initial meeting in 1703 which declared that 'children who do not know their letters or cannot spell... be not sent to Austin Gwynn [the charity school master] but to some one or more dames of the Church of England till they be qualified by being able to spell'. (fn. 92) Much later in the same century Mrs. Trimmer, that redoubtable Brentford educator, in her Reflections upon the Education of Children in Charity Schools (1792), recommended that the Sunday schools should be used diagnostically so that the dull and bad children could be sent on to industrial schools and the more highly favoured to charity schools. The tendency was, therefore, for charity schools to rise in status, and those which became 'hospitals' are the best-known examples of schools which in the course of time changed their purpose and became secondary schools. The Blue Coat school for girls, built at Tottenham in 1735, changed its status to such an extent that by 1886 it had become a fee-paying middle-class school. (fn. 93) Usually, however, the charity schools became as selective as circumstances allowed but nevertheless remained elementary. As new movements made their appearance the charity schools adapted themselves and it is quite common to find them being merged into the National or British schools of the next century.
While they flourished the charity schools were objects of local pride and accounts of them are usually found in the local histories. The Accounts of Charity Schools published by the S.P.C.K. between 1704 and 1800 give lists which vary in accuracy. (fn. 94) A further list of metropolitan charity schools is to be found in the evidence put in by the S.P.C.K. to the Select Committee of 1816 on the Education of the Lower Orders in the Metropolis. (fn. 95) The endowed non-classical schools in Middlesex are listed by the Charity Commissioners in their Digest of Schools and Charities for Education of 1842. (fn. 96) By any reckoning the creation of this school system was a remarkable achievement, especially when it is recalled that most of the effort was made during a few years at the beginning of the century. How was it all done and above all how was it continued? Let the author of Magna Britannia of 1724 tell us, taking as his example not a well-known metropolitan school but one from a more distant parish:
Whitchurch alias Stanmore parva, where is a school, which from a small beginning, is come to a considerable bigness, as the following account will show. A private gentleman in Westminster having occasion to visit his relations here, and observing a great want of a Charity School, upon his return solicited his acquaintance in London and Westminster to subscribe to it; in which he was so successful, that he obtained sufficient to open a school for twelve girls on Michaelmas Day, 1710, to be taught to read and say the Church catachism. In 1711, the subscriptions, and casual benefactions at London so increased that eighteen girls were taught in the summer, without any help of the neighbourhood. In 1712, a subscription was promoted in the town of Whitchurch, and there was raised £10 a year, half of which was given by a lady that then lived in the parish, who still continues her bounty, though she is since removed. Upon this augmentation of maintenance, six girls more were added, which made the number 24. In 1713, there was a collection made for this school at Great Stanmore church, and so much money was gathered, with some contributions from London, where an unknown gentleman gave £5 as to enable the trustees to clothe all the children the first time. This year also one Mrs. Cardonel left at her death £5 a year, for four years, which raised the number of children six boys; which increase so pleased an honourable person, and his lady, that they subscribed £20 a year to it; by which, and some collections at Whitchurch and Edgeworth churches, the girls were completely clothed a second time, and so continue. (fn. 97)
By 1720 the charity school movement had lost much of its impetus, but in the last twenty years of the century the forces behind it regained strength and produced the next significant development in the story of education for the children of the poor. The Sunday school movement did not originate in the London area but when, in 1786, Mrs. Sarah Trimmer took up Robert Raikes's Gloucestershire scheme for educating poor children on the Sabbath and publicized the work of her Brentford school, she brought to the notice of those who were willing to further the cause of education a way of putting to good use not only their alms but also their teaching talents. (fn. 98)
Like the charity schools, the Sunday schools were largely financed by philanthropic gifts, but subscriptions were more usual than endowments. A return of 1833 showed that of 329 Middlesex Sunday schools only 3 were endowed, whilst 290 were supported solely by subscriptions. (fn. 99) The children were taught on the Sabbath only because a developing economy found it necessary to use the labour of children on weekdays. Here then was a plan which both industrialists and philanthropists could support and this is in some measure an explanation of the rapid development of the scheme throughout the country.
In the development of these schools there was at first an encouraging degree of co-operation between the two wings of religious opinion, but this did not continue, and by the end of the century writers begin to distinguish between Church and dissenter Sunday schools. Raikes's original Sunday School Society ('The Society for the support and encouragement of Sunday Schools throughout the British Dominions') became established in London in 1785 and represented equally both Church and dissent. This Society obliged its pupils to attend some unspecified place of worship and refused to allow the teaching of writing on the Sabbath. The Sunday School Union, established in 1803, accepted any school which reported and contributed to the central body but its constituent schools were usually attached to one particular place of worship. Sunday School Union schools were usually Church schools in the country, but in the metropolis they were mostly dissenting schools. The National Society, the Church-supporting school society founded in 1811, ran Sunday schools as well as (and sometimes in the same building as) day schools. Its rival, the British and Foreign Schools Society of 1808, while encouraging children to attend them, did not itself organize Sunday schools.
The education return of 1833 showed that 150 of the recorded 329 Middlesex Sunday schools were dissenter schools. (fn. 100) By 1858 denominationalism was complete, for the Royal Commission on Popular Education (fn. 101) found it convenient to classify Sunday schools by religions. In Middlesex there were 655 Church of England Sunday schools with 67,535 pupils, 96 Congregational schools with 22,608 pupils, 92 schools belonging to the various branches of the Methodist Church with 19,156 pupils, 56 Baptist schools with 9,564 pupils, 8 Unitarian schools with 601 pupils, 8 Roman Catholic with 1,324 pupils, and one Jewish Sabbath school with 35 pupils.
