The Schooling of English Workers' Children, 1780s-1880s: Some Themes


  • Bruce Fulton
  • Robert J Hind


Any sketch of the educational experiences of English workers' children -which in this instance excludes those who attended workhouse, factory, industrial and ragged schools and those who had no schooling-must remain partial and tentative. Well before their postmodem demise, certainties were-or should have been-elusive. Workers' views about religion, politics, familial obligations, etc., contrasted sharply. Living and working conditions in specific trades, within and between urban districts, between town and country, between rural districts close to and distant from industrial or mining expansion, between a 'close' and open parish in geographical proximity, varied greatly. Economic expansion and innovation, which differed markedly in place, chronology and intensity, continued to alter these variations. Comparisons of regional studies demonstrate the dangers of general conclusions. Young wine was also stretching the old social skin: 49 per cent of the population was under the age of twenty in 1821.