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Title: The Renaissance of Girls' Education in England - A Record of Fifty Years' Progress
Author: Zimmern, Alice
Language: English
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                   A Record of Fifty Years’ Progress

                            BY ALICE ZIMMERN

                      (GIRTON COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE)



                         A. D. Innes & Company



        Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty


To all whom it may interest I dedicate this brief summary of the events
which have wrought a peaceful revolution among us during the last fifty
years. Among the many changes of the half-century, the great
transformation in the education of women surely deserves a record. The
workers have been many, the help given of various kinds, yet no event is
isolated, for all are links in one chain of progress. Fifty years ago a
few far-sighted men and women gave the impetus; we who harvest where
they sowed may like to be reminded, in this season of retrospects, of
the great debt we owe them. What has touched the lives of so many women
is the concern of all, and though I shall be proud indeed if my book
prove welcome to teachers, I should wish most of all to address myself
to that old and long-tried friend of literature, the general reader. If
he, or she, can be persuaded, to spend an hour or two, learning the past
and present of the education of our girls, my purpose will have been

To thank for favours received is a pleasant task, but the list of those
who have helped me with this book would prove too long for enumeration.
I desire to offer my heartiest thanks to all who have assisted me with
information, criticism, or in any other way; especially to Miss Beale
for valuable materials and kind hospitality, to Mrs. Bryant and Miss A.
A. M. Rogers for much useful information, to Miss Mary Gurney, Miss Ella
Pycroft, Miss Mary Kennedy, and Mr. W. Edwards for reading portions of
the book, and to Mrs. Edwards for her sympathy and kindness during my
stay in Wales. To the many headmistresses who have allowed me to visit
their schools I offer most cordial thanks, and last, but not least, to
the officials of the Education Library, in particular Mr. Sadler and
Miss Beard, for their courtesy and helpfulness.

                                                          ALICE ZIMMERN.

                        _September 1898._


              CHAP.                                   PAGE
                 I. BEFORE 1848                          1

                II. THE FIRST COLLEGES                  20

               III. LIGHT IN DARK PLACES                38

                IV. THE HIGH SCHOOLS                    52

                 V. ENDOWMENTS FOR GIRLS                78

                VI. THE WOMEN’S COLLEGES               103

               VII. ADMISSION TO THE UNIVERSITIES      126

              VIII. BOARDING AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS       149

                IX. THE TECHNICAL INSTRUCTION ACTS     169

                 X. STATE AID FOR GIRLS                195


               XII. 1898                               234



                               CHAPTER I
                              BEFORE 1848

Yes, strange though it may sound, it was in truth a Renaissance—a
revival of the past, and no new experiment. Or perhaps we should more
fitly describe it as the realisation of an old dream, one that has been
dreamed many times in the course of the ages, but has waited till the
nineteenth century for its complete fulfilment. Two thousand years ago
it was seen by Plato, that most practical of idealists, who maintained
that it was for the best interests of the state that its men and women
should be as good as possible. Therefore the education of both was a
matter of public concern. In these latter days this doctrine has won
acceptance, with an even wider significance, due to our democratic
development. The treasures of learning are no longer the property of an
exclusive few, and the privileges of class and sex are breaking down
simultaneously. Education for all, boys and girls, rich and poor, is the
modern demand, which no party dare now refuse to consider. We must cater
not only for the ‘wives of the governors,’ but also for the children of
the slums. All the daughters of all the households of all civilised
countries are to enter into their heritage. The much-discussed ‘ladder’
from the elementary school to the University is becoming a fact; and its
rungs are being widened, that the girls may ascend it side by side with
their brothers. _La carrière ouverte aux talents_, with no distinction
of class, sex, or creed, is the demand of the nineteenth century.

From Plato’s Utopian ‘Republic’ to London of the County Council is a far
cry. Between the two, this question of girls’ education has many times
been raised and temporarily solved. Socrates’ half-jesting dictum, that
women are capable of learning anything which men are willing they should
know, might stand as the motto for nearly every attempt to improve
female education. The instruction given to women at different epochs has
varied directly with the estimation in which they were held. When they
were regarded as slaves or toys it was expedient to keep them in
ignorance; when they were treated honourably as equals, the best gifts
of learning were not thought too good for them.

It is not our place here to dwell on the bright examples of antiquity,
the Neo-Platonist women and Hypatia, the beautiful mathematician of
Alexandria, but rather, turning to our own country, to see how
Christianity has touched the lives of women. Here, as elsewhere, it was
the Church alone that kept alive the flame of knowledge during the
Middle Ages. In the seventh and eighth centuries, that ‘nadir of
learning,’ monks and nuns alike were occupied with literary studies.
They read theology and classics, copied manuscripts, and corresponded in
Latin. Their activity was in accordance with their social position. ‘The
heads of the great religious houses were necessarily persons of
importance, with privileges and great responsibilities. They had
considerable wealth at their disposal, and in authority and influence
they ranked among the nobles of the land, to whom they were often allied
by birth.’[1] The name that naturally occurs first to our minds is that
of the Abbess Hilda, ‘whose counsel was sought even by kings,’ and who
ruled over a double monastery, which became a seminary of bishops and
priests. Hers is no solitary instance. ‘In Anglo-Saxon England,’ writes
Miss Eckenstein, ‘men who attained to distinction received their
training in settlements governed by women. Histories and a chronicle of
unique value were inspired by and drafted under the auspices of Saxon
abbesses.’ And ‘the curriculum of study in the nunnery was as liberal as
that accepted by the monks, and embraced all available writings, whether
by Christian or profane authors.’ The convents were the colleges of
Anglo-Saxon times. The nuns, who lived a life of seclusion and study,
might be compared with the fellows; the students were the successive
groups of girls who came there for education.

Among the many social changes brought about by the Norman Conquest, the
most far-reaching, the introduction of feudalism, established a new
centre of education, which henceforth flourished side by side with the
cloister. The monks still taught the Trivium and Quadrivium—Grammar,
Dialectic, Rhetoric, Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy—though the
instruction given deserved these high-sounding names little better than
the so-called sciences taught in girls’ schools at the beginning of our
own century. The castle could offer boys a more attractive programme.
The seven knightly accomplishments were to ride, sing, shoot with the
bow, box, hawk, play chess, and write verses. It had something for girls
as well. While the young squires gained their training by service done
to their lord, the _châtelaine_ would gather about her a troop of gentle
maidens, who learned to weave, spin, brew, and distil, and do various
kinds of needlework. They learned a little reading and writing, and in
these arts were somewhat in advance of their brothers, who were trained
to look on books as monkish and womanish, and not quite suited to a
knight and gentleman. The _châtelaine_ herself held an honourable
position. In her lord’s absence she must even take command of the
castle, and the _damoiselles_ must be prepared for their own coming

The thirteenth century brought a change. The political influence of the
Church, which had been lessened by the Conquest, was revived by the
preaching friars. They introduced a new ideal of monastic life; the
spirit of devotion and asceticism drove out the old love of learning.
New priories sprang up throughout England, but their aims were
different. As the monasteries were more and more becoming centres of
devotion, learning was being driven into the new universities, where the
philosophy of the schoolmen now reigned supreme. Already some colleges
with endowments for poor scholars had been founded at Oxford and
Cambridge, and it was becoming the custom for the monasteries to send
their most promising pupils there. Why did the nuns not follow this
example? Probably the metaphysical disputations then in vogue had few
attractions for them; and the presence of large numbers of men would be
a sufficient reason for keeping aloof, for though the studies of both
sexes might be the same, they were not pursued side by side. Whatever
the cause, it is certain that while masculine learning showed an
ever-growing tendency to leave the cloister, female scholarship was
still closely confined to the convent. But it was degenerating for want
of new life; the nunneries were a survival, not a living growth; their
learning had become ‘poor in substance, cramped in method, and
insufficient in application.’[2] The old order was changing, but somehow
the nuns failed to perceive it. In Erasmus’ day, we are told, the really
learned woman was to be found outside the convent walls, and he adds the
significant remark that her husband approved of her studies. The wrong
done to women by the dissolution was not so much the closing of the
convents as the transference to men of their endowments. The most
flagrant instance is the transformation of St. Radegund’s nunnery at
Cambridge into Jesus College. That this and other instances of
spoliation were possible shows how low the status of women had sunk, and
it is not strange, therefore, that a period of neglected education
should have ensued.

Whatever the cause, the Reformation does not seem to have assisted the
development of women. Perhaps this was partly due to the removal of the
one career that had been open to them, thus forcing all, married and
unmarried, into a dependent position in the household. Luther’s views on
women were not very elevated, and probably a good many of the Reformers
shared them. It may be due to this Protestant influence that in England
women profited less intellectually by the Renaissance than men, or at
any rate in far smaller numbers. Thanks to the new grammar schools,
learning was being made accessible to boys of all classes. When Sir
Thomas More’s dream was realised, and the middle classes, from the
squire to the petty tradesman, were brought into contact with ancient
literature, the daughters were not as well provided as the sons. Some
authorities are of opinion that the original foundations were meant for
both sexes alike, but if so, very few girls of the middle class profited
by their advantages, though some sort of education evidently came to
all. Among the upper classes large numbers of women were carried away by
the enthusiasm of the Renaissance, and learned to read Latin and Greek.
The sixteenth century has always been celebrated for its learned ladies,
as witness Wotton’s oft quoted remark thereon and his comment: ‘One
would think by the effects that it was a proper way of educating them,
since there are no accounts in history of so many great women in any age
as are to be found between the years 1500 and 1600.’ Queen Elizabeth and
Lady Jane Grey are sometimes called exceptions, but this is clearly an
error. Learning was an expensive luxury for women, since it involved the
services of a private tutor, but it had fashion and opinion on its side.
To be learned was accounted a privilege, which called for neither
arrogant boasting nor blushing concealment. Those who did study, would
naturally turn to the best their age could offer them, _i.e._ the new
editions of the classics and the fashionable modern literature. They set
the fashion too as well as followed it. The success of _Euphues_ was
established by its lady readers, and in the domain of polite literature
it was generally acknowledged that they created the standard. When Lyly
wrote ‘Euphues had rather lie shut in a lady’s casket than open in a
scholar’s study,’ he knew well enough that it was not the ladies who
would neglect his book. He confessed as much in its dedication to the
‘Ladies and Gentlewomen of England.’ Nor was there anything new in this.
The lady sat in her bower to read Sidney’s _Arcadia_ as in olden times
she had listened in the hall to the lay of the minstrel. It was still
her part to assign the prize of romance as of valour. The leisure which
made the enjoyment of tale and song possible was essentially the lot of
the rich and noble lady, who neither toiled nor span, but did a more
useful work as guardian of art and literature. The amazing discovery
that ‘Books are a part of man’s prerogative’[3] had not yet been made;
there is certainly not a hint of it in Shakespeare. Nor could such a
doctrine possibly originate under a queen, who, whatever her faults,
cultivated learning herself and honoured it in others. Our thoughts
linger lovingly over that noblest age of English story, when romanticism
and classicism joined their glories for a brief space; when the courtier
was both knight and scholar, and the noble dame’s epitaph praised her as
‘wise and fair and good.’ Seen through the haze of the past, its
splendours stand out in even greater dimension, while all that was small
and weak is obscured to dimness. The very age that followed served as a
foil to throw into yet brighter relief ‘the spacious days of great

It is significant of the rapid degeneration that ensued, that though
between the accession of Henry VIII. and the death of James I., 353
grammar schools were founded in England, not one was added to the number
after 1625. The seventeenth century was a gloomy period for England. If
Elizabeth had given her country peace and glory, the Stuarts were not
long in reversing the position. Disastrous civil wars, political and
theological quarrels, absorbed the best energies of the nation. The
Cavaliers were too frivolous, the Roundheads too grimly earnest to spare
much leisure for learning. In times of war and national peril woman’s
influence is apt to wane, and such power as they had at the Stuart court
was not of the kind to encourage intellectual pursuits. When a scholar
was hardly accounted a gentleman, a lady might be pardoned for
neglecting her intellectual charms. It became the fashion among men to
decry female students, to bid them put away their books and learn to
wash and cook instead. ‘I like not a female poetess at any hand,’ says
one of these self-appointed critics. This attitude was characteristic of
the decline of chivalry and the degradation of woman’s position. ‘There
is not so much as a Don Quixote of the quill left,’ writes Mary Astell
in 1694, ‘to succour the distressed damsels.’ The age of courtesy being
over, women must help themselves, and she takes up the cudgels for her
sex. ‘A man ought no more to value himself on being wiser than a woman,’
she remarks pertinently, ‘if he owes his advantage to a better education
and greater means of information, than he ought to boast of courage for
beating a man when his hands were bound.’[4] Hers is the old thesis,
that women are quite capable of learning if only men will not put
hindrances in their way. Even so the girls’ curriculum of her day does
not seem to have been as meagre as is often assumed. She tells us that
when the boys go to grammar schools the girls are sent ‘to
boarding-schools or other places to learn needlework, dancing, singing,
music, drawing, painting, and other accomplishments ... and French,
which is now very fashionable.’ This description which would almost have
served at the beginning of our own century, is not as gloomy as Defoe’s,
written at about the same time. Girls, he tells us, learned ‘to stitch
and sew and make baubles. They are taught to read indeed, and perhaps to
write their names or so, and this is the height of a woman’s
education.’[5] Both agree in condemning its narrowness. Defoe cannot
believe that ‘God Almighty ever made them such glorious creatures, and
furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and delightful to mankind,
with souls capable of the same accomplishment with men, and all to be
only stewards of our houses, cooks, and slaves.’ Mary Astell maintains
that ‘according to the rate that young women are educated, according to
the way their time is spent, they are destined to folly and
impertinence, to say no worse.’ She protests, as Mrs. Makins had done
before her,[6] against the new fashion of ignorant women, and implores
her sisters to help bring back the good old times, and take a lesson
from the ladies of the previous century. Both Defoe and Mary Astell
recommend the same project, the establishment of women’s colleges, thus
anticipating our own times by more than a century and a half. Defoe’s
colleges would have been superior boarding-schools, one in every county
and about ten for the city of London; Mary Astell’s plan was to combine
religious and intellectual aims. She contemplated ‘a seminary to stock
the kingdom with pious and prudent ladies, whose good example, it is to
be hoped, will so influence the rest of their sex, that women may no
longer pass for those little, useless, and impertinent animals which the
ill conduct of too many has caused them to be mistaken for.’[7] But it
must also try to ‘expel that cloud of ignorance which custom has
involved us in, to furnish our minds with a stock of solid and useful
knowledge, that the souls of women may no longer be the only unadorned
and neglected things.’ Nothing came of either project; they belong to
the domain of unfulfilled dreams.

The new century brought little improvement. Anne was not of a
sufficiently independent character to influence greatly the lives and
pursuits of her subjects. As was natural in the reign of a Queen, the
position and dignity of women were somewhat raised; and in that
‘Augustan age’ there was one class of literature specially addressed to
the ladies, the newly invented essay. Addison really wanted to elevate
their position and social influence, but his success was literary rather
than moral. If we may trust the novelists of the last century, public
morality was never at a lower ebb. The men of that day worshipped
idleness, and it was not surprising that they did not care to see their
wives and mistresses at work. Show was the aim throughout, and the
‘accomplishment’ reigned supreme. The second half of the century
witnessed a great increase in the boarding-school system. Hitherto it
had been confined to the fashionable world; now tradesmen and farmers
who had made some money began to emulate their ‘betters.’ Imitations of
the fashionable schools sprang up everywhere. ‘We have,’ says the
heroine of General Burgoyne’s play, _The Heiress_, “Young ladies boarded
and educated” upon blue boards in gold letters in every village; with a
strolling player for a dancing-master, and a deserter from Dunkirk to
teach the French language.’

The eighteenth century, too, had its distinguished women; indeed, the
Blue-Stocking Club, so called, it seems, from the dress of one of its
masculine _habitués_, is regarded as the representative group of learned
ladies. But Mrs. Montagu, Mrs. Chapone, and Hannah More were exceptions,
and themselves only too conscious of their opposition to the rest of
their sex. There was a touch of the _précieuse_ about some of them which
exposed them to a good deal of cheap satire, and they were keenly alive
to the antagonism with which the other sex regarded them. Mrs. Chapone
even advises her niece to avoid the study of classics and science, for
fear of ‘exciting envy in one sex and jealousy in the other.’ Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu complains bitterly that ‘there is hardly a creature in
the world more despicable and more liable to universal ridicule than
that of a learned woman,’ while ‘folly is reckoned so much our proper
sphere, we are sooner pardoned any excesses of that than the least
pretensions to reading and good sense.’

Some of these last century women were practical reformers, who realised
the pernicious results of this false opinion about their sex. Among
these was Hannah More, who entered a most earnest protest against the
excessive accomplishment craze. The lower middle class were emulating
the upper in their endeavour to make their daughters ‘accomplished young
ladies,’ while they quite forgot that ‘the profession of ladies to which
the best of their education should be turned is that of daughters,
wives, mothers, and mistresses of families.’[8] She even ventured to fly
in the face of public opinion by asserting that ‘a young lady may excel
in speaking French and Italian, may repeat a few passages from a volume
of extracts, play like a professor, and sing like a siren,’ and yet be
very badly educated, if her mind remains untrained. ‘The kind of
knowledge that they commonly do acquire is easily attained,’ they learn
everything in a superficial question-and-answer way, or through
abridgments, beauties, and compendiums, instead of reading books that
require thought and attention. As we read her _Strictures on Female
Education_ we rub our eyes and look at the date once more. Is this,
indeed, Hannah More writing a hundred years ago, or have we stumbled
upon a stray extract from Mr. Bryce’s report to the Schools’ Inquiry
Commission in 1867? ‘She should pursue every kind of study which will
teach her to elicit truth, which will lead her to be intent upon
realities; will give precision to her ideas; will make an exact mind.’
She quotes Dr. Johnson’s opinion that ‘a woman cannot have too much
arithmetic.’ Had the worthy doctor a prevision of a High School

Hannah More’s influence does not seem to have been very lasting. Her
contemptuous remark, that we might as well talk about the rights of
children as the rights of women, shows that she had not much real grasp
of the educational problem. Both should, in her opinion, be relegated to
their proper subordinate places. She was right in despising the
frivolity of her day, and condemning the constant round of pleasure in
which fashionable women spent their lives, but she was almost too severe
to be helpful. Far more valuable was Miss Edgeworth’s work, which was
constructive as well as critical. Her educational romances, in which she
contrasts the good and bad governess, the sensible and frivolous girl,
are thoroughly readable even at the present day, and must have proved
useful to many readers who lighted unawares on the powder in the jam.
_Practical Education_, written in conjunction with her father, throws
valuable light on contemporary conditions, and advances theories that
are still worthy of our notice. The ‘practical toy shop,’ provided with
all manner of carpenter’s tools, with wood properly prepared for the
young workman, and with screws, nails, glue, emery-paper, etc., is still
to seek; her remarks on the two schools, the one teaching ‘by dint of
reiterated pain and terror,’ the other ‘with the help of counters and
coaxing and gingerbread,’ are not altogether out of date. Nor have we
yet learned to pay a good governess £300 a year, on the ground that her
working days are few, and she ought to lay by for a comfortable old age.
Her severest strictures, like Hannah More’s, are reserved for ‘female
accomplishments.’ Their chief use is that ‘they are supposed to increase
a young lady’s chance of a prize in the matrimonial lottery.’ Hence,
when the end is achieved, they are thrown aside. ‘As soon as a young
lady is married, does she not frequently discover that she really has no
leisure to cultivate talents which take up so much time?’ Nor is it
quite certain that they are as efficacious as is generally supposed. The
market is becoming overstocked, for ‘every young lady, and every young
woman is now a young lady, has some pretension to accomplishments. She
draws a little; or she plays a little; or she speaks French a little.’
Accomplishments are becoming so general ‘that they cannot be considered
as the distinguishing characteristics of even a gentlewoman’s
education.’ Since they are no longer ‘exclusive,’ she hopes they may be
cast aside for something better. Her indictment against the female
education of her day is that ‘sentiment and ridicule have conspired to
represent reason, knowledge, and science as unsuitable and dangerous to
women; yet, at the same time, wit and superficial acquirements in
literature have been the object of admiration in society; so that this
dangerous inference has been drawn, almost without our perceiving its
fallacy, that superficial knowledge is more desirable in women than
accurate knowledge.’ It is interesting to find this complaint repeated
in 1826 by an anonymous writer,[9] who maintains the old dictum that
‘females are not behind males in capacity, and excel them in diligence
and docility,’ but they are handicapped by ‘an education of mere
externals and of show.’ There is a want of stamina in girls’ education,
and as for their school-books, they are mere combinations of words used
as ‘substitutes or apologies for ideas.’

Maria Edgeworth’s influence should have been considerable, but turning
from her works to her contemporaries and immediate successors, it seems
doubtful whether they even understood her. Her stories, whose most
useful lessons were addressed to parents, were turned into children’s
books; and the demand for a more solid education simply led to an
increase of the memory and book-work in schools. In spite of her
strictures on the uselessness of a knowledge of isolated facts, and the
attempts of Mrs. Barbauld and others to supply something better, the
catechism system continued to grow and flourish. Large amounts of memory
work were added to the piano and drawing, which still held their own,
and the results were not merely negative as regards intellectual value,
but positive in their injurious effects on health. Miss Frances Power
Cobbe in her description of the fashionable boarding-school to which she
was sent in 1836, speaks of the pages of prose the girls were expected
to learn by heart, amid the din of constant practising. ‘Not that which
was good in itself or useful to the community, or even that which would
be delightful to ourselves, but that which would make us admired in
society was the _raison-d’être_ of each requirement. Everything was
taught in the inverse ratio of its true importance. At the bottom of the
scale were Morals and Religion, and at the top were Music and Dancing,
miserably poor music too, of the Italian school then in vogue, and
generally performed in a showy and tasteless manner on harp or
piano.’[10] Miss Cobbe thinks this education far worse than that
received by her mother in 1790, when much less was attempted, and there
was no ‘packing the brains of girls with facts.’ Besides ‘grammar and
geography, and a very fair share of history’ (ancient from Rollin, and
sacred from Mrs. Trimmer), they ‘learned to speak and read French with a
very good accent, and to play the harpsichord with taste.’ Clearly
things were on the downward course, and in the first half of this
century the education of both sexes was in some respects in a worse
condition in England than at any time before or since. Mere ignorance
would have been comparatively harmless, but there never was a time when
educational theories were more fashionable or more perverse. Miss
Catherine Sinclair, who wrote in the forties and fifties, lifted up her
voice, in _Modern Accomplishments_, against the system of cram and
display then prevailing. ‘Lady Howard’s utmost ingenuity was exercised
in devising plans of study for her daughter, each of which required to
be tried under the dynasty of a different governess, so that by the time
Matilda Howard attained the age of sixteen, she had been successively
taught by eight, all of whom were instructed in the last method that had
been invented for making young ladies accomplished on the newest
pattern.’ All these governesses were foreign, according to the fashion
of the day; at last an English lady of Edgworthian type was discovered,
who trained the mind instead of overloading the memory, and all ended
happily. Precocity and display were what parents demanded, and schools
and governesses contrived to supply the requirements. Miss Sinclair’s
accounts of premature death and lifelong ill-health may have been
overdrawn, but doubtless she put her finger on the weak spot when she
wrote: ‘Nothing is popular now that requires thought in young people,
who are constantly devouring books, but never digesting them, and are
allowed no time to think.’

The better the school, in the acceptation of that day, the worse
probably the result; and those girls whose parents could not afford the
expensive governess or the ‘finishing-school,’ often had the best of it,
so long as they were not sent to one of the cheap and inefficient
imitations. By a curious irony the one attempt made early in the century
to give a good education at a small expense, was that which through
Charlotte Brontë’s genius has been held up to everlasting contumely. The
Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowen Bridge undertook, for the small sum of
£14 a year, to clothe, feed, lodge, and educate the daughters of
clergymen. In 1825, the year when Charlotte Brontë was there, the Rev.
W. Carus Wilson (too well known as Mr. Brocklehurst), appealing for
additional funds, stated that an annual income of £250, together with
the fees, would be sufficient to meet current expenses. A comparison of
this modest demand with the sums raised in our own day for women’s
colleges, helps us to realise the revolution that has taken place in
public opinion. Even so most of the subscribers seem to have been Mr.
Wilson’s relations, and it was only as a charity for the poor clergy,
with a side-thought of getting better governesses at low terms, that it
awakened any interest at all. Still it was considered a remarkable
achievement. In 1833, Mr. Venn Elliott, who had visited the school in
its new premises at Casterton, and been present at the consecration of
the church built in its neighbourhood, wrote: ‘I would rather have built
this school and church than Blenheim and Burleigh. So Dr. Watts said he
would rather have written Baxter’s _Call to the Unconverted_ than
Milton’s _Paradise Lost_.’ The result of this visit was the foundation
of St. Mary’s Hall at Brighton. It still exists, and gives a really
first-class education at a low fee. Other schools were founded in
imitation; and in spite of the sordid economy of those early days, and
the suffering it entailed on the weakly, they deserve full recognition
as almost the only institutions which attempted in the early part of the
century to provide a good and cheap education for girls. The tradition
of sound study survived, and in 1867 the Casterton institution came in
for a word of praise from the Royal Commissioners, amid their almost
universal condemnation of existing girls’ schools.

The benefits which a woman’s reign always confers on women have been
experienced to the full during the long and peaceful reign of our
present Queen. The interest taken by her and the Prince Consort in arts
and letters, and in the general improvement of the people, set an
example that was readily followed. Ladies of the upper and middle
classes began to take a keener interest in the lives of the poor, and in
dealing with the problems they thus encountered were often brought to
realise their own want of education. There was a stir and a movement
towards something better. The views of men were gradually changing, as
the ideal of womanhood set by a purer Court became more elevated. Sixty
years of a woman’s wise and beneficent rule have done much to restore
the glories of Elizabeth’s day. Like the revival of letters, which
communicated to the whole world the learning which had once belonged to
one small people, this other renaissance brought knowledge, not only to
the convent pupil and the lady of leisure, but to all the daughters of
the nation. This widening has helped to fix the roots more firmly, and
we may hope and believe that the gains of this century are not to be
lost, but, enriched by all the wealth of the future, to continue for
many a generation to come.

                               CHAPTER II
                           THE FIRST COLLEGES

The revival of women’s education in England has now a record of fifty
years behind it. On the 1st of May this year Queen’s College in Harley
Street celebrated its Jubilee with manifold rejoicings, a celebration in
which all Englishwomen may claim the right to join. Though Girton and
Holloway and other newer institutions have arisen since to throw the
glories of Queen’s into the shade, none can deprive it of its proud
title—the first women’s college in England.

An occasion of this kind provokes reminiscence and the drawing of
contrasts between 1848 and 1898; while the question that naturally
occurs to us is: How did it all begin? Many answers have been suggested.
Some have pressed the significance of 1848 as the year of Revolution,
and hinted that the women’s share in revolt was an attempt to throw off
the shackles of ignorance. This may not be altogether fanciful. Such
social upheavals symbolise the workings of intellectual forces, nor can
we doubt that the attempt to win for women privileges from which they
had hitherto been jealously excluded is a part of the democratic demand
for universal equal opportunity.

Along with the general ferment of ideas and the cry for reform must be
counted the growing influence on the lives of the upper classes
exercised by the Queen and Prince Consort. Following the lead of the
Court the ideals of the nation were changing. A more serious view of
life and its responsibilities was developing, and the time seemed a
propitious one for organised effort. But though various schemes had been
discussed, the immediate impetus to action was an actual and crying
need. In those days girls of the upper classes were, for the most part,
educated at home by governesses, usually foreigners, because
Englishwomen, though glad enough to obtain such posts, when suddenly
thrown upon the world by the death of a parent or other untoward
circumstance, were seldom properly qualified to fill them. Some of
course there were who, by foreign travel or private study, had reached a
fair standard of attainment; but how distinguish these from the herd,
when they lacked even the teacher’s diploma with which their Swiss or
German rivals were equipped? In this dilemma the Governesses’ Benevolent
Institution came to the rescue.

This Institution had been founded in 1843 with a threefold aim:—(1) To
afford temporary relief in cases of great suffering, (2) To cultivate
provident habits in those who could afford to save; (3) To raise
annuities for those past work. This programme seemed to distinguish
governesses as a class specially in need of pity and relief. To attempt
to help them by increasing their competency, and thus indirectly their
wage-earning capacity, was a bold new departure. The first proposal was
to hold examinations for a teacher’s diploma, but it soon appeared that
an attempt to examine the untaught was a useless inversion of the
natural order. To make the undertaking really helpful it became
necessary to institute a system of classes. This scheme was first
discussed in 1846, and a sum of money collected by Miss Murray, one of
the Queen’s Maids of Honour, handed over to the Institution for this
purpose. In 1847 the first certificates were conferred, and arrangements
made for opening classes. Here some of the most distinguished professors
of King’s College stepped in with help. Among them were Maurice, Trench,
and Kingsley, and others no less noted. It was a new and astounding
departure for men of their standing to be willing to lecture to women.
They began with evening classes, but soon added others in the day for
ladies of no special occupation. This led to the taking of 67 Harley
Street, for the purpose of holding classes in ‘all branches of female
learning,’ and permission was received to name the new institution
Queen’s College.

On March 29, 1848, Professor F. D. Maurice, who has been called the
‘parent and founder of the College,’ delivered an inaugural address on
‘Queen’s College, London, its objects and methods.’ After apologising
for the word ‘college’ as somewhat too ambitious for the project in
hand, he thought well to answer in advance the objections of those who
might use Pope’s hackneyed line about ‘a little learning’ as a means of
discrediting the new classes. Even he did not anticipate very deep
draughts from the spring of knowledge. ‘We are aware that our pupils are
not likely to advance far in mathematics, but we believe that if they
learn really what they do learn, they will not have got what is
dangerous but what is safe.... I cannot conceive that a young lady can
feel her mind in a more dangerous state than it was, because she has
gained a truer glimpse into the conditions under which the world in
which it has pleased God to place her actually exists.’

Each of the first courses was preceded by a preliminary lecture, in
which the professor introduced, and almost apologised for his subject.
Latin was to win toleration as ‘one road, and perhaps the shortest, to a
thorough study of English’; in each case it was shown that the evils
anticipated from that particular subject were fanciful. These
explanations strike us quaintly now; it is hard to realise how great was
the terror of learned ladies which in those days it was fashionable to

Still, in spite of prejudice, the College flourished. There were no less
than two hundred entries the first term. In 1853 it had grown
sufficiently independent to stand on its own feet, and breaking away
from the parent institution, it was incorporated by Royal Charter. Its
objects were declared to be the general education of ladies, and the
granting of certificates of knowledge. Professor Maurice became Chairman
of Committee and Principal; and Queen’s, which loves its old traditions,
has continued the practice of appointing a male Principal, therein
differing from every other women’s college in the United Kingdom. It
feels so keenly the debt it owes its founders, that it cherishes the
idea—mistaken surely—that it can best do them honour by maintaining the
college such as it was in their day. Thus the fate of many a pioneer has
overtaken Queen’s. The vanguard have become the laggards, and useful and
admirable as is its work, it has been outstripped by younger
institutions, and no longer stands in the forefront of the battle. This
is the common fate; it is easier to improve than to originate, but the
debt of gratitude we all owe to Queen’s is none the less because so many
others have harvested where she sowed.

Since Queen’s takes pride in its conservatism and adherence to its
original methods, the latest calendar gives a very fair idea of its work
even in early days. It states that ‘the College provides for the higher
education of women, in the first place by a liberal school training,
and, subsequently, by a four years’ course of College education. The
College education leads to the grade of Associate ... and after a
further course of study to the higher grade of Fellow of the College.’
The school was not part of the original scheme, but became necessary
when the first generation of students, thoughtful women who had already
been trying to improve themselves, and eagerly welcomed the advantages
then for the first time offered them, gave way to a younger generation.
Among the applicants for admission were mere schoolgirls, and instead of
turning them away to seek inefficient preparation elsewhere, it was
resolved to start a preparatory department for their benefit. This
developed into a small school for girls under fourteen, the age at which
pupils are admitted into the College. Here the students belong to two
categories: those who follow a prescribed course laid down by the
authorities, and those who enter for single classes, and arrange their
work themselves. The former class are known as ‘compounders,’ and pay a
composition fee of £8 to £10 per term. They must attend eighteen hours a
week of regular class teaching. The regulations fix the subjects for
twelve hours; parents or guardians for the other six. The prescribed
work includes—(_a_) two languages: English, two hours, and French,
German, Latin, or Greek, two hours; (_b_) two sciences: Mathematics and
Arithmetic, four hours; Geography, one hour, Natural Philosophy, one
hour, when exemption is granted in Mathematics; (_c_) English History,
one hour, Ancient or Modern History, one hour; (_d_) Holy Scripture, one

Candidates for the Fellowship must have passed the examination for the
Associateship at least one academical year previously to entering for
the Fellowship examination. For this, one principal subject of study
must be chosen, with not fewer than two additional subjects. Since only
three students had, in 1897, concluded this additional course, the
Associateship may be regarded as the ordinary goal of Queen’s College
students. The course for this is excellent, doubtless, for girls from
fourteen to eighteen; but studies of so miscellaneous a character,
leading to a ‘grade’ which can be attained at the age of eighteen,
belong properly to the domain of school work. Queen’s differs, however,
in its organisation from the upper department of a modern High School.
Most of the teaching is given in the form of lectures. This
lecture-system marks a distinct stage in the progress of girls’
education. In the schools of the early part of the century the various
‘professors’ who came to lecture occupied an important place in the
prospectus. They ranged freely over the sciences in a manner that amused
and interested their hearers, without making any undue demand upon their
intelligence or powers of thought. Hence, the lecture-system seems to
have established itself as a first step towards attracting female pupils
to the higher branches of knowledge. The High Schools, too, were to pass
through that stage, and emerge from it. Queen’s still keeps up the
tradition of lectures, and as its discipline and general arrangements
differ from those of a school, without resembling those of a college, it
must be regarded as an institution apart, self-contained, and
unconnected. As such it is of the greatest value in supplementing the
home-teaching of girls, or undertaking the complete education of those
who do not desire to enter the University, or take up any distinct
profession. These would probably get a better practical preparation at a
good high school. Still the others are likely to remain the majority,
and there will always be an important function for an institution that
supplies good teaching without any compulsion to enter for outside
examination. Such, at any rate, is the view of the Council, who have
commemorated their Jubilee by a renewal of the lease, and the general
improvement and partial reconstruction of the premises. In its old home,
with unbroken traditions, gathering in the children and grandchildren of
its earliest students, it is continuing the work with which, fifty years
ago, it inaugurated the revival of women’s education.