Educational statistics of this period are often unreliable and in the case of Sunday schools an even greater amount of caution is called for, since children listed as attending Sunday schools might also be listed as attending a day school. Furthermore, the figures usually represent the numbers on roll rather than the numbers actually in regular attendance. If we take the areas surveyed by Wilkinson for the Royal Commission on Popular Education of 1858 (i.e. St. Pancras, St. George in the East, and Chelsea) as being not untypical, attendance at Sunday school as a percentage of the roll was 67.4. This was somewhat below the figure for day schools and a little below the national average for Sunday schools. (fn. 102) With these reservations in mind it is still possible to assert, however, that numerically Sunday schools played an important part in the education of the poor. They were not as selective as the charity schools and the numbers on roll were much greater. An expert witness estimated in 1816 that 40,000 children were attending Sunday schools in the metropolitan area. (fn. 103) The East London Auxiliary Sunday School Union almost doubled its affiliated schools and its number of scholars between 1816 and 1834; (fn. 104) figures collected from different sources show a similar development in the county as a whole. The total number of Sunday schools in Middlesex was 110 in 1819, 329 in 1833, and 916 in 1858, with a corresponding increase in scholars from 16,773 to 52,121 to 120,823. (fn. 105)
A comparison of the number being educated in Sunday schools with the number of those being educated in other ways provides further evidence of the importance of Sunday school education. In one parish, St. Andrew's Holborn, in 1835, an infant day school had 200 pupils and two day schools had 120 on roll whereas the Sunday school had 350 pupils. (fn. 106) The conclusion of J. P. Kay in 1838 was that the number of children in Sunday schools far exceeded the number in day schools. (fn. 107) Even when allowance was made for education obtained in dame schools and other inferior schools the position of the Sunday schools was still predominant.
Investigations carried out by the Statistical Society of London at this period bring out this point. Three of the areas investigated were Finsbury (1839), St. Marylebone (1842), and Whitechapel (1843). In these areas 58,163 children were attending schools of all types (dame schools, Sunday schools, common day, charity, infant, and middling schools) and no fewer than 20,082 of these were on the roll of the Sunday schools. (fn. 108) Similarly in the classified list of schools for the whole of Middlesex given in the Report of the Royal Commission of 1858 the total number of pupils attending public day schools is only slightly larger than the number attending Sunday schools. (fn. 109)
It must be remembered that although reading was the predominant activity in these schools their main purpose was religious. The Revd. James Sheward opened a successful Sunday school in Percy Chapel, St. Pancras, in 1812 for children from 7 to 14, and preferred to admit readers to his school so that their religious education could be carried forward without delay. (fn. 110) The superintendent of a large London Sunday school estimated in 1816 that it took three years to teach a child to read. The 'new method of instruction'-and by this he meant the monitorial system-was not, however, suitable for Sunday school instruction 'as it precludes a number of respectable persons from being teachers which is a great obstruction to the improvement of the children'. (fn. 111) The well-to-do were ready to give their time as well as their money. Teachers were paid in the early days of the movement, but a witness assured a Select Committee in 1834 that for the last thirty years the teaching had been largely in the hands of voluntary workers. (fn. 112) Clearly such people could not be expected to master the intricacies of the monitorial method; in 1819 only 13 of the 110 Sunday schools reported in Middlesex were using the new techniques, (fn. 113) and in 1835 a witness could still affirm that the Sunday schools did not use these day-school techniques. (fn. 114)
The limits set by conscience, in the case of those who discouraged anything but reading the Scriptures on Sunday, and by the dependence upon teaching by amateur volunteers, meant that the Sunday schools did not achieve as much as their numerical preponderance might indicate. In 1834 a witness admitted that when a Sunday school scholar could write the chances were that he had learned to do so at a day school, (fn. 115) and on the same occasion the Bishop of London thought that in London the Sunday school system was not as successfully run as in the manufacturing districts. (fn. 116)
We turn next to another late-18th-century by-product of the Charity school movement. The 'working' or industrial school for the poor had been tried and had failed but now made its reappearance. The Charity schools had risen in status and concentrated upon the more respectable of the poor; but the industrial school was deemed to be suited to the task of providing education for the poorest of the poor. Although the philanthropic industrial schools were no more successful than the working charity schools of the early 18th century, the principle remained and was applied again in the 19th century, notably in schools established for vagrant and delinquent children.
Again the starting point is Brentford, for the gift of a spinning-wheel to Mrs. Trimmer's Sunday school in 1786 led her to establish a girls' industrial day school where spinning, knitting, and plain needlework were taught. Unfortunately this school was not an economic success and closed after two years. When Mrs. Trimmer managed to establish a boys' industrial school this too had to be closed after a short time. (fn. 117) In theory these schools should have made enough profit from the children's labour in putting heads on pins, spinning, knitting, making shirts, and so on, to ensure success for the scheme and to pay the children a wage as well, but Sir Thomas Eden's verdict in 1797 was that once the zeal of the first promoters was gone these schools became little more than parish poor houses. (fn. 118) In 1798 the governors of the Foundling Hospital deliberately dropped industrial training on the grounds that in London penmanship was more useful and that the labour of children only became profitable when they were 12 or 13 years old. (fn. 119)
In the new century, however, private philanthropists, benevolent societies, and, later, public authorities took up the idea of an industrial element in the education of certain classes of poor children not as a means of making the school self-supporting but as part of a remedial education designed to overcome the influences of a bad environment, especially in the case of those who were likely to become criminal. Several outstanding examples of this type of school are to be found in Middlesex. The Children's Friend Society, for example, founded by Captain Pelham Brenton, established a school for boys at West Ham in 1830 and later at Hackney Wick which sought to combine 'spade husbandry' with moral and religious instruction. Later the Society started a girls' school, the Victoria Female Asylum, at Chiswick. (fn. 120)
Even more remarkable was the school begun at Ealing in 1833 by Lady Noel Byron, (fn. 121) which attempted to introduce to this country the agricultural system developed by de Fellenberg at Hofwyl in Switzerland. When Tremenheere, one of the Committee of Council inspectors, visited the school in 1843, he found the agricultural programme in full operation with the boys working their plots as individual enterprises. The academic side was not neglected, for two of the older boys were doing simple equations and science of a simple kind was also being attempted. Faulkner reported in 1845 that the boarders were paying £15 a year and the day boys 6d. a week, and that nine was the minimum age. The school also helped suitable pupils to become 'useful village schoolmasters'.
