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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- PRIVATE EDUCATION FROM THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
PRIVATE EDUCATION FROM THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
Developments from the 16th to the early 19th century, p. 241. The Reign of Victoria, p. 255. The 20th century, p. 285.
DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE 16TH TO THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY
The history of private education in Middlesex cannot be separated from the general development of educational provision in London. During the late Middle Ages boys from suburban parishes undoubtedly used the 'limited and undistinguished grammar school resources' of London, (fn. 1) but, despite a petition to Parliament in 1446 from four city incumbents who complained that existing provision was inadequate for the needs of the city and for the many boys who came from suburban parishes, the ecclesiastical authorities successfully resisted the setting up of new foundations until the beginning of the 16th century. The transformation of existing educational provision began with the endowment by Colet between 1509 and 1518 of St. Paul's School, and during the next century and a half numerous endowed schools were founded in London, Westminster, and the suburbs. Middlesex foundations (fn. 2) during this period included schools in Ratcliff (1536), Hampton (1556), Enfield (1558), Highgate (1565), Harrow (1572), Islington (1609), Edmonton (1609), Owen's School (1610), Hackney (1616), Stratford Bow (1617), Stanwell (1622), the Latymer bequests at Hammersmith and Edmonton (1624), Hayes (1637), and Little Stanmore (1656). By the end of the 17th century there were enough grammar schools to provide a classical education for all able boys who desired it. (fn. 3) But under the influence of the revived prestige of Greek and Roman studies charitable endowment had provided an education system which, secure in perpetual corporations, had little incentive to adapt to changing needs, and failed to provide the special training in, for example, mathematics and modern languages, needed in the expanding business and commercial life of the metropolitan area. Provision for private schooling in the London area, including Middlesex, largely resulted therefore from demands on secondary education which the grammar schools failed to meet. In Middlesex, close to Court and City, local demands were reinforced by foreign influences to produce educational institutions which both supplemented and replaced the endowed and public schools, and were themselves frequently financed and patronized by those classes which were responsible for the foundation of the endowed schools.
The curriculum of the endowed schools, as well as being inadequate for the needs of the commercial classes, was unacceptable to Stuart ideals of a courtly training. Education abroad had religious and political dangers, but a number of English experiments with academies on the French model, closely linked with the fortunes of the monarchy, were made from Elizabeth I's reign onwards. (fn. 4) In 1635 the Museum Minervae (fn. 5) was established under royal patronage by Sir Francis Kynaston at his house in Bedford Square, Covent Garden. The Museum's curriculum reflected the need for scientific as well as classical studies and its course included languages, mathematics, philosophy, and science, as well as the arts, antiquities, and military studies. In addition to a grant from the Treasury, Charles I contributed books, antiquities, and 'philosophical' apparatus. The fortunes of the Museum declined with those of its royal patron, and during the Interregnum an attempt by Sir Balthazar Gerbier to establish in Bethnal Green a courtly academy without a court failed. (fn. 6) The idea of courtly academies revived after the Restoration and, following the closure of protestant academies in France, Solomon Foubert received a royal grant to assist in the removal of his possessions to England. (fn. 7) Foubert later settled in Swallow Street, Westminster, where his academy and ridingschool were patronized by both sons of courtiers and royal wards. The grandson of the Duke of Ormond was removed from Oxford and placed with Foubert, and Lord Hastings entered when he left Oxford at eighteen. Foubert received grants from Charles II, James II, and William III, and his son, Major Lewis Foubert, kept the school until 1743.
Although courtly academies such as Foubert's enjoyed considerable success in the 17th century, French influence was more far-reaching in the development of the private boarding-school. From the reign of Elizabeth I Huguenot refugees provided teaching in both French and mathematics, their religious beliefs making them an acceptable foreign influence. The earliest of their schools in Middlesex was that kept in Shoreditch by Francis Maquire or Maquino, who took out letters of denization in 1566. (fn. 8) By 1650 the number of Frenchmen teaching in the county was considerable. Some French teachers, such as Claude Mauger, who arrived in England in 1650 with the much admired pure accent of Blois, visited schools to give lessons. (fn. 9) Mauger became a fashionable teacher in the Holborn and St. Giles area, attending such 'ladies'' schools as the celebrated academy of Mrs. Margaret Kilvert, to whom he dedicated his True Advancement of the French Tongue (1653), describing lessons at the school. Others received pupils at their own homes, as did the Swiss Guy Miège, author of several popular grammar books and a dictionary, from 1678 at his house in Panton Street.