Although Queen’s was the first college actually opened, other similar
schemes were being projected at the same time. The foundation in 1826 of
University College had given an impetus to advanced studies in London,
and as a perfectly undenominational institution it served as the model
for Bedford Ladies’ College. The foundress and benefactor of Bedford was
Mrs. Reid. Her wish to help girls took effect in 1847 in the
establishment of classes at her own house. Two years later she took a
house in Bedford Square and gave £1500 towards the initial expenses.
Mrs. Reid and her friends were ambitious. They meant to found a real
place of higher education for women, and in doing so they did not
hesitate to break with the past. Mrs. Reid felt convinced that women
could best understand the needs of girls, and though a committee
consisting chiefly of men might at that time have included more
distinguished names, she probably kept in mind the time to come when the
college would be able to invite its own old pupils on to its committee.
The co-operation of ladies was in the first instance secured by the
institution of lady-visitors, to be present in turn at lectures—a plan
at that time considered indispensable, and adopted also at Queen’s. It
was arranged that the College Board should include the forty
lady-visitors and six gentlemen. This Board annually appointed the
Council of Management, and the Council elected the professors and all
the officers of the college. This plan seemed to answer, and the
college, which was fortunate enough to secure the services of such able
men as De Morgan, F. W. Newman, and Dr. Carpenter, entered on a
successful career. After a while pupils came in from a distance.
Provision had to be made for these, and in 1861 a second house was taken
and the upper floors adapted as a residence, while the lower ones were
used for class-rooms. For a few years Bedford too had to maintain a
school, but this was not part of the promoters’ scheme, and they hailed
the first signs of improved school teaching as a pretext for closing it.
This happened in 1868, at a time when circumstances made a complete
reorganisation of the college necessary with a distinct declaration of

The change had been hastened by the death of Mrs. Reid. She left a
considerable part of her fortune in the charge of three trustees, Miss
Bostock, Miss J. Martineau, and Miss E. E. Smith, to be utilised for
‘purposes of higher education.’ This seemed a suitable moment to seek
incorporation, and in 1869 Bedford College received its charter. Its
objects were thus described:

‘1. To continue with an improved constitution the College for women
which has been carried on since 1849 in Bedford Square, London, and has
been known since the year 1860 as Bedford College.

‘2. To provide thereby a liberal education for women, such education not
to extend beyond secular subjects.’

Henceforth the management was vested in members of the college, with a
Council elected from the number and a President, to be called the
Visitor. This office has been held successively by Erasmus Darwin, Mark
Pattison, and Miss Anna Swanwick.

Bedford, like Queen’s, was happy in its founders, but to none does it
owe more than to Miss Bostock. After Mrs. Reid’s death she took over the
care of the college as a sacred trust, devoting to it the greater part
of her time, and helping it with money and good counsel. Happily she
lived to see the fruit of her labours, and to know that Bedford College
had won an assured position through its connection with the London

Its beginnings, like that of most women’s institutions, had to be
tentative. The first lectures probably had a more popular character than
those now given; and since they aimed rather at general culture than a
systematic course of study, Literature, History, and Language would draw
the largest audiences. But from the very first Latin, Science, and
Mathematics were taught, and the college remembers with due pride that
George Eliot was a member of its earliest Latin class. At any rate the
promoters were quite sure of their aims. The daring words, ‘a liberal
education for women,’ had been uttered without extenuation or apology.
But in those days Bedford College stood alone, with no academic body to
test its work and direct its curriculum. Nor was public opinion yet
fully ripe for a real University education for women. Bedford had to
wait another ten years before the opening of the London degrees came to
fix its position and define its studies. They were not wasted years. The
college was giving numbers of intelligent and eager girls their first
insight into real knowledge, and teaching them to be dissatisfied with
narrow, cramping instruction. Many of them have gone out into the world
to hand on the impulse and inspiration gained here, and help to
influence that public opinion which alone has made admission to the
Universities possible. In 1874 the college was helped by a move to
better premises. When in 1879 London opened its degrees to women, the
opportunity of Bedford had come, and it was ready to use it. From this
date onward its history belongs to that of Women’s University Education.

These two earliest colleges may be regarded as not only pioneers but
also parent institutions. They drew within the sphere of their influence
many of those women who were to train up the next generation. Among the
earliest pupils of the Queen’s College evening classes was Miss Buss,
who was already teaching in her mother’s private school, and was
destined to found the first public school for girls. She was one of the
first to win the governess diploma. Another was Miss Dorothea Beale, so
well known for her work at Cheltenham. She remained at Queen’s from 1849
to 1856, first teaching Mathematics, then Latin, and afterwards in
charge of the school. In 1858 she became Principal of the Cheltenham
Ladies’ College, which had already been at work for five years.

The Cheltenham College differed in its original idea from Queen’s and
Bedford. Both these had been founded with the purpose of giving women
such advanced education as they were at that time capable of receiving,
and had gradually been compelled by the exigencies of the case to
provide for girls as well. Cheltenham, though called a college in
imitation of the boys’ college in that town and some other public
schools, really aimed in the first instance at providing for girls
similar educational advantages to those which their brothers enjoyed in
the same town. As King’s College had suggested Queen’s, the boys’
college at Cheltenham suggested the girls’. Twelve years elapsed between
the foundation of the two; and Queen’s and Bedford were already pointing
the way when a small committee of enthusiasts met at the house of Mr.
Bellairs, one of H.M. Inspectors, and drew up a prospectus, inviting the
public to take shares in the new undertaking. A day-school was all that
was at first contemplated, and the subjects to be taught there were
described as Holy Scripture and the Liturgy, history, geography,
grammar, arithmetic, French, music, drawing, needlework. German,
Italian, and dancing to be extras. The proposal found favour. Shares to
the amount of about £2000 were taken up, a house hired, and the new
venture started with good auspices, 88 pupils entering the first term,
and the numbers soon going up to 120. It is not quite easy to understand
why this prosperous beginning was not followed up. After a while the
numbers went down, and the college seemed to be losing favour. Probably
it was ahead of local public opinion, not yet abreast of North London,
where Miss Buss was already successfully at work. The first years were
times of struggle, and even the appointment of Miss Beale in 1858 did
not at once turn the scale. After forty years of successful work in the
college, Miss Beale can enjoy the pleasure of contrasting then and now.
Some of her reminiscences throw a curious light on public opinion in the
early fifties. The curriculum, unpretentious as it seems, proved too
advanced. Parents objected to the thoroughness of the teaching, and the
time given to arithmetic and similar subjects. Some disliked the annual
examination, which was held to be unfeminine, and the difficulty of
obtaining good teachers was almost insuperable. In regard to these Miss
Beale suffered through being ahead of her times. She desired especially
two things: that the teachers should be women, for, to quote her own
words, ‘we think it essential to the right moral training of girls that
the whole internal discipline and much of the moral training should be
in the hands of ladies’; and that they should be to some extent
specialists, the only way to abolish the textbook cram and unintelligent
memory work then in vogue in girls’ schools. How she set out again and
again to seek for teachers, and how many a time she was disappointed,
she has herself recorded in her history of the college. Her efforts show
how hard it was to found a school before the reformation of the higher
education had given the necessary impetus from above. It was a case of
making bricks without straw.

Perhaps the practical difficulties in the way of finance were really the
most hampering, for the founders had too little experience of these
matters; and a Mr. Brancker, who as treasurer, by readjusting the whole
system of fees, put the College on a sound financial basis, may almost
count as its second founder.

In 1863, five years after Miss Beale took office, some Oxford examiners
were invited to inspect and report on the school. This was a new
departure; it meant an acknowledgment of the connection which should
exist between girls’ schools and the Universities. A small thing in
itself, but typical of the many changes that the next five-and-twenty
years were to bring.

From this time onward the College was brought into close connection with
every educational reform in England; and its history, like that of the
North London Collegiate, presents in miniature the various changes of
this busy quarter of a century. In 1863 an informal examination was held
for girls in the papers of the Cambridge Local Examination. This was the
beginning of a new departure, and from that time forth preparation for
one or other of the local University examinations formed part of the
work of both schools. In 1866, Miss Beale and Miss Buss were called upon
to give evidence before the Royal Commission, and the plan of these two
schools was thus brought before the notice of the general public. The
interest that resulted in all questions concerning the education of
girls reacted on these first schools. For Miss Buss it won an endowment,
for Cheltenham that recognition which means success. It became possible
to raise the standard and enlarge the curriculum. Mathematics, Science,
Latin and Greek, were added to the prospectus. Applications from pupils
outside the town necessitated the opening of a boarding-house in 1864.
The College was fast outgrowing its first home; then came a fresh
obstacle to overcome. Building had become essential, but prejudice stood
in the way. Although good premises and beautiful surroundings have long
been regarded as essential for boys’ schools and colleges and a really
important factor in the training given there, the prejudice that any
makeshift was good enough for girls has died hard, if indeed it can even
now be called dead. Miss Beale naturally desired to see the now
flourishing College in adequate and beautiful buildings. This seemed to
some of the governors too daring a departure. However, after many
struggles and defeats, the party of progress carried the day. The new
premises, the nucleus of the present beautiful College buildings, were
opened in 1873. Of course they had the effect of attracting additional
numbers; and when three years later, further extension became necessary,
it appeared that the College had not merely outgrown its premises, but
also its constitution. The time had come to put it on a more lasting
basis. At a meeting of shareholders it was decided to renounce all claim
on a profit, and accept instead a right of nomination on each share, as
is done at several boys’ proprietary schools. The whole income became
available for the payment of teachers, the maintenance and improvement
of the buildings, school furniture and apparatus. The government was
placed in the hands of a council of twenty-four persons, six being
representative members chosen by the Bishop of the Diocese, the
Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London, the Lady Principal and
the staff of teachers, while the remaining eighteen were elected by the
shareholders. The inclusion of women on this body has proved specially
beneficial to the College.

By this time there were 500 girls in the school, and ten licensed
boarding-houses. Many internal changes had taken place, corresponding to
the changes in the world without. The Cambridge Local Examinations had
proved helpful in the early days, and the establishment in 1868 of the
Cambridge Higher Local supplied a definite aim for the work of the
senior classes. It has always been popular at Cheltenham, and over 500
girls have passed it from the College. Another impetus was given to work
by the institution of the special women’s examination of the University
of London; during the nine years of its existence, one-third of the
successful candidates came from Cheltenham. But it was the formal
opening of the London degrees that led to the present complete
organisation of the College with its system of departments, leading
respectively to the Oxford Senior, Cambridge Higher, and London
University Examinations. By this time Girton, Newnham, and other women’s
colleges had come into existence. Cheltenham could send its pupils to
continue their studies at the older Universities, and the specialist
teachers, for whom Miss Beale had sighed in vain in the early days, were
now forthcoming. Fashion too was beginning to smile on those more
serious studies which the College had so long pursued in the face of
prejudice. The time of struggle was over. Cheltenham was no longer in
advance of the tide, but moving harmoniously with it, giving help and
receiving it.

Cheltenham College, as it now exists, has certain peculiarities which
distinguish it from most of the girls’ schools of the present day.
Firstly, it does not receive all comers, but is distinctly intended for
the ‘daughters of gentlemen,’ and references in regard to social
standing are required before admission. Secondly, it combines the
functions of a day and boarding-school, by a system of boarding-houses
which belong to the Council, and are under the general control and
supervision of the Principal. Thirdly, it is not one large school, but a
system of departments under separate heads, all under the direction of
the Principal. Division I. is under Miss Beale herself. The work is
directed towards: (1) the London Degrees; (2) the Cambridge Higher
Local; (3) the Oxford Senior and Higher Local Examinations. This
division is the College proper, and is organised to some extent on
college lines. Division II. has about 200 pupils between twelve and
sixteen. Division III., the juvenile department, has about 70 pupils
between seven and twelve. Below this comes the Kindergarten. By-students
may attend single courses of lectures as at Queen’s and Bedford.

Cheltenham College is thus enabled from its own resources to take a
child straight from the nursery, and after many years send her forth as
a full-fledged graduate of London University. It is neither to be
expected nor desired that many girls should thus receive the whole of
their education under one roof, but while some attend one department and
some another, the College does in itself comprise the three stages of
education: primary, secondary, higher. It has gone even further, for it
takes an important part in the work of training teachers, which has been
so largely developed of late years. The training department has three
distinct divisions, in which teachers are prepared for Kindergarten,
Secondary, and Public Elementary Schools. The ‘Hall of Residence,’ which
is growing so much in favour now, is also represented at Cheltenham by
St. Hilda’s, a residential college for students over eighteen, and in
particular the twenty foundationers who are intending teachers and are
received at reduced fees. Finally, the Old Girls’ Guild with its eleven
hundred members all over the world, its College Settlement in the East
End of London, and its biennial meetings at Cheltenham, keeps the
College in constant touch with the work, social, philanthropic, and
professional, that is being done by women at the present day.

The Cheltenham College has become a little world of itself. It presents
in miniature each of the developments in women’s education which has
taken place in the last fifty years. The dignity of its beautiful
buildings, the ideals which take visible form in the statues of
representative women, and the stained-glass presentations of Scripture
characters and female virtues, seem to link it to the past; the energy
and enthusiasm of its Principal, and the full tide of life that pulses
through the whole, assure its place in the future of girls’ education.

                              CHAPTER III
                          LIGHT IN DARK PLACES

The fifties had witnessed the rise of these earliest colleges, and given
hope to a little band of reformers whose efforts on behalf of light and
progress were the chief feature of the sixties. Never was a reform
happier in its advocates. Frances Buss, dreaming, while yet in her
teens, of giving to future generations of girls that public school life
which had been denied to her; Anne Clough, recording in her early diary
the longing to do her country some great service; Emily Davies, devoting
all her thought and energy to making that dream of a women’s college a
reality; Dorothea Beale, struggling against opposition and prejudice to
build up the wonderful organisation at Cheltenham—these were some of the
pioneers whose names have become as household words, whose portraits
hang in many a home even beyond the seas, the patron saints of our girl

Side by side with these worked others, both men and women, who had come
to realise the deplorable condition of girls’ education. On the one
hand, complaints were heard of their incompetence in domestic matters.
‘They cannot keep house accounts,’ says one writer; ‘they neither can
make puddings nor direct servants in making them; they cannot make or
mend their clothes; in a sick-room they are either so nervous or so
senseless that their presence is worse than useless.’ On the other, we
hear of the terrible strain consequent on what was by curious irony
called over-education—girls sitting at their books or piano from morning
to night, loading their memories with undigested facts. Both evils
proceeded from the same cause. ‘Everything that is taught is taught
dogmatically, and consequently the powers of research, inquiry,
analysis, and reason either are altogether crushed out or rust from want
of use.’[11]

At this time public schools for girls were practically unknown. Teaching
was no profession for women—it was the acknowledged resource of the
middle-aged spinster left penniless by her father, or the widow whose
husband had made ducks and drakes of the money. It was the one thing
that anybody could do, since it required neither knowledge nor
experience. All that was necessary was to hire a house, with a little
saved or borrowed capital, and put up a brass plate on the door,
announcing the existence of a select establishment for young ladies.
Each schoolmistress did what seemed good in her own eyes or those of her
pupils’ parents, and though, when the principal was herself a cultivated
woman, she often inspired her pupils with a love of books that remained
with them in after years, these cases were the exceptions. The condition
of the great mass of cheap day-schools was deplorable.

An attempt to penetrate beyond these brass-plated doors was made by
Madame Bodichon, who as Barbara Leigh Smith had attended some of the
earliest classes at Bedford College. The results of her inquiry were
given to the Social Science Congress at Glasgow in 1860. She strongly
denounced the little cheap private day-schools, academies, and such
like, ‘often conducted by broken-down trades-people, who failing in
gaining a livelihood in a good trade, take in despair to what is justly
considered, in consequence of the competition of the schools assisted by
government, as a very bad business.’ Happily, times have changed, and we
can afford to smile at the picture of these ‘genteel’ establishments,
with their ‘insufficient room and ventilation,’ where the young ladies
were taught about the ‘four elements, earth, air, fire, and water,’ and,
shutting their eyes and their windows, studied the wonders of nature in
little cheap catechisms.

Some test for distinguishing good schools from bad ones seemed desirable
in the best interests of teachers and pupils. In 1857 and 1858 Oxford
and Cambridge had instituted local examinations for young persons not
members of the Universities. These had proved useful in raising the
standard of middle-class education, giving an aim and a stimulus to
small schools. Why not do the same for girls? It was decided to make the
attempt. In October 1862 a small committee was formed in London, with
Miss Emily Davies as secretary. Permission was asked and given to
conduct an informal examination for girls with the same papers as were
set to the boys. The examiners looked over the answers and reported on
them. The results were somewhat startling. Out of forty senior
candidates thirty-four failed in preliminary arithmetic. The juniors did
a little better. The average work in English was pronounced fair, and in
grammar very good. French did not compare unfavourably with the boys. In
German only twelve candidates presented themselves; all passed—three
with distinction. Not such a bad record after all, but of course it was
only the progressive schools that were represented. These learned that
they must look to their arithmetic, and they did so with excellent
results. Both the successes and the failures showed the value of the
experiment, and it was resolved to repeat it. A memorial was sent to the
Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, signed by more than a thousand persons
engaged in teaching or interested in education. The result was the
formal admission of girls to these examinations. In 1865 they were held
at six places: Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Manchester, London, and
Sheffield. A hundred and twenty-six candidates entered; ninety passed. A
great advance had been made in two years. Arithmetic was no longer a
stumbling-block. Out of the whole number of candidates only three failed
in it. English history came in for a share of praise. ‘The examiners
thought the style of the girls’ replies better than that of the boys.’
‘The answers of the senior and junior girls were orderly and methodical,
and the writing and expression good. The papers of many gave proof of
care and ability on the part of both teacher and scholar,’ and more to
the same effect. In 1866 there were two hundred and two girls at ten
centres. This time the report was even more satisfactory.

These results were most valuable. They proved that there must be many
good schools in the country, and some teachers who could learn from the
success and failure of their pupils. No time could have been more
opportune for this experiment, for just then a Royal Commission was
making an inquiry into all the schools that had not been included in the
Popular Education Commission, or that which examined into the nine great
public schools. This really meant a general survey of boys’ secondary
education; and to boys it would have been confined, had it not been for
those same energetic women who had inaugurated the reform of girls’
education. Here was an opportunity not to be missed. Once more
signatures were collected for a memorial, this time to beg for the
inclusion of girls’ schools in the scope of the inquiry. This was
granted, and consent given to the admission of a few ladies to give
evidence. Some trepidation was felt at so novel a proceeding. Thirty
years later, when another such Commission was appointed, and women were
included among the Commissioners, their appointment caused less remark
than the invitation given in 1865 to a few ladies to give information on
a subject on which none were better qualified to speak. So quickly has
public opinion changed!

Nine ladies gave evidence before the Commission. The most valuable
testimony came from Miss Buss, at that time head of a large private
school, Miss Beale, Principal of Cheltenham College, and Miss Emily
Davies, who was taking so active a part in all reforms that concerned
girls. Eight Assistant Commissioners were requested to make special
inquiries as to the girls’ schools in selected districts. Their task
proved no easy one. The request to be allowed to inspect schools or
procure information about them by other means was met sometimes by
indignant refusal, at others by a silence as eloquent. However, in spite
of difficulties, it proved possible to obtain returns from a good number
and examine some more or less thoroughly. Since the assumption seems
fair that it was the superior schools which were most ready for
inspection, the reports must be read with the mental addition of an even
worse state of things behind that remained unrevealed. At any rate,
there was enough to make out a case for action.

The report which was issued in 1867 summarised the impression formed by
the Assistant Commissioners. ‘It cannot be denied that the picture
brought before us of the state of middle-class female education is, on
the whole, unfavourable. The general deficiency in girls’ education is
stated with the utmost confidence, and with entire agreement, with
whatever difference of words, by many witnesses of authority. Want of
thoroughness and foundation; want of system; slovenliness and showy
superficiality; inattention to rudiments; undue time given to
accomplishments, and those not taught intelligently or in any scientific
manner; want of organisation—these may sufficiently indicate the
character of the complaints we have received in their most general
aspect. It is needless to observe that the same complaints apply to a
great extent to boys’ education. But, on the whole, the evidence is
clear that, not as they might be but as they are, the girls’ schools are
inferior in this view to the boys’ schools.’ Mr. Norris, one of the
Assistant Commissioners, says: ‘We find, as a rule, a very small amount
of professional skill, an inferior set of school-books, a vast deal of
dry, uninteresting task-work, rules put into the memory with no
explanation of their principles, no system of examination worthy of the
name, a very false estimate of the relative value of the several kinds
of acquirement, a reference to effect rather than to solid worth, a
tendency to fill or adorn rather than strengthen the mind.’

There is unanimous testimony as to the undue amount of time given to
accomplishments, music in particular. There are some elaborate
calculations as to the total number of hours spent on acquiring a
mechanical skill on the piano, though about a third of the pupils never
make the slightest use of it after they have left school. The music
played is bad; there is little training for the taste and none for the
mind in this study to which girls devote almost as much time as their
brothers do to classics. Next to music modern languages absorbed most of
the time and energies of the pupils, and yet the Commissioners
unanimously report with severity on the results attained. Very few girls
could compose a French sentence correctly; slipshod grammar and bad
pronunciation are noted, and set down to the habit of speaking French
out of school hours, by which a sort of jargon was developed
incomprehensible to an outsider, and not even up to the standard of
Stratford-atte-Bowe. On the subject of Science Mr. Fitch wrote: ‘Few
things are sadder than to see how the sublimest of all physical sciences
is vulgarised in ladies’ schools. No subject, if properly taught, is
better calculated to exalt the imagination and to kindle large thoughts
in a pupils mind. Yet all the grandeur and vastness are eliminated from
the study of Astronomy as commonly pursued; and the pupils whose
attention has never been directed to any one of the great laws by which
the universe is governed, think they are learning astronomy when they
are twisting a globe round and round, and solving a few problems in
latitude and longitude.’

Arithmetic comes in for the worst censure. It is spoken of as ‘the weak
point in women teachers.’ ‘It would be an affectation of politeness,’
says Mr. Hammond, to say a word on behalf of the arithmetic taught by
ladies. It is always meagre and almost always unintelligent.’ The
school-books receive almost unqualified abuse, in particular _Mangnall’s
Questions_ and ‘all the noxious brood of catechisms.’ History and
‘miscellaneous subjects’ are too often taught from these, geography and
grammar from wretched little text-books, all the sciences in the course
of a few lectures. Now and then a word of praise is given to English
literature and composition, _e.g._, ‘English literature occupies a more
prominent position in the education of girls than of boys.... The object
of the lessons is to exercise the memory and to cultivate the
imagination of the scholars; their most beneficial result is observable
in the style of composition acquired by girls at a comparatively early
age. Whereas a boy of fifteen hardly ever succeeds in putting together
half a dozen readable sentences, a girl of the same age often writes
with much freedom and fluency.... A bundle of letters written by girls
of seventeen or eighteen afforded me real pleasure; many of these were
well conceived and well expressed, and they presented a variety of style
and subject which proved that they were not manufactured to order or
cast in any stereotyped mould.’[12]

One of the most serious defects is the lack of all physical training,
while attempts are made to combine exercise and instruction, _e.g._ by
repeating French verbs when out walking, thus achieving neither result

Not only were the Commissioners of one mind in their strictures, but
there is a striking unanimity about their recommendations. Mr. Giffard’s
lucid summary may be taken as also representing the views of his
colleagues: ‘If I were to sum up the impression I derived from my visits
to girls’ schools, I should say, (1) that the mental training of the
best girls’ schools is unmistakably inferior to that of the best boys’
schools; (2) that there is no natural inaptitude in girls to deal with
any of the subjects which form the staple of a boy’s education; (3) that
there is no disinclination on the part of the majority of teachers to
assimilate the studies of girls to those of boys; (4) that the present
inferiority of girls’ training is due to the despotism of fashion, or,
in other words, the despotism of parents or guardians.’

There is a general consensus of opinion on the following points:—

1. Most girls’ schools are too small.

‘There is little life, no collective instruction, and nothing to call
forth the best powers of either teacher or learner in a school where
each class consists of two or three pupils only.’—(Mr. Fitch.)

2. They lack proper organisation.

‘There is a certain number of classes or of girls learning particular
things, but there is neither any definite course of studies nor any
grouping of classes, so as to play into one another.’—(Mr. Bryce.)

3. Want of proper proportion in arranging subjects.

4. Poor quality of the teaching, due to the inferior education of the
teachers themselves.

5. Lack of an external standard to act as a stimulus to the learner and
help to the teacher.

Mr. Bryce’s recommendations are of special interest, since they mark out
the lines on which the chief reforms have proceeded. They are these:—

1. The establishment of schools for girls under proper authority and
supervision. ‘It would be at all events most desirable to provide in
every town large enough to be worthy of a grammar school a day school
for girls, under public management, where a plain, sound education
should be offered at the lowest prices (from £5 per annum or upwards)
compatible with the provision of good salaries for teachers, and which
should be regularly examined by competent persons thereto appointed.’

2. Considerable changes in the course of instruction for girls of all
classes. ‘It would be proper to lay more stress upon arithmetic, to
introduce mathematics everywhere, and Latin where there is a fair
prospect of a girl’s being able to spend four hours a week upon it for
three years.’

3. The foundation of institutions which should give to women the same
opportunity of obtaining higher education which the Universities give to
boys. The lack of this higher training injures the school education by
lowering its tone, and opening up no wider field of knowledge to the
more studious and eager scholars. An even worse result is ‘the low
standard of education and of knowledge about education among
schoolmistresses and governesses.’... ‘It is from the advent of more
highly educated teachers that the first improvement in the education of
girls is to be hoped for.’

Such was the verdict of this famous Commission, whose ‘revelations’ have
figured in so many prizegiving speeches. The report filled twenty stout
volumes, which were duly relegated to their place on official shelves,
to accumulate dust; and there, thirty years after, they have been joined
by the nine volumes drawn up by our latest educational Commission. Truly
has it been said that the best way to shelve a question in England is to
let a Royal Commission sit upon it. But even a Royal Commission and a
twenty-volume report could not shelve the subject of girls’ education;
the reformers were too much in earnest. Miss Beale extracted from these
ponderous blue tomes all that related to girls, and reprinted it in a
compact little volume. Even before its appearance action had been taken.
The Cambridge Local Examinations had drawn schoolmistresses together and
given them a common interest. They now began to form associations in
different parts of the country. One was started in London, with Miss
Buss as President and Miss Davies as Secretary. The North of England
proved a specially congenial sphere for this form of union. The Ladies’
Honorary Council of the Yorkshire Board of Education was an outcome of
the introduction into that county of the Local Examinations, but it soon
extended its operations over wider fields, _e.g._ domestic economy and
sanitary science, as well as the extension of endowments to girls.

Even more far-reaching in its results was the North of England Council.
This too originated in Schoolmistresses’ associations, among which Miss
A. J. Clough was a moving spirit. In 1865 she contributed to
_Macmillan’s Magazine_ an article setting forth certain schemes for
improving girls’ education. One of these was to establish in other large
towns courses of lectures similar to those given at Queen’s and Bedford
Colleges, to be attended by the older pupils from schools and by
teachers. Co-operation between several towns would make it possible to
engage really able lecturers from Oxford and Cambridge. The experiment
was first tried at Liverpool, and spread to Manchester, Leeds, and
Sheffield. Associations were formed in these four towns, and by the
election of two representatives from each, the ‘North of England Council
for Promoting the Higher Education of Women’ was constituted in 1867,
with Miss Clough as secretary and Mrs. Butler as president. The lectures
proved a phenomenal success. In the autumn of 1868 the numbers of the
combined audiences in nine towns amounted to 1500, and Mr. F. Myers
writing of them in _Macmillan_, enumerated their advantages thus:

‘1. They contain within themselves the germ of university extension.

‘2. They confront young women in a reasonable manner with reasonable

‘3. They encourage and help governesses, who attend in large numbers,
and are glad to have good teaching and to know of the best books.

‘4. They form a nucleus for educational libraries and for the
friendships of fellow-students.

‘5. They pay.’

These lectures were in actual fact the beginning of University
Extension, but the work of the North of England Council did not stop
here. A further aim for study was needed, and some more advanced
examination than those for girls under eighteen, if women were to be
qualified to instruct girls in anything but elementary subjects. A
petition was drawn up and sent to Cambridge with the signatures of over
600 ladies engaged in teaching, 300 interested in it, and six members of
the late Schools’ Inquiry Commission. They pointed out ‘the great want
which is felt by women of the upper and middle classes, particularly by
those engaged in teaching, of higher examinations suitable to their own
needs.’ The petition was granted, and the first Women’s Examination held
in 1869.

Looking back on these past days now that it is the fashion to decry
examination as the death of education, it is interesting to realise what
this much abused system really did to give it fresh life. The Cambridge
Senior and Junior Locals were the first link established between girls’
schools and the university, and it would be difficult to over-estimate
their value in this period of chaos. Their utility was recognised at
once. They spread all over the country and to the colonies; and they are
widely used by schools, both public and private, and by children working
with governesses at home. Edinburgh and Durham soon followed suit in the
admission of girls, and in 1870 Oxford too relented. London did its part
by instituting a special Women’s Examination on the lines of
Matriculation, and in 1869 that of Cambridge was held for the first
time. These were the germs of future developments. At London the way was
paved for opening the degrees to women; the Cambridge Women’s
Examination led to the foundation of Newnham.

To some extent the work of these examinations is done. Conditions have
changed; and the establishment of the Oxford and Cambridge Joint Board,
and the opening of the universities to women have removed the necessity
for this kind of examination in schools of the first grade. But in small
private, and in middle-grade schools, and for children working with
governesses at home, they are still of distinct use, and their
popularity does not seem to diminish, if numbers are any test. Should
they ever become needless, owing to a more perfect school organisation,
we must still hold their memory in respect, for they can show a good
record. It is their merit that at a time when no schoolmistress had a
College training and no University examiner ever entered a girls’
school, they supplied a slender link between the school and the
university, and when there was no standard for girls’ education, and
often neither organisation nor curriculum, they did afford an aim and a
stimulus, which, if not absolutely the best, proved at any rate
trustworthy guides. If examination is not education it has often led to
it, and never more successfully than in the case of girls and women.

                               CHAPTER IV
                            THE HIGH SCHOOLS

The Report of the Schools’ Inquiry Commission in 1867 served as a
revelation, for it brought home to the general public the exceedingly
unsatisfactory condition of middle-class education for both boys and
girls. Its immediate outcome was an examination and redistribution of
endowments, in which for the first time the claims of girls were
considered. But it was evident that even the most judicious application
of existing endowments could not suffice to fill all the educational
gaps in the country. The Commissioners had therefore included among
their recommendations the following:—1. To offer proprietary and private
schools the same inspection and examination as were required in public
schools, and to make their position more assured by a system of school
registration. 2. To give power to towns and parishes to rate themselves
for the establishment of new schools. These suggestions remained a pious
opinion, for no action was officially taken, but (as so often happens in
England) private enterprise stepped in, and compensated for public
laxness. The inquiry had done good service in throwing light on the
inefficient condition of small and cheap private schools for girls, of
which there were such large numbers in the country. Clearly what was
wanted was a system of schools large enough to permit of low fees and
satisfactory grading. Much of the evidence had been negative, and showed
what to avoid. Happily there were a few schools in existence which could
serve as beacon lights. Of these the North London Collegiate and the
Cheltenham Ladies’ College took the first rank. The former, though
really a large private school, had been organised by Miss Buss on public
lines, with a view to being ultimately placed on a sound and permanent
footing. The latter was a large proprietary school, so planned as to be
in no need of public money. Both Miss Buss and Miss Beale were unanimous
in urging the establishment of large public schools for girls. Speaking
of London, Miss Buss had said, ‘I think, in the first place, there are
scarcely any good schools; in the next place, there are very few good
teachers; and in the third place, there is no motive offered to the
girls for study nor to their parents to keep them at school.’ Miss Beale
considered that schools were preferable to private teaching at home,
because one person could not be mistress of all the subjects to be
taught, ‘and a good teacher can scarcely continue so when condemned to
the monotony of the ordinary private school-room.’ Small schools could
not be properly graded except when very high fees permitted of small

Large day-schools with low fees for girls were called for. This much was
agreed on, but where was the necessary capital to be found? Among the
public-spirited men and women who set themselves to answer this
question, the foremost place belongs to Mrs. William Grey. She had for
some time been working to get a share of educational endowments for
girls. ‘Let me remind you,’ she wrote at this time, ‘that while there
are in or near London alone the magnificent first-grade endowed schools
for boys of the Charterhouse, Merchant Taylors, St. Paul’s, Harrow, and
Eton, besides King’s College and University College schools, there is
not in the whole of London an endowed school of a similar class for
girls, and that while the proportion of educational endowments for girls
to those for boys is as 1:92, the proportion of women supporting
themselves is to men as 1:7.19; that is, to quote the words of Mr.
William Brook, “seven times as many men are employed as women, but men
have ninety-two times as much money as women, to arm, equip, and qualify
themselves for the battle of life.”’

Failing endowments, or even side by side with them, capital must be
obtained from other sources: this was the problem which had now to be
faced. On May 31st, 1871, Mrs. Grey read a paper before the Society of
Arts on the Education of Women. She described its extremely
unsatisfactory condition, and suggested three remedies. (1) The creation
of a sounder public opinion respecting the need and obligation of
educating women. (2) The redistribution of educational endowments so as
to give a fair share of them to girls. (3) The improvement of female
teachers by their examination and registration according to fixed

In the following October, at the Social Science Congress at Leeds, she
proposed the establishment of a national Union for the improvement of
the education of women of all classes. Its objects should be—(1) To
enlighten the public mind, through meetings and lectures throughout the
country, on the present state of female education, on the national
importance of improving it, and on the measures required for that end.
(2) To collect and disseminate information respecting the best methods
of education, the comparative advantages of large and small schools, the
influence of endowments, and generally all questions connected with the
training of girls. (3) To promote measures for the better training of
female teachers, and especially for their examination and registration
by fixed standards, so as to secure a measure of competency. (4) To
assist the formation of councils similar to the North of England Council
for the Education of Women in other divisions of the country, and, while
endeavouring to multiply local centres of activity, to afford all
workers in the same cause a common bond of union, and a means of
intercommunication and combined action.

The proposal was favourably received; 300 names were at once given in
for membership, and a provisional committee formed. Individual
subscriptions were fixed at five shillings; and an affiliation fee of
not less than a guinea annually entitled corporate associations to be
represented on the annual general council, and to all the privileges of
membership. This National Union supplied a real need. Members poured in
fast. The Princess Louise consented to become president, and the roll of
vice-presidents was a distinguished one. Branch unions were formed, and
associations already existing at Belfast, Dublin, Birmingham, Cambridge,
Clifton, Falmouth, Guernsey, Huddersfield, Norwich, Plymouth,
Northampton, Wakefield, Winchester, and Windsor were brought into
membership with the Union. Many of the Schoolmistresses’ Associations
sought affiliation: the Ladies’ Council of the Yorkshire Board of
Education, and the North of England Council also joined the Union, and
consented to appoint representatives to the central committee. With
admirably organised machinery directed by knowledge and enthusiasm,
great reforms seemed possible, and in 1872 the Union proceeded to its
first piece of constructive work, the establishment of the Girls’ Public
Day School Company.