Lady Byron's school did not cater for the semi-criminal classes, but the principal development of the industrial school movement lay in providing training for such children. These training establishments were usually small and sometimes had inspiring names such as 'The House of Discipline or School of Reform' founded in Cheyne Row, Chelsea, in 1825. (fn. 122) Some of these schools remained independent but others were registered under an Act of 1857 to receive (and be paid for receiving) pauper children or vagrants committed by a magistrate, though not convicted of a crime. (fn. 123) The Royal Commission on Popular Education listed ten certified and sixteen uncertified industrial schools for Middlesex (apart from Westminster), all concentrated in the built-up Metropolitan area. (fn. 124)
The same ethos produced schools of an even stricter kind and these too were to be found in the county. The schools for children who had been convicted of crime were regulated by another Act of 1857; (fn. 125) there were the Catholic Girls' Reformatory at Brook Green, Hammersmith, the Rescue Society's Home for Girls in Church Row, Hampstead, and the 'Home in the East' Reformatory for boys at Old Ford, Bow. (fn. 126) But the outstanding reformatory of the county was the boys' school at Feltham established by the Middlesex magistrates out of the general county rate and opened in 1859. The school was intended for the reception of juvenile offenders from 7 to 14 who had been convicted of an offence committed in Middlesex. It was, therefore, a reformatory, but having been built under the Middlesex Industrial Schools Act of 1854 (fn. 127) it became known as the Middlesex Industrial School, Feltham. 'To the honour of the Middlesex magistrates', wrote a journalist in 1866, 'they have obtained a special Act of Parliament by which young London thieves can be sent to their Reformatory without first being committed to prison'. The curriculum included a wide variety of industrial employments; the farm was worked entirely by spade labour and all the boys' clothing, including boots, was made on the premises. In 1866 the average number of inmates was 556 and the staff numbered 52. (fn. 128)
The boys at Feltham had become a charge on the rates because of their delinquency. There was another and more numerous group of children for whose care and education the public authorities were perforce responsible-the paupers. Before turning to the education provided by parishes and poor law unions for pauper children, attention should be drawn to some early cases which show parochial authorities taking a view of their responsibilities towards the poor broad enough to include special arrangements for education. In 1613 the newly-established Hackney Vestry decided to appoint a schoolmaster and allowed him to charge 4d. a week for teaching grammar and up to 2d. a week for teaching English alone to children of the parish. There appears to have been no legal ground for this action, but the fact was that the rates were applied to provide education. (fn. 129) This case may well be regarded as a parallel to the arrangement at St. Olave's, Southwark. (fn. 130) A small gesture in the same direction was made at Twickenham in 1686 (possibly in continuation of an earlier arrangement) when a schoolmaster was allowed to use the church-house as a schoolroom provided he took three poor parish boys as free pupils. (fn. 131)
There can be no doubt, however, about an arrangement made in 1685 whereby the Justices of the Peace for Middlesex set up a 'general nursery or college of infants'. The idea was evolved by Sir Thomas Rowe who leased part of the Clerkenwell workhouse and, having fitted it up 'at great charge' set up a school there, where children were lodged and clothed as well as being taught reading and writing, the principles of religion, and various trades. The Justices ordered officers of the urban parishes of Middlesex and the City of Westminster to send specified numbers of children, and then issued orders commending the school to the Justices of the Tower Hamlets and of the rural divisions. When enthusiasm for his 'college' flagged, Rowe petitioned the court to order parishes to send their children. The school also took non-pauper children- seamen's children, for example-and a scale of charges was set out. (fn. 132)
The pauper child who found himself in Sir Thomas Rowe's school was fortunate. If the family was being relieved out of the workhouse the parish dole left nothing for school pence and it was not until 1855, under Denison's Act, (fn. 133) that relief could be given to cover the cost of schooling. Under the old Poor Law, if the family was brought into the workhouse to be relieved it was doubtful whether the child received anything that could properly be called education. An expert witness told a Select Committee in 1861 that under the pre-1834 system a few populous parishes did make provision but 'in almost all cases I found that what was called the education of the children was entrusted to a pauper'. (fn. 134) The children of St. Marylebone were perhaps a little more fortunate, at any rate as regards formal instruction, for the master of the new workhouse built in 1752 was in fact a schoolmaster. Whether he lived up to his promises 'to teach the children to read and write and cast accounts . . . and instruct them in the principles of religion' we do not know, but the children did have some schooling as a break from the silkwinding that they and their mothers had to do. (fn. 135)
In the case of the populous metropolitan parishes, the high infant mortality rate and the influence of Hanway's Acts (fn. 136) led parochial authorities to develop the plan of sending pauper children into the country districts. Two devices were used. In some cases an 'infant establishment' was set up in the country; in 1834 children from St. Andrew's Holborn, were sent to Barnet, for example, and children from St. Giles-in-the-Fields to Heston. The other device, made possible by a clause in an Act of 1723 (fn. 137) was to use the services of a contractor; Aubin of Norwood, for example, had over a thousand pauper children in his school in 1839, including 247 from the East London Union and 79 from St. James Clerkenwell. In 1836 these children were sleeping three to a bed. (fn. 138)
The contractors' establishments were allowed to continue for a time under the new Poor Law, but the 1834 Act led to improvements in the arrangements made for the education of pauper children. Unions, and parishes regulated by local acts, were persuaded to establish schools and to appoint schoolmasters. The policy of separating the children from their parents and sending them, if possible, to the country was continued and in 1866 the following Middlesex metropolitan authorities were sending children to separate schools:
The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1844 (fn. 139) made possible a further development in this field which was of significance for the metropolitan area. Unions and parishes were empowered to unite and to form a school district which then set up a large separate school for the education of all the indoor pauper children of the constituents of the district. In 1849 the Central London School District (comprising the City of London, West London, and East London Unions, and St. Saviour's parish) took over Aubin's School at Norwood and improved it. In 1857 the school was moved to a new building, which may still be seen at Hanwell. (fn. 140) At the end of the period under review enabling clauses in another Act (fn. 141) led to the formation of further school districts. Early in 1868 the Paddington and Fulham unions combined with the parish of St. George, Hanover Square, to form the West London School District, (fn. 142) which opened a school at West Ashford, near Staines, in 1872. The Whitechapel, Hackney, and Poplar Unions combined to form the Forest Gate School District in the summer of 1868. Since this District had two waterside unions, in addition to running a school at Forest Gate it was responsible for the Goliath, a training ship for pauper children, moored in the Thames.