During the unsettled years of the mid-17th century schools organized by French refugees were joined by private schools established by ejected scholars. Thomas Singleton, formerly an usher at Eton, had a school for 300 boys at Newcastle House in Clerkenwell. (fn. 10) Dr. Edward Wolley, formerly a royal chaplain, kept a school in Hammersmith, (fn. 11) and Dr. William Fuller had a considerable school at Mount Vernon, Twickenham. (fn. 12) Thomas Swadlin, persecuted and imprisoned as 'one of Dr. Laud's creatures', taught in London and later in Paddington. (fn. 13) By the 1650's private boarding-schools were recognized as an alternative to the endowed schools. In 1649 Sir John Reresby was sent to 'the Blew House, a then famous school for gentlemen's sons' at Enfield. (fn. 14) Seven years later Sir Ralph Verney did not consider a public school for his son Jack, destined for the law or counting-house, but looked for a private master near London. Wolley was considered, but Turberville of Kensington, who taught French, Italian, Greek, Latin, music, and mathematics, was finally chosen. (fn. 15) The strength of such schools lay in their wider curriculum, especially music and modern languages. The 'gymnasium' of Mark Lewis at Tottenham High Cross, flourishing about 1670, was much patronized by the gentry. Pupils were 'perfected in the tongues by constant conversation', and the Earl of Anglesey was so pleased with his son's education that he enabled Lewis to secure letters patent for his method of teaching French, Italian, and Spanish. (fn. 16)
Most early Middlesex private schools were short-lived, but some 17th- and 18thcentury foundations became well-established as family businesses or local institutions. Hackney School or 'Newcome's Academy' was a source of income to the same family from its foundation by the nonconformist Benjamin Morland in 1685 until 1820. (fn. 17) The Manor House School, opened in Marylebone by a Frenchman, Denis de la Place, in 1703, flourished until 1787. (fn. 18) Hornsey or Crouch End Academy, opened perhaps in 1686, contained 'near 100 fine boys' in 1791 and was still advertised in 1879. (fn. 19) Ealing had two long-established schools. About 1772 Samuel Goodenough, later Bishop of Carlisle, took over a school in the manor-house of Coldhall, previously kept by Dr. Dodd. Goodenough had aristocratic pupils, but by 1840 this had become a 'classical and commercial academy'. (fn. 20) Ealing Great School on the other hand developed from an unpretentious school into one run 'on Eton lines'. It may have existed from 1698 and was certainly established in the Old Rectory from 1764. After 1791, under Dr. Nicholas, its reputation grew and in his day it had about 350 pupils. Later it declined in prestige, but existed until the end of the 19th century. (fn. 21) The Palace School at Enfield also had a long history, dating from about 1660 when Robert Uvedale, Master of Enfield Grammar School, opened it as a private boarding-school. Early in the 19th century it was a reputable school under Thomas May, and it only closed in 1896. Enfield was thought to be in a healthy situation and Uvedale successfully preserved his pupils from the plague. (fn. 22) Good air and early reputation were important for survival until tradition could reinforce success, but a capacity for adaptation was also necessary. For example, the 'French school', opened by Lewis Vaslet in Hampstead in 1713, moved in 1716 to Fulham where it became well-established as an academy giving a general education. Later in the century it was renamed the Burlington Academy, and after 1840 Dr. Laumann moved the institution to Parson's Green where he continued it as a military academy until 1876. (fn. 23)
The reputation of the staff, fashion, political patronage, and party loyalties all contributed to the success of such schools. Hackney School was patronized by noble and Whig families, including the Hardwickes, Cavendishes, Devonshires, Graftons, and Westerns, (fn. 24) while Marylebone School was popular in court circles. (fn. 25) Uvedale's reputation attracted a number of pupils from such families as the Huntingdons, Kilmoreys, and Coleraines, and in 1676 the parishioners accused him of neglecting the endowed school for his private establishment. (fn. 26) Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, was sent to the school of James Ellis, a non-juror, at Isleworth, where he learned French, dancing, and drawing as well as the classical languages. (fn. 27) John Jeffreys (1719-98), later a canon of St. Paul's, and William Willymot, the grammarian, formerly a master at Eton, also had private schools in the parish. Willymot was accused of Jacobite sympathies in 1721, (fn. 28) and this was also one criticism levelled against Elphinston's school at Kensington. (fn. 29) David Hume was actively concerned with the short-lived school which Graffigni, a Frenchman said to be recommended by d'Alembert and Helvetius, opened with the support of Bute and Hertford at Norlands, Kensington. (fn. 30)
In this struggle for recognition and survival the provision of sound classical education to divert pupils from the public schools was essential. Richard Johnson (1657-1721) left the headship of Kings School, Canterbury, in 1689 and set up a school in Kensington until 1707 when he became headmaster of Nottingham Grammar School. (fn. 31) Dr. William Rose, a translator of Sallust, praised for scholarship but blamed for leniency by Dr. Johnson, kept a school in Chiswick from 1758 to 1786. His pupil, later his son-in-law, Dr. Charles Burney, a notable Greek scholar, moved it to Hammersmith and then to Greenwich. (fn. 32) Dr. Weedon Butler's Chelsea school had a reputation for 'gentle learning', (fn. 33) and the Revd. A. Hamilton had a classical boarding-school in Hampstead from 1776 for ten years or more. (fn. 34) Elphinston's excellent French and English teaching enabled him to keep his Kensington school from about 1753 until 1776 in spite of doubts of his scholarship and his personal eccentricities. (fn. 35) The difficulty of challenging the public schools on their own ground was demonstrated by the failure of Dr. Samuel Parr's attempt to found at Stanmore a rival to Harrow, where he had been disappointed of the headship in 1771. (fn. 36) He began with sixty boys, including forty pupils from Harrow. Parr's teaching was representative of the movement to free classical learning from its linguistic emphasis and relate it to other aspects of culture and life. His boys studied the ancient historians and philosophers in relation to the 'moderns', and Parr directed his pupils' reading in relation to their future careers. In discipline and social training he followed the public school system, combining erratic flogging with liberty to learn the ars bibendi and run a Jockey Club. Despite Parr's scholarship, his school was not a success, and he was glad to accept the mastership of the endowed school at Colchester in 1776.