Proceedings were inaugurated at a meeting at the Albert Hall, with Lord
Lyttelton in the chair. Proposals were brought forward for starting a
shareholding company ‘for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in
London and the provinces superior day-schools, at a moderate cost, for
girls of all classes above those provided for by the Elementary
Education Act.’ A capital of £12,000 was to be raised in 2400 shares of
£5 each. The proposal found favour, prospectuses were sent out,
accompanied by a letter from Princess Louise; 800 shares were at once
taken up, and the company was floated. Among the earliest members of its
council were the Marquis of Lorne, the Dowager Lady Stanley of Alderley,
Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, Mrs. William Grey, Miss Mary Gurney, and Miss
Shirreff, Sir Douglas Galton, K.C.B., and Mr. C. S. Roundell.

The next step was to open schools, and Chelsea was chosen as the scene
of the first experiment. Miss Porter was appointed head-mistress, and a
suitable house was hired. The school began with twenty-five girls, and
rapidly increased. A few months later a second one was opened at Notting
Hill with Miss Jones as head. For these first experimental schools no
shares were specially taken up in the neighbourhood. In future, any
place that wished for a high school was usually required to take up a
certain number, as a definite assurance of local interest. Croydon was
opened on these conditions in 1874, with twenty pupils. Then followed,
in 1875, Clapham, Hackney, Bath, Oxford, and Nottingham; in 1876,
Brighton, Gateshead, and St. John’s Wood; in 1878, Dulwich, Ipswich,
Maida Vale, Sheffield. At present the schools number thirty-four. They
are at Bath, Blackheath, Brighton, Bromley, Carlisle, Clapham (High and
Modern), Clapton, Croydon, Dover, Dulwich, Gateshead, Highbury, Ipswich,
Kensington, Liverpool, East Liverpool, Maida Vale, Newcastle, Norwich,
Nottingham, Notting Hill, Oxford, Portsmouth, East Putney, Sheffield,
Shrewsbury, South Hampstead, Streatham Hill, Sutton, Sydenham, Tunbridge
Wells, Wimbledon, York.

The fees are: for pupils under ten years of age, £10, 10s. a year;
entering the school between ten and thirteen, or remaining after ten,
£13, 10s. a year; entering after thirteen, £16, 10s. a year. The company
is on a sound financial basis, since the larger and more flourishing
schools make up for the deficiencies of the smaller ones. Until 1896 a
dividend of five per cent. was paid, now limited by resolution of the
shareholders to four per cent. The capital has been increased to

Meantime similar schools were springing up all over the country. At
Plymouth one was started by a local branch of the National Union, at
Huddersfield by a local company, at Southampton by the Hampshire
Association, at Manchester by private subscription, at Bradford by an
endowment. The impulse given by the Union and its pioneer schools was
felt everywhere, and it seemed as though before long every large town in
England would have a proprietary or public school for girls. A rival
company was founded in 1883. The Church Schools Company differed from
the Girls’ Public Day School Company in making definite Church teaching
one of its objects, while the religious instruction of the Girls’ Public
Day School Company had always aimed at being, as far as possible,
undenominational. The promoters of the Church Schools thought that as
there was room for voluntary schools side by side with board schools, so
there might also be scope for Church High Schools in spite of the
existence of the Girls’ Public Day School Company. Their original
proposal was to start schools of various grades for boys and girls above
the class attending elementary schools, where a general education should
be given, in accordance with the principles of the Church of England, at
a moderate cost.

A beginning was made with day-schools for girls, and hitherto little
else has been done. It is probable that this Church Company did, to some
extent, meet a need, but it was not a very large one. The majority of
the Church of England parents are perfectly satisfied with the religious
instruction of the Girls’ Public Day School Company schools, and the new
schools drew their pupils, not so much by an appeal to those who
disapproved on principle of the existing high schools, as by
establishing themselves in towns which the other company had not
entered. Naturally they appealed to a smaller class, and can never
expect to attain the numbers of the undenominational high schools. Hence
they have always been, to some extent, hampered, for though the company
is financially sound, and gives a small dividend to shareholders, it has
had to economise very severely in the matter of salaries and buildings.
This must always re-act to some extent on the education, and it is
probably for this reason that these Church Schools have never attained
the high position of their rivals. The fees paid vary according to the
locality, some being as low as £4, 4s., others as high as £18, 18s.; £9,
9s. to £12, 12s. seems the commonest fee. Many of the schools are very
small. At present the number is twenty-six, and they are situated at
Bournemouth, Brighton, Bury St. Edmunds, Derby, Dewsbury, Durham,
Gloucester, Guildford, Hull, Kendal, Kensington, Leicester,
Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northampton, Reading, Reigate, Richmond, St. Albans,
Streatham, Stroud Green, Sunderland, Surbiton, Wigan, Woolwich, Great
Yarmouth, York.

High Schools can now trace back their history for a quarter of a
century. In that time more than a hundred have been founded in England.
They have become the typical girls’ schools of this country, private
schools have been organised on the same lines, and the scheme of large
day schools with no distinction of class, giving a good education at a
low fee, has been almost universally accepted. It seems so simple and
natural, that it is hard to realise that twenty-five years ago it was a
strange and therefore a dangerous innovation. After all what do we mean
by a High School? There is a general impression of the meaning of the
term, though it would not be easy to define it. In the United States, a
High School is an advanced school, which can only be entered by pupils
who have already passed through the Primary and Grammar Schools; that
is, do not enter before the age of fourteen or fifteen. It is thus a
Secondary School, forming the link between the primary institutions and
the University. Our English High Schools provide both elementary and
secondary instruction, and the ages of the pupils range from seven to
nineteen. Hence, although there is a natural division between the Lower
and Upper School, the work is closely connected; the same mistresses
teach in both, and subjects such as Latin and French are usually carried
down into the lower classes. The lower part of a High School is not
exactly parallel to an Elementary School; the pupils have begun more
subjects, they have been taught in smaller classes, and by different,
less rigid methods. The High School cannot therefore at present be
regarded as the middle rung of the educational ladder. In England there
is a gap between it and the Elementary School, which is sometimes
successfully bridged by special means, but the existence of which cannot
be disregarded in any general scheme of English education. As the need
of secondary education is more generally felt, a system of schools
leading upward in direct line from the elementary school is being
naturally evolved, and connection between the two lines is being
provided by scholarships and other means. But if we disregard a few
exceptional cases, it seems best to look on the High School as an
organic whole, taking the child from the nursery to the university, and
sometimes even helping out the nursery by means of the kindergarten.

It is not uncommon to hear people talk of the High School system, but
this is misleading. In so far as the High Schools have a special system,
it is the natural outcome of the scheme of large classes and careful
gradation. Hence it resembles in many respects that which has long
prevailed in Germany and the United States. There is no High School
Code, and even under the same management, _e.g._ in the Girls’ Public
Day-School Company Schools, considerable latitude is left to the
individual head-mistress; but there are certain arrangements which are
found convenient in the organisation of large day schools, and which
prevail with modifications in all the High Schools, as well as in many
large private institutions.

The morning hours are given to class teaching; from 9 to 1, or 9.15 to
1.15, being the usual times. Subjects requiring individual instruction
(which are usually extras), _e.g._ piano, solo singing, advanced
drawing, and painting, are taught in the afternoons, also Greek in some
schools, special coaching in advanced Latin or Science, and so forth.
The principle underlying this arrangement is that of giving the best
working hours to serious mental work, and reserving accomplishments
which are rather the ornament than the essentials of education, for the
latter part, thus assigning to the subjects of instruction their proper
relative importance, and keeping the real work of the school
undisturbed. This arrangement seems so easy and natural that it would be
hardly necessary to dwell on it, were it not that until very lately the
opposite system prevailed in some schools that otherwise aimed at
thoroughness, and it was not unusual for a girl to be called away in the
middle of an important lesson in history or arithmetic, and sent to her
music. Under the present plan, the greater part of the girls have
finished their school work by one o’clock, and have the afternoon and
evening free to divide between preparation of lessons (two to three
hours), exercise, and home duties. For the benefit of those who require
help in their lessons, or cannot get a quiet room at home, a system of
afternoon preparation at school is organised. This generally lasts an
hour and a half to two hours—most schools provide a dinner for girls who
come from a distance. A whole holiday on Saturday seems the rule

Some schools have a kindergarten department attached, where little boys
are taught along with the girls, and a transition class where the
children learn to read before passing into the school proper. The
division is into forms, I. being the lowest, and VI. the highest. Large
schools divide the forms into Upper and Lower. Where a school is fully
organised, it is usual for a whole class to move up together. Backward
girls may remain in the form another year. Unfortunately many high
schools are too small to be fully organised, and in these the gaps
between the classes are too large, and general promotion impossible.
Clever girls spend one year in a class, slower ones two, and the
disadvantage for the latter is very serious, since there is a weariness
about going over the same ground twice, which is the reverse of
stimulating. Large classes can progress as quickly as smaller ones when
they are very carefully grouped. Where the pupils are at different
stages there is much waste of time, and either the weak go to the wall,
or the strong get less than their due. It is, therefore, the first
essential of a high school that the numbers should be large, not much
under two hundred.

Even when the school is large and the classes work smoothly together,
the girls do not all work evenly in every subject. To prevent waste, it
is usual to let certain subjects, perhaps Arithmetic and English,
determine promotion, and to teach the others in divisions. Two or three
forms may take French at the same time, and be rearranged for that
lesson, returning to their own rooms when it is over. This moving about
affords a pleasant change, and is quite easy when the building is a
convenient one. Indeed, suitable premises are almost as important for
the harmonious working of a school as large numbers and careful
classification. Long narrow corridors and awkward staircases are fatal
to order. Ordinary dwelling-rooms adapted for school purposes can seldom
be properly ventilated, and according to their position in the room, the
pupils suffer from draught or heat, the light falls the wrong way upon
their work, the classes have to be graded to suit the size of the rooms
rather than the abilities of the pupils. In fact nothing can be more
unsatisfactory than the adaptation as a school of an ordinary

The arrangement that seems to answer best is that of a large central
hall used for prayers and general gatherings, out of which some of the
form-rooms open, whilst the rest, with extra rooms for small divisions,
are upstairs. Of this construction the Blackheath and Sheffield High
Schools are good examples. The finest girls’ buildings are naturally
found where there is an endowment, as at the North London Collegiate,
the Bedford, and Manchester High Schools. Few, if any of the Church
schools have specially constructed buildings, and several of the Girls’
Public Day School Company’s Schools are carried on in adapted premises.
Some grant of public money for buildings to really efficient proprietary
schools would probably be the cheapest and most effective way of helping
girls’ education in many of our large towns.

The North London Collegiate, both in point of time and in importance,
claims precedence as the pioneer high school. It was in working order
when the Girls’ Public Day School Company started, and was doubtless the
model set before its promoters. The following account written in 1883 by
Mrs. Bryant, who is now head-mistress, is in many ways typical, and
applies _mutatis mutandis_ to the general routine of all fully equipped
high schools.

‘Entering the school with the girls in the morning, we should proceed
first through the entrance hall down to the basement, and into the
cloak-rooms. Here each girl has a numbered place provided with hooks for
cloak and hat, umbrella-stand, boot-rack, and bag for the house-boots,
which she always wears while in school. There are also shelves for books
while dressing is going on, and forms for use in changing boots. Since
the space allotted is ample, and the girls come in relays, both before
and after school, crowding is avoided.

‘When ready, each girl goes upstairs with her books to the great hall,
where the rule of silence is strictly enforced. At 9.15, all are
assembled for prayers, each form in its place, while the prefects, who
are members of the sixth form, and are elected by it and the teachers of
the upper division of the school, are scattered among the other forms,
as guardians of public order, during the interval of waiting. After
prayers, each form marches out with its mistress to its own room. Five
class-rooms open out of the hall on the ground floor; these are used by
the upper division of the school, including the sixth form, and four
sub-divisions of the fifth form. Five more open out of the hall gallery,
used by all the sub-divisions of the fourth form, which constitute the
middle division of the school. Above these two tiers, there is a third
set of rooms, three class-rooms and the drawing school. The lower
divisions of the school use these four rooms, besides one of the
irregularly placed rooms. Of the latter there are several, lying with
the laboratories, lecture-room, libraries, and music-rooms, on the side
of the great stone staircase, opposite the Clothworkers’ hall.

‘Each class room contains 5600 cubic feet, and is fitted for thirty-two
girls. All have Swedish desks, except the elder girls, who have separate
desks with chairs. There is a raised platform for the teacher, with a
chair and table. All the rooms are fitted with cupboards, and in most
there is a small circulating library, which the girls can use on payment
of a small subscription. The pine wainscot, brick walls, and tiled
fire-places of the class-rooms, make a good background for the
decorations of the Kyrle societies, which exist in each class; and all
the rooms have pictures on the walls, as well as notice-boards and
time-tables. Another institution of the decorative kind is the window
garden, with which many of the rooms are provided, and in which the
girls take, for the most part, great pride.

‘In these rooms the hard work of the day goes on till 1.30, with an
interval, as near the middle as possible, of twenty-five minutes, for a
light lunch and drill. In five separate relays, the girls proceed to the
dining-hall, which, with the kitchens and housekeeper’s room, lies under
the great hall. Here they can buy buns, biscuits, bread and butter,
fruit, coffee, milk, and lemonade, and, while talking as loudly and as
much as they please, they are required to take their stand in orderly
lines across the room. From the dining-hall the girls proceed to the
gymnasium, a very fine room, 100 feet long by 30 feet broad, where they
have musical drill for a quarter of an hour. Monday and Thursday,
however, are days for special calisthenic exercise, lasting half-an-hour
each day. Then work is resumed till 1.30, when the school is dismissed
in relays, as before stated.’

Even more important than the routine of a school is its curriculum; and
here the need of the reformer’s hand is still felt acutely. The subjects
included in the Girls’ Public Day School Company prospectuses are the
following—Religious Instruction, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic,
Mathematics, Book-keeping, English grammar, composition, and literature,
History, Geography, French, German, Latin, the elements of Physical
Science, Social Economy, Drawing, Class-singing and Harmony, Gymnastic
Exercises, and Needlework. To these Greek must now be added, since it is
taught in every school that prepares for college. The prospectus says
‘any or all of these may be taught,’ which means that the head-mistress
has, within certain limits, a right of selection. Hence the tendency of
schools, even under the same management, to vary greatly. Not only is
there as yet no consensus of opinion in England as to the best
curriculum for girls’ schools, but even the general aim to be kept in
view seems by no means determined. Mrs. Bryant lays down the
incontrovertible dictum that ‘the ideal of the curriculum is a balance
of subjects so that all normal faculties and interests may be
cultivated.’ But there is another side which cannot be neglected, and
the claims of the ideal vanish into insignificance before the demands of
practical life and outside examination. In spite of the repeated
promises that examination is to be servant and not master we must not
hope to escape from its dominion as long as it is the ‘open sesame’ of
colleges and professions. A rough test, it is still the best hitherto
devised, and serves on the whole to separate the sheep from the goats.
Since we must, therefore, acknowledge its sovereignty, it behoves us to
see that it exercises a wise and benevolent tyranny. However much we may
protest, the curriculum of a school will always be largely determined by
the nature of its leaving examination, since this regulates the work of
the upper forms, and these more or less mould the lower. Some schools
reduce this examination work to a minimum, reserving it entirely for the
highest form, while others use the machinery of outside examinations to
determine the whole of their work. The North London Collegiate belongs
to this latter class. The upper part is organised according to two
parallel courses. Of these _A._ leads to the London degree examinations,
that is to Matriculation or in some cases Intermediate Arts, and Course
_B._ to the Cambridge Senior and Higher Locals. All these examinations
under certain conditions admit to the Women’s Colleges at Oxford and
Cambridge, and hence act the double part of a leaving and entrance
examination, but this school also makes use of the lower examinations,
_e.g._, the Preliminary and Junior Locals. Hence the work of these
classes must be directed to the set subjects required for these
examinations, and must include the particular periods of history, works
in literature, and French and German books that are laid down by the
examiners, even though they may not seem the most suitable in other
respects. Many educationalists think this disadvantageous to the general
plan of a girls’ school, which should proceed on stated harmonious lines
from the lowest to the highest class. Mrs. Bryant, however, thinks that
the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, since ‘by their means the
more advanced body of opinion can be brought to bear on the inert or
prejudiced mass, which lags behind in the movement of educational
progress.’ In spite of this valuable testimony the consensus of opinion
is rather on the other side. The schools of the Girls’ Public Day School
Company have almost entirely abandoned the miscellaneous junior
examinations, which lead to nothing, in favour of those conducted by the
Joint Board of Oxford and Cambridge. This is the test applied to the
leading boys’ public schools since 1873, and it is the nearest approach
in England to an _Abiturienten_ examination, since the higher
certificate, if taken in the required subjects, exempts its holder from
the first public examination at Oxford and Cambridge. The Board awards
higher and lower certificates, and undertakes a general examination of
the schools. The papers are sent to the school, and the examination is
conducted there under the supervision of the head-mistress. The lower
forms are also examined _viva voce_ by a delegate of the Board, and
reports on the general condition of the school and on the paper work are
sent to the governing bodies. In this way the progress of different
schools can be compared, and a general control kept, while there is
little disturbance to the school course, since the questions are set on
the work actually done. The Council of the Girls’ Public Day School
Company itself awards certificates to girls who gain sixty per cent. of
the marks in five papers.

The subjects of the higher certificate examination are arranged in four

                                GROUP I.

                        (1) Latin.
                        (2) Greek.
                        (3) French.
                        (4) German.

                               GROUP II.

                        (1) Mathematics (elementary).
                        (2) Mathematics (additional).

                               GROUP III.

                        (1) Scripture Knowledge.
                        (2) English.
                        (3) History.

                               GROUP IV.

                        (1) Natural Philosophy (Mechanical Division).
                        (2) Natural Philosophy (Physical Division).
                        (3) Natural Philosophy (Chemical Division).
                        (4) Physical Geography and Elementary Geology.
                        (5) Biology.

All candidates for a higher certificate must satisfy the examiners in at
least four subjects taken from not less than three different groups,
unless they take one subject in II. or IV., in which case they can
choose three from I. No one may offer more than six subjects. The
examination is so arranged as to hamper the school work as little as
possible. Thus in languages great stress is laid on grammar,
composition, and unprepared translation, while the set books can be
selected from a long list; or (to give even greater freedom) it is
allowed to ‘substitute with the consent of the Board other portions or
periods which are at least equivalent to those specified in the
prescribed list, provided that the extra expense involved be defrayed by
the school authorities.’ This privilege of choice is extended also to
Scripture, English and History.

The subjects for the lower certificate are:—

                                GROUP I.

                        (1) Latin.
                        (2) Greek.
                        (3) French.
                        (4) German.

                               GROUP II.

                        (1) Arithmetic.
                        (2) Additional Mathematics.

                               GROUP III.

                        (1) Scripture Knowledge.
                        (2) English.
                        (3) English History.
                        (4) Geography.

                               GROUP IV.

                        (1) Mechanics and Physics.
                        (2) Physics and Chemistry.
                        (3) Chemistry and Mechanics.

The higher certificate is often taken by girls in Form Lower VI., and
they are then free in their last year to prepare for university
scholarships or do other special work. The lower certificate is less
popular, but it is sometimes taken in Form V.

Unquestionably the real problem before our girls’ schools is to plan a
curriculum which, while keeping in view the harmonious development of
mind and body, and the preparation for a girl’s future life, shall yet
give the necessary preparation for these final examinations. The
reformers see hope in a more careful grouping of studies which shall
break down the barriers between them, so that the subjects learnt at the
same time should be allies rather than rivals. If fewer were taken up
simultaneously, more time and interest might be given to each new
requirement when it first appears on the scenes. After a couple of
years, when considerable advance had been made, it might be relegated to
a less important place and a fresh central study chosen. In the higher
forms the threads would be once more drawn together, for then a pupil
must be prepared to marshal all her forces for one great occasion.
Experiments of this kind have been tried with much success in America,
and there is a scheme for doing something of the kind in England. There
is a plentiful field for experiments, and no doubt the curriculum
question will be discussed at many a teachers’ meeting before the
problem is solved. The High Schools will contribute their share to the
work if they are to remain in the van as they have hitherto done.

Since the very establishment of the High Schools was a protest against
the superficiality and showiness condemned by the Royal Commission,
their main endeavour was to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors.
Accomplishments were relegated to the background. Arithmetic and
mathematics were taught for their mental training and the development of
accuracy. ‘The noxious brood of catechisms’ was abandoned in favour of a
system of oral teaching: object lessons were introduced into the lower
forms to induce observation, and in the science lessons facts were
taught first-hand and not through the medium of books. The slipshod
French chatter of the boarding-schools gave way to stricter grammatical
training; parsing and analysis took the place of rote repetition of the
parts of speech. Accuracy and thoroughness were the aim everywhere. At
first the instruction was attended with many difficulties. There were
few well-educated and no trained teachers, and very little agreement as
to the really best methods. Hence it was natural that the revolt against
the abuses of the past should produce some fresh faults. The reaction
against the old text-books caused the introduction of a lecture-system;
an excessive amount of note-taking, writing out, and correction by the
teacher seemed to afford both parties the maximum of effort with the
minimum of result: books were shunned as though the printed word were in
itself hurtful, and much matter was laboriously dictated that might have
been taken from any intelligent hand-book. The girls spoiled their
handwriting, instead of straining their memories; that was the chief
difference. Happily this plan has given way to more intelligent
inductive methods, though even now there is a tendency in some schools
to rely too much on written notes and too little on training the
attention and memory. High School girls still need to learn how to use a
book intelligently, and to appreciate knowledge that comes to them in an
unaccustomed fashion. They have learnt the use of writing, to make ‘an
exact man,’ but reading as a means of producing the ‘full’ woman has
hardly as yet touched the High School system. This defect is now being
realised and efforts will doubtless be made to remove it. Already the
improvement in the teachers has produced a beneficent revolution in
girls’ schools. To their inadequate education the Royal Commissioners
largely attributed the unsatisfactory state of things they found. Side
by side with the growth of the high schools went the movement for
admitting women to the universities, both acting and re-acting on each
other, since the high schools sent up their best pupils to college and
the college sent them back to teach and train future students. A great
proportion of the mistresses are now university women, while a smaller
number have been trained at the Cambridge Teachers’ College or the Maria
Grey or other Training Colleges—Kindergarten Colleges provide teachers
for the little ones.

While the High School puts intellectual subjects first, it does not
disregard accomplishments, though it seldom uses that word. Music is
taught to all in the form of class-singing; piano and violin and solo
singing are ‘extras,’ and do not belong to the general school work.
Drawing has really won a more important place than before, because it is
used as an educational factor, and not merely for purposes of show. The
scheme of the Royal Drawing Society, organised by Mr. Ablett, is in use
at nearly all the high schools. It is essentially a class system, and
aims at training the eye, hand, and memory, rather than producing mere
technical skill. The little ones in the first form are taught to present
graphically objects interesting to themselves, by means of simple
ruling, memory, and brush-work exercises. Special features are judgment
at sight, memory and dictated work, the early introduction of drawing
from objects and simple geometrical design. The schools are examined
once a year. The examination takes place in the school itself under the
superintendence of the head-mistress and drawing teacher, the work is
sent up to London, and promotion to the next division depends upon the
pass. Pupils who pass all the six divisions with honours are entitled to
a full Drawing Certificate which has a commercial value for teaching
purposes. Drawing, a little modelling, and needlework in the lower
forms, represent at present the manual side of High School teaching.
Cookery, dressmaking, etc. though popular in a different class of
school, have hardly as yet been able to effect an entrance, nor does it
seem altogether desirable that they should. That every school cannot
teach everything is an axiom long ago accepted for boys’ education, and
it must be realised for girls too, if the outcry against overstrain is
to cease. Differentiation is the only safe course. It is partly the
strength and partly the weakness of the High School that it represents,
in fact, two schools: the first grade for girls who are to proceed to
the university, and whose life at home makes a certain amount of
literary and linguistic attainment desirable, and the second grade for
those who must leave at fifteen or sixteen, and look forward to a career
in business or to practical utility at home. In the lower forms the need
of both is the same: a good general education; afterwards bifurcation
seems desirable. When a school is not large enough to allow of this, it
is the early-leaving girls who go to the wall. For these an entirely
different scheme of education might be best—this too is a problem that
will have to be faced. Physical training is also considered at most of
the High Schools. Generally, fifteen minutes in the middle of the
morning is given to some form of drill. In a few large schools, _e.g._,
the North London Collegiate, this daily drill is undertaken by a
specialist. Usually it falls to one of the assistants, though it is very
common for a special teacher of Swedish drill to visit the school once
or twice a week, and take all the girls in divisions. The North London
Collegiate and the Sheffield High School have gymnasiums, and take this
side of the work very seriously. A physical-record book is kept, and
every child on entering is examined by a lady doctor attached to the
school. Particulars of sight, hearing, throat, breathing, lungs, heart,
chest, and waist measurement are recorded, with any observations
considered necessary. Suitable gymnastic exercises are then prescribed,
and the examination repeated from time to time, and note made of any
changed condition. Some such plan might be tried in all High Schools,
were the parents willing to pay for it. The low fees charged cannot be
expected to include medical supervision as well as all the other
advantages. At present Sheffield and the Camden Schools are almost the
only day-schools that consider the physical training as systematically
as the intellectual. Still, the Girls’ Public Day School Company has now
appointed a qualified lady inspector of physical training. Exercise
doubtless plays an important part in every high school, but it is
sometimes pursued with more zeal than knowledge. Just now athletics are
taking a very prominent place. School playgrounds and playing fields
have become a necessity. Girls have learned to play cricket, hockey, and
rounders; they choose their elevens, elect their captains, and have
their practices and matches much like their brothers. How far this
particular kind of exercise is conducive to a girl’s health is another
of the still unsolved problems. One thing is certain: these games do
much to improve the general tone of a school. Their effect in producing
loyalty and public spirit and promoting cheerfulness is quite as marked
in girls as in boys, and the development of the play side, along with
the greater liberty, the giving of responsibility as a reward, and all
that belongs to a real public school are features at least as valuable
as the improvement in the teaching. The High Schools have produced a new
type of girl, self-reliant, courageous, truthful, and eager for work. A
full record of their after careers would prove interesting. Many pass
straight from school to Oxford or Cambridge, a great many have gained
scholarships, and the women’s colleges are largely recruited from their
ranks. Some pass on to the medical schools, others gain County Council
scholarships for technical or scientific work, large numbers are engaged
in teaching, one or two have taken up gardening at Swanley Horticultural
College, and a good many are making themselves generally useful at home
as wives or daughters. Almost everywhere the High School girl proves
herself capable, accurate, and trustworthy. She is sometimes blamed for
a want of grace, such as belonged to a few rare ladies of the olden
time, but she also lacks the helplessness and silliness that were
prevalent then. Physically, morally, and intellectually, these schools
may claim that they are improving large numbers, and with them surely
the race.

                               CHAPTER V
                          ENDOWMENTS FOR GIRLS

The history of endowed schools carries us far away into the misty realms
of the past, before ever the Conqueror set foot in England and put back
the clock of civilisation a hundred years. The earliest schools of which
we have any knowledge were attached to the chief collegiate churches,
where one officer would be specially told off to teach the boys, just as
another would conduct the singing. Convent and school or church and
school were invariably allied. The first separable school endowments
were merely assignments of a specific part of the general endowment for
the support of the chancellor or his deputy, the grammar school master.
Like the earliest colleges these schools were founded ‘for prayer and
study.’ The first person to reverse this order, and endow an independent
school, was William of Wykeham, when in 1393 he founded Winchester
College, to give free instruction to seventy poor boys, and so help them
to holy orders or the university. Thus the new school became ‘a
sovereign and independent corporation existing of, by and for itself,
self-centred, self-controlled.’ ‘To make education, and that education
not the education of clerics in theology or the canon law, the paramount
and pronounced object of an ecclesiastical institution, with all the
paraphernalia of Papal bull and royal and episcopal license, was no
small innovation. It was a new departure, which opened a new era in the
world of education, and therefore of thought.’[13] Later founders,
following in the steps of William of Wykeham, gave sums of money for the
training of youth in ‘grammar and good manners.’ Grammar meant Latin and
Greek, the ‘key to all the sciences’; the manners were to be those of a
true gentleman, ‘trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.’

Following on these came the schools of the Reformation age, of which the
most familiar example is Dean Colet’s foundation of St. Paul’s. These
were established or assisted by the gifts of ‘pious founders,’ or
sometimes by diverting old funds originally destined for other purposes.
Reading school was founded out of funds obtained by suppressing an
almshouse for poor sisters, and under Elizabeth made into a grammar
school ‘for educating the boys of the inhabitants of the said borough
and others in literature.’ Such schools were often placed under lay
control, but the clerical idea was still in the background. Not priests,
but ministers of the reformed religion, were needed, and learning became
even more essential for men who had to make knowledge take the place of

The clerical purpose of most of these schools naturally tended to
exclude girls or make them of secondary importance. What place was
actually assigned to them in the 353 schools founded between the
accession of Henry VIII. and the death of James I. is a problem that
must be left to antiquarians. Certain it is that in the ensuing period
the education of both sexes was more on an equality, since the standard
was one of inferiority. An age of political disturbance was followed by
an epoch of frivolity. Learning fell into contempt. The foundations of
the eighteenth century were not grammar but charity schools, and though
girls were not forgotten, it was with the hope of training servants for
themselves that rich persons supported these schools. Not to give a
liberal training, but to teach the poor to ‘keep their proper station,’
was the aim of eighteenth century founders.

Thus it came about that the Schools’ Inquiry Commissioners found a
goodly number of girls in endowed schools of an elementary character,
which would hardly bear comparison with the poorest of our modern board
schools. While the King Edward Schools at Birmingham were giving 290
boys a classical and 300 a sound English education, none of these
benefits fell to girls. In the elementary schools of the same foundation
were 655 boys and 630 girls. At Christ’s Hospital, distinctly founded
for both sexes, there were but 18 girls as against 1192 boys. Perhaps
even the eighteen would have been better off elsewhere. They occupied a
part of the junior boys’ school at Hertford; they had one ward under the
charge of a nurse, their playground was a little over a quarter of an
acre, they took their walks abroad under care of the nurse, they had no
calisthenics or other physical training; their diet was bread and milk
for breakfast, bread, meat, potatoes, and porter for dinner, bread and
butter, milk and water for supper. There was no admission examination,
no leaving standard of attainment; they learned a little Scripture,
English (so-called), and History and Geography from abridgments. On
leaving, at about fifteen, most of them were apprenticed to business. It
did not prove easy to place them. No wonder!

A similar tale might be told of Bedford School. It was established in
1566 by Sir William Harpur and Dame Alice, his wife, ‘for the education,
institution, and instruction of children and youth in grammar and good
manners, to endure for ever.’ Did child mean ‘boy’ in the minds of the
founders? It seems uncertain; for, as the endowment increased in value
and some of it became available for purposes other than the free grammar
school, the interests of girls were also considered. At various periods
of the eighteenth century fresh uses were found for the surplus money,
and it is characteristic of the age that the feminine equivalent for a
sound education was a dowry. £800 a year was set aside for
marriage-portions for forty poor maids of the town of Bedford, to be
distributed by lot, provided that a successful candidate was married
within two calendar months of drawing the lot, and not to ‘a vagrant or
other person of bad fame or reputation.’ Naturally there was not much
difficulty about claiming the lot. Young men came from far and near to
woo the ‘maids of Bedford.’ Any residue was given to poor maid-servants
who had resided five years at Bedford and were married within a year.
The next addition was a hospital for boys and girls, an allotment of
£700 to apprentice fifteen boys and five girls, and almshouses for ten
old men and ten old women. Early in this century preparatory and
commercial schools were added; and girls were considered to the extent
of a foundation where the head-mistress received £80 per annum as
against the headmaster’s £1000. Which figures very eloquently sum up the
relative estimation in which girls’ and boys’ education was held before

The Schools’ Inquiry Commission had made it abundantly clear that the
educational endowments of the country needed overhauling. Not only had
many of them increased greatly in value, but the establishment of public
elementary schools was making the appropriation of endowments for
elementary schools unnecessary. Again, many free schools were giving a
liberal education to the sons of rich men. By the institution of even a
low fee considerable sums would become available for the improvement of
existing schools and the establishment of new ones. Then there were the
various charitable endowments left for special purposes which no longer
existed. In some cases money had been bequeathed to the poor in a
parish, and was simply used for the relief of the rates. In London alone
there were sums of £1500 a year given for the relief of poor prisoners
from debt. Among other out-of-date purposes were the ransom of Barbary
captives, the destruction of lady-birds in Cornhill, etc. In a certain
part of Worcestershire money had been left in 1620 for distributing
bread among the poor of seven parishes and, as a secondary purpose,
supporting a free grammar school, the surplus to be applied to repairing
the church and bridges, and increasing, if expedient, the salary of the
schoolmaster. By 1867 the total income had increased to £657, and was
applied to elementary schools and a free grammar school for fourteen
boys. In other cases money was left for doles; with the result that in a
certain parish, too richly endowed, extra waiters had to be put on at
the gin-shops for two weeks before and after the distribution. In fact
it was a case of money in the wrong place; education starving for want
of funds that were only doing mischief. The regulation of the
educational charities, and appropriation of those others which were
doing more harm than good, was becoming an urgent necessity. Some
changes had already been made under the Charitable Trusts Acts, but
these were a good deal limited in their operations, and a more
systematic reorganisation was undertaken under the Endowed Schools Act
of 1869. This appointed three commissioners for four years to inquire
into the endowments of England and Wales, and the first to hold this
office were Lord Lyttelton, Canon Robinson, and Arthur Hobhouse, Q.C. In
1874 this Commission was merged in the Board of Charity Commissioners
for England and Wales.

‘In framing schemes under this Act, provision shall be made as far as
conveniently may be for extending to girls the benefits of endowments.’
This clause is the Magna Charta of girls’ education, the first
acknowledgment by the State of their claim to a liberal education. This
result was in great part due to those same men and women who had brought
about the opening of the local examinations, and induced the Commission
to take cognisance of girls’ schools, and were striving, in face of all
opposition, to win something like a university education for girls. As
early as 1860 at the Social Science Congress Madame Bodichon had entered
a strong protest against the theory that boys’ education must be
assisted and girls’ self-supporting. ‘Magnificent colleges and schools,
beautiful architectural buildings costing thousands and thousands of
pounds, rich endowments all over England, have been bestowed by past
generations as gifts to the boys of the higher and middle class, and
they are not the less independent and not a whit pauperised.’ At first
this was but a voice crying in the wilderness, but the cry was taken up
first by a few supporters, then by the whole country, and at last the
_Times_, certainly not a revolutionary organ, declared that, ‘This
country is most abundantly and redundantly endowed for men and boys, as
if they were unable to take care of themselves, whereas there is
little—indeed nothing, we may almost say—for that which is
contemptuously called the weaker sex.’