Outside the metropolis, pauper children were usually to be found not in separate institutions but in the general workhouse. Under the new Poor Law of 1834 the persistent action of the Commissioners and later of the Poor Law Board led to the appointment of a teacher for each union and the provision of separate accommodation, including a schoolroom, for the children. The curriculum often included industrial occupations as well as the basic educational skills. As the years passed and the general provision of schools became greater it became more convenient in some places, such as Hampstead in 1856, (fn. 143) to send the children to a local day school with the guardians paying the school pence.
The educational needs of the pauper children in the county therefore, were met in the years after 1834 by means of a system of district, separate, and workhouse schools which, despite the Benthamite doctrine of 'less eligibility', provided an education superior in some ways to that available to the poorest of the non-pauper children. The system is of particular importance in this county since in 1850 no less than 11 per cent. of all pauper children in England were in the care of the Middlesex authorities. (fn. 144) The Central London District School at Hanwell was considered to be the model of how the education of the poor should be conducted (fn. 145) and in a bad winter its roll would pass the thousand mark. It was this same school which, at the end of the century, provided Charles Chaplin with the small amount of formal education his inventive genius required.
The pauper schools did not come under the aegis of the Education Department, nor did the schools established by the Army and the Navy. The Army had come to recognize that it had some responsibility for the education of soldiers' children, especially when their parents were abroad or when the children were orphaned. The most famous of the army schools was the Duke of York's Royal Military Asylum opened in Chelsea in 1803 for 'orphans and other children of non-commissioned officers and soldiers of Our Army'. By 1810 this school had over 1,000 boys and girls, and Dr. Bell himself was regulating its educational regime. In 1846 a further development took place when a training department for army schoolmasters was added. (fn. 146) At the end of the period under review the roll of this school was 457. (fn. 147)
This large orphanage was not, however, a typical army school. Garrison, depot, and regimental schools were much smaller and were usually arranged as three departments, for soldiers, children, and infants. In 1865 there were several such schools in and around London maintained by the various battalions of footguards, lifeguards, and horse guards. The XIIth Lancers' school was at Hounslow, the Royal Engineers' at Brompton, and the 1/60th Rifles' at Kensington. (fn. 148) Such schools were, of course, subject to the exigencies of service life, and a return of 1871 shows many changes in the disposition of the regiments and their schools. (fn. 149) The schools maintained by the Admiralty did not lie in the county, although there can be little doubt that Middlesex boys would, in the 19th century, cross the river to the dockyard school at Deptford or be lodged at the Greenwich Hospital schools for orphans and sons of men in the Navy and the Marines.
Pauper schools and military schools provided an education financed wholly from public funds. The existence of these 'government' schools was justified only because the pupils in them were primarily the responsibility of public authorities. In the period before 1870 it was unthinkable for a public authority to provide schools for the generality of the people. Beginning in 1833, public funds were used only to assist the efforts of voluntary bodies seeking to meet the educational needs of the working population. Perhaps the best known of these societies, and the one that gave the somewhat misleading name 'National' to many elementary schools established in the county during the 19th century, was 'The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales'. The story of this Society, together with that of Dr. Bell, its mentor and exponent of the 'monitorial' teaching method, is told in many excellent histories. (fn. 150)
The Society, founded in 1811, was closely associated with the Church and with the S.P.C.K. Only rarely did the National Society own schools itself. Its secretary in 1816 told a Commons committee how the Society set about its work. (fn. 151) Existing charity schools were reorganized on monitorial lines; this made the teaching more efficient and also allowed the school greatly to increase its roll of pupils. When this was done only the best children were then clothed and there was competition among the pupils to be recipients of the traditional charity uniform. Hackney and Limehouse charity schools were reorganized in this way and grew to 350 pupils each. Similarly the Whitechapel Free School, a school founded by the Whitechapel Society in 1813, became associated with the National Society and was developed and expanded. (fn. 152) Many schools associated with the National Society did not receive money from the parent body but grants were made when there was a special need or when local resources were not sufficient; in 1814, for example, grants of £80 had been made to Isleworth, £100 to Ratcliff, and £500 to Whitechapel. (fn. 153)
Some critics of the National Society said that it had been formed only as a riposte to the foundation of the British and Foreign Schools Society (1808). (fn. 154) This society too had its mentor, Joseph Lancaster, and, like Bell, he advocated, and claimed to have invented, the 'monitorial' method. These 'British', or 'Lancasterian' schools as they were sometimes called, confined their religious teaching to Bible-reading and in the main they received support from dissenters. By 1816 there were seventeen British schools in the metropolitan area (fn. 155) and by 1834 this had become 100 schools with 15,919 children. (fn. 156) The Society encouraged and developed local foundations, but once a school was firmly established it was left to the entire control of its local managers. An enthusiast such as Francis Place (who tried but failed to start a West London Lancasterian School in 1813) (fn. 157) would start a school and seek association with the British and Foreign School Society which would give guidance and, if needed, further training to the master at the Society's model school in Borough Road, Southwark. In one case a mere soup kitchen, started at Spitalfields because of distress in 1812, was developed and transformed in the course of four years into a school with 320 children in attendance and accommodation for 800. (fn. 158) At Uxbridge the trustees of the manor and borough called a meeting of the inhabitants in 1809 and set up the Uxbridge Lancasterian Institution to replace their earlier foundations. The school, which offered free education, received general support because of its rule that only approved books (i.e. those confined to 'Holy Scriptures and lessons for spelling and arithmetic') could be used in the school. (fn. 159)