Although private schools seldom succeeded in rivalling the public schools in their own field, by 1800 the age of entry to the public schools had risen to about eight and many private schools were being used to prepare boys for entry to them. The Manor House at Chiswick was a prosperous boarding-school where young Shaftesbury was sent in 1808 to prepare for Harrow. (fn. 37) Thackeray went in 1818 to another Chiswick school, kept by his mother's cousin, the Revd. John Turner, before going to Charterhouse. (fn. 38) Shelley was sent to Syon Park Academy, Isleworth, at the age of ten, and left for Eton after attaining a high place at the school, occasionally blowing up parts of it with gunpowder, and earning a reputation for near insanity. (fn. 39) Marylebone School was essentially preparatory, (fn. 40) but few Middlesex schools at this period were recognized as only, or even primarily, preparatory. Most also sent boys direct to the universities. Dr. Nicholas at Ealing prepared Bishop Selwyn for Eton and Cardinal Newman for Oxford. (fn. 41) Durham House at Chelsea had early in the 19th century 'nearly a hundred boys training for Eton, Harrow, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge'. (fn. 42)
Even within the special province of the endowed schools, private schools were able to make their own contribution, for in the open market the teaching of classical languages could not afford to be slow, painful, and often ineffectual. Unlike the endowed schoolmasters, proprietors of private schools had every incentive to try new methods. Early advocates of reformed methods of Latin teaching were Thomas Willis (1582-1660), who had a school at Isleworth, (fn. 43) and William Wyatt (1616-85), assistant in a Twickenham school and author of A New & Easie Institution of Grammar. (fn. 44) Hezekiah Woodward (1590-1675), a disciple of Comenius, moved his school from the City to Uxbridge after 1660. (fn. 45) Woodward described his own miseries at an endowed school in A Child's Patrimony (1640) and Portion (1649). He advocated a simple method of teaching grammar in English and the teaching of the sciences, but his enlightened views were discredited by his nonconformist leanings. Ezekiah Tongue (1621-88) opened a school in the Fisher mansion at Islington, where he followed 'precisely the Jesuits' method', inventing a method of teaching writing in twenty days. (fn. 46) Dr. Adam Littleton (1627-94) had a school in Chelsea where he practised his 'true method of learning the Latin tongue by the English'. (fn. 47) Robert Ainsworth (1660-1743), a non-juror who later inclined to Calvinist views, had a succession of schools in Bethnal Green, Hackney, and 'other villages near London', where he practised his pleasant and intensive Latin course. (fn. 48) Ainsworth, along with other reformers, emphasized the need for small classes and individual attention. From 1718 to 1735 another author of works on reformed methods, the Revd. Solomon Lowe, had 'an admirable way of education' at his academy in Hammersmith. (fn. 49) At the end of this period John Allen (1771-1839) and his son Alexander (1814-42) continued this enlightened tradition at their school in the Grove, Hackney, later the Madras House Grammar School. (fn. 50) Newer methods were advertised as added attractions. At Mr. Harris's Academy in Sloane Street in 1788 rules of grammar were taught quickly and simply in English and kindness was considered more effective than severity, (fn. 51) now recognized as a symptom of poor and slow teaching.