An Association for Promoting the Application of Endowments to the
Education of Women was formed, and offered to assist trustees of schools
and other persons interested in education by supplying information and
suggesting plans whereby available funds might best be applied to the
education of women. It had a strong committee, which numbered among its
members Miss Davies, Miss Clough, and Miss Bostock, as well as Mr. Bryce
and Mr. Fitch, those constant and helpful supporters of all efforts to
improve the education of girls. At this time the needs of the middle
class seemed most urgent, since the State-aided schools were coming to
the aid of the very poor, and the rich could pay the high terms that
were then demanded by the better private schools. The immediate need
seemed to be for schools of the second or third grade, _i.e._ those
meant for girls who would leave school some time between fourteen and
seventeen, and might be expected to pay fees ranging from £4 to £10 per

Of such schools the first were founded out of the surplus revenues of
King Edward’s Schools at Birmingham. Here four schools of the second
grade were opened, each to accommodate about 160 pupils. These not only
filled at once, but had to refuse admission to 500 candidates. In 1870
the Grey Coat Hospital at Westminster was opened; but on the whole
progress was slow, and Mr. Roundell’s estimate in 1871 that there were
in England and Wales 225,000 girls waiting for secondary education was
probably not wide of the mark.

In that same year an event occurred of far-reaching importance. The
admirable institution so long associated with the name of Miss Frances
Buss was transformed into a public school for girls. Readers of her
interesting biography now realise, what had long been known to her
friends, with what a single mind and earnest devotion she had worked for
the cause nearest her heart—the establishment of public schools for
girls. As early as 1850, her own private school had been reconstituted
on public lines, with the help of the Rev. David Laing, one of the
promoters of Queen’s College, but her ambition was to make it public in
fact as well as in its methods. Attention had been drawn to her work by
her evidence before the Schools’ Inquiry Commission, and now some of its
members themselves came forward to help her. If ever a school could lay
claim to public aid, it was this one; and as soon as the enabling act
was passed, active measures were taken to secure for it an endowment.
With rare clear sight Miss Buss realised that a fully equipped school
can only be self-supporting by the sacrifice of either suitable
buildings, adequate salaries, or a scale of fees suited to the
neighbourhood. She wanted to organise a pioneer school in which none of
these good things should be lacking; nothing less than the best seemed
good enough. Her enthusiasm and confidence were not to go unrewarded. In
December 1870, a public meeting was held in the St. Pancras Vestry Hall,
to announce the formation of a trust for carrying on the existing
school, and starting another of a lower grade in connection with it. The
upper school thus constituted took the name of the North London
Collegiate, and in January 1871 removed with its two hundred pupils to
202 Camden Street, and at the same time the Lower or Camden School came
into existence. According to Miss Buss’s principle, the fees under the
new trust were calculated to meet current expenses only. The building
was to be provided from other funds, as was done in boys’ public
schools. A subscription list was opened, and every possible endeavour
made to win public support. These were anxious years for Miss Buss;
money came in slowly, and rather than abandon her principle she chose to
sacrifice her salary. Nor did she wait in vain; the excellent work of
the school won it recognition, and when in 1874 the Charity
Commissioners were called upon to dispose of the Platt Charity derivable
from property in St. Pancras, belonging to the Brewers’ Company, they
recommended that £20,000 be given to the North London Collegiate and
Camden Schools. Thus building funds were secured, afterwards
supplemented by a generous donation from the Clothworkers’ Company. The
scheme became law in 1875, and the two schools have continued since then
to work side by side as endowed schools of the first and second grade,
with different principals, but both under the superintendence of the
head-mistress of the upper school. This arrangement has proved most
valuable, as it promotes co-ordination instead of rivalry between the
two schools. In other places where two grades exist side by side, it is
not uncommon to find the lower one attempting with inadequate means to
imitate the upper. The special needs of the class attending it are then
neglected, and undue attention given to a few clever girls, for whom
leave is sometimes obtained to stay beyond the appointed age. At the
Frances Mary Buss Schools (as the two are now called in memory of their
founder), this danger is obviated by a good system of scholarships from
the lower to the upper.

At the Camden School girls may attend from seven to seventeen. The fees
range from £5, 2s. to £8 per annum. The subjects taught are the usual
English ones, with Class-Singing, Needlework, Drawing, and Book-keeping,
and the elements of Science. Special attention is given to theoretical
and practical Domestic Economy, and these classes receive assistance
from the London County Council. French is the only foreign language
taught. At the North London Collegiate, girls may attend between eight
and nineteen, the list of subjects is much wider, and selections have to
be made under the direction of the head-mistress. French, German, Latin
and Greek, are included in the curriculum, and the practical subjects
either omitted or reduced to a minimum. Since the work of the school is
directed to the London University Examinations and the Cambridge Higher
Locals, the course is necessarily laid out for girls who can stay long
enough to enter the upper forms, and perhaps proceed to college. The
fees range from £17, 11s. to £19, 14s. But girls over sixteen proceeding
from the lower to the upper school pay only £14, 8s. Many pass up by
means of scholarships.

These two schools with their thousand pupils, fine buildings, and noble
roll of honours won by old pupils stand pre-eminent among girls’
endowments. The principle that with a scale of fees adapted to meet
current expenses the endowment should provide buildings and scholarships
has been triumphantly vindicated by the Frances Mary Buss Schools.

Almost simultaneous with the endowment of these schools was the
appropriation of some part of the funds of the Bradford Grammar School,
‘to supply a liberal education for girls by means of a school or schools
within the borough of Bradford.’ Public opinion was, however, hardly
ripe for such a diversion of any large part of an old endowment, and
although, as Mr. Forster pointed out at the inaugural meeting, a charter
of Charles II. had assigned the land ‘for the better teaching,
instructing, and bringing up of children and youth,’ ‘which terms are of
common gender,’ the money assigned to the girls would not have been
sufficient to start the school, but for the generosity of the Ladies’
Educational Committee, which raised a sum of £5000 for purchasing the
buildings. Thus the Bradford Girls’ Grammar School came into being. The
fees are £12 to £15, 15s., and girls may stay till eighteen or nineteen.
It is thus technically of the first grade, and as such prepares the
pupils in the highest class for the university. Many, however, leave
school long before attaining this stage, and this appears to constitute
one of the special difficulties of North of England schools. There is,
however, a wide list of subjects which may be taught, and from these the
head-mistress arranges each pupil’s curriculum. As the fees are the same
as those of a high school, the endowment fund helps to supply better
salaries, apparatus, etc. and thus to increase efficiency. A scholarship
fund of £1000 has been provided by the generosity of two private donors,
and forty-one scholars have by its help already proceeded to the

Manchester also has a first-grade endowed school, which originated like
so many others in those active years that followed 1870. Here too the
initiative was taken by an association for promoting the higher
education of women. The school was started in 1873 by subscription, and
in 1876 the present site in Dover Street was secured for building, and
over £5000 raised for the purpose. A few years later, an opportunity
occurred of securing some public money, as the wealthy foundation of
Hulme’s Charity was to be reorganised. The school secured a share,
receiving a capital grant of £1500, and £1000 a year on condition that
the governing body should be reconstituted to give it a more
representative character. Under the new arrangement, there are
representatives of the Hulme Trustees, Oxford, Cambridge, Victoria, and
London, Owens College, and the Manchester School Board, as well as other
co-opted members. This representative character has proved of the
greatest value to the school, which takes rank as one of the first in
the country. The buildings are admirable in convenience and arrangement,
and the scholarship fund amounts to £640 a year. Two smaller schools
lately established by the governors at Pendleton and North Manchester
have somewhat diminished the numbers of the parent school, but prove a
boon to girls in those parts, since the means of communication at
Manchester are somewhat inadequate. Only Manchester girls are received
in the High School, or those residing with near relations. There are no
boarding-houses; it is a purely local school. The fees are nine to
fifteen guineas per annum. Manchester has been specially successful in
‘assimilating’ those girls that enter the high school from the
elementary schools, several of whom have passed on to the university
with scholarships, and been very successful in their after careers. Its
chief want is a system of scholarships from the elementary schools, to
enable it to extend its useful work, and take a place in a national
system of education.

The most complete schemes of endowed schools for girls are at Birmingham
and Bedford, and they are typical of two different systems. The King
Edward’s endowment, one of the largest in England, had been so
mismanaged that in 1828 only 115 boys were being educated on it, and the
school building was in ruins. In 1831 by a Chancery scheme, two new
schools, Classical and English, were established, and twenty years later
there were sufficient funds to maintain eight elementary schools as
well. Immediately after the passing of the ‘Endowed Schools Act’ further
changes were made. The schools were reorganised in three grades (high,
middle, lower middle), and four grammar schools founded for girls. When
the spread of State-aided elementary schools made the third class
unnecessary, these were abolished, and a girl’s High School substituted.
This forms the last link in the chain; and a close connection between
different grades by means of scholarships, leading gradually upward from
the elementary school to the university, gives the necessary cohesion to
the system. The High School can accommodate 260 girls, and the four
grammar schools 780. Fees are charged in all, but not so high as to
cover the cost of education. At the High School it is calculated that
the expense of each pupil is £20 per annum, while the fee is £9. The
endowment makes up the deficiency, and permits the reservation of
one-third of the places for foundation scholars. Further, it enables the
governors to offer their teachers good salaries, and to conduct the
whole on those generous lines without which it is impossible to provide
a liberal education for either girls or boys. In educational
organisation as in municipal matters, Birmingham is a model to the rest
of the country. It shows how an old endowment, sufficiently large and
carefully distributed, can be made to meet the needs of all classes of a
community. ‘We cannot reform our ancestors,’ as George Eliot so
pertinently remarks, nor can we set down rich old endowments in the
midst of places that have never known such benefactions. But fresh money
is coming in from new sources, and we want object lessons in its
application. Birmingham teaches the value of co-ordination, and
incidentally the use to which public funds may be put in bringing a good
education within the reach of the largest possible number.

The position of Bedford is different. A small town with no special
industry happens, through the munificence of one of its ancient
citizens, to be possessed of one of the largest endowments in the
kingdom. For many years its benefits were confined to the inhabitants of
Bedford, and as a result the population was constantly increased by
persons who were glad to get free education for their sons. Many, no
doubt, were well able to pay for it, but preferred, naturally enough, to
get it for nothing. At the time of the Schools’ Inquiry Commission, the
endowment was maintaining:—(1) A grammar school with 204 boys. (2) A
commercial school with 358 boys. (3) A preparatory commercial school
with 237 boys; as well as elementary schools for nearly 1200 children
and a hospital for 13 boys and 13 girls, almshouses, etc. Considerable
as were these numbers, they fell far short of the possibilities of the
endowment. The institution of a fee, even a low one, would at once set
free a goodly sum, and something, if only as compensation for the
marriage portions, was due to the girls. A new scheme providing for a
fresh distribution of the funds was drawn up in 1873, but the girls’
schools did not come into existence till 1882. Under the present
arrangement one-eleventh of the available funds is used for eleemosynary
purposes, two-elevenths go to the elementary schools, which until quite
lately have served all the needs of the town and rendered a schoolboard
unnecessary. The remainder is divided equally between the two higher
schools—boys’ Grammar and girls’ High—and the two Modern schools. This
looks very much like putting girls and boys on an equality, but a clause
in the scheme explains that three boys are to be considered equal to
five girls. In other respects the money is evenly divided; it is shared
out annually ‘in proportion to the average number of scholars attending
the said schools respectively during the preceding year,’ a curious
application of a Scriptural doctrine, by which a rise in numbers in the
boys’ school entails a corresponding deficit in the exchequer of the
girls’ school and _vice versa_. Still, rightly managed, there is enough
for all.

At Bedford no attempt is made to co-ordinate the work of the two
schools, or to establish any but the very slightest connection—by means
of a few scholarships—between the elementary and modern schools. Hence
the benefit of co-operation is lost. The great difference between the
fees—£9 to £12 at the High, £4 at the Modern school—makes active rivalry
impossible. It is the state of the home exchequer that settles the
choice of a school, far more than the preference for one system of
education or a girl’s probable after-career. It is curious that, in
spite of the general outcry for cheap schools, the low fee of the Modern
School has not proved as great an attraction as was expected; it has
filled but slowly, and is only now approaching 200, while the High
School averages an attendance of 600. To some extent the curriculum of
both schools is the same, but the greater economy requisite in the
Modern school necessitates larger classes, less complete equipment, and
lower salaries for the teachers. To families in straitened
circumstances, local shopkeepers, and small farmers within a short train
journey of the town, the school is a great boon; but it seems certain
that at Bedford, whatever may be the case elsewhere, all who can afford
the higher fee are willing to pay it for the sake of the greater social
prestige of the High School. Prejudice of this kind must always be
reckoned with, however carefully Parliament or Royal Commissioners may
provide on paper for the needs of each class of the population.

On the other hand, the High School has more than fulfilled
anticipations. Not only does it provide a first-class education for the
sisters of grammar school boys, it has won a position and prestige of
its own which attract considerable numbers from a distance. There are
now several flourishing boarding-houses, all working in close connection
with the school, and under the superintendence of the head-mistress. In
this way Bedford High School, like the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, St.
Leonard’s School at St. Andrews, and a very few others, has taken a
position somewhat analogous to that of a boys’ public school, sought for
its own sake, and not merely on account of its nearness or cheapness.
The large numbers, ample staff, and sufficient funds enable the
head-mistress to consider the needs of individual pupils more carefully
than could be done in a small school. Forms are joined and subdivided
lengthwise and crosswise, so as to bring together in small groups girls
who are to give a good deal of time to Classics, Modern Languages,
English, Drawing or Science, or any other special subject, thus avoiding
the scrappiness with which the modern curriculum is sometimes charged.
The girl who aims at the university is prepared for it, the girl who has
a real taste for accomplishments receives first-rate instruction in
music, drawing, etc. and at the same time is encouraged to give special
attention to English. There is no attempt to force all through the same
mill. The school is most fortunate in its buildings, which are beautiful
as well as convenient. Hall, gymnasium, studio, laboratory, padded rooms
for practising, nothing seems wanting to the equipment. It is pleasant
to wander through the airy and tasteful class-rooms and realise that
this is one of the many good things which the redistribution of
endowments has given to girls. At Bedford there is not much risk of
forgetting whence the money comes. The Harpur Trust seems to give its
character to the town. The numerous schools, the Harpur Trust offices,
the rows of almshouses, the ‘Harpur’ and ‘Dame Alice’ streets are
suggestive of a town that has grown up about its schools, almost as
Oxford and Cambridge have about their colleges. In the old church close
by the founders lie buried; ever succeeding generations of boys and
girls are entering into their inheritance.

Among the eight largest endowments of which the Commissioners had to
take cognisance was that of Dulwich. In few places was the reformer’s
hand more needed than in the assignment of those large sums which had
accumulated under the charity of Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift. At the
time of the Schools’ Inquiry Commission—that date which marks a new
starting-point in educational chronology, it maintained only an upper
school with 130 boys, and a lower school with 90. In 1895 when some of
the results of twenty-five years were summarised, it was supporting:—(1)
A first-grade boys’ school—Dulwich College—with 630 scholars. (2) A
second grade boys’ school—Alleyn’s School—with 540 boys; and
contributing, (3) To James Allen’s Girls’ School a capital sum of £6000,
and £650 a year. (4) To the Central Foundation Schools—boys and girls—a
capital sum of £11,000 and £2300 a year. (5) To St. Saviour’s Grammar
School, Southwark, a capital sum of £20,000 and £500 a year.

This is a result that should please all parties. In spite of the
additional advantages given to boys, the girls gain two schools; for
although the James Allen school had been founded as early as 1741 by
James Allen, master of Dulwich College, it was really nothing more than
an elementary school until its reconstruction in 1882 with a part of the
Dulwich endowment. It can accommodate 300 girls, has eight class-rooms,
laboratory, assembly hall, dining-room, recreation ground of two and a
half acres, and a completely equipped gymnasium where lessons are given
by an expert teacher. With a £6 fee it is always full, and admirably
serves its purpose of ‘supplying to girls of the middle class a sound
practical education.’

The fourth of the large endowments belongs to St. Olave’s Grammar
School, and a school for girls is in course of establishment here.

The Tonbridge endowment, administered by the Skinners’ Company, now
supports a school for girls at Stamford Hill.

The Manchester Grammar School fund has of late decreased in value, and
has nothing to offer girls; but here they have had help from another

The Jones foundation at Monmouth now provides for 500 boys, and 100
girls, besides 50 elementary scholars, in place of 180 boys at the date
of the Commission.

Of the eight endowments, by far the largest was that of Christ’s
Hospital, and here there was no question as to the original intentions.
The treatment of girls had been so unfair as to arouse general
indignation. But the whole foundation really needed overhauling. After
long delays an elaborate scheme was drawn up, providing for the removal
into the country of the boys’ school, proper boarding-school provision
for girls, and large day-schools in London for both sexes. Of all this,
now nearly twenty years after the passing of the Endowed Schools Act,
very little has been done, though the removal of the boys’ school from
London to Horsham is now definitely settled. At Hertford the girls’
school has been reformed in its methods, and additional ward
accommodation provided, but by a perverse system of election it is made
very difficult to fill even that space. Girls can only be admitted on
presentation of a governor—very difficult to obtain—or by a competition,
to which only three classes are admitted. They must come either from—(1)
Certain endowed schools in England and Wales, or (2) Public elementary
schools in the London School Board district, or (3) Certain parishes
which have hitherto exercised the right of presentation. As (1) and (2)
represent the classes which are best provided, and least in need of the
benefits of a cheap boarding-school, and (3) is, by its nature, very
restricted, it is not strange that it has hitherto proved impossible to
fill even the 140 available places, though there are thousands of girls
in rural districts to whom a school of this kind would prove a priceless
boon. There seems a curious irony about offering such nominations to the
Bedford Modern School where girls are receiving an excellent education
for £4 a year, and taking no thought for those less favoured places,
which, because they have no endowment of their own, are therefore shut
out from one that they could use. Of course all this is only temporary,
but the transition stage seems a very long one. As far as girls are
concerned, the chief needs seem to be the establishment of several cheap
boarding-schools, the election of some women on the council of almoners,
and a change in the present system of electing scholars. Let us hope
that when the reforms come at last, they may prove to have been worth
the waiting.

Besides these eight chief endowments, there are many others of which
girls have now received a share. There are now in England and Wales over
eighty girls’ endowed schools of a secondary type, though the
distribution is curiously uneven; _e.g._ the West Riding of Yorkshire
has nine, while Surrey has only one. Much has been done, and much
remains to be done, but it is well that every kind of experiment should
be tried, so that the newer schemes may be improved by the experience of
the older ones.

Endowed schools are technically supposed to be of three grades,
according to the age at which the pupils usually leave. For the first
the limit is eighteen or nineteen; for the second, sixteen or seventeen;
for the third, fourteen or fifteen. All admit them at seven or eight.
There is something peculiarly English about this arrangement, which, on
paper at any rate, appears needlessly wasteful. The natural division
seems the American one. Here there are three successive grades,
organically connected, by which a child may go through his whole school
career, passing, as it were, from the kindergarten at one end to the
university at the other. This arrangement of schools, all free, and
meant for all the children of the community, is in harmony with the
American democratic idea, but would be impossible in the midst of
English class prejudice. Still even our social exclusiveness does not
require such extreme differentiation, and experience shows that a system
of three parallel lines, distinguished chiefly by breaking off at
different points, is not altogether necessary. The problem, as it
presents itself for girls, is not, however, the same as for boys. Boys’
schools of the highest grade naturally prepare their pupils for the
university, and as most of them are boarding-schools, they are exempt
from considering local needs. The first public schools for girls were
day schools. At the time of the first Endowed Schools Act, university
education for girls had hardly made any way. Girton was just struggling
into existence, the other colleges were but a dream of the future.
London still withheld its degrees. What girls needed most was a sound
general education given cheaply in day schools. Hence the low fees fixed
by the Girls’ Public Day School Company, and the still lower ones
charged at the endowed schools of the second and third grades, which at
that time met the most crying want. By 1883 ten of these third grade
schools in London were educating over two thousand girls. Among them
were the Greycoat Hospital at Westminster, and the Roan School,
Greenwich, and others that have since extended their sphere of work up
to the second grade limit.

The course of events during the last few years has necessitated these
and many other changes. The Elementary Schools Act of 1870, and the
spread of Higher Grade schools, while largely removing the need for the
third grade, have necessitated some means of transition from the primary
to the secondary school. On the other hand, the rise of women’s
colleges, technical institutes, etc. and the increasing number of girls
who, whether from choice or necessity, expect to earn their own living,
necessitates a levelling-up of schools, and a closer connection with
places of higher education. Direct connection with the primary schools
on the one hand, and the women’s colleges on the other, is now a
necessity. Many of the Charity Commissioners’ schemes have attempted to
supply this. The Roan School at Greenwich is a good instance. It was
founded in 1643 out of money left by John Roan to clothe and educate
poor children, and reorganised in 1873, the income of £2000 being
divided between 350 boys and 320 girls. There is a special fund for
foundation exhibitions for elementary scholars, and others are admitted
on passing an examination, at half-fees—£3 instead of £6. Of the total
number of pupils, about two-fifths come from the elementary schools.
Thus the work of the two is brought into very close connection, and the
Roan School includes in itself both second and third grade functions. It
provides for the upward passage by exhibitions, many of which are held
at Bedford College, or in Wales.

Scholarships of both kinds are also given by the Skinners’ School at
Stamford Hill. Some of the entrance exhibitions are restricted to pupils
from elementary schools, others are awarded by open competition. The two
leaving exhibitions, of the value of thirty-three and thirty guineas
respectively, are tenable for four years, at any place of advanced
education approved by the governors. The school fees range from £6 to
£10. The work of the Sixth Form leads to the higher certificate of the
Joint Board or the London Matriculation, both of which serve the
purposes of a leaving and entrance examination. This school might
therefore be regarded as a combination of the three grades. Similar work
is done by the Mary Datchelor School at Camberwell, the Aske’s School,
Hatcham, and several others. Such schools, with a definite connection
upward and downward, are among the chief educational needs of the day.
Those now at work seem to be always full, and they draw their pupils
from a class that look forward to a career of steady work. Clerks, civil
servants, teachers, typists, telegraphists, milliners, nurses; these,
and many others, occur in the lists of old pupils’ occupations. A useful
general education, either as an end in itself or as a basis for higher
or technical education, is given, and these schools have taken the place
of the third rate private schools, which was all that had previously
been offered to middle class girls. The expression of opinion by the
Royal Commissioners, in 1895, that ‘a second grade school, which
prepares for the local University College is often more suitable for a
certain section of the population than a first grade school linked to
Oxford and Cambridge,’ applies, _mutatis mutandis_, to girls as well as
boys. For both, a part of the highest work must be supplied by

But when all the endowments hitherto made available are considered, the
share of the girls is still far too small. In some counties there is
hardly anything available for them. Against this disparity must be set
the benefactions of recent years, many of which are specially meant for
girls and women. The foundation of the City of London Girls’ School, by
William Ward, in 1881, with an endowment of £20,000; the Pfeiffer
Charity of £59,000, for the benefit of women’s education, the numerous
scholarships given by city companies, the establishment of Holloway and
Westfield Colleges, and of many other foundations for both sexes, belong
to the twenty years between 1875 and 1895. If girls have lacked much in
the past, they are inheriting the present. As the Charity Commissioners
remarked, when reviewing a record of a quarter a century: ‘As to one
particular branch of educational endowments, viz. that for the
advancement of the secondary and superior education of girls and women,
it may be anticipated that future generations will look back to the
period immediately following upon the Schools’ Inquiry Commission, and
the consequent passing of the Endowed Schools Act, as marking an epoch
in the creation and application of endowments for that branch of
education, similar to that which is marked for the education of boys and
men by the Reformation.’

                               CHAPTER VI
                          THE WOMEN’S COLLEGES

The chief gain that this half-century has brought to women’s education
is their admission to the universities. It is the key-stone of the arch,
without which the rest of the fabric could have neither stability nor
permanence. The schools look to them for their teachers and their
standard, and gain thereby an element of fixity hitherto lacking. If
boys’ education may be blamed for excessive conservatism, that of girls
has suffered from extreme mobility. Since girls’ schools led nowhere,
and acknowledged no outside guidance, their aim was perpetually
changing, according to the ever-varying dictates of sentiment or
expediency. Independent and unorganised, they lacked all connection with
past and future; and it is this that the universities are now giving

Apart from its intrinsic importance, this reform is remarkable for the
speed and completeness with which it has been accomplished. Thirty years
ago it had hardly been seriously contemplated; now eight of the ten
universities of Great Britain teach their students without distinction
of sex, while two others admit them to lectures, examinations, and many
other privileges. All this has not been brought about without hard work
and persevering effort; and it would be vain to seek the origin of all
the separate forces that, acting and re-acting on one another, have
produced this result. Many were the workers, and the honours of the
pioneers must be shared, but among those who led the way a chief place
belongs to Miss Emily Davies. From the first she realised that the
reform in girls’ education must begin at the top. To quote her own
words: ‘The incompleteness of the education of schoolmistresses and
governesses is a drawback which no amount of intelligence and goodwill
can enable them entirely to overcome. It is obvious that for those who
have to impart knowledge the primary requisite is to possess it; and it
is one of the great difficulties of female teachers that they are called
upon to instruct others while being inadequately instructed themselves.
The more earnest and conscientious devote their leisure hours to
continued study, and no doubt much may be done in this way; but it is at
the cost of overwork, often involving the sacrifice of health, to say
nothing of the disadvantages of working alone, without a teacher, often
without good books, and without the wholesome stimulus of

But, important as was the improvement in the education of the teachers,
Miss Davies had a wider aim in view for the college she meant to found.
It was to bring a really liberal education within reach of all women,
apart from any special professional aim. Girls, as well as boys, should
have opportunities given them to carry on their studies in congenial and
stimulating surroundings, unhampered by the cares of earning and
unhindered by conflicting duties. To them, too, the college life was to
bring that joyous spring-time of youth, friendship, and unfettered
delight of study and leisure which had hitherto been withheld from them.
Such was the generous purpose in the minds of a few men and women who
were trying to fire others with their own enthusiasm.

Even at the time of the Schools’ Inquiry Commission this question had
been mooted, and a memorial had been sent up pointing out the want of a
system of ‘instruction and discipline adapted to advanced students,
combined with examinations testing and attesting the value of the
education received.’ The report of the Commission and the discussion it
aroused helped to give publicity to the proposal, and at last it was
resolved to test the feasibility of the scheme by actual experiment. In
1867 a committee had been formed to consider the possibility of founding
a college ‘designed to hold in relation to girls’ schools and home
teaching a position analogous to that occupied by the universities
towards the public schools for boys.’ It was resolved to try an
experiment on a small scale, and proceed further as funds became
available. At Hitchin, near Cambridge, a small house was hired for the
six students who presented themselves, and in October 1869 they began
the work prescribed to candidates for degrees by the University of
Cambridge. Insignificant as these beginnings may seem, they were of
momentous importance in the history of women’s education. The founders
of this, the first women’s college in England, had to choose once for
all between a women’s university, with its exclusive studies and
degrees, and admission to the great universities of the country. The
question of a women’s university debated and vetoed in 1897 had really
been finally settled in 1870, when the first lady students requested and
received permission to be examined in the papers set for the Previous

The prospectus of the new college issued in the autumn of 1869 contained
this clause: ‘The Council shall use such efforts as from time to time
they may think most expedient and effectual to obtain for the students
of the College admission to the examinations for the degrees of the
University of Cambridge, and generally to place the College in
connection with the University.’ This ambitious programme thus early
laid down for the infant College must have provoked many smiles; and
looking back now after the lapse of nearly thirty years, we hardly know
whether to wonder most at the confidence placed by the founders in the
hitherto untried abilities of girls or at the success which so
abundantly justified their anticipations.

It was thus made clear from the outset that the new college was to be no
self-centred institution, but was to derive its teaching, inspiration,
and standard from Cambridge, provided always that the University were
willing to accept the new responsibilities thus proposed. For this end
it seemed desirable to make an informal experiment, and through the
kindness of the individual examiners five of the students were submitted
to the test of the Previous Examination. All were successful; four
attained the standard required for a First Class, and one that of a
Second. Two years later three students entered for Tripos Examinations
in the same informal manner, two passing in classics and one in
mathematics. Thus three years after the opening of the College three of
its students had fulfilled all the conditions required by the University
of Cambridge for a degree in Honours. That was a sufficient answer to
the doubters; the founders had justified their action. Henceforth the
future of the College was fixed.

Meanwhile vigorous efforts were being made to raise money for the
permanent building to be erected in or near Cambridge. This was no easy
task. Generous donations for the needs of women were at that time
unknown. The _Quarterly Review_ recommended ‘simplicity of living and
the strictest economy’ as alone suitable for women who might have to
earn their own living, and desired to combine with this ‘training in
housekeeping, regular needlework ... such cultivation as will make a
really good wife, sister, and daughter to educated men.’ Against such
selfish and confused notions it was difficult to contend. As Miss
Shirreff wrote at the time: ‘Never yet have a company of women been able
to scrape together funds for an object specially their own, be it club,
or reading-room, or hospital, or, as now, a college.’ It is pleasant to
realise that this is no longer true, and that the writer of these
despairing words lived to see the change she had helped to bring about.

The money came in, though slowly. Madame Bodichon generously gave the
first thousand pounds, and among the earliest subscribers was George
Eliot. Lady Stanley was another who gave liberal aid. The subscription
list gradually grew longer; a piece of land was secured at Girton, near
Cambridge, and building began. In 1873 it was ready for occupation, and
henceforth became the home of the Ladies’ College, now incorporated as
Girton College, with Miss Davies installed as Mistress. As the numbers
increased, fresh additions were made to the building, but the aim and
work of the College remained unchanged. Students were prepared for the
Ordinary and Honours Degree Examinations by means of lectures given at
Girton, and, as these were gradually opened to women, by attendance at
some of the professorial and intercollegiate lectures in Cambridge. They
were informally examined with the same papers as were set to the men,
and in every detail of preliminary test, length of residence, etc. they
conformed to the rules laid down by the University for its members. In
lieu of the degree, which could not be conferred upon them, they
received from the College a ‘degree certificate,’ and year by year fresh
proofs were given of the general efficiency of the College and its
students. In this way informal connection with the University was
combined with formal adherence to its regulations. Thus matters
continued till 1881.

Side by side with the beginnings of Girton, another movement had been at
work. This was largely due to the North of England Council, which by
promoting examinations for women over eighteen, had been establishing a
fresh link between the University of Cambridge and the education of
girls. A Cambridge committee established courses of lectures in all the
subjects of examination. These naturally attracted many students from a
distance, and the same persons who had organised the lectures, soon had
to face the problem of housing the audience. Mr. Henry Sidgwick, to
whose generous and unfailing assistance women owe so much, invited Miss
Clough to come and take charge of a house of residence for women
students. This house—No. 64 Regent Street—became the germ of Newnham. As
the numbers increased, removal to larger premises became necessary, and
Merton Hall was taken. When this too had to be abandoned it was resolved
to build. Funds were raised by the Newnham Hall Company, and eventually
this was amalgamated with the association which had charge of the
lectures, and the two were incorporated as Newnham College. This
development from small beginnings, under the Principal’s able management
with the constant help and sympathy of Mr. and Mrs. Sidgwick, has now
been fully made known through Miss A. B. Clough’s interesting biography
of her aunt. Newnham has seen some changes of policy and programme since
its first beginnings in 1870, but its true aim, to advance the education
of women at Cambridge, has always remained the same.

Since Newnham originated in a house of residence for girls preparing for
the Higher Local Examination, this was naturally the goal set before the
first students; but very early in its history some few who were more
ambitious or better prepared, found this aim insufficient, and began,
like the Girton students, to study for the degree examinations. The
Higher Local, at first the goal, gradually receded in importance, and
became a preliminary instead of a final, but it was not made compulsory
to follow the Cambridge curriculum exactly, and in those early days
great latitude in choice of subjects, examinations, length of residence,
etc. was allowed to Newnham students.

Thus matters continued till 1880, when special attention was called to
Girton by the distinguished success of one of its students, who was
declared by the examiners in the mathematical Tripos to be equal to the
eighth wrangler. There was now a ten years’ record of good work to show,
and the time seemed opportune for bringing about a more formal
connection with the University. A memorial was drawn up and presented,
which called attention to the ‘repeated instances of success on the part
of students of Girton and Newnham Colleges, in satisfying the examiners
in various degree examinations at Cambridge,’ and praying the Senate to
‘grant to properly qualified women the right of admission to the
examinations for University degrees, and to the degrees conferred
according to the result of such examinations.’ This was signed by 8500
persons; other petitions to the same effect were received, and as a
result a syndicate was appointed to consider the matter. Their report
advocated the formal admission of women to the Honours examinations of
the University, and the publication of a separate class-list, indicating
the position of each in the general list. They did not, however,
recommend conferring degrees on women, nor did they advise admitting
them to the Ordinary Degree examinations. The recommendations were
embodied in three Graces, passed by the Senate on February 24, 1881, a
red-letter day in the annals of College women. These are the most

‘1. That female students who have fulfilled the conditions respecting
length of residence and standing which members of the University are
required to fulfil, be admitted to the Previous Examination and the
Tripos Examinations.

‘2. That such residence shall be kept—(_a_) at Girton College; or (_b_)
at Newnham College; or (_c_) within the precincts of the University,
under the regulations of one or other of these Colleges; or (_d_) in any
similar institution within the precincts of the University which may be
recognised hereafter by grace of the Senate.

‘3. That certificates of residence shall be given by the authorities of
Girton College or Newnham College or other similar institution hereafter
recognised by the University, in the same form as that which is
customary in the case of members of the University.

‘4. That except as is provided in regulation 5, female students shall,
before admission to a Tripos Examination, have passed the Previous
Examination (including the Additional subjects), or one of the
examinations which excuse members of the University from the Previous

‘5. That female students who have obtained an Honour certificate in the
Higher Local Examination, may be admitted to a Tripos Examination,
though such certificate does not cover the special portions of the
Higher Local Examination, which are accepted by the University in lieu
of parts or the whole of the Previous Examination; provided that such
students have passed in Group B, (Language): and Group C, (Mathematics).

‘6. That no female student shall be admitted to any part of any of the
examinations of the University who is not recommended for admission by
the authorities of the College, or other institution, under whose
regulations she has resided.

‘7. That after each examination a class-list of the female students who
have satisfied the examiners shall be published by the examiners at the
same time with the class-list of members of the University, the standard
for each class, and the method of arrangement in each class being the
same in the two class lists.

‘8. That in each class of female students in which the names are
arranged in order of merit, the place which each of such students would
have occupied in the corresponding class of members of the University
shall be indicated.