At first these two societies were the only ones to share in the government school building grants which began in 1833, but in time the other communities were given grants on the same terms. As early as 1816 the Roman Catholics had five schools in the metropolitan area educating some six or seven hundred children. Three separate Catholic charities were amalgamated to form the Catholic Poor School Committee in 1847 and by 1858 there were 117 Roman Catholic schools or departments in Middlesex educating 15,574 children compared with 785 Church of England schools or departments (92,776 children), 83 'British' (14,649 children), 94 other nonconformist establishments (13,617) and 14 Jewish schools (2,839 children). (fn. 160)
Public week-day schools of this type drew money from three sources: endowments and subscriptions, school pence, and government grants. The return of income (exclusive of government aid) obtained by the Newcastle Commission in 1858 (fn. 161) showed that in Middlesex the Church of England schools, with £81,564, were attracting nearly four times as great an income as all the remaining denominational schools together. The government grants were given first for building purposes, but later they were extended to cover other parts of the expense of founding and running a school. Between 1833 and 1859 nearly £300,000 was paid in government grants to Middlesex schools. (fn. 162)
The remaining source of income for the public day school was the school pence of the scholars. The Uxbridge Lancasterian Institution was somewhat exceptional in not charging fees and in 1816 the school proudly renamed itself Uxbridge Free School. Ten years later, however, a meeting recommended that 'a trifling sum' be charged and in 1827 this was fixed at 1d. a week. (fn. 163) In 1833 this went up to 2d. which was then the amount charged by almost all the local public schools. (fn. 164) Twopence was the amount charged at the new British School opened at Chiswick in 1836, (fn. 165) but the girls' National school in Old Brentford founded by Mrs. Trimmer in 1789 still had sufficient subscriptions in 1843 to keep the school pence down to 1d. (fn. 166) The Bedfont and Hatton National school had a graded scale of fees. (fn. 167) Labourers paid 2d. a week for one child and 4d. a week for two or more, mechanics, shopkeepers, and others earning more than labourers (but less than parents in the third category) paid fees ranging from 4d. to 10d. a week and could pay quarterly in advance (from 3s. 6d. to 9s.), while market gardeners and publicans were compelled to pay quarterly in advance fees ranging from 6s. to 15s.
The National or British school was at mid-century the typical school for children of the working classes. The curriculum covered the three R's and a little more. Despite the objection that children were being educated above their station, schools often taught history, geography, and grammar as well, at any rate until the Revised Code of 1862 compelled teachers to concentrate upon the basic skills. Arnold in 1855 defended the wider curriculum offered in some London schools by pointing out that such schools were not patronized by the very poorest of the population. (fn. 168) This defence came in Arnold's first report on coming to London to inspect schools other than Roman Catholic and Church schools; his immediate impression was that 'an ordinary London school does not, I repeat, make a favourable impression upon the spectator when he contrasts its instruction and discipline with those of an ordinary school in the country'. 'Is it that the excitement and intensity of London life are too powerful?' he asked, but went on to mention two special London drawbacks. First there was the lack of interest by clergymen in the British and Wesleyan schools, and secondly the wretched accommodation of so many of the London schools he had seen. (fn. 169) There may be something of the new broom about this report, however, for in the following year Arnold was speaking of the great improvement in the London schools under his inspection, and again in the year after that. (fn. 170)
When Arnold spoke of the National and British schools eschewing the needs of the very poorest children in the population he was undoubtedly thinking of the ragged schools. Like the charity schools of the previous century the ordinary day schools had begun to refuse the ragged children. (fn. 171) If these unfortunates with their 'rude habits, filthy condition and their want of shoes and stockings' were accepted, respectable parents would soon remove their children. (fn. 172) The evangelical movement produced yet another voluntary society to meet this need and in 1844 the Ragged Schools Union was created to provide education for these outcasts of London. It began with 16 schools and by 1861 had 176 with 17,230 children, 2,970 voluntary teachers, and 400 paid teachers. (fn. 173) The Royal Commission on Popular Education reported that in 1858 there were 128 ragged schools in Middlesex with 11,632 pupils. (fn. 174)
Ragged schools were intended for the 'very large class of children in London who are not paupers or criminals; they are the children of coster-mongers . . . of brickmakers . . . of pig-feeders . . . of rag dealers and Spitalfield weavers out of employment . . . of labourers who are out of work in frost or bad weather, or who are thrown out of work at the docks frequently by ships not arriving . . . of knockers and cats meat men . . . of slop tailors . . . of washerwomen . . . of crossing sweepers and street musicians and the lowest mendicants and tramps and persons who get their living by theft . . . the children of hawkers, pigeon dealers, dog-fanciers and other men of that class'. (fn. 175)
I found my first Ragged School in an obscure place called West Street, Saffron Hill, pitifully struggling for life under every disadvantage. It had no means; it had no suitable rooms; it derived no power or protection by being recognized by any authority; it attracted within its walls a fluctuating swarm of faces-young in years, but youthful in nothing else-that scowled Hope out of countenance. It was held in a low-roofed den, in a sickening atmosphere, in the midst of taint, and dirt, and pestilence; with all the deadly sins let loose, howling and shrieking at the doors. Zeal did not supply the place of method and training; the teachers knew little of their office; the pupils, with an evil sharpness, found them out, got the better of them, derided them, made blasphemous answers to Scriptural questions, sang, fought, danced, robbed each other-seemed possessed by legions of devils. The place was stormed and carried, over and over again, the lights were blown out, the books strewn in the gutters, and the female scholars carried off triumphantly to their old wickedness. With no strength in it but its purpose, the school stood it all out, and made its way. Some two years since I found it quiet and orderly, full, lighted with gas, well white-washed, numerously attended, and thoroughly established. (fn. 176)
Soon a visit to a ragged school became part of the foreigner's tour of London. 'On ne connait pas la plèbe de Londres, quand on n'a pas visité les ragged schools de White-Chapel, Spitalfields, Blackfriars, Drury Lane et Saint-Giles.' (fn. 177)
These schools acted as preparatory schools for the National and British schools. As soon as a child had been persuaded to become reasonably respectable he was passed on to the ordinary day school-in fact the parents of a child above his class in the ragged school were importuned to send their child to a fee school. (fn. 178) Occasionally the children were fed, (fn. 179) and sometimes industrial employment was provided; in the latter case the schools were eligible for a government grant, but there were some members of the movement who believed that the grant should not be taken.