Although the introduction of reformed methods in private schools ultimately influenced the endowed schools, private teachers could rarely excel over the endowed institutions in the field of classical teaching. Classical studies were largely entrusted to visiting masters who themselves frequently opened academies which provided a broad secondary education. From the 17th century 'pen-men' visited classical schools and kept their own writing schools, often adding mathematics, accounting, shorthand, surveying, and gunnery. These were not only commercial or technical schools, but gave general secondary education. Thomas Smith (fl. 1769) taught at Mr. Fargue's high-class boarding-school in Hoxton before opening his own in Stoke Newington. (fn. 52) William Brooks (1696-1749) was entrusted by the S.P.G. with the Christian education of a young Indian prince at his Soho writing school. (fn. 53) Richard Clark and William Kippax in the mid-18th century boarded youths at their Bloomsbury academy and instructed them in 'the various branches of education'. (fn. 54) Further out in the county boarding-schools were kept in less suburban parishes such as Kensington and Hornsey. (fn. 55) Mathematical tutors and schools also abounded. William Jones (1675- 1749) father of the orientalist, was tutor at the school in Bethnal Green kept by Samuel Morland, a dissenter and classical scholar. (fn. 56) Schools in Kensington and, later, Bloomsbury were kept by Francis Walkingame (fl. 1751-85), author of The Tutor's Assistant. (fn. 57) Mark Meilan (fn. 58) and John Bonnycastle (1750?-1821) (fn. 59) kept schools in Hoxton and Hackney respectively. Samuel Dunn had a school in Chelsea from about 1758, (fn. 60) and Wapping supported two schools, Joshua Kelly's (fn. 61) and Thomas Haselden's. (fn. 62) At the end of the period Thomas Whiting's Keppel House Seminary at Brompton was typical, offering a broad course with astronomy, navigation, and 'the whole system of the mathematics'. (fn. 63) 'Natural philosophy' was also introduced into the curriculum of some private schools. Occasionally the standard of teaching was high. John Canton (1718- 72), whose study of electricity attracted the attention of the Royal Society, was assistant and later owner of an academy in Spital Square, Stepney, where he combined teaching with research. (fn. 64) By the early 19th century a number of schools-the Revd. S. Piggott's Clerkenwell Academy, (fn. 65) Dr. Vale's Cam House School of Arts & Sciences in Belgrave Square, (fn. 66) and the Revd. J. A. Emerton's Hanwell College for example-advertised 'philosophic lectures' or experiments. (fn. 67) In 1835 the Revd. R. Simpson of Colebrook House Academy, Islington, one of the founders of the British Education Society, advocated that less time should be given to classics and more to science. (fn. 68) French was also included in the broader curriculum, although it was still often taught as an 'extra' by visiting masters. 'French schools' such as M. Margarot's at Turnham Green in 1780, (fn. 69) and Dr. Felix's Cheyne House, Chelsea, (fn. 70) usually included it as part of the main course. Value was placed on opportunities for practice in conversation. Prospect House Academy, Pentonville, advertised an exchange system with a French school in 1821, (fn. 71) and at College House Boarding School in Hackney Road (fn. 72) and Belle Vue House Academy in Stoke Newington French was constantly spoken. (fn. 73)
Some academies were large enough to offer alternative courses. (fn. 74) That of William Watts moved from the City to Soho about 1739 and prepared for the Army, Navy, or counting-house. (fn. 75) Nearby was another academy under Mr. Meure. Later, under Martin Clare and his successors, this institution offered a more general and liberal education as well as business training, and had a drawing school attended by Rowlandson and Turner. Boswell and Burke both sent sons to this 'senior academy'. (fn. 76) In Islington the Revd. John Rule's academy in Colebrook Row (fn. 77) and John Shield's opposite Rufford's Buildings had a high reputation. Rule's gave a variety of vocational courses, while the other gave a more general education, especially after 1793 under Mr. Flower and later under T. E. Edgworth. (fn. 78) More specialized, but still with an element of general education were the naval school opened by John Bettesworth in 1782 in Ormond House, Chelsea, (fn. 79) and Lochée's Military Academy, opened by a Belgian exile in Little Chelsea about 1770. (fn. 80) There was another military academy at Albemarle House, Hounslow. (fn. 81)
While only a classical education was considered to be continuous and progressive, and most pupils attended private academies for short periods and with limited and often vocational purposes, the variety of subjects and courses offered at these schools helped to shape a new concept of education. By the mid-18th century the curriculum at many Middlesex schools was approaching the pattern of secondary courses of the next century. In 1769 at Dower's Academy, Islington, the classical and French languages, arithmetic, book-keeping, 'all branches of the mathematics', and the 'use of the globes' were taught, and boys were prepared in the most expeditious manner for the countinghouse, Army, Navy, and university. (fn. 82) The English Grammar School in Chelsea in 1766 had much the same course, recognizing that some boys would not need Latin while others would be prepared for public schools. (fn. 83) Palmers Green Academy in 1797, (fn. 84) and the Mansion House Academy, Hammersmith, from about 1770, had similar wide courses. (fn. 85) T. H. Watson's academy in Islington, charging day fees of three guineas a quarter, gave a 'classical and mathematical education', including 'natural philosophy'. (fn. 86) Emphasis within the course was still usually vocational. Dr. Jamieson's expensive academy at Wyke House, Isleworth, charged French, German, and Italian as extras, and taught mathematics to a standard high enough to prepare for civil engineering, architecture, surveying, or the fighting services. (fn. 87) At Cherwell House Academy, Hammersmith, (fn. 88) and at Dr. Dowling's Mansion House Academy in Highgate the course was at first of a 'general character'. Pupils later specialized, according to their future careers, in business, the professions, government offices, the services, and so forth. (fn. 89) Choice according to the boy's abilities is rarely mentioned, although Mr. Weare of Gothic Hall Academy, Enfield, included this as a factor to be considered. (fn. 90)
These developments had rather more than the attraction of utility and fashion. Parents approved of studies and methods which brought variety and interest as well as profit to their boys' schooling. Hackney School, for example, owed some of its long success to kindly methods, dramatic performances, and botanizing excursions. (fn. 91) Teachers themselves were often conscious of the wider significance of their experiments. This is evident from William Barrow's Academic Education, based on his experience at Soho Academy, (fn. 92) and from the writings of William Johnstone, master of an academy at Stanmore. (fn. 93) Moses Miall, of Manor House Academy, Islington, (fn. 94) and the Revd. John Evans, who kept seminaries in Hoxton and Islington, (fn. 95) likewise showed themselves aware that secondary education was changing its character, particularly through the expansion of the curriculum.