‘9. That the examiners for the Tripos shall be at liberty to state, if
the case be so, that a female student who has failed to satisfy them,
has in their opinion reached a standard equivalent to that required from
members of the University for the ordinary B.A. degree.

‘10. That to each female student who has satisfied the examiners in a
Tripos Examination, a certificate shall be given by the University
stating the conditions under which she was admitted to the examinations
of the University, the examinations in which she has satisfied the
examiners, and the class and place in the class to which she has
attained in each of such examinations.’

This was followed in 1882 by permission to pass the examinations for
degrees in Music.

The Colleges and their students thus received formal acknowledgment from
the University, and the status then conferred remains unchanged to this
day. Two attempts have since been made to induce the University to carry
its concessions to their logical issue, and confer degrees on women.
That of 1887 came to an untimely end, as it was not even considered by a
syndicate; the events of 1897 belong to recent history, and are too
fresh to allow a proper estimate of their significance. The facts are
these. In 1896 four memorials were presented to the Council, asking for
the nomination of a syndicate ‘to consider on what conditions and with
what restrictions, if any, women should be admitted to degrees in the
University.’ The syndicate was appointed, and reported in favour of
conferring ‘the title of the degree of Bachelor of Arts’ by diploma upon
women, ‘who, in accordance with the now existing ordinances, shall
hereafter satisfy the examiners in a final Tripos Examination, and shall
have kept by residence nine terms at least; provided that the title so
conferred shall not involve membership of the University.’ This seemed a
very moderate proposal, since it only involved a formal acknowledgment
of privileges already conferred, but somehow the University took fright.
Perhaps it now for the first time realised what had already been done,
and determined to allow no more concessions; perhaps an element of
jealousy was beginning to play a part among the younger members who had
appeared in the same class lists as the women, and not always in the
highest places; certain it is that while the best weight and learning in
Cambridge were in favour of the proposals, numbers were ranged on the
other side; and the voting resulted in a majority of more than a
thousand against the proposal. In estimating this result it is well to
remember that the women’s colleges had met with far more rapid success
than even their founders had anticipated. They had produced a Senior
Wrangler and a Senior Classic, and a formidable list of first classes in
these and other Triposes. It was no longer possible to put aside their
achievements with the old contemptuous formula, ‘very good considering.’
The movement had succeeded beyond all hope or fear, and while its true
friends remained staunch, many of the indifferent now ranged themselves
among the open enemies. Events had moved too fast for the rearguard of
public opinion to keep up with them. At any rate the refusal was
decisive, and matters settled down once more to the _status quo_ of

Anomalous as is their position, the students of Girton and Newnham have
many and great advantages. For a comparatively low fee they receive all
the advantages of a University education; they enjoy the manifold
privileges that belong to residence in Cambridge, they may attend nearly
all professorial and very many college lectures, their own colleges also
provide excellent lecturing and coaching; and they may enter for any of
the Tripos Examinations, and for those that lead to the degrees of Doc.
and Bac. Mus. They have the advantage of life in beautiful buildings,
with plentiful opportunities for recreation, exercise, and social
intercourse, while the very fact of belonging to Girton or Newnham
confers a certain prestige which is an advantage professionally and
socially. However much we may desire the degree, and regret its
indefinite postponement, it may yet safely be said that nowhere else can
women obtain such advantages as at Cambridge. No anxiety need be felt
about the future of the colleges. The success of their students, the
influence their ‘graduates’ have had on the teaching profession, and the
good work done by them in other fields, have amply justified the new
departure. If success has come too quickly, public opinion may lag
behind a few years longer. Meantime the work goes on.

At this period of their history it is no longer necessary to describe
the colleges. Everybody who knows Cambridge is familiar with them. Both
have increased greatly since their first beginnings. Girton has added
fresh wings and a tower; changed its entrance and built a library which
is full to overflowing. The trees have grown up around it and offer
pleasant shade to summer tea-parties and afternoon loungers, the
‘woodland walk’ that encircles the grounds is gay at almost all seasons
with pretty blossoms and flowering shrubs. Newnham has enlarged its
first (Old) hall and built two new ones, called by names that will ever
be held in honour, Clough and Sidgwick Halls. One library has been
outgrown, and another—a generous gift—has been lately added; a road has
been diverted allowing an addition to the grounds, and a fresh approach
made under a tower gateway with beautiful iron gates presented by old
students in memory of their first Principal. Girton has once more
outgrown its accommodation, and is appealing for building funds. The
colleges are growing both outwardly and in their aims. Not the least
hopeful feature is the number of ‘graduate’ students who continue their
studies in Cambridge or at one of the foreign universities, or devote to
research or social problems that leisure and freedom from responsibility
which women possess in a greater share than men. The founders have been
abundantly justified in their resolve to establish no mere
training-school for governesses, but to offer a wide and liberal
education to all.

There are some differences in the arrangements of the two colleges. At
Girton each student has two rooms, at Newnham one. The Girton fees are
£105 per annum including coaching and examinations; at Newnham they are
£75, but these items are not in all cases included. Girton supplies cabs
for students who attend lectures in Cambridge; Newnham, being in the
town, is within a walk. Both require every one who has not taken an
equivalent, _e.g._ the higher certificate of the Joint Board, to pass an
entrance examination. Both colleges award scholarships, though scarcely
sufficient to meet the many demands from girls whose parents cannot
afford the payment of full fees. Miss Welsh, one of the early Hitchin
students, is now mistress of Girton; Newnham has a Vice-principal for
each of the halls, and a Principal over the whole. In this post Mrs. H.
Sidgwick succeeded Miss Clough, when the true foundress of Newnham died
in 1892.

There is a good deal of resemblance between the Cambridge colleges and
the Oxford halls, though these latter have a different history. As early
as 1865 a scheme for lectures and classes at Oxford had been organised
by Miss Smith, and remained in operation for several years. In 1873
another similar scheme was set on foot by a committee of ladies, with
Mrs. Max Müller as treasurer, and Mrs. H. Ward and Mrs. Creighton,
followed by Mrs. T. H. Green, as secretaries. The outcome of this was
the Association for the Education of Women, organised in 1878, its
object being ‘to establish and maintain a system of instruction having
general reference to the Oxford examinations.’ Here as at Cambridge the
next step was to found halls of residence to accommodate students from a
distance. Two of these, Somerville and Lady Margaret, were opened in the
same year, 1879; since then two more, St. Hugh’s and St. Hilda’s, have
been added. The great difference, however, between the arrangements at
the two Universities is that the Oxford Association, instead of
amalgamating with the halls, has continued an independent existence,
taking the lead in all matters concerning women’s education. Most
associations of this kind were temporary bodies, which dissolved when
the college or school for which they were working was established, or
when the particular institution with which they were connected had
opened its doors to women. But the Oxford Association has increased in
importance with the development of the colleges, and has become a Board
of Studies for their students, and a means of communication between them
and the University. One of its functions is to organise lectures, to
which members of the University not infrequently request and obtain
admission. It also undertakes the negotiations with the various
professors and colleges that admit women to lectures, and it is thanks
to its exertions that they may now attend under certain regulations
lectures at almost every college in Oxford. Similarly their admission to
university examinations is the work of the Association. In fact, it acts
almost as a feminine department of the University, since it has to
sanction the establishment of halls, make itself responsible for the
studies and discipline of its students, and generally establish their
connection with the University. This connection received its formal
acknowledgment in 1893, when the Dean of Christchurch was appointed to
represent the Hebdomadal Council on the Council of the Association, and
a room in the Clarendon Building was lent it as an office.

There are some other technical differences between the position of women
at Oxford and Cambridge. The latter directly acknowledges the women’s
colleges, the former in theory knows nothing of its women students, but
leaves the Delegacy for Local Examinations to arrange for their
examination. The delegates are allowed for this purpose to use the
papers set by the University examiners for men, and, of course, the
examinations are conducted simultaneously and under exactly the same
conditions. Women may enter for every examination—whether Pass or
Honours—leading to the B.A. degree, and it is this Delegacy which lays
down the special conditions. In all cases a Preliminary examination is
compulsory and in some an Intermediate, but neither the Delegacy nor the
University demands that they should conform to the regulations imposed
on men in regard to duration of study, preliminary examinations and
residence. This has led to greater freedom in work; but, as often
happens, this greater liberty has proved somewhat detrimental. It was
difficult to gauge the value of work done under such conditions, since
some students would end a four years’ course with Moderations and others
at once begin working for the Final Schools. Then there were some
special examinations for women, which by that very restriction failed to
win even the prestige they deserved, and an impression, not quite
unfounded, spread abroad, of a certain vagueness in the Oxford work,
which lessened its value in the eyes of the general public. There was no
real gain in making a selection from a course that had been carefully
planned out by the University for its members, and as this anomalous
state of things had really been brought about by the gradual opening of
the examinations, which made the regular course at first inaccessible to
women students, there seemed no reason for continuing it when once this
difficulty was removed. Oxford women got less credit often than was
their due, simply because some little preliminary formality had been

In order to remedy this, and put the whole work on a firmer basis, the
Association decided to institute a system of diplomas for those of its
students who have taken the full course required of members of the
University. This certificate is awarded only to students who have
entered their names on the register qualifying for it, have kept their
residence after date of entry, and passed the examinations of the B.A.
course in the order and under the conditions as to standing prescribed
for members of the University. Another diploma is also offered to those
who have passed a course of three examinations approved by the council.
Though equivalent to the B.A. diploma as regards difficulty of
attainment, there appears to be little demand among recent students for
this alternative course; and it will probably be regarded as a survival
from the days when, the University examinations being only partially
open to women, substitutes had in some cases to be devised. Certificates
are also awarded to those students who have resided not less than eight
terms, and have obtained a class in an Honour Examination of the
University or of the Delegates of Local Examinations. These diplomas and
certificates offer a definite incentive to regular study, and serve at
once to show the value of the work done in each case.

At Oxford, as at Cambridge, an attempt has been made to win complete
acknowledgment for women students by the conferment of the degree. An
appeal was made to the University in 1895. The question came to the vote
in 1896, and here, as afterwards at Cambridge, the proposal was thrown
out by a considerable majority. Oxford women, like their sisters at
Cambridge, must therefore wait a while longer for complete recognition.
The attempt here may have been a little premature, since, owing to the
late opening of the examinations and the latitude allowed to students,
there were at that time very few who had fulfilled all the necessary
conditions. Still the reason of the refusal was probably identical in
both cases, and indicated a deep-rooted prejudice that must be overcome
before further steps can be taken. Meantime the institution of the
degree-certificate is giving fresh impetus to the work, and attracting
larger numbers to the colleges.

Of these Somerville and Lady Margaret were founded almost
simultaneously, but with somewhat different aims, the former being
undenominational, the latter distinctly Church of England. Both were
intended as halls of residence for Association students, but in 1881
Somerville was incorporated as a college ‘to provide for the residence
of women students’ as well as ‘for the instruction of women students and
for the delivery of lectures to such students’; it was not, however,
till 1894 that the term ‘college’ came into general use. Like the
Cambridge colleges it has grown from small beginnings; it has been
enlarged four times, not on one plan but by the addition of fresh
buildings, so that it does not present the appearance of a connected
whole. But standing in pleasant grounds among fine old trees, this very
medley gives it a certain charm. It can now accommodate over seventy
students, besides the Principal, secretary, and four resident tutors.
Many of its old students have gained honourable positions for
themselves; indeed the Principals of two leading women’s colleges,
Holloway and Bedford, were chosen from the ranks of old Somerville

Lady Margaret was founded by the Bishop of Rochester and others, and has
adhered to its original plan of supplying residence to Church members of
the Association. It undertakes no part of the instruction, but makes use
of the Association’s tutorial and lecturing staff. For some years the
numbers continued small, but as they gradually increased it became
necessary to construct an additional hall. Part of this, the Wordsworth
building, was occupied in 1896, when the numbers went up to forty-nine,
and the council are now appealing for additional funds with which to
build a chapel and the central block, to contain the library and
permanent dining-hall. A pretty thatched boat-house on the Cherwell is
an attractive feature of the grounds, and Lady Margaret is proud of its
rowing club. The Principal is Miss Wordsworth, daughter of the late
Bishop of Lincoln and great-niece of the poet. The hall takes its name
from Lady Margaret Beaufort, that renowned patroness of learning, and
there is a cast from her effigy in the tiny college chapel.

In close connection with Lady Margaret is St. Hugh’s. It was founded in
1886 by Miss Wordsworth to provide a more economical residence for women
students. By a system of sharing bedrooms and using common
sitting-rooms, somewhat lower fees became practicable for those who
could not afford the ordinary terms. The plan does not seem to have
proved very successful, and St. Hugh’s has developed into a small
independent hall for twenty-five students, on the same lines as Lady
Margaret, but with a graduated system of fees according to the room
occupied. Like Lady Margaret it is conducted according to the principles
of the Church of England, with liberty for other denominations. It also
uses the tutorial staff of the Association. All students are expected to
read for some University examination unless specially exempted by the
Council. The Principal is Miss Moberly, daughter of the late Bishop of

The youngest of the Oxford halls is St. Hilda’s. It was founded by Miss
Beale in 1893, and meant in the first instance for students passing on
from Cheltenham to Oxford. This exclusive character has, however, been
abandoned, and it is now formally recognised under the rules of the
Association for the Education of Women. It still receives the greater
part of its students from Cheltenham, though there is nothing now to
exclude others. As yet the numbers are very small. The Principal is Mrs.

Of these four institutions, Somerville, the largest and most
distinguished, is the only undenominational one. All four have the
combined bedroom-studies, with common dining-halls, libraries, etc.
Out-door games, debating societies, college clubs, etc. are as popular
as at Cambridge. All the colleges require an entrance examination or an
alternative, and all give scholarships according to ability. The fees at
Somerville (including board, lodging, tuition and lectures) range from
£78 to £90 according to the room occupied. At Lady Margaret they are
£75, exclusive of tuition, which involves another £20 or £25. At St.
Hugh’s the inclusive terms range from £70 to £90; at St. Hilda’s as at
Lady Margaret, there is a charge of £75, which does not include tuition.

Besides those who reside at the halls other women are frequently
attracted to Oxford. For these, too, the Association makes provision.
Those who avail themselves of the lectures and direction of the
Association, but do not reside in a hall, are registered as home
students, and are placed under the care of a Principal and a committee
of the Council of the Association. They are required to reside, with the
Principal’s approval, in a house sanctioned by the committee, and to
conform to certain rules corresponding to those laid down for hall
students. The Principal performs some of the functions of a tutor.
Students call upon her at the beginning and end of each term, and submit
to her their lists of lectures before sending them in to the office. The
home students are doubtless able to pursue their studies more
economically. The tuition fees seldom exceed £25, and board and lodging
may be had for 25s. a week and upwards. As Oxford terms rarely exceed
eight weeks it is possible by very careful management to keep expenses
down to £50 to £60. As a matter of fact a large proportion of these
students are daughters of Oxford residents. The arrangement is also a
convenient one for foreigners who come to Oxford for a short time only.
Many come in this way from America, after taking a degree in one of
their own colleges. French, German, Russian, Roumanian, Danish, Swedish,
and Norwegian students have at different times resided in Oxford,
working at English language and literature, for the teaching diplomas of
their own country. By helping these the Association can considerably
increase its sphere of usefulness, and without disturbing the work of
the halls it introduces a wider outlook into the lives of the students.
At the same time it is open to home students to take the regular course,
and several of them do so. The committee only registers those who take
up a systematic course of study, extending over at least three terms,
but even those who come for a shorter time can attend its lectures and
profit by its help.

By these varied means the Association is able to draw together all the
agencies for women’s education at Oxford; in 1897 the number of students
on its books was 202, and there is every reason to expect a considerable
increase now that the institution of the degree-diploma has given a
fresh impulse to the work. The steady flow from our girls’ schools to
both Universities proves that the colleges have won appreciation through
the whole of the country. Happily many of the founders are yet among us
to enjoy the fruits of the labours. Girton and Newnham, Somerville and
Lady Margaret, bear eloquent testimony to the truth that the dreamers of
visions are often those who see furthest and best.

                              CHAPTER VII
                       ADMISSION TO UNIVERSITIES

The position of women at Oxford and Cambridge is so anomalous as to
require a good deal of explanation, and indeed it is sometimes said that
the only real grievance these students have is the difficulty of making
people understand what they may and what they may not do. There is no
such difficulty when we come to the newer universities. Here the course
has been one of steady progress, and one after another all the barriers
have fallen.

London was the pioneer in this reform, and its exceptional position made
it an excellent field for experiment. A mere examining and
degree-conferring body, the London University was not obliged to face
those difficult questions of residence, teaching, and discipline which
had to be considered elsewhere. It was natural that women who desired to
obtain professional qualifications without being compelled to seek them
outside their own country, should apply to London for help. As early as
1856 Miss J. M. White had addressed a letter to the Registrar, inquiring
whether a woman could become a candidate for a diploma in medicine.
Counsel’s opinion was taken in the matter and proved adverse. In 1872 it
was again raised by Miss Elizabeth Garrett (now Mrs. Garrett Anderson)
who requested admission as a candidate for matriculation. She was
refused on the same ground. Since it appeared that the University had
not power to accede to these requests, a memorial was drawn up begging
it to seek for such modifications in its charter as would enable it to
admit women to examination. The motion was brought before the Senate,
and lost by the casting vote of the Chancellor. With success so nearly
attained the advocates of the change determined not to let the matter
drop, and after a while a modified proposal was made. It was thought
that a special examination for women might meet the case, or at any rate
serve as an experiment in what was then a very new field. The first was
held in May 1869, and followed the lines of Matriculation with some
modifications. As an isolated examination of no special difficulty and
leading nowhere, it did not attract large numbers, and it became more
and more clear that what women needed was not so much a special course
of study as—to quote the words of the Calendar—‘to have access to the
ordinary degrees and honours, and to be subject to the same tests of
qualification which were imposed on other students.’ The result of this
conviction was that in 1878 it was decided to accept from the Crown ‘a
supplemental charter, making every degree, honour, and prize awarded by
the University accessible to students of both sexes on perfectly equal
terms.’ The charter, however, declared that no woman should be a member
of Convocation until Convocation should itself pass a resolution
admitting them. In 1882, almost as soon as there was any woman eligible,
this resolution was passed, and henceforth both sexes were placed on an
absolute equality in their treatment by London University.

There is no need to dwell on the success of this new departure. The
London degrees have been eagerly sought by women, and they have won
distinguished places in the class lists. Among its graduates London
numbers over fifty female M.A.’s, six D.Sc.’s, one D.Lit., to say
nothing of many hundred B.A. and B.Sc., as well as all the medical
degrees. Class lists show no special division into masculine and
feminine studies, since women have won high honours in classics, and men
in modern languages. Even on Presentation-Day special allusions to the
lady-graduates are seldom made in the speeches; it is no longer
considered a matter of surprise that women should hold their own
intellectually. The London class lists with their rigid equality have
proved to demonstration the equality of the sexes as far as concerns the
domain of examination. And at the particular moment when this was done,
it was the greatest service that could be rendered to the cause of
women’s education, since it settled once and for all the question of
making special conditions for them.

But throwing open the examinations and degrees of London was only an
indirect assistance to their education, since the University examines
all who come, but asks no questions as to how or where they gained their
teaching. There was one institution already in existence which was only
waiting for this new impulse to enlarge the scope of its work. Bedford
College had been gradually developing from humble beginnings into an
institution of first-class educational importance. In 1874 it had been
removed from Bedford Square to its present premises in York Place, Baker
Street, and here it has been gradually expanding, adding another house,
building on at the back, supplying now one laboratory now another, until
it has reached its present condition of efficiency, taking its place as
the leading women’s college of London. Its success is probably due to
the progressive action of its council, ever ready to realise new needs
and meet each fresh demand as it arose. Recognising the transformation
which the opening of the London degrees must effect in women’s
education, they at once proceeded to open classes in the subjects of the
examinations. At the first Matriculation Examination to which women were
admitted, five Bedford College students presented themselves, and all
took Honours. In due course classes for B.A. work were added, then
B.Sc., then M.A., and in all these Bedford College students acquitted
themselves well. The college had now won an honourable place among
university colleges, and in 1894 it was included among the list of those
entitled to a share of the annual grant of £15,000 to university
colleges in Great Britain. From this source it received £700, since
increased to £1200, and it now receives also an annual grant of £500
from the London Technical Education Board, for the further equipment of
the laboratories and development of practical work in science. This is a
speciality of Bedford College. Its laboratories for biology, botany,
chemistry, geology, physiology, and physics meet every requirement.

The college is still open to girls who attend only single courses, but
the majority enter as regular students, and work either for a London
degree or the alternative college course. Bedford has also added other
departments of study to the ordinary curriculum. It has an art school, a
training department for teachers, and a special hygiene course, for
which certificates are conferred. And finally it has developed, as far
as its accommodation will permit, into a residential college. The
old-fashioned dormitory boarding accommodation has been abolished in
favour of students’ rooms in the bed-study fashion so familiar at
Newnham and Oxford, and the general management has been placed in the
hands of a Principal. Miss Emily Penrose, the first to fill this post,
has now become Principal of Holloway, and her place is taken by Miss
Ethel Hurlbatt, late Warden of Aberdare Hall.

Bedford College, true to its undenominational principles, has never
introduced religious instruction into its curriculum. It is not
unnatural that a wish has been expressed in some quarters for a
residential college, which should prepare its students for London
degrees and at the same time take cognisance of their religious
training. It was for this end that Westfield College at Hampstead was
founded in 1882. Its benefactor was Miss Dudin Brown, who made over to
trustees the sum of £10,000 ‘for the establishment of a college for the
higher education of women on Christian principles.’ The Principal is
Miss Maynard, one of the early students of Girton, who has introduced
into Westfield many of the arrangements of the parent college. The
two-room plan, which has found too few imitators, is the rule here.
Inclusive fees, as at Girton, are £105 a year. The conditions for
admission are similar. There are three entrance scholarships, open to
girls who have passed the London Matriculation in Honours or in the
first division.

The college began its work in hired houses at Hampstead, but building
soon became necessary. It is pleasantly situated in that most attractive
of the London suburbs, and combines some advantages of both town and
country. Though it has no laboratories of its own, students can easily
reach those of Bedford College to which they have access; and similarly
it is easy to supply from London such teaching as cannot be undertaken
by the resident staff. Westfield students take high places in the class
lists, and it supplies an important addition to the London colleges.

In enumerating these we cannot omit Holloway, for though far beyond the
borders of the metropolis, it is more and more assimilating its teaching
to the London work. Such was not, however, its original purpose. Among
those who attended the meeting in 1867 to consider the foundation of a
women’s college, was Mr. Thomas Holloway, and at one time it was hoped
he would prove a benefactor to it. But Mr. Holloway preferred the idea
of an independent college unconnected with a university, like Vassar and
others in the United States, and his wishes were thus expressed: ‘It is
the founder’s desire that power by Act of Parliament, Royal Charter, or
otherwise, should ultimately be sought, enabling the college to confer
degrees on its students after proper examination in the various subjects
of instruction.’ With this end in view he chose a beautiful site near
Egham, and built upon it a most elaborate and fully equipped college,
which should some day develop into a women’s university. Nothing was
spared that could contribute to the comfort and well-being of the
students. Each has two rooms; and the magnificent dining-hall, museum,
picture-gallery, etc. prove that no pains were spared to make the new
college attractive as well as efficient. For all that, it was viewed at
first with some misgivings, for it seemed to lack a definite aim. It was
formally opened by the Queen in 1886, and in the following year Miss
Bishop was appointed Principal, but students came in slowly. A liberal
provision of scholarships, and the beauty and healthy situation of the
college did much to dispel the first misgivings, especially when it
began to appear from results that the teaching too was of the best. The
founder had himself directed that until the power to confer degrees
should have been obtained ‘it is intended that the students shall
qualify themselves to take the degrees at the University of London or
any other university of the United Kingdom whose degrees may be obtained
by them, or to pass any examination open to them at any such university,
which may be equivalent to a degree examination.’ In accordance with
this permission the first students were prepared for the London degrees,
and also for the examinations of the University of Oxford, which under
present conditions are open to all comers, since the delegacy takes no
cognisance of residence. Holloway students may therefore, if they
please, present themselves for examination in Moderations and Final
Schools just as if they were residing at the Oxford halls. They cannot,
of course, obtain the Association’s diploma, and miss the advantage of
the Oxford lectures.

On these lines the college worked for ten years, when circumstances made
it necessary to reconsider its position. At both Oxford and Cambridge
the degree had been refused, and it seemed desirable for the friends of
women’s education to come to some decision on their future policy. Once
again the scheme of a women’s university was raised; and Holloway
College took the lead in calling a meeting to discuss the question.
Opinions were invited as to the future action of the college, and three
propositions were made: (1) That Holloway College should, in accordance
with the founder’s will, seek powers to confer its own degrees. (2) That
a Federal University should be founded, to include in its jurisdiction
all the women’s colleges. (3) That Holloway should associate itself more
closely with London, and seek admission into its teaching University
when this should be founded. The discussion showed a strong consensus in
favour of this last proposal, and it is probable that henceforth the
work of Holloway College will be chiefly directed towards the London
courses. If so, it will be safe to predict for it a brilliant future.
Its healthy situation, delightful grounds, beautiful buildings, and
large endowment, with the prospect of receiving full recognition for
work done, will attract large numbers; indeed with Holloway, Bedford,
and Westfield for their own, London women have little left to desire.
Whatever they may lack elsewhere fullest measure is dealt to them here.

Nor are they even restricted to their own special colleges. The classes
at University College are open to all who care to attend; indeed this
was one of the first, if not the very first, of our English colleges to
try the co-education experiment. After experimenting by holding some
classes for women separately, and admitting them temporarily to others,
the professors decided in favour of joint classes, and the result was
the opening of all except the departments of Medicine and Engineering.
The results proved altogether satisfactory, and this end has been helped
by the appointment of a lady-superintendent, who holds the same position
towards the women students that a vice-dean does to the men. No woman is
admitted as a student except upon her recommendation, and upon
production of satisfactory references. In this way their special
interests are safeguarded, and girls far from home may always secure
friendly advice and guidance. Further, there is a special residence
provided at College Hall, Byng Place, where students may have some of
the advantages of college life while pursuing their studies at
University College, or the Woman’s Medical School close by. With Miss
Grove as Principal, and Miss Morison, superintendent of the women
students, as Vice-Principal, it offers a bright and cultivated home to
its inmates, and keeps up the collegiate idea by admitting only such as
have already passed Matriculation or an equivalent examination, and are
pursuing a regular course of study. The fees for board and residence
vary, according to the room occupied and the length of the term, from
£51 to £90 the session.

To give a complete list of the institutions that prepare students for
the London degrees, would be impossible, since it is open to any person
in any place to hold such classes. A few work for them at the ladies’
department of King’s College, but on the whole the work of this branch
is more on the lines of miscellaneous lectures and general culture. Some
schools, _e.g._ the North London and the Bedford High School, also carry
on their pupils beyond Matriculation to the Intermediate examinations,
or even further. The Ladies’ College, Cheltenham, provides instruction
for the full Arts course. Most of the provincial university colleges
have London degree classes, and many candidates, who cannot get oral
teaching, make use of the University Tutorial and other correspondence

A new development on fresh lines is supplied by the Polytechnics. In
most of these, whether in London or other large towns, classes are held
in all the subjects of the London examinations with particular
assistance for Science. With fully equipped laboratories, a large staff
of teachers, and considerable funds at their disposal, the Polytechnics
may yet become formidable rivals to the other London colleges. Some
regret this new departure, and believe that such institutions would be
better employed in confining themselves to their original function, the
encouragement of handicraft; on the other hand, a system of cheap local
colleges is so valuable to large numbers that it is not likely to be
abandoned. Some place must be found in the new organisation of the
London University for these institutes, if they themselves desire it;
but perhaps we shall see, instead of this, a federation of these great
science and handicraft schools into some fresh University of their own.

The example set by London in 1879 was soon to be imitated. Only a year
afterwards a new University was founded, and the principle of including
women was at once adopted. The charter of Victoria University distinctly
stated that its degrees and distinctions might be conferred ‘on all
persons, male or female, who shall have pursued a regular course of
study in a College in the University, and shall submit themselves for
examination.’ The degree is somewhat on the lines of the London, but
attendance at certain prescribed courses of study is required. These
courses must be continued for three years at least. Hence admission to
the Victoria degrees really depends on the action of the individual
colleges, which are quite unfettered by the University. These are—(1)
Owens College, Manchester; (2) University College, Liverpool; (3)
Yorkshire College, Leeds.

The first of these had been in existence as a men’s college some years
before the establishment of the University, and it has not seemed
anxious to make changes in its original constitution. It became
necessary to organise a special department for women, in connection with
which they still receive some of their instruction. But the teaching for
the higher examinations, _i.e._ those beyond the Victoria Preliminary,
is received in the ordinary college classes. As a matter of fact, men
and women are taught together in nearly all the B.A. and B.Sc. classes;
and the Preliminary, like the London Matriculation, belongs to school
work, and has no proper place in a college curriculum at all. Owens
still follows the old plan, now almost everywhere discarded, of offering
special certificates to women on easier terms; but for these there is
little demand.

Since University College, Liverpool was not incorporated till 1881,
_i.e._ after the constitution of the University, it was natural that it
should follow its lead in the recognition of women, but this was not yet
full and ungrudging. The charter says: ‘female students may be admitted
to attend any of the courses of instruction established in the college,
subject to such restrictions and regulations as statutes of the College
may from time to time prescribe.’ At present the regulations stand thus:
‘Female students may be admitted to the classes of the College, except
those of the Medical School, under regulations to be framed by the
Senate and approved by the Council.’ In theory, therefore, University is
a men’s college that admits women. In fact, with the exception of the
medical classes, the two are pretty much on an equality. Men and women
are admitted on the same terms to the day and evening classes;
throughout the regulations the words ‘his or her’ are used. Rules apply
to both sexes alike. Hitherto the college has been of use chiefly to
Liverpool residents, and for such it was doubtless intended, but it is
just about to extend the sphere of its usefulness by opening a Hall of
Residence for Women. The fees for residence are to be £40 to £55 per
annum. College tuition fees are about £20 to £25. The total expenses
would therefore be a little less than at Newnham. Liverpool can hardly
offer the attractions of Cambridge, but the hall should prove useful for
girls in the North who do not wish to go too far from home, or to whom
the right to use the degree letters is of some special value. And since
Cambridge and Oxford can by no means attempt to accommodate the whole of
the ever-increasing contingent of women students, it is well that there
should be many and varied opportunities of study offered them elsewhere.

At the Yorkshire College, Leeds, all the classes are open to women as to
men, and all have been attended by them except the purely professional
ones and the medical school. This college chiefly supplies local needs,
as far, at any rate, as girls are concerned; for its specialities, such
as coal-mining, dyeing, leather, and textile industries, etc. naturally
do not appeal to women. It is to a great extent a technological college,
receiving assistance from the Clothworkers’, Skinners’, and other city
companies. But it has also an Arts department, where students can be
prepared for Victoria or London examinations, and this is of great use
to boys and girls who pass on from their respective schools.

The last of the English Universities to admit women was Durham. As
compared with Oxford and Cambridge, it is a recent foundation, since it
received its charter in 1837. Since one of its most important faculties
is Divinity, it seemed a less suitable field than others for feminine
study, but a change was effected by the foundation, in 1871, of the
Newcastle College of Science, in connection with Durham, which admitted
students of both sexes to scientific and medical classes. It then became
important to win the University hall-mark for the women, and after a
while Durham was induced to apply for the necessary powers. In 1895 it
received a supplementary charter, giving power to confer degrees on
women in all faculties except divinity. With this exception, women are
admitted as members of the University on the same terms as men. All
lectures are open to them. Male students reside for the most part in
college as at Oxford and Cambridge; the women studying at Durham are
therefore at present unattached members. This state of things will be
remedied as soon as a regular women’s college is opened at Durham;
special scholarships for women are already offered, to attract larger
numbers. At Newcastle, which at present receives the majority of the
women students, a hostel has been opened for them. The number of lady
graduates is as yet of necessity small.

It is significant of the steady advance of public opinion on the subject
of women’s education, that the youngest of all our universities is the
one to do them fullest justice. It is the proud boast of the University
of Wales that its charter contains the following clause: ‘Women shall be
eligible equally with men for admittance to any degree, which the
University is, by this our Charter, authorised to confer. Every office
hereby created in the University, and the membership of every authority
hereby constituted, shall be open to women equally with men.’

The University of Wales is a federation of three constituent colleges,
all much older than the University itself, and they in their turn
represent aspirations which the fable-loving Cymry trace back to hoary
days of antiquity. Caerleon-on-Usk, they tell us, was the precursor of
the present _Prifysgol Cymru_; and when in the ninth century Alfred the
Great determined to found the comparatively modern University of Oxford,
it was to Wales he sent for professors. When, in 1893, the royal seal
was set to the charter of the Welsh University, it symbolised the
revival of ancient and departed glories.

However little faith we may attach to some of these tales, one thing is
certain. The aspirations which expressed themselves in the foundation of
Aberystwyth College had dwelt among the people for many generations. At
last, in the early fifties, it was resolved to found a University
College for Wales, but the problem whence to obtain the funds was not
easy to solve. Appeal was made for voluntary contributions, and they
came, some large, some small, all giving according to their means. Still
it was not till twenty years after the first suggestion that the college
came into being. In 1872, when Aberystwyth was opened, Girton had
already made its first start at Hitchin, and the house of residence,
that was to develop into Newnham, had been opened at Cambridge; but
these beginnings were too small to attract general attention, and the
new college became, as a matter of course, an institution for male
students only. There was nothing to forbid the admission of women, it
was simply a thing no one had contemplated; and when, at last, in 1883,
a few women students did present themselves, no one thought of shutting
the door on them. When the college charter was conferred in 1889, it
simply recognised the fact of their presence by the clause: ‘Female
students shall be admitted to all the benefits and emoluments of the
College, and women shall be eligible to sit on the Governing body, on
the Council, and on the Senate.’

Prosperity did not come all at once to Aberystwyth. It had at first to
struggle against two great evils: lack of funds, and the insufficient
preliminary training of its students. Appeal was made for Government
help in both directions, and the result of frequent representations was
the appointment, by the Lord President of the Council, of a departmental
committee, to inquire into the whole state of Welsh education. In 1881
this committee reported that a case had been made out for Government aid
to both secondary and higher education in Wales, and recommended the
establishment of two colleges, one in North and one in South Wales, and
the eventual foundation of a Welsh University. A grant of £2500,
afterwards increased to £4000, was at once made to Aberystwyth; in 1883
the South Wales College was founded at Cardiff, and in the following
year the Northern College was begun at Bangor, each receiving an annual
grant of £4000. Both, from the first, opened their doors to women.