At the end of the period under review the ragged schools were still functioning, although looking forward to their extinction when the new Board schools were built. At Brentford the Central Ragged Schools still had 337 children on the books in 1871; Lord Townshend was still giving an annual dinner to all the scholars, and Miss Smith of Ness House, Ealing, was still personally distributing clothing 'making her own selection of the recipients of her bounty, much to their gratification'. Above all the occasional lectures to children were still being arranged; the year's programme had included 'Chemical Magic' with numerous experiments, 'Jack the Conqueror' with lantern illustrations, 'Rhymes and Chimes' with pleasing musical accompaniments, and 'Christmas Pudding' with a specimen large enough for the whole audience to have a taste. (fn. 180)
The work of the ragged schools was to a large extent rehabilitatory; the supporters of infant schools believed in getting the child into school before ever it became necessary to rehabilitate him as a ragged-school pupil. Infant schools made their appearance in London at the end of the second decade of the 19th century, and when their guiding spirit, Samuel Wilderspin, gave evidence to a Select Committee in 1835 he claimed that there were some 200 infant schools in London and the suburbs averaging about 100 scholars each. Wilderspin told the committee how he began his first school in Spitalfields some fifteen years before and how he was pelted and jeered as 'the Baby Professor'. The Spitalfield school was at first kept in existence by the charity of a Mr. Wilson but by 1835 the parents had been won over and were paying 1d. a week. (fn. 181) The movement spread and was taken up by the voluntary bodies; in Brentford, for example, an infant school was set up in 1837 by means of voluntary contributions, a gift from the National Society, and a Treasury grant. (fn. 182) Similarly the Chiswick National schools at Turnham Green had an infant school added to them. (fn. 183) The movement had been coordinated in the first place by the Infant School Society (1824) but this was superseded by the Home and Colonial Infant School Society in 1836. It was this society which founded a training college for teachers of infants in Grays Inn Road.
The last group of schools to which attention is to be drawn is the private schools. Into this category falls a wide variety of establishments, some of which hardly deserve the name school whilst others are so superior that they must properly be regarded as schools for the middle classes. At the lower end of the private school scale came the dame school. Although references to 'dames' may be found in every century from the 16th onwards they are shadowy creatures whose schools died with them, leaving no record other than the basic literacy they sometimes managed to impart to their pupils. (fn. 184) 'None are too old', wrote one of the Royal Commission's London investigators,
too poor, too ignorant, too feeble, too sickly, too unqualified in every way to regard themselves and be regarded by others as unfit for school keeping . . . there are few, if any, occupations regarded as incompatible with school-keeping, if not as simultaneous, at least as preparatory employments. Domestic servants out of place, discharged barmaids, vendors of toys or lollipops, keepers of small eating houses, of mangles, or of small lodging-houses, needlewomen who take plain or slop work; milliners, consumptive patients in an advanced stage; cripples almost bedridden; persons of at least doubtful temperance; outdoor paupers; men and women of 70 and even 80 years of age; persons who spell badly (mostly women I grieve to say) who can scarcely write and who cannot cipher at all. (fn. 185)
'I am quite satisfied in the dame schools they cannot teach reading', reported the London inspector of the British and Foreign School Society in 1838; he had never found a dame-school child who could read unless the child had been taught in an infant school. Children were sent to the dame merely to be looked after and she made something extra by selling cakes to her pupils. The poorest of the working class did not, he assured the committee, send their children to these schools. (fn. 186) The fees of the dame were rather more than those charged in the public day school; in 1843 the education committee of the Statistical Society of London quoted 5d. per week as the average dame-school fee in London. (fn. 187) In Hanwell and Ealing in the same year 3d. to 6d. was being charged and in Acton 4d. to 6d. Tremenheere's survey of the parishes of Greenford, Hanwell, Acton, Ealing, Old Brentford, and New Brentford revealed nineteen dame schools teaching 269 children. Eleven of these were kept by poor widows solely dependent on their pupils' fees; one, in extreme poverty, had solicited charity from him. (fn. 188) Closer to the metropolis dame schools were more numerous; an investigation of the borough of Finsbury in 1838-40 brought to light no fewer than 180 dame schools with a total of 2,693 pupils. Half of these pupils were under five and this clearly indicates the function of the dame as a child-minder. 'They seldom possess any [book] other than a Vyse's spelling book and a few picture books which the children bring with them', was the investigator's comment. Reading and sewing were the most normal occupations and only a few professed to teach writing, (fn. 189) but in the East End Jewish dames taught Hebrew as a matter of course. (fn. 190) Vyse's spelling book is often mentioned and since it cost 1s. 6d. one investigator asked a dame why she did not use publications subsidized by the S.P.C.K., which could be got for as little as 1d. He was told that anything which might be construed as charity had to be eschewed. Another dame who was using pages torn from a dictionary for spelling said that if she were to use the Society's penny cards all the children would be removed from her school by the parents. (fn. 191)
Above the dame schools in the private-school hierarchy came the common day schools. In the opinion of one early Victorian writer these were distinguished from the dame schools only by reason of their fees which averaged 11d. per week instead of 5d. or less. (fn. 192) Sometimes the fees were paid quarterly, the average being 17s.; (fn. 193) at Hanwell in 1843 the fee at the common schools varied from 13s. to 21s. a quarter according to the number of extras required. (fn. 194)