Denominational needs were another important factor in establishing private schools as institutions alternative to the endowed schools. Roman Catholic schools in Middlesex included that kept by John Walker (1732-1807), the lexicographer, in partnership with James Usher at Kensington Gravel Pits, (fn. 96) and the school in a house belonging to the Duke of Shrewsbury at Isleworth. (fn. 97) Richard Claridge opened a Quaker boarding-school at Tottenham in 1707. (fn. 98) Presbyterian schools catered for local needs and, especially after the Union of Parliaments, for boys of Scottish families. Andrew Kinross had a 'flourishing academy' at Forty Hill, Enfield, (fn. 99) and his assistant, Dr. James Burgh, later kept schools at Stoke Newington and Newington Green from 1747 to 1771. (fn. 100) Dr. William Rutherford had a 'numerous and respectable' school at Uxbridge from about 1769 for thirty years, and there was still a Presbyterian school in the parish in 1828. (fn. 101) Nonconformist schools catered for all grades of society. The Revd. John Ryland's school at Enfield, attended under his successor, John Clarke, by Keats, (fn. 102) and the Revd. Stephen Freeman's school at Ponders End, where Captain Marryat was educated, (fn. 103) were of a middle-class type. Others, like the Revd. Mr. Porter's school at Highgate in 1799, were humbler. (fn. 104)
Dissenting academies which provided both ministerial and higher secondary education for boys excluded from the public schools and universities made a more distinctive contribution to secondary courses and methods. In spite of the Five Mile Act, they were numerous in Middlesex, even in the inner suburbs. The earliest were kept by ejected clergy, many of whom had had distinguished academic careers, and persecution made it necessary to move frequently. (fn. 105) Islington and the neighbouring parishes were a favourite district, where Ralph Button, James Burgess, Robert Ferguson, Jonathan Grew, and the Revd. Luke Milbourne's wife all had schools. This concentration was at least partly due to the establishment in 1660 of a Presbyterian congregation, whose leading members could combine 'pulpit labours' with tutoring. (fn. 106) The most considerable academy of the Independents, with about fifty students, at first under Charles Morton, was at Newington Green from about 1675 to 1706. (fn. 107) Nearby for much the same period was the principal Presbyterian academy under Thomas Dolittle. (fn. 108) Both these were 'open' academies, taking some Anglicans, and training only some of their students for the dissenting ministry. Samuel Wesley and Daniel Defoe were among Morton's students. (fn. 109) Dolittle trained Thomas Rowe, who later became tutor at Theophilus Gale's academy which had been established at Newington Green about 1666. (fn. 110) From the age of sixteen to twenty Isaac Watts was educated at Gale's academy, where he gained 'a degree of knowledge, both philosophical and theological, such as few attain by a much longer course of study'. (fn. 111) John Kerr at Bethnal Green (1680?-1708) (fn. 112) and Edward Veale at Wapping (1675-1708) (fn. 113) also had academies during this early period. Further out in the county were Thomas Goodwin's academy at Pinner from about 1690 to 1716 (fn. 114) and Richard Swift's at Hendon, established soon after his ejection from Edgware in 1660. (fn. 115) One of the most considerable academies was in Hoxton Square from 1699 to 1729, 'no house in England among Dissenters' having 'so many advantages'. Its tutors illustrate the influence bearing on these slightly later academies when connexion with Oxford and Cambridge was growing remote. Joshua Oldfield refused subscription at Oxford; his doctorate was conferred by Edinburgh. William Lorimer was educated at Aberbeen. John Spademan graduated from Cambridge and spent a period of exile in Holland. Jacques Cappell was an exile from the Protestant Academy at Saumur. The curriculum of these open academies was wide, including modern and ancient languages, mathematics, natural and moral philosophy, geography, history, and law, as well as the usual branches of a ministerial education. Teaching was sometimes in English, and usually allowed 'free enquiry' by the students. (fn. 116)
The recognition of nonconformity as a permanent element in national life and the establishment of ministerial training funds emphasized the vocational and public nature of the academies. (fn. 117) Samuel Pike, for example, from about 1750 received only theological 'bursars' at his house in Hoxton Square. (fn. 118) Some elements of private and secondary education remained, as, for example, in Samuel Morton Savage's academy, also Hoxton Square (formerly in Moorfields and Stepney under Isaac Chauncey, John Eames, Thomas Ridgeley, and David Jennings), which was supported by both the Congregational Fund Board and the Coward Trust, but had 'juniors', some of whom were intended for 'scenes of wordly business'. Abraham Rees lectured in chemistry and mathematics, and Andrew Kippis on classics and belles lettres. Richard Price and John Howard, the prison reformer, were among its students, and William Godwin was shocked by its methods of free inquiry. It closed in 1785. (fn. 119)