For the first ten years the colleges directed their courses of study
towards the degrees of the University of London. Their students did
well, but the desire for their own University and their own degrees
never faded from the minds of Welshmen. A few eager spirits met again
and again in conference, then followed meetings of educationalists all
over the principality, and in 1891 the main lines of a university were
laid down by public conference, details were discussed by a
representative committee, referred back to the conference, then to the
colleges, and the sixteen Welsh county councils; lastly, the press and
the general public were called upon for an opinion, and then the scheme
was laid before the President of the Council. If ever there was a
national University, the Welsh may claim to have established one. In
November 1893 the royal seal was affixed to the charter, and in June
1895 the University held its first Matriculation Examination.

The degree course of the University of Wales is a complicated one, and
is by no means planned so that he who runs may read. It has a twofold,
or rather a threefold aim. The University not only takes cognisance of
residence, but also lays down very careful directions as to the manner
in which students shall obtain their knowledge. Not only does it demand
a three years’ course in a constituent college of the University, but it
also prescribes the nature of the courses, and the number of lectures to
be attended. After Matriculation, which must be passed in five subjects,
three compulsory, and two optional, and may be taken in one year or in
two, the regulations require each student to pursue not less than ten
courses, of which one must be in elementary Logic, and one, at least, a
course of Latin or Greek. Apart from the Logic, the nine courses must be
chosen in not less than three, or more than six departments. The
possible courses are designated according to their degree of difficulty,
as intermediate, ordinary, and special; four, at least, must be of
higher grade than intermediate. In order to distribute them evenly over
the whole term of residence, no candidate may take more than four in any
one year, or more than seven in the first two years. A course is held to
include not less than eighty lectures, and the corresponding
examination; and since, in most subjects, the intermediate course must
be pursued before the higher ones are attempted, every student has to
attend some very elementary lectures before proceeding to anything at
all like university work. As sixteen is the college age of admission,
this arrangement is probably intentional; the colleges are meant to
continue school work for one year at least, and gradually lead the
student on to more arduous labours.

Since the colleges are independent institutions, they have a good deal
of freedom in the organisation of their work, and may, if they please,
submit new schemes for the consideration of the Senate, the other two
colleges, and the University Court. Without the sanction of all these
they cannot attempt any innovation. The superior stress laid on the
actual instruction rather than on the ensuing examination is emphasised
by appointing the three professors of each subject as examiners, with
the help of one outside person, who must be some one of distinguished
attainments and authority.

Thus the University of Wales proceeds on lines which, though new to us,
bear considerable resemblance to the plan of many American colleges,
where the number of hours to be spent weekly in the lecture-room counts
as part qualification for the degree, and the examinations are spread
out over the whole term of residence, and not concentrated into one or
two supreme efforts. Of course this greatly relieves the strain, and it
is too soon to say whether the degree will at all lose in prestige from
the numerous efforts made to clear the student’s path of thorns. It is
probably the best system for Wales, where the Intermediate schools only
profess to keep their pupils till seventeen, and there is nothing to
prevent able students from competing for scholarships, which shall
enable them to continue at Oxford or Cambridge the studies begun in one
of their own colleges. Eventually it is probable that facilities will be
offered for doing advanced work without forsaking their own country.

Even before the establishment of the University, the colleges attracted
many women students from England as well as Wales. All three are
pleasantly situated in healthy spots, and the cheapness of both teaching
and living helped to attract many girls. It thus soon became necessary
to consider the question of a mixed university, which had no residential
colleges to simplify the problem. Soon it became clear that, where young
people of both sexes were very frequently thrown together, it was
desirable in the interests of all concerned to exercise some sort of
control. A hall of residence for the women seemed the best way out of
the dilemma, and it had the advantage of drawing them away from lonely
and often uncomfortable lodgings, and giving them some of that feeling
of corporate life which is valued so highly at the older universities.
Still it is noteworthy that, to make the plan a success, residence has
had, under certain conditions, to be made compulsory. The first attempt
at Aberystwyth was a failure, but in 1887 another house was taken, and
compulsory residence required. This arrangement seemed to attract
students; in the following session their numbers increased, and
continued to average about forty, till in 1891 it was resolved to build
a large new hall. The numbers then again went up, and have already
reached 175. Alexandra Hall was opened with much state by the Princess
of Wales in June 1897. It can accommodate 200, a number which must soon
be reached.

Neither Bangor nor Cardiff can boast such numbers, but in both the
hostels are doing well. At Bangor, after a few years’ experiment, it was
decided to make residence compulsory for all girls under twenty-one. The
hall and college were brought into close connection by the appointment
of a lady, who was also an officer of the college, to act as
superintendent of all the women students. Permission is given to women
to reside in any house which, in the judgment of the Principal and
Lady-superintendent, provides hostel conditions of supervision. At
Aberdare Hall, Cardiff, there is compulsory residence for women who do
not live in their own homes. At all three halls the fees are very low,
forty guineas being the usual annual payment for board and residence,
and £10 for the composition tuition charge. At Bangor and Cardiff there
are also a few cubicles, for which the charge is only thirty guineas.
This plan hardly appears to answer, nor does it seem desirable to let
the standard of comfort fall below a certain minimum. There is a talk of
abandoning it.

In estimating the numbers at these colleges, we must remember that they
do not represent only students in Arts and Science. All three have
established day training-departments, and to these students, too, the
halls are open, as well as to those who attend the Cardiff Cookery
School. In attempting to put the training for domestic economy and
elementary school teaching on the same footing as university work, Wales
is acting in accordance with its democratic traditions, and trying also
to induce a higher class of students to take up the elementary teaching.
The experiment is certainly worth making, and it will be interesting to
watch its success. English high school girls who wish to take up
elementary teaching might here combine their training and their work for
the Welsh degree in a three years’ course.

With the help of the wardens of halls and the ladies’ committees, the
colleges are able to face the complications of joint clubs and societies
for both sexes. All these involve some special regulations, in regard to
the composition of committees, the return from evening meetings, etc.
but the difficulties have not proved insuperable. It would hardly be
going too far to say that the women’s halls of residence have saved the
situation in Wales, and made this most complete example of co-education
possible. It is not surprising that they are being adopted elsewhere.
The advocates of educational equality for the sexes, even where the
instruction is given to both together, have assuredly no desire to
complicate or revolutionise social relations, nor yet to confer full
liberty on those who are hardly emerged from the schoolgirl stage. For
both sexes the residential arrangement seems on many grounds desirable,
and while congratulating the women on their pleasant halls of residence,
we can but hope that the male students may not be left out in the cold
much longer, without the chance of learning for themselves the true
meaning of collegiate life.

The opportunities for advanced study open to women have indeed increased
and multiplied at a rapid rate during the last few years. Beyond the
northern boundary we find all the Scottish Universities have admitted
them freely to membership, and if we cross St. George’s Channel, the
Royal University of Ireland—like London, only an examining body—takes no
note of sex, and even Trinity College, Dublin, is making some tentative
essays in the teaching and examining of women. This represents what has
been done in our own islands, but the same movement has been going on
simultaneously all over the world. Thanks to Mr. M. E. Sadler,[15] we
are now in a position to compare the position of women at a hundred and
thirty-nine different Universities. Questions were sent to the
Universities of Great Britain and Ireland, the continent of Europe, the
United States of America, Canada, India, and Australia. ‘It appears,’
says Mr. Sadler, ‘that at a hundred of these, the distinctions between
men and women students are, if any, comparatively unimportant; at seven
Universities women students are admitted, by courtesy or special
permission, to some lectures and examinations; at twenty-one others
women are, by like favour, admitted to some of the lectures; and at
eleven Universities they are not admitted at all.’ Of the exceptions
five are in Germany, three in Russia, one in Ireland, one in Belgium,
one in the United States. France and Italy are specially remarkable for
their generous recognition of women, and Germany, long obdurate, is
making constant fresh concessions; but intending students should study
the special conditions of the one they wish to attend, since many of the
regulations are most complicated.[16]

This general advance all over the civilised world is the chief gain this
half century has brought to women’s education. Though each country has
proceeded on its own lines the movement has unconsciously been an
international one. That gives it a strength which will make it

                              CHAPTER VIII
                      BOARDING AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Once more our chronicle takes us back to 1867. A new era was then
inaugurated, that of girls’ day schools. Not that these were anything
new; small cheap day-schools for girls abounded, but the majority of
them were bad. With fees ranging from £3 to £10 a year, and pupils of
every variety of age, a little simple arithmetic will prove that the
mistress had not sufficient funds at her disposal to pay for suitable
premises and adequate teaching, to say nothing of winning a modest
competence for herself. From all parts of the country came condemnation
of these small, cheap schools. The opinions about boarding-schools were
by no means so unanimous. They were censured for the excessive attention
given to accomplishments, the insufficient education of the teachers,
and their neglect of physical training; but these were faults common to
nearly all the schools of that day, and not characteristic of
boarding-schools as such. A careful perusal of the Commissioners’ report
leads to a far more favourable impression of boarding than day-schools,
due, probably, to their being less hampered for funds. But the general
public is influenced by impressions rather than facts; and certainly an
impression did gain ground that a day-school was in itself a good and a
boarding-school an evil.

Unquestionably the reformers were right in first turning their attention
to the former. Large schools of this kind were easier to organise, and
really made for efficiency and economy, that much desired combination,
which in this case is not, as so often, a mere contradiction in terms.
The establishment of high and endowed schools has brought a good
education within reach of thousands of girls who could by no other means
have obtained it. The extinction of the small, cheap boarding-school
which for the past century had been struggling to give the lower middle
classes a poorer imitation of the poor education given elsewhere to
their social ‘superiors,’ is a thing no one can seriously deplore.
Painless extinction is, unhappily, impossible. The suffering which such
changes bring in their train is to be deplored, but the article itself
may be relegated to the class of those that ‘never will be missed.’

The new day-schools met a real want, and success came to them at once.
It was natural they should attract the first relays of the ‘graduates’
that the women’s colleges were beginning to send out. Thus they were the
first to introduce improved teaching, and for a while they were supposed
to have a monopoly of it. In the prevailing dearth of good mistresses
they were able to get first choice; now, after the lapse of thirty
years, the supply exceeds the demand, and a good teacher is attainable
by any school of any grade that can satisfy the very moderate demands of
university women.

The high schools started with a very definite principle—the combination
of school teaching with home influence—doubtless the ideal for all
girls, supposing that each side duly fulfils its share of the
obligation. But now, in 1898, it is curious to note how far the high
school has travelled in twenty-five years. The original scheme of
morning-school, from nine to one, and afternoon preparation for a few
girls who had no quiet room at home, still prevails in theory, but
_quantum mutatus ab illo_ can best be realised by tracing a day’s
routine in school. First come the morning lessons, usually five in
number, with the short break for play or drill, then the school dinner,
to which over fifty girls sometimes sit down; again a short interval
before the afternoon classes, music lessons and preparation, which
usually go on till four, though girls who have no special duties at the
time may be found at play in the playground. Still later, if it be
summer, there may be an adjournment to the school field, often at a
considerable distance. Not till darkness sets in can it be said that the
day’s school life is over; and the elder girls still have some lessons
to prepare before bed-time. A healthful, well-filled happy day is behind
them, but where does the home influence come in? The girls might as well
be weekly boarders for all the share they have in the real life of home.
Saturday may see a cricket practice or a work party, or a school
committee, or a sketching expedition, or a match with some distant
school. Sunday alone belongs to the home. The numerous clubs, charities,
old girls’ meetings, etc. fill up all the time the girls can spare from
their lessons. Girls who do not live quite near frequently become
day-boarders, though the word is not used, and take dinner, and
sometimes even tea, at school. In some few cases the school even
undertakes to supply medical supervision and the general direction of
the pupil’s health, thus relieving parents of one more responsibility.
In fact the day-school is well on the road to become a boarding-school,
and the establishment of boarding-houses more or less loosely connected
with it is a further step in the same direction.

How far these schools have travelled from their original intentions
becomes evident if we refer back to a controversy on school hours that
took place in 1880 in consequence of some strictures passed by Mrs.
Garrett Anderson on the arrangements in the High Schools. She considered
the strain of the four hours’ morning excessive, and proposed reducing
it, introducing afternoon school and a considerable interval for outdoor
games between the two. This was met with general opposition by
headmistresses. Day-schools, it was said, could not be expected to
provide dinner, it was most undesirable for girls to return from school
as late as four or five on cold winter afternoons, teachers could not be
expected to undertake so much afternoon work, while the strongest
opposition of all was made to the games. Miss Buss pointed out that the
mixture of classes which was unobjectionable as long as girls only met
at lessons where talking was forbidden, or in the short intervals which
were largely devoted to lunch and drill, might cause serious
difficulties if the whole day were spent in school. She also thought the
games would be a difficulty; only rough girls would take part in them,
and the rest simply lounge about.

How wrong these predictions have proved we all know. Girls’ athletics
have made startling progress during the last ten years; cricket and
hockey, seemingly rough games, have found favour with the most feminine
of girls; the school dinner is a regular institution, and is accompanied
by pleasant chat about practices, matches, election of club officers,
etc. A new feature, never contemplated by the promoters, has entered
these day-schools; and, oddly enough, is doing more than anything else
to bring back to favour the once despised boarding-school.

Those that now originated were of a new kind, at least for girls;
schools where the boarding-houses form part of the regular organisation,
and the whole life and development of the girls is under the charge of
the mistresses. Something of the sort had already been done at
Cheltenham, and doubtless the College owed much of its success to its
boarding-house system. Although a general English education, which is
wanted by all alike, can be supplied in any town capable of supporting a
large day-school, the very special teaching wanted by a few girls
working for scholarships or specially advanced examinations causes a
severe strain on the resources of a moderate-sized school, is impossible
for financial reasons in a small one, and quite inaccessible to those
girls with country homes from whom a considerable proportion of college
students is drawn. Hence there arose a new type of school.

The first of this kind originated in Scotland, at St. Andrews. It was
founded in 1877 by a local company with a view to educating their own
daughters; but arrangements were at once made for taking boarders, and
these were placed under the immediate charge of the head-mistress. As
the numbers increased, other houses were taken and placed under charge
of senior mistresses; and as more and more girls were attracted from a
distance, the boarding element began to predominate. With Miss Lumsden,
one of the ‘Girton pioneers,’ as first head-mistress, and Miss Dove,
another student of Hitchin days, as her successor, the school very
quickly settled down into lines very closely resembling those of a boys’
public school. The boarding-houses became an integral part of the
institution, the school-house being under the charge of the
head-mistress, and the others under the senior assistants. In this way
the staff of the school was strengthened by the encouragement thus
offered to women of ability to remain in the school instead of seeking
their promotion elsewhere. The boarding-houses are also valuable in
ensuring regular attendance and proper home preparation, since the
day-girls, being in a minority, cannot introduce those lax ideas of
attendance which are in some places unfortunately the result of the much
vaunted home influence.

The numbers in the school are limited to 200. The admission age is
thirteen or fourteen, no girl can be admitted who has turned seventeen.
All must pass an entrance examination, graduated according to age, but
always including a certain amount of Arithmetic, English, Latin and
French. A school of 200 girls, all between thirteen and nineteen, and
all with a sufficient preparatory training, can genuinely concentrate
its efforts on higher teaching. The classes become easier to group, and
with a large staff which allows of careful subdividing, all the ordinary
hindrances to progress are removed, and a school is enabled to work
under the best possible conditions. It can, if it is desired, make a
speciality of certain branches of study. At St. Andrews classics take an
important place; of the present staff five have passed the Classical
Tripos. Among the honours won by old pupils are first classes in
Classical Moderations and Final Classical Schools at Oxford, and in the
Classical Tripos at Cambridge. The school distinctly aims at a literary
curriculum, with the higher certificate of the Joint Board to fix the
standard, and Oxford or Cambridge as the goal for those girls whose
education is to be continued.

St. Leonard’s School, as it has been called since it acquired the old
buildings and beautiful grounds of the ancient St. Leonard’s College, is
organised with a school-house and seven boarding-houses, each under the
charge of a mistress. With all the girls under the control of the
head-mistress it is possible to carry out the prefect system, and, by
giving a good deal of responsibility to the Sixth Form, remove that
element of excessive supervision which was often a harmful element in
the old-fashioned boarding-school. Each house constitutes a small
community, with its separate dining-room and study, where each of the
elder girls has a small writing-table and bookshelf. Some rules prevail
in all, _e.g._ that no work shall be done before breakfast or after 8.30
P.M. School hours are from 9 to 12.30 every day, with special subjects
in the afternoon. After dinner about one and a half hours are given to
games under charge of a special mistress. There is a playground of
sixteen acres, which comprises cricket-field, golf-course, lawn and
gravel tennis-courts, large hockey-courts and fives-courts, etc. The St.
Leonard’s girls are renowned for their skill in games.

With a school thus organised the life of the girls is made easier. There
is no conflict of aims; in term-time the school claims its due, in
holidays the home. Whether this is theoretically the best plan is an
academic rather than a practical question, but it is undoubtedly
beneficial to the studies and health of the girls. A mistress who is
intimately acquainted with the work of every Form can check overwork
more effectually than the most anxious mother, who is incapable of
judging from that school point of view which looms so large in the young
girl’s mind. Loyalty and public spirit, developed by this joint life of
small communities within a large one, are important factors in forming
character, and the general atmosphere of alternate work and play without
the excessive excitement of home gaieties and the distraction of
domestic interests unquestionably facilitates study. Whether the gains
to character really outweigh the advantages of the family life depends
so entirely on the arrangements and atmosphere of each particular home,
that it is impossible to give any general opinion. At any rate results
seem to show that this class of school is one of the chief needs for
girls at the present time. A good deal of attention had been drawn to
St. Leonard’s School in England, and in spite of the distance many girls
were in the habit of journeying northwards three times a year for the
sake of sharing in its advantages. At last a number of educationalists
decided to establish a school of this kind in England, and induced Miss
Dove, who had now placed the Northern school on a thoroughly
satisfactory basis, to organise a similar one in the South. The
Education Company, Limited, was formed, with a council of which the
Master of Trinity became president. It was fortunate enough to secure
for its first school the beautiful house and grounds of Wycombe Abbey.
Situated in lovely country, with thirty-six acres of its own, and the
rest of the park stretched all about it, the old trees, the historic
memories and dignified surroundings help to shed over the school some of
that feeling of tradition and veneration for the past, which all girls’
institutions must of themselves lack for some time to come.

The school resembles St. Leonard’s in its organisation, with some slight
differences. There are no day pupils and, as the Abbey is itself capable
of accommodating a hundred girls, it is divided for school purposes into
four divisions, technically known as ‘houses.’ Each house is in the
special charge of its tutor, and has its own sitting-room and
dormitories, and its table in the dining-room. The house-colour is
carried out in the cubicles; cretonnes, bed-spreads, tiles, etc. being
red, blue, green, or yellow, according to the special house in which the
dormitory is situated. All this prettiness serves as an attractive
background for hard work and healthy play. It is pleasant to find the
modern school catering for all the sides of a girl’s nature.

It very soon became necessary to build, and with the help of the new
houses two hundred can now be accommodated. Beyond this it is not
proposed to go; but should the system prove as popular in England as in
Scotland, it is probable that the Education Company might open more
schools. The conditions of admission, entrance examination, etc. are the
same as at St. Andrews. Physical exercise plays an important part, and
about two hours every day are given up to games or country walks, which
groups of girls are allowed to take together. Each term has its own
special game; lacrosse is the favourite in the autumn, hockey in winter,
and cricket in summer. The heavy work of the day is thus broken up into
two parts, and Wycombe, unlike the majority of girls’ schools, does not
rigidly divide these into morning classes, afternoon preparation.
Lessons and study hours alternate during the day. This is an attempt to
relieve the strain of the long morning, against which many voices are
again being raised. Physical and manual training come in for a share of
attention, two hours a day in the upper, and three in the lower school.
Under these headings come drawing and painting, part-singing,
practising, dancing, gymnastics, carpentry, gardening, and needlework.
All these are taught by expert teachers, and are treated as an integral
part of the general education. In the upper forms six hours a day are
given to actual study, in the lower only five. As this includes
preparation, and the day is so fully occupied that there is not much
chance of stealing odd half hours for work, it will be interesting to
see whether this short allowance, with the help of careful arrangement
and healthful surroundings, will prove sufficient to prepare girls
adequately for college. It is too soon to ask for results, but if this
plan succeeds, a problem which engages much attention at present will
have been greatly helped towards solution.

Another school that is doing useful work, as what our American cousins
would call an ‘experiment station,’ is the one at Brighton now known as
Roedean. It was founded in 1885, by the Misses Lawrence, with three
distinct aims: (1) to give a due importance to physical education and
outdoor games in every girl’s life; (2) to regulate the school
discipline in such a way as to develop trustworthiness and a sense of
responsibility in the pupils; (3) to give girls a sound and careful
intellectual training. The order in which these are stated indicates the
growing importance attached to physical training and public spirit, and
explains the lines on which what might be called the reformed
boarding-school is proceeding.

This Brighton school is just about to take a fresh departure. It has
raised money by shares for a new building on a magnificent site between
Brighton and Rottingdean. The new premises consist of a convenient
school-house and four separate boarding-houses connected by covered
passages with the central building. Something of college methods is to
be brought into school by giving each girl a separate bedroom, while the
eight seniors in each house are to have a study as well. Here they may
give their Saturday tea-parties, entertain their friends, and learn to
take the responsibility of their own little domain. The special
characteristics of the school are the large amount of responsibility
given to the girls and their success in games, of which they are not a
little proud. The curriculum resembles that of a high school, with more
scope for individual tuition, and most of the teachers are graduates.
Wimbledon House School, as it was called before the change in site
necessitated a change in name, was one of the pioneers in bringing about
the newer view of girls’ education. These views are being widely
adopted. The increased freedom, the more active life, the great stress
laid on the _corpus sanum_ as one means of developing the _mens sana_,
are all part of the new order of things, and a recognition that the
wider life led by the women of to-day needs its own special preparation.

A new school of a similar kind has been started at Aldeburgh, and is
being carried on in temporary premises at Southwold on the East Coast.
It is proposed to acquire a site here or in some other part of Suffolk,
and raise money for building by means of a company. The plan is similar
to the Brighton one: a school-house and boarding-houses under the charge
of teachers, with plenty of freedom and individual responsibility for
the girls. The daily hour and a half of outdoor exercise, the adoption
of hand and eye training in the regular curriculum, and the medical
inspection of the girls by a lady doctor, are among the more modern
methods that distinguish it.

In their fundamental aims there is a close resemblance between these
schools. They represent a fresh break with the past. The false ideal of
showy accomplishment had already given way to the worthier aim of
thoroughness and a more serious mental development. With the
intellectual aims came a change too in the moral. The larger life of the
day school of itself promoted more freedom and a greater sense of
responsibility in the girls, but their moral training was divided
between the school and the home, and sometimes suffered from a lack of
co-operation between the two. As Mrs. Sidgwick pointed out, when laying
the foundation stone of the Roedean buildings:—‘Boarding-schools have a
wider function, a more responsible task than day-schools. They have to
care for pupils in play-hours as well as work-hours; they have, far more
than day-schools, to superintend their development in matters moral and
physical as well as intellectual.’ It is therefore largely in
boarding-schools that the newest ideas can be worked out. The worst
feature of the old boarding-school was the excessive supervision, and
the deceit and silliness it engendered. _Punch’s_ immortal direction,
‘Go and see what Baby’s doing, and tell her not to,’ might stand as the
rule of conduct in many a seminary for young ladies. The atmosphere of
suspicion engendered the very faults it was intended to obviate. The
giggling boarding-school miss was a type it was not desirable to
perpetuate. What was wanted was something that should prepare girls for
life and its responsibilities, as boys were prepared at public schools.
This term ‘a public school’ is curiously difficult to define, though we
all know pretty well the meaning attached to it in England. It has
perhaps been best described as ‘one where the government is administered
in a greater or less degree by the pupils themselves.’ The true ‘public
spirit’ could only develop as the schools became centres of something
besides study. With the increase in their sphere of action the high
schools have fostered its growth; to bring it to its full perfection
must be the task of the modern boarding-school.

Another, and an essentially practical advantage of boarding-schools, is
the facilities they offer for differentiation. We are coming to realise
that all schools cannot teach all things, unless indeed like Cheltenham,
they are really a number of different schools under one head. While many
new subjects have been drawn within the sphere of a girl’s curriculum,
the old still keep their place. The only escape from smatter and
overstrain lies in a wise selection, and a girl’s general education may
gain almost as much by the exclusion of some subjects as by the
inclusion of others. With the constant increase of science schools,
technical institutes, special endowments for science, etc., selection
and differentiation are rapidly increasing in one direction, and it
becomes essential to provide elsewhere against the complete neglect of
the literary side. This the boarding-school may do without inflicting
any injustice, since it does not profess to supply all the local needs.
Up to the age of fourteen there can be no thought of specialising; by
that time most parents have some general idea about their daughter’s
probable future and special inclinations. If it is a question of a
definite career, the choice becomes easier, because confined within
narrower limits.

Yet after all, when we have reviewed in our minds all the careers open
to women, and the great social changes due to their entering the lists
with trained instead of unskilled labour, the fact still remains that,
at any rate in the upper and upper-middle classes, the majority of women
do not earn their own living. As Hannah More reminded us long ago, their
profession is to be that of ‘wives, mothers, and mistresses of
households,’ and to this we must now add the duties of a philanthropic
and public character that social position brings with it. What is
commonly called ‘a life of leisure’ may be an exceedingly busy life, and
nowhere do the advantages of mental training, habits of accuracy, and a
disciplined will tell to more advantage than in promoting the happiness
of others. Most of these girls must receive any education, beyond the
early part which a private governess can undertake, in boarding-schools,
if only because the leisured classes to which they belong seldom live
near enough to towns to make use of day-schools. To quote a very able
and experienced schoolmistress:—‘The demand for private schools and for
the individual attention which girls require has been increased by the
habits of modern life among the upper and upper-middle classes. From my
own personal knowledge there are many parents who spend nearly the whole
year away from home or in entertaining a “house party” when they are at
home. There is really no place at home for the poor girls who have not
“come out.” What the parents seek for them is a school that can supply
the place of a home, where they can receive individual attention,
cultivation, training, and be prepared for society.’ She might have
added that, even when there is a place at home for them, they may gain
considerably by spending part of two or three years away from it, amid
the more studious atmosphere and the numerous interests characteristic
of these modern boarding-schools.

The reform in teaching unquestionably began in the public schools, but
the best private schools have not been slow to bring themselves into
line. Within the last few years several have been either founded or
taken over by ladies who have studied at Oxford or Cambridge, or such as
have occupied posts as heads or assistants in high schools, and have
been drawn into the line of progress, while older institutions have held
their own by the introduction of modern methods. Thus, while the old
boarding-school was specially condemned for its stuffy rooms, inadequate
dormitory accommodation, insufficient food and crocodile form of
exercise, the new one, with a rather lower fee, devotes special care to
buildings, bedrooms, diet, games, and gymnastics. Here are a few
quotations from prospectuses:—‘There is a large playground at a short
distance from the school, in which are five lawn-tennis courts and space
for cricket, hockey, croquet, and other games.’ This school has a
certificated trained nurse and a sanatorium specially fitted up for
illness. The Principal was for many years assistant mistress at a large
high school.

‘There are gardens with tennis-lawn, a gymnasium, a fives-court, an
isolation ward and a playing field at a short distance from the house.
Arrangements are made for riding and cycling.’ The Principal is a
distinguished graduate of one of the women’s colleges.

‘The buildings have been certified by a sanitary officer, and are fitted
with every modern convenience. Arrangements have been made for cricket,
tennis, and other healthful games, which are greatly encouraged.’

‘The house stands in its own grounds of fourteen acres, which include
garden, shrubbery, tennis-courts, and recreation field.’

These are samples taken at random.

Closely connected with regard for healthful conditions is the endeavour
to avoid overstrain, and this has led to a not unnatural reaction
against the excessive burden of outside examination. We find such
sentences as ‘particular care is taken to prevent over-pressure.’ ‘For
the younger or weaker of the party we provide extra half hours of rest
or recreation in the garden.’ ‘There is no cramming for examinations,
and the object set before each girl is to do her daily work as well as
she possibly can from an honourable sense of duty,’ etc. It is often
stated that pupils can be prepared for university or other examinations
if desired, but although some few private schools of this type
distinctly aim at the certificate of the Joint Board, the majority work
on more general lines, while ensuring a high standard of efficiency by
submitting the school annually to inspection by university examiners.
The fees in schools of this grade vary from about £90 to £135 per annum,
with so-called ‘extras.’ These are reduced in the more modern
institutions to such subjects as piano, violin, and dancing, which
require individual instruction, while the more old-fashioned include
languages, even French, under this heading. But both terms and curricula
in private schools are adapted to special cases, and it is impossible to
generalise on them. For girls, as for boys, the statement made by the
Secondary Commission is probably correct, that ‘the large private
schools, usually with boarders, are the private schools which do most
for secondary education. They are often conducted on lines similar to
those of public schools; but they are less bound by heredity, and the
larger scope for experiment which they afford has, there is reason to
believe, contributed to noteworthy improvements of methods.’

Probably this class of school is in greater demand than ever before; but
though there are not a few who can enjoy its benefits, it must always be
a luxury for the rich, while there has been no corresponding improvement
in the cheaper type of boarding-school. To provide board, lodging, and
tuition, at fees ranging from £30 to £50, is a difficult problem, and
can hardly be solved without the infliction of some suffering or
injustice. Yet even these fees are beyond the reach of many whose homes
are far away from towns. There is urgent need for some scheme of
boarding-houses (not self-supporting) in connection with the cheaper
endowed schools, and the application of some public money to the
establishment of a few large boarding-schools in different parts of the
country. Private effort cannot meet these cases.

Private day-schools involve a much smaller risk, and in these large
numbers of well-educated women are now at work. In a place too small to
support a high school, schools of this kind often supply all needs; but,
oddly enough, they seem to flourish best where they exist side by side
with good public schools. Bedford is an instance of a town well supplied
with both. Sometimes the head-mistress takes a few boarders, and is thus
enabled to provide better premises. The fees range from about £12 to £30
per annum, and the curriculum is not unlike that of a high school,
though the more expensive subjects, such as certain branches of science,
are often omitted. The Junior and Senior Local Examinations and those of
the College of Preceptors are a good deal used by these schools, and
help to keep up a standard, where a regular external examination is not
practicable. Small, cheap day-schools still abound, though happily in
nothing like the old numbers. Even these have undergone some
improvement, though rumour maintains that _Mangnall’s Questions_ and
_Child’s Guide_ may still be found here, if we only dig deep enough. The
lowest class of private school is attended by children who ought to be
in the public elementary schools. The extinction of these, which is
rapidly proceeding, can only be hailed with general satisfaction.

Much has been said of late about the necessity of finding a place in any
general system of education for private schools, but surely their proper
function is so clearly defined that there is no fear of a day dawning
when they are no longer needed. A further increase in cheap public
day-schools may lessen the numbers, and it is hardly to be expected that
in ten years’ time the present conditions, under which 70 per cent. of
our girls who are receiving secondary education are in private schools,
shall still prevail. The true function of the private school is to offer
an educational luxury to those who can pay for it, and on these lines,
without coming into competition with public school work, it is likely to
develop. The more public schools are established in a district, the
greater becomes the field for first-grade private schools. This is well
illustrated by the case of the United States, where the universal
diffusion of the public schools seems to favour the growth of private
ones. They can charge high fees, because the public schools are always
available for those who cannot afford these. They can try experiments
and adopt new methods, because they are not subject to the rigid
direction and supervision to which public schools are liable. A great
deal of the preparation for college falls to them, and they enjoy a very
different reputation and position from the Prussian private schools,
which are obliged to adopt the same ‘code’ as the public. Cheap schools,
to be efficient, must receive help with their finances; such help can
hardly be given to private schools while they retain the freedom which
is one source of their strength. It is probable, therefore, that they
will more and more become schools for the well-to-do classes only. There
must be some suffering involved in the changes which the near future is
likely to bring, even if local educational authorities do all in their
power to minimise this, and eventually the lower class of private school
will probably go to the wall. But not till the Anglo-Saxon nature has
undergone a complete transformation will there cease to be a place in
England for private enterprise; and private schools, even though they
may be deemed a luxury, will still rank among us as a necessity.

                               CHAPTER IX

On June 24, 1890, a curious scene took place in the House of Commons.
The Customs and Excise Bill had been dragging its weary way in
committee, and making very small progress. The question under debate was
the disposal of a residue of £350,000, available from the new duty on
beer and spirits. This Mr. Goschen proposed to apply to compensating
publicans whose licenses should be refused, but the Government did not
care to press the point in face of opposition in the country and small
majorities in the House. Mr. Goschen therefore proposed to shelve the
matter till the next session, merely ‘ear-marking’ the money for the
purpose indicated. Thereupon Mr. Healy got up on a legal point, and
reminded the House that the Budget Bill, which had already become law,
expressly stated that the duties in question were to be dealt with in a
particular way, and that the proceeds were to be appropriated ‘as
Parliament may hereafter direct by any Act passed in the present
session.’ Under these circumstances, he asked, had they power to
postpone that appropriation? The Speaker thought they had not, and his
ruling prevailed. The result was the acceptance, on August 1, of Mr.
Acland’s proposal to apply the money in England ‘for the purposes of
agricultural, commercial, and technical instruction, as defined in
Clause 8 of the Technical Instruction Act, 1889,’ and in Wales either
for technical instruction or for purposes defined by the Welsh
Intermediate Education Act.

This sudden turn of affairs took the country by surprise. The county
councils, to whom this money was assigned, were now expected to devote
to educational purposes the money and energy which were to have gone to
the extinction of licenses. From these events date the educational
functions of the county councils. It was this ‘whisky-money’ which gave
the impetus to technical education, a term which had been defined by the
Act of 1889. Prolonged agitation throughout the country, due to the fear
of foreign competition and the rumours of superior education given to
the mechanics of other countries, had led to the appointment in 1884 of
a Commission to consider the question, and to their report the Technical
Instruction Act of 1889, and the amending Act of 1891, were due.

Among the recommendations of the Commissioners were the following:—

1. That steps be taken to accelerate the application of ancient
endowments, under amended schemes, to secondary and technical

2. Provision by the Charity Commissioners for establishing in suitable
localities, schools or departments of schools, in which the study of
natural science, drawing, mathematics, and modern languages, should take
the place of Latin and Greek.

3. Giving power to local authorities to establish, maintain, or
contribute to the establishment of secondary and technical schools and

Following these lines, the Act defined technical instruction as
‘instruction in the principles of Science and Art, applicable to
industries, and in the application of special branches of Science and
Art to specific industries or employments.’ It was not to include
teaching the practice of any trade or industry, but it might include any
branch of instruction (including modern languages, and commercial and
agricultural subjects), which were at any time sanctioned by the Science
and Art department of South Kensington. The means of doing all this was
a penny rate which local authorities were permitted to raise. Unaided
this could not have done much, and very few places took advantage of
this power, until the Local Taxation Act of the following year changed
the whole aspect of affairs.