In the opinion of the inspector of British schools in the London area in 1838 the teachers of such schools were little better than dames; they had usually failed at some other job, were broken-down tradesmen or the sons of mechanics. (fn. 195) Tremenheere's investigation of Brentford confirms this, for in 1843 he found that two of the common day schools were kept by reduced tradesmen, one by a mechanic, and three by men who had been labourers or servants; one of the latter actually asked him for alms. (fn. 196) The curriculum offered by the keepers of common day schools in London in this period was sometimes a little more ambitious than that of the dame school; there is even mention in a few cases of drawing, classics, geometry, mensuration, and French. (fn. 197)
At the top of the private day school scale came the superior day school which, apart from 'extras' (that hallmark of the superior establishment) charged approximately 36s. a quarter in 1838-49. (fn. 198) Such schools lie beyond the scope of this chapter. Between this type of school and the common day school some writers placed a 'middling' day school which was patronized by small shopkeepers, superior mechanics, and the like, and which, in 1839-40, was charging about 23s. a quarter, apart from extras. (fn. 199) These schools were said to pay special attention to fine writing, for the ability to write a good hand was one of the means by which the mechanic's child might obtain advancement. (fn. 200)
Many of these 19th-century private schools were undoubtedly providing an education very much inferior to that given in good public day schools. Yet the private schools were rated as superior and maintained their higher fees. 'They like to pay for their children's schooling', wrote one of the Statistical Society's London investigators; in status the common day school came above the dame school, and below the dame came the British and National schools. The British schools were usually thought to be a little better than the National schools since the latter sometimes gave gratuitous education. (fn. 201) In 1843 when Tremenheere surveyed the parishes of Greenford, Hanwell, Acton, Ealing, and Old and New Brentford for the Statistical Society he found that there were 4 infant schools with 423 pupils, 6 National schools (616 pupils), one British school (272 pupils), 19 dame schools (269 pupils), 5 common day schools (109 pupils), and 9 middle day schools (138 pupils). (fn. 202)
Despite the fact that this survey included Ealing, a place particularly well provided with private schools, the 33 private schools listed were still educating less than onethird of the total number of children being taught in the 11 public day schools. More extensive surveys in metropolitan parts of the county produced the following figures:
If we omit the Sunday schools from this sample, the private schools are seen to be educating proportionately more pupils than the private schools in Ealing and district, although it is still only a little more than 40 per cent. of the total children attending day school. In a paper summarizing these and other inquiries carried out in the period 1839-43 the Statistical Society of London noted that there was a gradual increase in the use of private schools for the poor as one moved eastward across the metropolitan area; in St. Marylebone 1 in 140 of the population went to a dame or common day school, in Finsbury 1 in 132, and in Wapping and Whitechapel 1 in 18. (fn. 203)
When Horace Mann had completed his analysis of the data provided by the educational census of 1851 he concluded that, nationally, the private school was in decline. In the country as a whole the proportion of public schools to private schools had increased from 34 to 100 in 1833 to 51 to 100 in 1851. The corresponding ratio for scholars had moved from 74 to 100 at the earlier date to 197 to 100. (fn. 204) A close examination of Mann's figures shows, however, that in Middlesex the private school was still strongly entrenched. In England and Wales as a whole 67.6 per cent. of the schools were private but in Middlesex the figure was 77.5 per cent. It has to be pointed out, however, that these numerous private schools in the county were educating only half as many children as were being taught in public schools. (fn. 205) There are significant differences in the proportion of private to public schools in the various districts of the 1851 census. The proportion of private schools is at its highest in St. George in the East (90.5 per cent.), Clerkenwell (89.7 per cent.), Islington, (89 per cent.), Stepney (86.8 per cent.), and Shoreditch (86 per cent.); but again it should be pointed out that these private schools were educating only 50 per cent., 59 per cent., 46 per cent., 37.7 per cent., and 43.4 per cent. respectively of the scholars in each district. The picture changes as one moves west; areas in West London fall below the national average of 65.7 per cent. of day schools which were private. In the extra-metropolitan areas Edmonton, Uxbridge, and Staines approximate to the national average but in Hendon only 56.5 per cent. of the schools (educating 23 per cent. of the scholars) were private and in Barnet only 50.8 per cent. (educating 24 per cent. of the children). The Brentford district is an exception; Ealing and the surrounding area obviously still offered opportunity to the private schoolmaster and mistress, for here 75.4 per cent. of the schools were still private although they were educating only 35 per cent. of the scholars. (fn. 206)
It is clear, then, that the private school, whether it was a dame school or something more ambitious, had a special part to play in the development of education for the working classes in Middlesex and especially in the education of the least poor of that class. Mechanics patronized the dame, wrote one authority in 1837, and so too did those labourers who could afford her fees. The common day school was patronized by small tradespeople. (fn. 207) Here then was a system of schools organized for profit but offering a complete system of education for the most favoured of the working classes and the least well-off of the lower middle class. The voluntary societies had made their greatest efforts in the county but they had still not managed to supersede the private schools which, though in decline elsewhere, remained significant in the county until the end of the period under review.
Horace Mann's mid-century census (fn. 208) offers a convenient starting point for a summing up of the scale and extent of educational provision in the county. In Middlesex Mann recorded 772 public day schools educating 138,108 children and 2,655 private day schools educating 62,149 children. One hundred and forty three of the 772 public days schools had been established before 1801, 141 between 1801 and 1830, 151 from 1831 to 1840, and 301 from 1841 to 1851, leaving 36 for which the date of foundation was not specified. These figures show the 19th century's ever-increasing interest in the education of the poor.