Academies at this period were pioneers in the development of the later theological college. One group merged eventually in 1852 to form New College, Hampstead: Highbury College which sprang from lectures given for the Societas Evangelica in Hoxton, Stepney, and Bethnal Green, (fn. 120) the King's Head Academy, established eventually as Homerton College with support also from the Congregational Fund, (fn. 121) and Coward College, Bloomsbury, successor to Dodderidge's academy at Northampton. (fn. 122) With New College all connexion with secondary education ended. Another college of this period, Hackney Academy or College, or Theological Seminary, grew out of a secondary school kept by the Revd. John Eyre (1754-1803) at his house in Well Street. (fn. 123) His pupil, Robert Aspland (1782-1845), kept Hackney Unitarian Academy at Durham House, from 1812 to 1818. (fn. 124) There were Baptist theological seminaries at Enfield under William Tonge and Stephen Freeman. (fn. 125)
This trend towards professional training and the closing of Hoxton Square Academy in 1785 left liberal nonconformists with no institution for secondary education. In 1786 a scheme for a 'New Academical Institution among Protestant Dissenters' was formed, and Hackney College, also called Hackney New College, was founded in Bond Hopkins House (Homerton Hall) with the help of a capital fund and subscriptions. Room was provided for 75 students, and the course included the three ancient languages and antiquities, geography, 'universal grammar', history, rhetoric and composition, mathematics, 'natural and experimental philosophy', divinity, ethics, and metaphysics. Theological students were supported by the various Funds but the majority of pupils were not intended for the ministry. There never seem to have been more than 45 in residence. The failure of this ambitious scheme was due, some said, to the pride of its founders, who aimed at too 'superb a style' which was 'inconsistent with the plainness and simplicity of the Dissenters'. Staff and students united to create a fatal lack of confidence in quarters necessary for support. Dr. Kippis and Dr. Rees were already suspected of unorthodoxy; Dr. Price's sermons provoked Burke's Reflections and pleased only the students; Gilbert Wakefield infected them with his views on public worship; and on the appointment of Dr. Priestley to the staff the College came to be regarded as 'the slaughterhouse of Christianity'. Discipline was a constant problem, since although like the public schools the College refused to supervise its pupils closely, it repudiated the normal public-school sanctions. It became impossible to control the students, who called for ça ira in a theatre, held a republican supper in 1792 with Paine as a guest, and finally published a pamphlet, the distribution of which touched off riots in Birmingham. After its closure in 1795, the theology tutor, Dr. Thomas Belsham, carried on a private seminary in Grove Place. (fn. 126) This failure was due in part to lack of interest in this kind of education among dissenters, yet only ten years separate the downfall of Hackney College from the foundation of Mill Hill in 1807. This 'Protestant Dissenters' Grammar School survived early difficulties long enough to share in the later revival of the public schools. (fn. 127)
Nonconformist academies in Middlesex left few permanent institutions other than theological colleges, but their influence was profound. In encouraging learning by explanation rather than by memorizing alone, by inquiry rather than from authority, they influenced both secondary and university teaching. In their development of unified higher secondary and vocational courses they contributed to the understanding of education as a continuous process. (fn. 128)
Conditions in Middlesex significantly influenced the nature of the development of private schools for girls, the only provision for their secondary education outside the home. The practice of sending daughters to other households for nurture, the influence of France, and the interest of the middle classes in education were the major factors contributing to the rapid growth of boarding-schools, especially at first in the suburbs and villages north of the city. City parents had an urgent need to preserve children from contagion; (fn. 129) the Court of Aldermen considered choice of school part of its duty to its wards. In 1628 a girl was sent to a school in Tottenham, and in 1637 and 1682 Hackney schools were chosen. (fn. 130) Hackney parish was known as the 'Ladies University of Female Arts', and Pepys visited its church to see the 'great store' of young ladies, 'very pretty'. (fn. 131) Two of its largest schools were established before 1650 by Mrs. Salmon, a Presbyterian, (fn. 132) and Mrs. Perwich, who in Bohemia Palace had '100 and sometimes more of gentlewomen' and was famed for music teaching. Both schools emphasized the accomplishments but also taught French, housewifery, and accounts. (fn. 133) Other Hackney schools such as those of Mr. Hutton, Mrs. Wallis, and Mrs. Slater, favoured by Hull merchants, were smaller and probably inferior. (fn. 134)