The movement in favour of technical education was one that had been
slowly gathering force. At first, as so often happens, the blame for the
unsatisfactory state of things was laid at the door of the elementary
school. It was pointed out that the education given there was not
sufficiently practical; drawing was little taught, and that little
badly, while science fared even worse. Modelling was almost unknown,
manual instruction had scarcely been heard of, ‘the pen was the only
industrial weapon that boys intended for handicraftsmen were taught to
use,’ and, except needlework, domestic subjects for girls were terribly
neglected. This was true enough, but it was absurd to suppose that a
remedy could be found in the schooling given to children under twelve.
Such benefit as might be derived from a change in their curriculum was
quite inadequate for the end in view. The real need was for a longer
school life, with technical training based on a proper foundation of
general knowledge. Hence the National Association for the Promotion of
Technical Education adopted into its programme: ‘the development,
organisation, and maintenance of a system of secondary education
throughout the country, with a view to placing the higher technical and
commercial education in our schools and colleges on a better footing.’
It was doubtless for a similar reason that the Act excluded from its
benefits scholars receiving instruction in elementary schools.

The money thus provided almost by accident, became a new and valuable
source for endowing secondary education; and on all hands claims of the
most varied kind were made on it. Administered by bodies of non-experts,
who had to learn their business by doing it, much of it was misapplied;
mistakes, often of a ludicrous character, were made, and there was some
excuse for those producers and consumers of spirits who thought the
money would have been better applied in relieving the tax. But in spite
of repeated appeals by specially interested persons, Parliament kept
firm in the matter; the money must be given to County Councils, and they
must learn to use it. How well many of them have learnt can best be
realised by a series of visits to the polytechnics of London and the
large provincial towns, to the laboratories constructed in public
schools, to the ambulatory dairy classes in village schoolrooms, to the
beautifully equipped laundries, kitchens, and dressmaking schools all
over the country.

Long before these Technical Instruction Acts were passed, isolated
action had been taken. The Regent Street Polytechnic, long known as
_the_ Polytechnic, was already in full work. It originated in a Young
Men’s Institute, privately founded by Mr. Quentin Hogg, with the large
aim of providing a place where a young man could develop all the sides
of his nature, and ‘find a reasonable outlet for any healthy desire,
physical, spiritual, social, or intellectual, which he possesses.’ For
some years the Institute flourished in Long Acre, and it happened that,
just when increased accommodation became necessary, the old Polytechnic,
long the home of Pepper’s Ghost, the diving-bell, and other joys and
terrors of our young days, came into the market. It was at once secured,
and the result was an unprecedented rush for membership. Mr. Hogg, who
was the life and soul of the Institute, made a point of himself seeing
every boy on joining, and on the first night in Regent Street, he began
to interview new members at five o’clock. There he was kept at his desk,
unable even to get a cup of tea, till a quarter to one in the morning,
and by that time a thousand new members had been enrolled. With such
encouragement, it was possible to try fresh experiments, and for the
first time trade-classes and workshop practice were added to the
programme. The Polytechnic thus became a pioneer in technical work. The
London Trades Council in 1883 recommended its system of trade teaching
to the London trades; members of the Technical Instruction Commission
gave it their warm commendation.

Meantime other institutes were growing up. If Mr. Hogg claimed that the
Polytechnic began its labours when he took two crossing-sweepers into
the Adelphi arches, and made them the nucleus of a ragged school, the
People’s Palace had an even more romantic origin. It was inspired by the
picture, in _All Sorts and Conditions of Men_, of the Palace of Delight,
of ‘the club of the working-people,’ where ‘we shall all together
continually be thinking how to bring more sunshine into our lives, more
change, more variety, more happiness.’ Here, even more than at Regent
Street, the recreative side was to the fore, and the main feature was
the Queen’s Hall, in which public entertainments were organised. It had
a chequered career, and finally was saved to the East End by the
liberality of the Drapers’ Company. Since then the educational side has
been more fully developed, but apart from the recreative, which is
absolutely independent of the East London Technical College. This is an
unusual condition, since, as a rule, the Polytechnics, mindful of their
double origin, aim at being centres of both work and play. They have a
tendency to fall into two classes: those that began as social clubs, and
added the classes to their programme, and those that began with classes,
and then encouraged the students to form clubs for literary, athletic
and recreative purposes.

The greater stress laid on the educational side by the more recent
institutions was due to two causes. In 1883 the London Parochial
Charities Act gave the Charity Commissioners powers to deal with certain
sums, which had been left by benefactors long deceased, for purposes
which had actually ceased to exist. It was lucky that this sum of money,
which may be capitalised at over three millions, became available for
public purposes at the very time when all this stir about technical
education was taking place. The Regent Street Institute was chosen as a
model. London was mapped out into twelve districts, and a Polytechnic
was to be supplied for each, on condition of local aid supplementing
certain sums which were offered conditionally. It was not long before
this proposal brought munificent private donors into the field. The
Marquis of Northampton and Lord Compton gave a site of the value of
£30,000, Earl Cadogan gave ground of the value of £10,000; others gave
less, according to their means. Eleven of these Polytechnics are already
in existence; Paddington alone is waiting for the private benefactors
who shall establish the claim to public help. The second impetus came
from the Technical Education Board of the London County Council. The
metropolis had been slow in following the lead of other counties, and it
was not till 1892 that it resolved to apply its share of the whisky
money to purposes of technical education. But when it did move it did so
in good earnest. The Council conferred full executive power on a Board
consisting of twenty of its own members, thirteen representatives of
other bodies and two experts, one being a woman, co-opted by the Council
itself. The bodies thus represented are: the London School Board, the
City and Guilds of London Institute, the London Parochial Charities
Foundation, the Headmasters’ Association, the National Union of
Teachers, and the London Trades Council. Mr. Sidney Webb was elected
chairman, Dr. W. Garnett was appointed secretary and organiser, and the
superintendence of the domestic economy work was given to Miss Ella
Pycroft. The Board has been most successful in its work, and a very
complete scheme of technical instruction in London is being gradually
evolved. Since the Board’s work is educational it is natural that this
side has been specially emphasised in those Polytechnics which have been
founded since its establishment, _i.e._ those at Battersea, Chelsea,
North London and the City.

The help given by the Board to Polytechnics may be thus stated:

1. Equipment grants made from time to time for specific purposes.

2. A fixed contribution of £1000 a year.

3. Three-quarters—not exceeding £500 a year—of the principal’s salary.

4. 10 per cent. on the fixed salaries of the teachers.

5. 1d. for each hour’s attendance of each student.

6. 15 per cent. on all voluntary subscriptions and donations from
private sources.

Provided that the total payment to any Polytechnic under 2, 3, 4, and 5
does not exceed £3000, and under 6 does not exceed £2000.

The Polytechnics are really subsidised from five different sources:
private generosity, city companies, ancient and hitherto misapplied
charities, part of the proceeds of the ‘beer and spirit tax,’ grants
from the South Kensington Department.

Dreary as are such enumerations of names and figures, there is a special
interest attaching to this particular set. The aggrieved ratepayer is
apt at times to point to these splendid buildings as an example of the
way in which his hard won money is being squandered, quite regardless of
the fact that those papers he abhors have never contained any appeal for
money for this purpose. London has never levied a technical education
rate, thanks to these other sources of income which have given her
citizens so much without any sacrifice on their part. The beer and
spirit money has acted the part of a fairy godmother to London men and

It was made clear from the outset that both sexes were alike to benefit,
and thus the Polytechnics have become what our American cousins call
‘co-educational.’ But the needs of men and women are not always the
same, and the special wants of women were considered in the
establishment of a domestic economy side, though they are not limited to
this. Practically the whole field of education beyond the elementary is
open to county council action, provided no aid is given to institutions
with a definite religious bias or conducted for private profit. The only
subjects distinctly excluded by the Acts are classics and literature.
The money is therefore available for purposes of—(1) definite Trade
instruction; (2) day and evening classes in Science, both theoretical
and applied, and Domestic Economy; (3) secondary education of a modern

Under these two last headings great things have been done for girls and
women. In spite of the recent introduction into the elementary school
code of such subjects as cooking and laundry, it is becoming more and
more clear that the brief time allotted to the Standards is not too much
for a grounding in general subjects, and that after this should come the
preparation of a girl to be useful at home or to earn her living by
domestic work. The elementary school girl is too young, the high school
girl too busy, to gain much from the wedging of a little domestic
teaching into the mass of the ordinary school work. Nor is a cookery or
a laundry lesson once a week of much use in giving the necessary skill
and practice. Domestic work wants continuous and consecutive practice,
for the acquisition of that ‘touch’ and ‘knack’ on which so much
depends; and the domestic economy schools come in here to supply what is
really wanted.

This type of school did not originate in London, though it has taken
very firm root there. Some very interesting experiments had been made in
other parts of the country, notably Yorkshire, before Battersea, the
Borough, and Regent Street Polytechnics in 1894 opened their domestic
economy schools, with fifty-four scholars nominated by the Technical
Education Board, and the addition of a few paying pupils. This example
was soon followed by the other Polytechnics, and the Board now elects
386 scholars annually, who are distributed among nine schools. The
course lasts five months, and during this time the scholars receive free
tuition, two free meals daily, and the material required for making
dresses or other garments. They attend from 9.30 to 12.30 and 2 to 4.30
every day except Saturday. During that time they get a continuous and
thorough training in cookery, needlework, dress cutting and making,
laundry work and housewifery, with some gymnastics and singing. In
addition to these scholarships second courses of five months’
instruction, with the opportunity of specialising in one particular
branch, are now awarded to eighty-four scholars each half-year. The
first course is not meant to train a cook or a dressmaker, but any girl
who wishes to qualify herself for such a post gets a capital chance of
testing her own abilities and inclination, and there are further
opportunities of training open to her, if she desires them, in the
second course or at the National Training School of Cookery. Last year
four girls were apprenticed in good dressmaking firms on leaving the

Mrs. Pillow, lately employed by the Education Department to prepare a
special report on the teaching of Domestic Economy, gives an account of
the work of these schools. She says: ‘Housekeeping and cookery are
treated as part of the everyday life of the girls, and not merely as
school lessons. The girls cook the meals which they are to eat; they
learn to measure and fit themselves for the dresses which they are
taught to make, and they are instructed in laundry work in such a way
that they can quite well apply their knowledge to the “family wash” in
their own homes. The cookery syllabus contains dishes which are well
within the reach of the working man earning an average wage; the using
up of odds and ends, bones, crusts, and cold vegetables, scraps of meat,
etc. receives attention, and the utensils and stoves provided for the
girls are similar[17] to those found in the majority of artisans’ homes.

‘The laundry work is taught on simple and common-sense principles, the
only extra aid to speed and efficiency being a wringer and mangle, and,
as these are now so frequently found in the homes of the more thrifty
housewives, it is well that the girls should be taught to use them
properly. The processes of steeping, washing, boiling, rinsing, blueing,
wringing, drying, folding, mangling are all thoroughly taught. The
washing of flannels and woollens, a part of laundry work which is
frequently very badly done by laundry women, receives special attention,
and starching and ironing are exceedingly well done by the girls at the
conclusion of their course of training.

‘The girls are taught the market value of foods. In some of the schools
special arrangements are made for this. At Battersea they are taken out
to purchase meat, greengrocery, etc. When the girls cannot be taken out
to market, they are sometimes allowed to purchase from the teacher in
charge of the stores. They are taught to compare prices, to judge of the
freshness and quality of commodities, to expend a given sum to the best
advantage in the cheapest market, and how to prepare and cook their
meals in the shortest time possible.’

The fee for the complete course is £1, 10s., or 7s. 6d. per month, and
this includes the cost of all books and materials. The greater part of
the pupils come from the elementary schools, but surely they are not the
only girls who need such teaching. Many pupils leave the high schools at
fourteen or fifteen to live at home in somewhat straitened
circumstances. To them such a training as this would indeed be a boon.
It would even be worth the sacrifice of the last six months at school,
since they must in any case leave without getting the best it can
afford, the teaching in the fifth and sixth forms. Girls attending
second grade schools, who naturally leave early, would find these
domestic economy courses an admirable means of transition between school
and home life; while those, whose bent lies in this direction, can go on
to the training schools, and either become teachers of these subjects,
or earn a living by their practical application. In fact, the domestic
economy school is fast helping to raise the home arts into their proper
educational place, as affording one among many suitable careers for
women, no longer the Cinderella among occupations, who sits among the
ashes, because the prince has not yet come to claim her. The neglect of
the middle class to use these schools is another instance of their
proverbial apathy; meantime, these good things are ready for them as
soon as they will take the trouble to grasp them. Of course there is no
reason why such teaching should be given free, except to a minority.

Even more widespread than these day-schools are the evening classes in
the same subjects. These are found throughout the country, in towns at
technical institutes, in villages in little classes taught by
peripatetic teachers, who are sent from place to place by the county
councils. In fact, ‘county council dressmaking’ has become such a
feature, that it might be taken for a special system of cutting and
fitting. The persons for whose benefit this instruction is given are
young women who have left school, wives, and mothers of families. If
experience has taught them their own deficiencies, they have now the
opportunity of making up lost ground. Cookery, dressmaking, and nursing
often attract large numbers. The teaching has no professional purpose.
It is simply ‘for home use,’ as the Germans say, and has its place in a
wide scheme of general education, which includes training the hand as
well as the mind.

This village work must, to some extent, be desultory, while, in the
large town institutes, it can be made more systematic. Its value is
considerably affected by the construction of the board which controls
it. A council which places experts on its technical education committee
generally does better than one that simply adds education to its other
manifold functions. Women are able to sit on these committees, and it is
of great importance, for the more feminine side of the work, that they
should be appointed in larger numbers than has hitherto been the case.

The female element is represented at some of the institutes by the
appointment of a lady-superintendent of the women’s department. This is
the case in the London Polytechnics, where the women’s work is very
fully equipped. At Battersea, which may be taken as typical, the
subjects taught in this department are: cookery, needlework, dress
cutting and making, millinery, fancy needlework and embroidery, laundry
work. In most of these subjects pupils can be prepared for the
examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute. The fees are
low, and the courses carefully graduated. There is an interesting class
in ‘homekeeping,’ intended for students whose occupation prevents them
from getting the necessary knowledge of housekeeping during the day.
This includes such items as spring cleaning, ordinary household duties
and daily routine, and is probably of special use to that large class of
housekeepers who, having learnt their own deficiencies from bitter
experience, can value this opportunity of remedying them. Another useful
course is elementary political economy, which includes value and
distribution of wealth, rent, wages, and other similar problems. This
instruction, to which both mistress and maid might listen with profit,
can be had by Polytechnic members for 1s., and for 1s. 6d. by outsiders.
Members may also join a reading circle and a first-aid class; they can
use the beautiful gymnasium, and refresh their cramped limbs with
musical drill. All this, with the social advantages which are manifold,
is within reach of those girls and women who are lucky enough to live in
the neighbourhood of a Polytechnic, and have some free evenings to spend

Institutes of this kind are fast being brought within reach of all
dwellers in towns. The municipal schools of Manchester and Brighton need
hardly shrink from comparison with those of the metropolis. In fact,
when we look at the sumptuous equipment of such schools, we are tempted
to exclaim that Cinderella has indeed left the ashes, and ascended into
her palace. But these glories are not hers by sole right. The men’s
department (of mechanics, engineering, etc.) is far larger than the
women’s, and besides these two, where the sexes are of necessity kept
apart, there are numerous classes where they meet on common ground. At
Battersea the art department is open three days and five evenings a
week, and the general scheme includes a thoroughly practical knowledge
of designing, drawing, painting, and modelling, especially in its
various applications to trades and industries, as well as life classes,
and the commoner features of such schools. In the commercial school,
arithmetic, book-keeping, typewriting and shorthand are taught, as well
as French. There are classes in pure and applied mathematics, and every
branch of science is taught with such advantages in the way of
laboratories and appliances, as no private or self-supporting
institution could attempt to supply. Most Polytechnics are centres for
University Extension, some have fine gymnasia, some have swimming-baths;
nearly all have a long list of social, athletic, and recreative clubs.
In fact, a well-equipped Polytechnic is a kind of popular University,
which provides for all the needs of its members, though with some
neglect of the literary side. This, too, might be supplied by the
omission or insertion of a few words in an Act of Parliament. The
Polytechnics and Technical Institutes would thus at once be transformed
into the most completely equipped and endowed scheme of secondary and
higher education in this country.

With such resources at their disposal, it is natural that Technical
Instruction boards and Polytechnic governors should have gone a step
further, and tried to utilise their spacious premises and admirable
teaching staff for the ordinary purposes of a day-school. Experiments on
these lines are being tried in several places. It is thought that by
establishing such schools, the polytechnic both gives and receives; if
it helps the schools by allowing them to use its premises and staff, it
is helped in turn by the training given to a number of boys and girls,
who will some day be properly equipped to profit by the more advanced
instruction in the evening. The school is largely a feeder for the
polytechnic, and will help in time to raise the standard of its work. As
such it should be judged rather than as an independent experiment in
secondary education.

A joint school for boys and girls need excite no surprise in an
institution that started at once as ‘co-educational.’ But unfortunately,
in schemes of this kind there is always a tendency to let the girls come
off second-best. This certainly applies to the arrangement of an
‘Organised Science School,’ which is the scheme usually adopted, both on
account of its bias in favour of the scientific side and the power it
confers to earn grants from South Kensington. Probably the admission of
girls was to some extent an afterthought. The Battersea school had been
open over a year before girls were admitted as an experiment. The
present numbers are about one hundred and thirty, of whom two-thirds are
boys. The average age of the junior division is fourteen, and of the
senior fifteen. The fees are £1 a term, including books and stationery.
The school hours are 9.30 to 12.30, and 2 to 4.30, five days in the
week. The work of the three divisions is arranged thus:

1. Mechanical Division. Mathematics, five hours; Mechanics, three and a
half hours; Physics, three and a half hours; Drawing, four hours;
English subjects, four hours; French, two hours; Manual training, four
and a half hours; Drill, one hour.

2. Science Division. Mathematics, five hours; Mechanics, two and a half
hours; Physics, three and a half hours; Chemistry, four and a half
hours; Drawing, three hours; English subjects, four hours; French, two
hours; Manual training, two hours; Drill, one hour.

3. Elementary Division. Mathematics, five hours; Physics, three hours;
Chemistry, two and a half hours; Drawing, three hours; English subjects,
five hours; French, three hours; Art, two hours; Manual training or
Domestic Economy, three hours; Drill, one hour.

Its aim is described as the imparting of ‘a thoroughly sound secondary
education, with special provision for the study of pure and applied
science, manual training, workshop practice and domestic economy.’ This
school is interesting apart from its curriculum, owing to the efforts
made by Mr. S. H. Wells, Principal of the Polytechnic, who acts as
headmaster, to make it ‘secondary’ in the full sense, and introduce some
of the _esprit de corps_ and out-of-school life which are such marked
features in boys’ ‘public’ and girls’ high schools. The school is
divided into forms with a form-master; ‘each form meets in its form-room
for call-over before school opens for the day, after which they assemble
for prayers, which are read by the Principal. These are confined to a
few verses of Scripture and the Lord’s Prayer; and exemption from
attendance is granted when requested by the parent, although only two
such requests have been made. In matters of discipline the students have
been taught to realise that having ceased to be children they should
have given up childish things; they are present to work not to play, and
their duty to their parents and themselves calls them to take every
advantage of the opportunities afforded; in a word, they are not
expected to commit acts against discipline—they are trusted.’ Mr. Wells
further tells us that ‘senior students are told off every day to
ascertain the chief events recorded in the newspapers, and to record
them on a blackboard, which all the school are expected to read, to be
afterwards questioned on the event in their English classes. In the same
way a record is made of daily weather observations. All boys are
required to wear the school cap, and the habit of “capping” the teachers
outside the school is willingly adopted. Each term sees its “drill
competitions” between the different forms for a shield presented by the
Principal, its inter-form cricket or football matches for a challenge
cup presented by the masters, and matches between the masters and
school. The end of term sees its gymnastic displays or concerts with
acting and recitals, to which parents and friends are invited. Three
school captains are elected each term, the method being that they are
proposed and seconded, and voted for by the whole school. The captains
have authority outside the class-rooms, and their position is readily
and loyally acknowledged.’ The girls have their games among themselves,
though now and then they play a boys’ team at hockey. They have their
own captain, and are assembled for call-over by a mistress, who has a
general control over them, and is always ready to help them with advice
and sympathy. Women, of course, give the lessons in cooking, etc., which
are the feminine counterpart of manual training; else all the teaching
is in the hands of men. The intellectual results appear to be
satisfactory, and here, as in other co-educational institutions the
girls are quite able to hold their own in class. Of the moral and
hygienic results it is far more difficult to judge. Whether girls
between fourteen and sixteen would not be better under the care of a
woman, whether they do not miss some of that moral influence which can
only be exercised by a form-mistress who also takes part in the
teaching, are questions that must come up in the near future, should
there be any disposition towards co-education in this country. As yet it
has generally been adopted rather from motives of economy than on
grounds of principle. Institutions like those at Battersea, Chelsea, and
Wandsworth are boys’ schools to which girls are admitted; although, as a
matter of fact, at Chelsea the girls outnumber the boys. The amount of
time given to science would never have been allotted had the real needs
of girls been considered. It is an interesting experiment, but it will
not do much towards solving the problem of Modern Schools for girls.

Even more one-sided in its aims is the type of school which the Surrey
County Council is starting. This county is specially deficient in girls’
schools of a middle grade, though it contains several good proprietary
high schools, and the technical committee is therefore applying some of
its funds to the supply of this want. The Wimbledon school is the first
attempt of the kind, and must be regarded as still in an experimental
stage. Girls who enter are supposed to have attained to the requirements
of the Sixth Standard, but in a district where there are no Board
schools even this is not always attainable. Hence there are many gaps to
fill up, before a proper foundation is laid for the new studies. It is
supposed that girls will stay for four years, and should they do so, a
most valuable experiment might be made in devising a ‘modern’
curriculum, essentially adapted for girls. Hitherto in this first year’s
work the course of study is exceedingly meagre; neither science nor
literature is taught; there is a little English history and geography,
but the bulk of the time goes to shorthand, book-keeping, commercial
arithmetic, cooking, laundry and dressmaking. All excellent things, but
surely this is not sufficient intellectual fare for these
twelve-year-old children. Another two years at general subjects would
help to lay a really good foundation on which the special work could be
built up; and it is probable that the shorthand and double entry, and
even the puddings and clear-starching, will not suffer in the end for
this little delay at the beginning. This kind of work is none the better
for being spread out over so many years. It cannot, like the more
intellectual subjects, be perpetually presenting fresh developments,
which give it the charm of novelty. There seems some danger lest, in
trying to elevate the status of the domestic and commercial arts, we
should forget that they cannot satisfy all sides of our nature. Girls
want something different from the science school, but it must not be a
purely utilitarian training. In the true modern school they will learn
subjects of daily utility; but just because so much time is given to
these, there must be special prominence for all that makes for culture.
To the Spencerian dictum that education must prepare for the business of
life, we should add Aristotle’s wise admonition, that it should teach
the right use of leisure. Keeping both these in view we may yet discover
the ideal ‘Modern School.’

It would not be fair to blame technical education boards because they
have not yet solved this difficult problem. Their experience in
education is still new, and as far as schools are concerned their best
work has been done in subsidising those that already exist. On this
large sums are now being spent. To be exact, we may state that during
the year 1896–97, sixty-three councils, (forty-two county, and
twenty-one county borough) gave direct or indirect assistance to three
hundred and twenty-eight secondary schools to the amount of £144,871,
2s. 2d., this sum including the scholarships and exhibitions granted to
pupils proceeding to or from secondary schools. How much of this goes to
girls does not appear, certainly not half, but at any rate enough to
make a very appreciable difference to their education.

Of course, this help is not given unconditionally. It usually implies
the representation of the local authority on the governing body of the
school, the application of the entire subsidy to purposes of technical
education, and observance of the clauses abolishing religious tests.
Some counties have special requirements, without which no subsidy can be
given. _E.g._ Cheshire demands:

(1) That drawing shall be taught to every pupil except any whose
exemption may be approved by the committee. (2) That at least two
science subjects shall be taught to all pupils over ten. (3) That one
modern language shall be taught, and regular instruction given in some
commercial subjects. (4) That each student shall receive instruction for
at least three hours a week in mathematics. (5) That the pupils shall be
annually examined, and at least twenty-five per cent. of them sit for
the examinations of the Science and Art Department, or such other
examination as the Technical Instruction Committee may from time to time

Other counties are less rigid in their demands. In London, where endowed
schools for girls have been greatly helped with grants, some special
condition often accompanies a subsidy. Thus the Owens girls’ school at
Islington received £300 ‘to be expended in fitting up the new laboratory
and art-room,’ the Central Foundation school was charged to spend its
grant on fitting up another room for work in practical physics and
appointing an assistant science mistress. At the Camden school the board
provided an Arts and Crafts room, where cookery and dressmaking are
regularly taught; at the James Allen’s school, Dulwich, a laboratory has
been built, and a subsidy given for an assistant science mistress. Such
subsidies, even when given for a specific purpose, help the whole school
indirectly, since they set free money from the general funds for the
benefit of what cannot be included in that elastic term ‘technical

Perhaps the chief benefit yet conferred by county councils on secondary
education is the gift of scholarships. It has been left to the technical
instruction committees to frame that ‘ladder’ of which so much is heard
on educational platforms. Thanks to a system of graduated scholarships,
it is now possible for an intelligent boy or girl to pass from a primary
to a secondary school, and thence even to the university. Of course this
has been done before now, but never on such a large scale. Since each
county is a law unto itself, a girl’s chances depend greatly on the
place where she happens to live. A girl living in Bedfordshire has no
county council scholarships open to her, but the Harpur Trust schools at
Bedford receive girls with scholarships from other counties. A Surrey
girl has a good chance of winning a scholarship, but, owing to the
dearth of girls’ public schools in that county, she may not be able to
make the best use of it. Happily, there are many parts of England where
both schools and scholarships are available, and there will soon be
more, if one of the difficulties in the way of the girls’ ‘ladder’ is
removed, by the recognition of proprietary high schools as public
institutions at which scholarships can be held. This is now being done
in some places, to the great advantage of the scholars.

Some counties, _e.g._ Derbyshire, Durham, and Yorkshire, have a very
complete system of scholarships, accompanied by maintenance grants,
without which they would in many cases be useless. There are few
counties that do nothing in this way. The London Technical Education
Board regards its scholarship scheme as the basis for nearly all its
work. ‘The award of junior and intermediate county scholarships
necessitates such grants to secondary schools as will enable them to
make proper provision for the technical training of the scholars.
Similarly, the award of intermediate and senior county scholarships
compels the Board to see that the training afforded in institutions for
higher education is suitable for scholars of seventeen years of age and

The Board gives three classes of scholarships:—(1) Junior county
scholarships, intended chiefly for pupils of public elementary schools
working in the fifth or higher Standards, tenable for two years and
renewable. Of these six hundred are given annually, and fifty are open
to candidates from other than elementary schools, whose parents have an
income below £150. These scholarships give their holders free education
at any approved secondary or upper standard school, with money payments
of £8 for the first year, and £12 for the second.

2. Intermediate county scholarships are open to boys and girls under
sixteen who come from any school, secondary or upper standard. They give
free education to the age of eighteen or nineteen, with money payments
rising from £20 to £35 a year. The income limit is £400. They are
tenable at public secondary schools and places of higher learning.

3. Senior county scholarships. These are few in number, and intended to
provide for specially promising students a training of university rank.
They give free education at a college or technical institute, with money
grants of £60 a year, and are tenable for three years. Here, too, the
income limit is £400.

In 1896–97 London had a thousand junior scholars in fifty secondary, and
two hundred and ninety-four in thirty-six upper standard schools. Of
this total four hundred and eighty-five are girls. The intermediate
scholars, of whom there were a hundred and eighty, were in the following
institutions: three university colleges, five technical and science
colleges, one training department of a polytechnic, fourteen first-grade
public secondary schools, twenty-one second grade public secondary
schools. Sixty-two of these scholars were girls. Of the senior scholars
only two were women. They pursued their studies at Holloway and the
Central Technical Colleges.

All this is, of course, in addition to the special scholarships for Art,
Science, Domestic Economy, etc., which come more directly under the
heading of ‘technical.’

If we turn away from these lists of names and figures to consider how
wide a field has been covered by this work in London and the provinces,
we cannot but be struck by the developments of these eight years. A
system of universities for the people has been started, technical and
commercial education have received an enormous impetus, secondary
instruction has been brought within reach of large numbers by whom it
was hitherto unattainable, numbers of already existing schools have been
placed on a firm financial basis, and throughout the special needs of
women have been considered. With better building and plumbing, better
cooking and washing, we certainly may hope for more creature comforts in
the good time coming. But this is a small thing compared with the
brightening of homes by the gift of those higher pleasures, without
which it has been truly said that life is not truly life at all.

Surely whisky-drinkers need not grudge the extra sixpence which has done
all this!

                               CHAPTER X
                          STATE AID FOR GIRLS

While private effort in the form of companies, endowments, and
individual enterprises was building up a complete, though unorganised,
system of girls’ education, another system totally unconnected was being
gradually developed by aid of the State. For a long time the two were
regarded as parallel, with no possible point of contact, except such as
might be artificially established by means of scholarships. Now we are
beginning to think that we may have mistaken the direction of the lines,
and that there are some points of connection between the Board School
and the High School pupil.

This change is due to the growing conviction that the education of its
citizens is a matter of which a State should take cognisance. Far behind
Germany in its adoption of this principle, England did at last wake up
to the necessity of educating all her citizens. Whether out of
self-defence, to ‘educate our masters,’ as Mr. Lowe bade us do, or, as
Plato would have counselled, to make the men and women of the State as
good as possible, the idea of universal education has at last gained a
hold in this country. Very slowly, and with immense opposition on the
part of the classes who regarded learning as their own peculiar
privilege, and were jealous of any intrusion in what they considered
their private domain. But they were powerless to hinder; when once the
little flame was kindled, no force could avail to extinguish it. From
the moment that one generation educated in the new schools took their
place as voters, the system was secured. The democracy soon realised
that education was a levelling agency, and that it was their interest
both to maintain and improve it.

It is difficult for those who are familiar with our elementary education
to realise how recent is its establishment in England, and how still
more a matter of yesterday the full use of the opportunities offered.
England was the last of the great European countries to accept the
doctrine of the responsibility of the State for education. Schools for
the poorer classes were for a long time either non-existent or a matter
of local, largely denominational, effort. The first grant of public
money to schools was made in 1832, when, without any previous
legislation on the subject, the sum of £20,000 for this purpose appeared
in the Estimates. Seven years later this was increased to £30,000, and
by an order in Council a special committee of the Privy Council was
established, with its own staff of officers to supervise the work. This
was the first beginning of the Education Department. Thus gradually,
almost imperceptibly, the State was beginning to intervene in education.
When in 1858 the Duke of Newcastle’s Commission was appointed to inquire
into the whole state of popular education, it found that much had
already been done, but the great need was for some systematic control.
The result of its findings was the celebrated Revised Code of 1861,
whose main provisions were:—

‘1. That a school must be in approved premises.

‘2. That each child must make a certain number of attendances.

‘3. That children must pass individual examinations in reading, writing,
and arithmetic.’

Thus originated the much praised and much abused system of ‘payment by
results,’ about which so many a contest has waged.

Up to 1870, the whole system had grown up out of administrative
machinery, without direct intervention of the legislature. Voluntary
effort originated the schools, Treasury grants assisted them. The
Education Act of 1870 was intended, to quote the words of its author,
Mr. Forster, ‘to complete the voluntary system, and to fill up gaps.’
Its object was not so much to create schools as School Boards. Where
voluntary effort was, by inspection, proved insufficient, a district
could be called upon to elect a School Board, with power to raise a
rate. A subsequent Act, by establishing school attendance committees for
non-School Board districts, completed the system of local control; and
the 1880 Act made attendance compulsory on all children up to ten (since
altered to eleven), and forbade the employment of any children between
ten and thirteen who had not reached a standard to be fixed for each
district by its own local authority. Those who could not reach this by
fourteen might claim the dunce’s privilege.

The School Boards found plenty of work before them. For some years they
were chiefly occupied in drawing into the schools the great masses of
the entirely uneducated; and the three R’s, which was all they could aim
at, came to be regarded in many quarters as the ultimate aim of
elementary school instruction. But this was a temporary stage, which had
to be gone through before the red-brick school-house had become a
regular feature of town and village throughout the kingdom. Education
was compulsory till the age of ten; children who passed through all the
standards would remain at school till about twelve or thirteen. For the
masses that might be sufficient; for a select few it was either too
little or too much. It served to kindle in their minds a love of
knowledge, and to reveal a special inclination for intellectual
pursuits, without offering the means of satisfying it. Gradually the
need of building a second story on this lower edifice became manifest. A
subject much debated during the last few years is the question whether
this should be planted on the top of the primary building, or provided
by special avenues leading from the elementary schools to existing
secondary institutions. But while educationalists were discussing
matters in the abstract, the necessities of the case were compelling the
existing schools to build their own top story. When the Secondary
Education Commission of 1894 came to discuss the best methods of
establishing continuation schools, they found that a considerable number
were already at work in different parts of the country. The change had
come about little by little. Clever children had passed through the
standards at an age when it was impossible or inadvisable to set them to
work; it was natural that the school should be unwilling to turn them
away. Thus originated an ex-sixth standard, and gradually the pressure
of the Boards upward brought about the extension of the parliamentary
grant to a new standard—the seventh—in which more advanced subjects of
study received recognition. Thus while the obligatory subjects still
remain reading, writing, and arithmetic, with needlework for the girls
and drawing for the boys, the optional and specific subjects—of which,
however, no child may take more than a very limited number—now range
over several sciences, languages, and mathematics, as well as what are
popularly called technical subjects. The great mass of schools are still
obliged to confine themselves to elementary work; but with the
introduction of other subjects into the code, a new element has entered
the schools, and has without doubt ‘come to stay.’ The next development
after the seventh standard was a system of ex-standard classes, which in
large schools could be worked without a great addition to the staff. In
particular, the instruction of the pupil-teachers introduced some more
advanced classes; and as time went on, parents who had themselves
enjoyed the benefits of education showed themselves more and more
willing to leave their children at school as long as the school was
willing to keep them. In this way the ex-seventh standard developed into
the Higher Grade Elementary school.

This name belongs properly to two different types of school. The Higher
Grade proper begins at the fifth standard, and gives an education for
three or four years beyond the seventh. But the term is also applied to
a school which includes all the standards, and gives more advanced
instruction to a small number of pupils who remain after passing through
these. The latter is the kind usually found in London; the former is
popular in large manufacturing towns, especially in the north, and it is
this which is stepping in to fill an important gap in the secondary
system of the country.