Mann analysed the county's public day schools still further and classified them into four groups. Class I consisted of 35 schools supported by general or local taxation and consisted of 7 military schools, 1 prison school, and 27 pauper schools. There were 4,164 children in these schools. Class II consisted of 77 endowed schools, 16 of which were collegiate or grammar schools. The number of children being educated in schools of this class was 13,656. Class III consisted of 542 schools established by religious bodies and accounted for 101,009 children. Mann's analysis of this class of school is as much a commentary upon religious as upon educational history. The 149 Church of England (National) schools are distinguished from the 215 Church of England (others) schools and so on through 100 variously classified nonconformist schools and 34 Roman Catholic schools to the smaller groups such as Lady Huntingdon's Connexion with its one 86-pupil school. There can be no doubt about the size and variety of the effort which the church-goers of Middlesex put into education in the mid-19th century. Class IV contained 118 other public schools in Middlesex, some of them of a specialized character, containing in all 19,279 children. There were 57 ragged schools attended by 12,159 pupils, 15 orphan schools with 1,567 pupils, a blind school (62 pupils), a school for the deaf and dumb (5 pupils), a mechanics' institute (398 pupils), a factory school (100 pupils), an industrial school (80 pupils), and 41 other subscription schools of no specific character having between them 4,908 pupils. (fn. 209) Mann calculated that 10.6 per cent. of the total population of the county were day scholars compared with 12 per cent. for England and Wales as a whole. (fn. 210) The percentage for Middlesex may reflect, however, the presence of many people of above school age coming to the metropolis to find work and opportunities for advancement. In addition to these day schools there were 589 Sunday schools in the county and these had 111,595 children on their rolls. This meant that 5.9 per cent. of the population were Sunday school scholars; this was again less than the national average of 7.45 per cent. (fn. 211)
The county had an extremely mobile population and the educational attainments of the adult inhabitants do not necessarily reflect the efficiency of the county's educational provision. Furthermore, allowance has to be made for the concentration in the metropolis of the learned and well-to-do. Nevertheless Joseph Fletcher, who in the 1840's collected what he called 'moral statistics', regarded Middlesex as a county with a high 'rate of instruction'; in 1844 it had the lowest percentage rate for men signing the marriage register with a mark and a correspondingly low percentage of criminals unable to read and write. 'In the metropolis and its neighbourhood', he wrote, 'influences antagonistic to active delinquency have been in more vigorous operation than in any other part of the kingdom; and the most obvious are improved education and improved police'. (fn. 212)
The records of the Feltham Industrial School offer another means of assessing the extent and efficacy of educational provision in the county. In this case the data refers to the last decade in the period here reviewed. The pupils of the school were atypical in the sense that despite the name 'industrial' the school was in fact a reformatory for convicted boys; after 1867 the school acted also as an industrial school proper and in addition took in boys who, although not convicted of crime, had been committed to the school by a magistrate. Geographically these delinquent and semi-delinquent boys were a good cross-section, for they had been sent to the school by sessions held in all parts of the county: Hammersmith, Marlborough Street, Marylebone, Uxbridge, Sunbury, Highgate, Hampstead, Hampton, Teddington, Staines, Edgware, and Edmonton, as well as from the Central Criminal Court. (fn. 213)
The majority of the boys had previously attended one of the public day schools. Table 3 shows in what kind of school the Feltham entrants of 1863-71 received whatever previous education they had when they entered the establishment.
The prominent part played by the National and ragged schools in the education of this class of child is clear, but even more significant is the revelation of a steady minority of boys-an average of one-fifth up to 1870-who had never been to a school of any kind. Table 4 gives the percentage of entrants in each year who had not been to a school at all. It also gives the percentage of those who had received less than a year's schooling. It is clear that, even if regular attendance is assumed, the fact that the boy had been to school before entry did not necessarily mean that any great educational progress had been made. To complete the picture the figures for Sunday school attendance are also given. Small wonder then that of the 213 boys who entered in 1863, 41 did not know the alphabet and only two could satisfactorily read the fourth reading book. (fn. 214) Though not entirely typical of the working class, the paupers, and particularly the 'outdoor' paupers, form another group which is useful for our purposes, since its doings are well documented by the public authorities. (fn. 215) The children of paupers taken into the workhouse (i.e. 'indoor' paupers) were educated in poor law schools of the kinds already described. The children of paupers given outdoor relief had to get whatever education their parents could obtain for them in the ordinary life of town or country. Two returns, with an interval of ten years between them, tell us how the outdoor pauper parents measured up to their responsibilities in this matter (see Table 5).
These figures show that at both dates in Middlesex the outdoor pauper child stood a better than average chance (as a pauper) of being educated. Furthermore the parents of the Middlesex pauper were less likely to be contributing to the cost of this education. The percentage of children not attending school (in Middlesex 22.7 per cent. in 1859 and 21.1 per cent. in 1869) is a little less than the national average, and, when allowance is made for the fact that children from three years of age were included in this return, is also remarkably consonant with the percentage of Feltham boys who claimed never to have attended school. We may say with some measure of confidence, therefore, that despite the many developments chronicled in this chapter, before the Elementary Education Act of 1870 (fn. 216) approximately one child in five of the poorest classes in Middlesex was growing up entirely uneducated.
This, however, is to state the negative side, and to look only at the very poorest and at the delinquent. If four out of five of these less-favoured children could obtain some acquaintance with letters, it may be inferred that those of better standing in the community would have very much more. Nevertheless the conclusion must be that voluntary and too often haphazard efforts by many different individuals and agencies had not, despite the support of government grants, produced a coherent and satisfactory system of schools for the working class of the county. Under the new Act, School Boards were established to fill out, rationalize, and to some extent replace the many existing over-lapping arrangements. The tall School Board buildings-many of them still in use today-began to rise above the mean houses of the working population, and the story of education becomes part of an even larger story, that of the development of an efficient system of local government providing education and many other social services for the people of Middlesex.