The pretentions of such girls' schools, catering chiefly for citizens' daughters, became something of a court joke, (fn. 135) and references to 'Hackney School' were readily interpreted by Wycherley's audiences. Puritan opinion condemned them on moral grounds, (fn. 136) and already thoughtful women were objecting to their casual and frivolous nature. One such critic, Mrs. Hannah Woolley, herself opened a school in Hackney in 1655. (fn. 137) Another, Mrs. Bathsua Makin, one of the most learned women of her day and governess to the Princess Elizabeth, discussed the conflict between accomplishments and solid learning in the prospectus for her school at Tottenham High Cross. (fn. 138) A pupil of Comenius, she advocated practical, intellectual, and moral training, and included grammar, rhetoric, logic, languages, mathematics, geography, history, music, painting, and poetry in her course. Nonconformist schoolmistresses such as Mrs. Elizabeth Tutchin, who had a school at Newington Green and after 1710 in Highgate, also placed emphasis on 'sober education' and 'suitable learning'. (fn. 139) As a result pious Anglicans, for example Mrs. Mary Astell (1668-1731) of Chelsea, often feared girls' boarding-schools as not only frivolous but also schismatic. Her Serious Proposal for Ladies described a college, 'rather academical than monastic', to 'stock the kingdom with pious and prudent ladies' able to teach in schools of a better sort. But even in non-juring circles this scheme was considered to savour of popery. (fn. 140)
Most Middlesex schools, however, remained unconcerned with reform or aspirations and continued to emphasize the accomplishments. Mrs. Playford's large school opposite the church at Islington in 1679 was typical, instructing young gentlewomen 'in all manner of curious works . . . reading, writing, music, dancing, and the French language'. (fn. 141) French was considered essential, and French boarding-schools for girls, such as that of M. de la Mare in Marylebone, were a feature in and around the metropolis. (fn. 142) The Spectator complained that 'foreign fopperies' were desired by parents when they placed their daughters in such schools in Bloomsbury and St. Giles. (fn. 143)
By the late 17th century other parishes were beginning to supersede Hackney as the site for private girls' schools. The 'sweet air' of Chelsea drew 'schools with a great number of boarders'. (fn. 144) Sir Robert Walpole placed his two daughters at an expensive Chelsea school. (fn. 145) Gorges House, the largest in the village, was a school from 1676 until it was demolished c. 1716. Here in 1680 Purcell's Dido & Aeneas was first performed, and in 1690 D'Urfey, after living in the school, wrote Love for Money, or the Boarding School, in which two city heiresses, 'overgrown romps', are carried off by adventurers disguised as the dancing and singing masters. (fn. 146) Other fashionable Chelsea schools early in the 18th century were housed in Chelsea Palace, Blacklands, and Henry VIII's manor house. (fn. 147) By 1750 Mr. and Mrs. Philip's school in Lawrence Street was popular. It taught the usual subjects, 'with strict care for sound morals, virtuous principles, and a graceful behaviour, at moderate rates'. 'Half-boarders' were taken as apprentices in management and teaching. (fn. 148) Later in the century Whitelands in the King's Road and Gough House became schools, and part of Monmouth House was occupied as a school in 1815. (fn. 149)
Chelsea illustrates the scale of provision in Middlesex where girls' schools were of more than local importance. The tendency was to send girls into the metropolitan area for the final stage of their education. Edmund Verney brought his daughter from Buckinghamshire to Gorges House in 1680. (fn. 150) Susannah, eldest child of Josiah Wedgwood, came from Staffordshire to Blacklands in 1776 for two years, (fn. 151) and Mary Russell Mitford came up from the country in 1797 to go to a school kept by French emigrées at 22 Hans Place, Kensington. (fn. 152) Parents crowded into the metropolis not only for the season, but for the 'grand work of education'. They brought their daughters for the 'best London masters', or to be entered for 'some eligible school, where eminent professors may be had upon easier terms than in a private lesson'. (fn. 153) This concentration of girls' schools in the suburbs and villages round London reflected the position of the capital in English social life and the extent of local needs. It was also the result of a system which insisted that the central role in girls' education should be amateur, and relied on visiting specialists for teaching those subjects considered to be most socially valuable and personally suitable. Suburban Middlesex, with its constantly expanding and shifting population, was able also to provide the kind of property suitable for the 'ladies' seminary'. Large houses in still fashionable districts became available-Campden House (fn. 154) and Notting Hill House in Kensington, (fn. 155) for example-and newly-built property such as 22 Hans Place (fn. 156) was also occupied by schools. Few alterations entailed capital outlay since a girls' school was essentially a large family, and such schools were not considered to lower the value of neighbouring property. A district had to be socially acceptable and healthy. Islington succeeded Hackney in catering for the business community. (fn. 157) Edmonton was known for its great number of boarding-schools, (fn. 158) and Twickenham had establishments of the most select kind. (fn. 159)
Although the existence of such schools was of national importance, the quality of education imparted in them is difficult to assess. Literary glimpses, such as Mary Darby's (Perdita Robinson's) description of her Kensington schoolmistress's talents sinking under bouts of intoxication, may be overdramatized. (fn. 160) Progress was often judged by improvements in deportment and the particular accomplishments for which the school had been chosen. Molly Verney distinguished herself at the school ball; (fn. 161) Susannah Wedgwood gave satisfaction for improvement 'as well as her general carriage and behaviour, as in her music, drawing, etc.'. (fn. 162) Jane Austen, visiting a pupil at 22 Hans Place, noticed especially the elegance of her hair, which would 'do credit to any education', and thought that, but for the cupids on the drawing-room mantlepiece, 'a fine study for girls, one would never have smelt instruction'. (fn. 163) Such comments stress the prevalent view that girls' boarding-schools were essentially domestic rather than scholastic. Estimates of Miss Mitford's education under M. and Mme. St. Quentin and Miss Rowden at Hans Place show how deeply evaluation of the more intellectual aspects of education varied. On the one hand the school was praised for keeping the children healthy and happy and for helping them to learn anything they wanted to learn-Latin, French, Italian, history, geography, as much science as was 'requisite for a young lady to know', music, dancing, and drawing. On the other hand, a critic resented the indiscriminate nature of this education by a pair of French immigrants and an English lady 'who conceived herself a poetess, and took her pupils to the theatre', allowing them to read trashy as well as solid books, dance ballets, and act 'meek plays'. (fn. 164)
Lack of system and discrimination was inevitable when girls' schools were still rather a survival of the older practice of sending girls into other households than forerunners of the public or high schools of the next century. When the domestic atmosphere hardened, parents were quick to criticize. Arthur Young described Campden House as a 'region of constraint and death', attributing the loss of his daughter to its formal walks and rigid discipline. (fn. 165) It was during Mrs. Terry's headship of this school (1767-91) that the English master, James Rice, made a rare experiment in the systematic teaching of girls, setting out in his Plan for Female Education (1791) a method aiming 'to form the mind and cultivate the understanding' by a two-year course of reading, analysis, and themes 'relating to the proprietaries of conduct in social and civil life'. (fn. 166)
An important footnote to 17th-century provisions for girls' education is provided by attempts to keep alive in the London suburbs, even during the penal era, the ideal of a conventual education for the daughters of Roman Catholic families. Mary Ward (1585- 1645), who became the principal organizer of such schools in England, received from the embassies and the Stuart court some protection in her struggle to organize a society of 'English Ladies' of unenclosed religious on the Jesuit model. From 1609 until the outbreak of the Civil War there was almost continuously a 'school' or house for Roman Catholic girls in Bethnal Green, Kensington, or St. Giles. Most of the pupils were on their way to the school kept by the sisters at St. Omer, but from 1638 until the flight of the queen a school was maintained almost openly in St. Martin's Lane, and when it was removed to Yorkshire three coaches were needed for the 'goodly party of children'. (fn. 167) Some settlement in London was probably kept even through the Interregnum, for when in 1669 a boarding-school for girls was openly established by the Sisters at Hammersmith, there was a tradition that it had been removed from St. Martin's Lane. Some protection was still necessary, and the sisters styled themselves 'governesses' who had voluntarily bound themselves by rules. The school survived a visitation from Titus Oates and a Middlesex justice, the troubles of the Revolution, and reports to the Bishop of London in 1705 and 1706, to become an accepted and fashionable local institution, attended by both Roman Catholic and other boarding and day girls. During the Gordon Riots it was protected from molestation by the local tradespeople. (fn. 168)
Until the renaissance of girl's education in the mid-19th century, only the small Roman Catholic community could claim to have a system of girls' schools. Most convent schools were in other districts, but the oldest established was in Middlesex and so probably were the majority of private academies of the more conventional type. In 1813 there were three in Hammersmith alone, and these reflected the standards and systematic approach of the religious orders. (fn. 169)