These schools mark the existence of a new and vigorous educational
impulse arising from below. They are a natural, though apparently
unexpected, development of the elementary school, which, according to
the words of the Act, is one ‘at which elementary education is the
principal part of the education there given.’ Since the great mass of
children do not go beyond the fifth standard, it is convenient in large
towns to draw into a single school all who propose to continue their
education, and by a systematic course of further study to encourage them
to stay on as long as possible. Thus a secondary school has grown up so
naturally and quietly on the top of the elementary, that many persons
are hardly aware of its existence.

This sudden addition of a four years’ advanced course would obviously be
impossible without funds, and the Education Department is officially
unaware of the existence of any pupils beyond the seventh standard. The
good fairy who steps in here is none other than that much abused South
Kensington Department of Science and Art. This department, which, justly
or unjustly, has come to be regarded as a red-tape-bound machine for
examining and conferring grants by a sort of automatic process, has only
of late years been brought into connection with day-schools. Though its
grants began as early as 1837, their object was chiefly to encourage
evening classes, and make cheap instruction possible for those men and
women whose occupation or income shut them out from the ordinary means
of education. An examination which could be used for the purpose of
earning income naturally became popular; and in spite of protests from
many quarters, in particular from some artists, who regarded the system
of drawing-teaching as mechanical and cramping, there has been little
diminution in its popularity as a money-producing agency. The
establishment of technical institutes gave it a fresh impulse, since the
adoption by these of the South Kensington examinations gave a welcome
addition to the institute’s funds; and as the money for this purpose is
supplied by annual votes in the Estimates, and not by a rate, it
provokes none of that opposition which a local rate for any object, no
matter how desirable, is sure to encounter.

The connection between South Kensington and the day-schools has grown
little by little. The grants were originally meant for evening-schools,
but there appeared no reason why day-schools should not also earn it,
provided they were willing to send in their pupils for the evening
examinations, which for some years were the only ones held. As early as
1872, the department had devised a regular scheme of instruction for
schools that systematically followed its courses. Under certain
conditions, schools under local management, approved by the department,
might be registered as ‘Organised Science Schools.’ A certain class
stamp was given them by requiring that the pupils should as a whole
belong to the ‘industrial classes,’ the £400 income limit being used to
define the term. Payments were made for success in examination: for
Science, £2 for a pass in an elementary subject; £2, 10s. and £5,
respectively, for a second or first-class in an advanced stage; and £4
and £8 for a second and first in honours. Extra grants were made for
certain subjects. No payment was made unless at least twenty-eight
lessons had been given to the class, or unless at least twenty had been
attended by the individual pupil. Payments on similar principles were
made for Art. The Organised Science School could also claim an
attendance grant, which made it a more profitable undertaking. In
return, a school was bound to allot fifteen hours a week to subjects
taken under the department. As a matter of fact most schools gave more.
There was money in Science, Mathematics and Drawing. Geography, History,
Languages and Literature were unremunerative. They must go to the wall.

Such was the course which, originally designed for evening students, was
gradually gaining favour in day-schools. A child who passed beyond the
standards must still earn money for his school, and this could only be
done by means of these South Kensington grants. Hence the wide diffusion
of the Organised Science School, in spite of its too early
specialisation, and the undue stress laid on grant-earning.

This arrangement marked the triumph of red-tape and apotheosis of the
examination system. The narrowness of the curriculum made it unsuitable
for many boys, and almost all girls. As attempts were made to adopt it
more generally for the sake of the grant, condemnation became frequent.
The obligatory fifteen hours’ Science were complained of; in 1895 new
regulations reduced them to thirteen, and introduced a general _viva
voce_ inspection, which was to take cognisance of literary subjects as
well. Grants are still given only for Science and Art, but the other
side is not wholly neglected. Ten hours must nominally be given to
literary subjects, though this is held to include manual instruction for
boys and cookery or needlework for girls. Less stress is laid on
examination. In the elementary course, payments are made wholly on the
results of inspection, and in the advanced course partly on inspection
and partly on examination. The arrangements are extremely complicated,
but they amount to—(1) an attendance grant on all students who have
attended a minimum number of times; (2) a variable grant on each
student; (3) grants for practical work; (4) payments on examination
results in the case of advanced students of Science and Art; (5)
payments for manual instruction, cookery, needlework, etc. Such are the
means of financing a Science School (the term now adopted), and schools
of this description are often found serving the purpose of continuation
departments to elementary schools. Since 1897 examinations have also
been held in the day-time.

A higher grade school which systematically organises its upper
department is divided into upper and lower school, the former under the
cognisance of South Kensington, and the latter of the Education
Department. A four years’ course in the upper school usually leads to
matriculation. But although they are in a sense two distinct schools,
they fit into each other as the primary and grammar schools do in
America. The methods are the same in both, the organisation similar, and
children pass from one to the other without that breach of continuity
which makes the transition from the elementary to the high school so
sudden, and often so unprofitable. It is this continuity which conduces
so largely to the success of the higher grade schools, and accounts for
the extraordinary rapidity of their growth. As many as seven or eight
hundred pupils have been known to enter one of these schools on the
opening day; three hundred of these had free places, the rest paid small

There are at present in England 169 Schools of Science, with an
attendance of 20,879. What proportion of these are girls it is
impossible to ascertain. A large proportion of these science departments
are in higher grade schools. Although a higher grade school is not
necessarily a science school, while science schools are sometimes found
as departments of grammar schools or other institutions, the two are
found in such frequent combination that the terms Higher Grade and
Science School are not infrequently used as synonymous.

Of these schools the best known is probably the one at Leeds so ably
directed by Dr. Forsyth. It is established in a huge block of buildings,
and has two divisions—one for boys and one for girls—with a central
double staircase opening into long corridors, separated from class-rooms
by glass partitions. Its class-rooms are large and airy; it is admirably
equipped with apparatus, etc., and has a good playground for the boys,
though the girls are restricted to the use of the roof. With its
chemical laboratory for 120 students, its physical laboratory, large
lecture-room, workshop, gymnasium, etc., its large staff, and 1800
pupils, of whom about half are in or over Standard VII., it testifies
with all the eloquence of material fact to the vigorous development of
this new educational force. The nature of the work done in these
propitious surroundings is best described in the Principal’s own
words:—‘On a basis of elementary education it is intended to superadd a
system of higher education which, at a moderate charge, will train
pupils for industrial, manufacturing, and professional pursuits. This
system of instruction will have its beginnings in the elementary school,
but will be practically carried out in a three years’ course beyond the
standards. It will embrace such courses as:—

1. The Classical (or Professional), in which Latin, Mathematics,
Science, and Drawing form the chief subjects.

2. The Modern (or Mercantile), in which French or German, Commercial
Geography, Mathematics, Science, and Drawing will receive most

3. The Scientific (or Technical), in which Mathematics, Science, and
Drawing form the leading subjects.

A school of this size can, of course, be broken up into a number of
separate departments, since these numbers would, in any case,
necessitate parallel classes, and the work of the upper school is
greatly facilitated by carrying down such subjects as Latin, French, and
Elementary Science as low as the fifth standard. This school takes
pupils from the second standard. The fee throughout is 9d. a week. It
contains a very important Organised Science department, but this only
represents part of the work of the school. The curriculum of the girls
differs but slightly from that of the boys. They take cookery and
similar subjects instead of manual instruction, and calisthenics instead
of gymnastics. At one time they were allowed to substitute botany for
some of the mathematics, apparently with excellent results.

Similar schools, though not quite so large, are in existence at
Manchester, Cardiff, Gateshead, etc.—in fact, almost every large town in
England now has, at least, one school of this kind. At Leeds boys and
girls are separated in the standards, but work together in the upper
school, where the proportion of girls is very small. At Cardiff the two
schools are distinct and under different heads, but the highest
(matriculation) class is mixed. The plan of putting boys and girls
together under the headmaster in the upper school appears to be gaining
ground. This seems a mistake, since in schools of this kind the needs of
boys and girls are of necessity very different. As far as boys are
concerned, the continuation school of the working classes is bound, in
fulfilment of its twofold function, ‘to carry on education beyond the
elementary stage without breach of continuity, and to fit children for
their future occupation’; to lay the chief stress on science, mechanical
drawing, and similar subjects, which may help the future artisan to take
a higher place in his trade. For girls the position is different. In
fact, science schools were never meant for them, but they gradually
gained admittance for want of a corresponding school of their own. Some
persons think it a good course for intending teachers; for the general
run of girls it cannot be considered suitable. The most crying need for
them just now seems complete separation from the boys’ department, and
some other scheme than that of science examinations for purposes of
financing. A girls’ continuation school can hardly be a place for
specialising. With due allowance for all possible outlets for feminine
energy, it still remains a fact that the great mass of women are likely
to lead a more or less domestic life, and the special training for what
has been called the trade of ‘home-making’ does not necessitate a four
years’ course of arduous study. A girl’s future, too, is harder to
anticipate. She may marry and keep house, or she may work for her
living, or she may do both, either successively or simultaneously. What
she needs is good all-round training; if along with this she can get
some good practical and theoretical instruction in domestic economy so
much the better. But cooking and washing must not absorb as much time as
boys give to chemistry and physics, else we run the risk of disgusting
our girls for ever with household work. It is absurd to confound a
domestic art with a theoretical and practical science, for it can only
to a very limited degree replace mental training. This a girl can get
from a variety of studies. The more general her curriculum, the better
will she be prepared for the very miscellaneous demands of her after
life. A certain number will doubtless pass through the intermediate
school to the university college, but this may be done without excessive
specialisation, and the number who remain long enough to make use of
such opportunities is likely to be much smaller in the case of girls
than boys. If a fair proportion stay for two years after the seventh
standard, we should be well satisfied. If the parents have made
sacrifices in order to keep them at school till fifteen, it is time for
the majority at any rate to be apprenticed for their future work, or
make a place for themselves in their own homes. A girl’s preparation for
life is not entirely to be sought at school; matriculation is not an end
in itself, and a girl who has not sufficient ability to win a
scholarship to a secondary school, or a special aptitude for teaching,
will do better to turn her attention to more lucrative fields of manual
or commercial work. The school that, failing to recognise this,
endeavours to drive all its pupils through the same examination mill is
neglecting part of its duty, and taking too narrow a view of education.
A two years’ course is what the majority of girls need to fill the
interval between the seventh standard and the age of apprenticeship. If
we could give this to all, and something more to the few, the State
would not be neglecting its daughters.

Since under present circumstances these schools cannot be worked without
some help from South Kensington, various experiments are being tried in
organisation, to enable a school to earn some grant and yet pay more
regard to the needs of girls than is usually done in higher grade
schools. Some adopt the plan of Science Classes instead of Science
Schools, registering for examination purposes the classes in science,
drawing, etc., without offering up the thirteen obligatory hours on the
altar of money earning. Unfortunately this plan is less advantageous
from the pecuniary standpoint, and many a schoolmistress will declare
with a sigh that there is nothing for it but to resort to the Science
School. It is not so good for the girls, but it pays better.

Some day, before too long, a Secondary Education Act may enable us to
change all that. Meantime we must give to South Kensington the honour of
stepping in when education was languishing for want of funds, and
helping us to build the upper story for our board school boys and girls.
This department, like the county councils which administer the Technical
Instruction Acts, has no power to subsidise subjects outside its own
lawful purlieus, nor can it, while we lack a recognised educational
authority, award its money grants by other means than inspection and
examination. Thus the intermediate school is being forced through the
mill of ‘payment by results,’ from which the elementary school has at
last escaped. Perhaps this was a necessary stage for both to pass
through; and though some victims fell by the way and there was some
injustice done, yet it served to establish the general standard of
efficiency which has made the institution of more liberal methods in
board schools possible. Similarly the stern South Kensington Department
may help to establish a better system of science teaching through its
careful inspection and insistence on practical work, and it may
certainly claim to have ‘succeeded in doing what no other system could
have done, carrying science instruction all over the country without
ever raising any sectarian difficulty of any kind.’[18] The county
councils and the Science and Art Department have become our most
important educational authorities, for the very simple reason that they
alone have money at their disposal. Both are limited in their operations
in a manner that forces them to be unjust to some most important
branches of study. Legislation can and must alter this in the immediate
future. Meantime the result is to emphasise a class distinction between
literary and scientific schools. In making science the distinctive mark
of the lower-class school, the Department has brought about the somewhat
anomalous result of degrading in the public estimation those very
studies which it designed to elevate. An attempt is now being made to
improve the prestige of the science school by raising the income limit
to £500, in accordance with the new income-tax regulations, and
including among schools acknowledged by the Department those ‘managed by
a public company in the articles of association of which provision is
made that no dividend shall be paid exceeding five per cent.’ Under this
heading come the greater part of our best girls’ schools, and this
regulation would place it in the power of the governors of these to turn
a part of their school into a Science School, or to register separate
classes with a view to examination and grant-earning. It would be a
convenient way of adding to their income, but whether it is desirable to
complicate the harmonious working of a high school by a plan of dual
control and a very exacting system of outside inspection and examination
seems very doubtful. Should it ever be largely adopted the chief gainers
would probably be the private schools, which would alone be left free to
take a wide view of the present and future needs of their pupils. There
would be a curious irony in such an outcome of all the efforts to
improve girls’ education by making it a public concern; but as long as
there is no compulsion beyond the elementary stage, we may always reckon
on a healthy reaction and a revolt against excessive red-tape. Britons
never will be slaves, not even to a Department which helps them to
educate their children more cheaply.

While the higher grade school is designed to give more advanced
instruction to those children from the elementary schools who can afford
to postpone their working life till fifteen or later, it has also become
necessary to do something for those whose occupations will not allow of
continued day-time instruction. The Evening Continuation schools are
intended to supply this want. The original night-school of olden time
was one where the unlettered rustic or mechanic came to spell out his
primer and laboriously manufacture his pot-hooks. Though election
statistics show that the absolutely illiterate voter is gradually
vanishing from the scenes, his complete extinction cannot be far off,
and in catering for after-instruction the amount of schooling
represented by three standards may as a rule be assumed. But in early
days the school boards had to cater for a very ignorant class of evening
pupils, and the work of the continuation schools was to a great extent
parallel with that of the day-schools. For many years the codes insisted
that pupils in night-schools earning grants should undergo examinations
in the three elementary subjects—reading, writing, arithmetic. As the
numbers who passed through the day-schools increased there was a
corresponding diminution in evening attendances, and it became clear
that the proper use of the evening-school was as a place of more
advanced instruction. Accordingly in the 1890 Code the clause, that
elementary education should be the principal part of the education there
given, was omitted. In 1893 Evening Continuation schools received fresh
stimulus and importance from an entirely new Code dealing with them
separately. Its declared aim was to give ‘freedom to managers in the
organisation of their schools’ by offering a wide choice of subjects
with suggested syllabuses in some subjects. The aims of these schools
were now declared to be twofold:—(1) to supply defects in early
elementary instruction; (2) to prolong the general education of the
scholar, and combine with it some form of interesting employment.

The effect of this new Code was remarkable. The total number of scholars
on evening-school registers increased from 115,000 in 1892–1893 to
266,000 in 1893–1894. No less important was the change in the character
of the work. To a great extent it has become secondary, although primary
instruction is still necessary for many pupils, who are removed early
from the day-school and have spent the interval in purely mechanical

Evening-schools have to contend against several obstacles. Chief among
them is the diminished fitness for receiving instruction after the
fatigues of the day’s work. This seems to vary with different persons,
and to be largely a matter of temperament, sometimes of habit. The
majority of persons certainly work better in the day-time. Another
difficulty is the irregular attendance due to the absence of compulsion
and the lack of special inducements. Nothing but the intrinsic
attractiveness of the class will induce most pupils to study any other
subject than those practical ones, like shorthand, mathematics, etc.,
which may help them to earn a better living. The framers of the Code,
recognising this, suggested the introduction of popular elements in the
shape of ‘lantern illustrations, music, manual work, discussion of some
book which has been read by the class, field naturalist or sketching
clubs, gymnastics or other employments of a more or less recreative
character.’ ‘For many of these purposes grants cannot be given, but
provided that the managers take care that at least one hour at each
meeting is devoted to the teaching of the subjects mentioned in Article
2 of this Code, and that the instruction is systematic and thorough,
every arrangement for making the school attractive should be carefully

The subjects recognised by the Code range from the elementary ones,
practically the three R’s, over languages and sciences, commercial and
miscellaneous subjects, drawing, domestic economy, cookery, laundry work
and dairy-work, and needlework. Indeed, it would be hard to find a
subject not included, always excepting literature, that step-daughter of
English schools. Even this is now being taught under the London Board.

The scientific and technical subjects bring the schools into competition
with technical institutes, with the result that in some towns there is
an undue rivalry between the various educational agencies. To obviate
this, the Science and Art Department has drawn up a new regulation,
recognising an organisation for the promotion of secondary education in
any county or county borough in England as the local authority for
administering the Science and Art grants in its own district. As many
towns other than county boroughs have classes working for the grants of
the Department, this arrangement is only partially helpful, and there is
still much undue rivalry. Where this prevails it usually falls to the
lot of the School Board to attract the younger and more casual students,
a class that is not altogether welcome at the more serious Institute.

Hitherto the work of the evening-school has been of necessity more or
less desultory; and of the two agencies for prolonging the education of
our working-class children, the higher grade school seems as yet to
answer best. That the other plan has possibilities is proved by the
example of Germany and the success of our own Polytechnic classes. A
definite place for the evening-school may yet be found in our system.
Meantime the school boards hold out the opportunities and invite, though
they cannot compel, the multitude to come in. The improvement in the
day-school will give a fresh impetus to the evening-school. This much at
least it is safe to prophesy.

                               CHAPTER XI

A land of mountains seems to be a land of ideals. Separated by the
elementary forces of nature from many of the currents of life that flow
beyond it, thrown on itself, its own resources and its past, it
cherishes its individuality with a fervour unknown to the people of a
plain. Even ruthless modernity, with its complex train systems and
mountain-borings, serves but to invade its privacy, not to change its
character. Patriotism is stronger, national feeling more tenacious, the
practical side of life has man less firmly in its grip. The Welsh
people, with their proud claim to represent the original inhabitants of
the island, their long roll of story and legend, their ‘estranging’
language, incomprehensible a few miles across the border, are still a
race apart. Neither Saxon nor Norman, legislation nor intercourse, has
ever been able to degrade them into a mere appanage of the English

Among the ideals long cherished here in vain by all classes, was that of
a national system of education. It would not be fair to describe the
country which produced the sweetest and best-trained singers in the
United Kingdom, and could organise and carry out such elaborate musical
and artistic competitions as those of the Eisteddfodd, as wholly
uneducated, and yet until very recently it was undoubtedly lacking in
schools and colleges. Like England, it benefited by the Education Act of
1870, which brought instruction to the children of the wage-earners, but
it was the class above these, the professional and commercial, whose
means or whose patriotism forbade their sending their sons and daughters
to England, that felt the deficiency most keenly. Drawn into the stir,
which in England followed on 1870, Wales began to move on her own lines;
numerous educational societies were started, conferences held, and every
effort made to fan the feeble spark till it should have strength enough
to kindle public opinion as well as private enthusiasm. The country was
too poor to supply its own needs by voluntary effort. For that very
reason it offered a useful field for experiment. Vested interests were
not numerous; there were a few grammar schools for boys; but for girls
only three endowed schools, and one proprietary, belonging to the Girls’
Public Day-School Company. Private schools, mostly inefficient, filled
some of the gaps, the rest remained empty.

The last five years have wrought a transformation. Throughout the length
and breadth of Wales, whether in large towns or small, there may be seen
in a conspicuous spot, looking down on the place from some hill-top hard
by, a grey stone building, which a large board informs us is the local
County School. The pride with which the inhabitants point it out recalls
American enthusiasm; to many it is the chief sight of the place. Here is
the goal on which their hopes have been set for years; these school
buildings testify to attainment. ‘_O fortunati quorum jam mœnia
surgunt_,’ we are tempted to exclaim.

This transformation has been brought about by the Welsh Intermediate
Education Act of 1889, itself the outcome of that same departmental
committee which recommended the establishment of a Welsh university. Its
financial contribution, a half-penny rate, and a Treasury grant of
corresponding amount, would in itself have been too meagre to produce
much result, but when in the following year the Local Customs and Excise
Act was passed, it contained a clause permitting Wales to use its share
of the money for purposes of Intermediate as well as Technical
instruction. In this way the public resources, _i.e._ the rate, the
Treasury grant, and the technical money, could be administered in one
fund, and for the general purpose of education, with no express
exclusion of literature or culture. The tiresome restrictions, the
overlapping of authorities, from which we are still suffering in
England, were never to be introduced into Wales; its very poverty proved
its salvation; there was a _tabula rasa_ on which no characters had been
as yet inscribed. Both on account of its own needs, and as an untried
field for operation, Wales was chosen as suitable ground for an
experiment in secondary education, at the very moment when the
institution of a fresh educational authority in England came to
complicate existing conditions yet further.

It is an accusation often brought against English education, that we
have no system which looks well on paper. This cannot be said of Wales.
The system there is perfectly simple. It applies to the whole country,
and to girls and boys alike. The money is raised from three sources:—

1. A half-penny rate—the County contribution.

2. A Treasury grant, equal to the amount produced by the rate—the
Treasury contribution.

3. The local share of the money from the Customs and Excise Act—the
Exchequer contribution.

The educational unit is the county, and the governing body consists
partly of members of the county council, representing the separate
school districts, partly of members chosen by school boards, university
colleges, etc. A very few are co-opted. Each school also has its own
body of managers, chosen in somewhat similar fashion from local bodies,
while the county council appoints one of the members sent up to it from
each district to be its own representative on that particular governing
body. The duties of the managers are chiefly confined to carrying out
the provisions of schemes, and promoting healthy local interest in the
school, for they have little power of initiative, and not always even
the choice of a headmaster. All matters of essential importance, _e.g._
whether the schools shall be separate for boys and girls, or mixed, the
subjects of instruction, the salary of the headmaster, the limits within
which fees may be charged, and the proportion of scholarships to be
awarded, are laid down in advance in the county scheme, which can only
be altered by appeal to the Charity Commissioners. The action of both
county and district bodies is therefore confined within very narrow
limits, too narrow, in fact, considering the experimental stage of the
schools, and the unwisdom of crystallising initial mistakes into
permanent form.

These schemes were drawn up, subject to the approval of the Charity
Commissioners, by the Joint Education Committees, which received their
authority directly from the Act. They consisted in each case of five
persons, three nominees of the county council, and two persons ‘well
acquainted with the condition of Wales and the wants of the people.’
Though the interests of girls as well as boys had to be considered, few
if any women seem to have been on these committees, and it is difficult
not to connect this omission with the injustice with which they have, in
many cases, been treated. This was hardly intentional, but it should
have been possible to negative at the outset every proposal for making a
girls’ school a mere subordinate department of the boys.’ These
committees were only temporary, to exist until the schemes could be
floated, and the control handed over to the county governing bodies. But
they led to the formation of a permanent board, not contemplated by the
Act. Frequent meetings between groups of these committees, with a view
to promoting uniformity of action, led to a series of general
conferences at Shrewsbury, which, though not in Wales, is the most
conveniently accessible point from north and south. At a series of
meetings held here, it was decided to establish a central body, and call
upon the Treasury to acknowledge it as the central authority for
inspection and examination, and for the payment of the Government grant
to the various counties. After the usual negotiations and delays, a
scheme establishing the Board was approved by the Charity Commissioners,
and became law in 1895. In this informal manner originated what has
practically become the secondary education authority for Wales.

The Board consists of eighty members, representative of various local
and educational bodies: the Principals of the three Welsh colleges,
twenty-one representatives of county councils, twenty-six of county
governing bodies, five of headmasters and mistresses of intermediate
schools, five of certificated teachers in public elementary schools,
three of councils of university colleges, three of the senates, two of
Jesus College, Oxford, six of the court of the University of Wales, and
six co-optative members, three of whom must be women. The bulk of the
work devolves on the executive committee of fifteen.

The establishment of this Central Board marks the completion of the
Welsh secondary system. It furnishes a link between all the counties and
schools, and exercises over these that general supervision which, in the
initial stages, had devolved on the Charity Commissioners. Since the
subjects to be taught had been prescribed by the Act generally, and by
the schemes specially, the duties of the Central Board were not so much
to lay down a scheme of studies, as to see that the course already
prescribed was duly followed, that each school was in a state of general
and educational efficiency, and that the provisions of the schemes were
observed. For these purposes they arranged a system of inspection and
examination. The Act had defined intermediate education as ‘a course of
education which does not consist chiefly of elementary instruction in
reading, writing, and arithmetic, but which includes instruction in
Latin, Greek, the Welsh and English language and literature, modern
languages, mathematics, natural and applied science, or in some of such
studies, and generally in the higher branches of knowledge,’ and the
schemes fixed more precisely which of these were to be in each case
compulsory. The Glamorgan scheme, which is in many respects typical,
prescribes geography, history, English grammar, composition, and
literature, drawing, mathematics, Latin, at least one modern language,
natural science, vocal music, drill or other physical exercise, and such
other scientific or technical subjects, including shorthand, as the
school managers may determine. Scripture is not obligatory, but if
included, it must be taught by a member of the staff. Some manual
instruction must also be offered the boys, and a little cookery to the
girls, but, as is inevitable, where the programme is already overloaded,
this side of the work takes a very subordinate place. In all schools
Welsh must be taught as an optional subject; in a stated few Greek may
be introduced. But even without these additions, the compulsory
curriculum is a very heavy one, when it is borne in mind that a large
proportion of pupils come from the elementary schools, where the girls,
at any rate, have been hitherto confined to reading, writing,
arithmetic, and needlework, with possibly a little French and domestic
economy. Even English history and geography are unfamiliar ground.

The aim of the Welsh Intermediate, as of the English High Schools, is to
give a liberal education cheaply in day-schools; but there is one
essential difference between them. While the high school is an organised
whole, leading the pupils by gentle gradations from the primary
department to the lower school, and thence on to the upper, the
intermediate school receives no pupils below the age of ten. Since the
majority are between twelve and sixteen, they break up naturally into
two classes, according as they have received their preliminary training
at a public elementary school or elsewhere. This division is by no means
so sharply defined in Wales as in England. Wales is both poor and
democratic, and inclines to the doctrine, familiar in the United States,
that no stigma should attach to attendance at a school supported out of
the rates, since the parents do in fact contribute towards the expenses,
though indirectly. Hence we find a mixture of class in both elementary
and intermediate schools, which in England would be neither possible nor
desirable. The omission of the primary department in the new schools is
in fact deliberate. There is already one kind of school assisted out of
public funds and accessible to all, and it is therefore not thought
necessary to subsidise primary instruction in another set of
institutions. The intermediate school is so constituted as to fit
straight on to the elementary, and in each school a certain proportion
of scholarships must fall to elementary pupils. In accordance with the
opinion of many authorities that the transplanting from an elementary to
a secondary school, always a difficult process, should not take place
too late, the admission age and requirements are put low, and the
intermediate school is supposed to branch off from the elementary at
about the fifth standard. In Wales, where poverty and dearth of
educational opportunities have induced many persons of middle rank to
make use of the free public schools, the difference between the two sets
of pupils is by no means so strongly marked as it would be in England,
but even here schools have two different characters, according as one or
the other of these elements predominates. In a district where the
population is largely industrial, the lowest possible tuition fee is
chosen, and the largest possible amount of scholarships given to
elementary pupils. Thus one scheme requires that not less than ten per
cent. and not more than thirty per cent. of the pupils in each school,
shall hold scholarships, and at least half of the number awarded shall
go to pupils from public elementary schools, but there is nothing to
prevent the whole number from being so given. In fact, several schools
have more scholarships than candidates for them. According, therefore,
to the interpretation of the clause adopted, the elementary scholars in
a school of a hundred may vary from five—the minimum, to thirty—the
maximum. In the latter class of school, the fees are usually low enough
to attract paying pupils from the elementary schools; hence these
furnish a majority of the pupils, and the school becomes a continuation,
often a finishing-school for elementary pupils, many of whom stay one
year, sometimes only a term or two, to get what prestige they can from
attendance at a school of a higher grade than the one to which they have
been accustomed. Those that remain for two years or longer usually do
well, if their health is strong enough to bear the severe strain.

The other classification into separate and mixed schools is apt to
coincide with this distinction. Of the eighty-four schools now in
existence, there are twenty for boys and twenty for girls, while the
remaining forty-four are mixed. This wholesale adoption of a principle
popular in the United States, but regarded hitherto askance by England,
in common with other European countries, is due, as in Scotland, to the
force of necessity. It is not as a counsel of perfection, but as a means
of economy, that the plan has been adopted in Wales. In a country
intersected by mountains, and inadequately supplied with means of
locomotion, where distances should, as in Switzerland, be counted by
hours and not by miles, access to places that look near enough on the
map is often exceedingly difficult; and it is useless to plant a large
school-building in a central district in the hope of drawing in pupils
from a radius of a few miles. The alternative lay between frequent small
day-schools and a liberal sprinkling of boarding-schools. The former
carried the day, on the ground that they were more equitable to
ratepayers, and more democratic. In almost every county, the committee
adopted the more expensive and troublesome plan of establishing and
maintaining a large number of small schools, and most of the
difficulties with which Welsh intermediate education has to contend are
due to that decision. In some places there are schools of forty, or even
less, difficult to finance and to organise. These might work for a year
or two, but as pupils stayed on and began to range from the Fifth
Standard scholar at one end to the Matriculation student at the other,
with all the varying intermediate grades, failure became inevitable. One
remedy in the case of those small schools which were not rich enough to
provide a liberal staff for small classes, was to arrange from the first
to mix the boys and girls, thus facilitating the grading by increasing
the numbers in each class. In this way better results could be obtained
with small means, at any rate as far as class lists and examination
statistics were concerned.

Owing to the difficulties of grading, this system is being gradually
introduced in many places where it was not originally contemplated; but
the typical Welsh school, according to the first plan, was the dual.
This was to consist of two distinct schools, one for boys and one for
girls, built side by side, in such a way that they might have assembly
hall, gymnasium, laboratory, etc., in common, and by the economy thus
effected in site, buildings, apparatus, etc., it was hoped that the
efficiency of small schools would be maintained. Unfortunately, the
advocates of this system went a step further, and arranged to complete
their economies by appointing a single head for both schools, to take
the superintendence of both boys and girls. Obviously this head must be
a man. Though some schemes contain the words ‘headmaster or
head-mistress,’ it is at once explained to feminine applicants that the
words are a mere matter of form. Indeed, it would be far better to omit
them. The most ardent advocates of women’s equality would hardly propose
to give a mistress full authority over boys of twelve to seventeen.
However excellent feminine influence may be in a boys’ school, no one
wants to see it supreme there. Though paramount masculine influence in a
girls’ school is anything but desirable, it seemed the lesser of two
evils; and both custom and convenience pointed to the selection of a
master. This initial injustice paved the way for many others. Though
most schools appoint a senior mistress, who is supposed to have a
general control over the girls, it is out of the managers’ power, when
once they have made the headmaster supreme, to make her position one of
any authority. Like all the rest, she is appointed by the headmaster;
she has no place in the scheme, nor status in the school, except what
may be given her by courtesy. She has no voice in choosing her
assistants, nor in making the time-table; her position is often inferior
to that of a second mistress in an English high school. This kind of
dual school was a new experiment, and it cannot be pronounced a
successful one. Where the two departments were kept distinct, except for
an occasional interchange of teachers, the real difficulties of
classification were not obviated; and one set of managers after another
took the final step, availing themselves of the permission accorded in
most schemes, to ‘make arrangements for boys and girls being taught
together in all or any of the classes.’ The forms are then mixed
throughout, and assigned in turn to men and women teachers. Here the
senior mistress loses even her semblance of authority, and the school is
under the supreme and undisturbed sway of the headmaster. What number of
schools have already taken this final step is nowhere definitely stated,
but, as far as can be ascertained, it appears to be a majority. It is in
fact the logical outcome of the dual plan, and since the tendency of the
change is to diminish the proportion of girls, we may look upon these
schools as organised for boys, but admitting girls as well.

The whole question of co-education is so exceedingly difficult that it
is unfortunate that Welsh educationalists should have been compelled to
add it to the number of complex problems with which they had already to
deal. The small schools have necessitated this among other problems. Its
warmest advocates do not deny that it makes discipline more difficult:
constant supervision becomes necessary; boys and girls have to be kept
apart out of class, and an attempt, usually doomed to failure, is made
in some schools to control the walk home. The freer intercourse, the
element of trust, and the bright out-of-school life, which in England
have come to be considered as important a part of a secondary school as
the Mathematics or Latin taught there, have little chance of development
in the mixed school. That valuable moral impetus given by the direct and
constant intercourse between the master and boys, mistress and girls, is
missing. Thus they lose what is often the best effect of school life
upon our boys and girls: the schools become places of mere instruction,
not education; they are but elementary schools with advanced subjects in
the curriculum; rivals, and not always successful ones, of the higher
grade. Of course this is not solely due to the co-education scheme, but
it has tended further to emphasise the social difference between the two
classes of schools, and also to put women at a disadvantage in Welsh
education, which could hardly have been contemplated by the original
promoters. Yet now that this arrangement has been fixed by scheme and
made fast by yards of red-tape, it must remain as it is, until some
energetic band of reformers shall arise determined to end it. But that
cannot be as yet.

The second class, the distinct schools for boys and girls, resemble our
English high schools; in fact Swansea, one of the most successful, was
actually founded by the Girls’ Public Day-School Company, and taken over
by the Intermediate Board. The money supplied by the county grant makes
up for the diminution of the fees, and the work proceeds with little
change. Cardiff is also organised on the lines of a high school, with
the chief intellectual work in the morning, considerable attention to
games and physical training, and a liberal allowance of teachers. In
these separate schools the fees range from about £5 to £9, being
slightly lower than those of the corresponding schools in England. The
allowance of mistresses to pupils is adequate, the elementary scholars
are a small proportion, not enough to set the whole tone of the school.
In the mixed or dual school the fees are usually low, sometimes even as
little as £2 per annum, scholarships are more numerous, and the
sprinkling of scholars from other than elementary schools is very small.
Both kinds of schools doubtless have their use, though their aims are
very different.

With all these varieties of organisation and character, the schools have
a unifying influence in the general control of the Central Board, since
all are subject to its examination and inspection. The latter is
undertaken by the Chief Inspector, who visits each school in the course
of the year, and reports specially on the following heads—

1. Character, suitability, and capacity of school premises.

2. School furniture and apparatus.

3. Facilities for recreation and physical training.

4. The relation between the administration of schools and the schemes
under which they are established.

5. The organisation of classes.

6. The school discipline.

7. Courses of instruction.

If a school prove deficient in any of these respects, the managers
receive a warning from the Board that future negligence will entail a
diminution of the grant. This is a useful check, and a form of payment
by result which can only do good, for it counteracts that uneconomical
form of economy, which declines to spend on proper building and
apparatus and salaries. An element of control which requires more
careful exercise is the threat of a diminished grant, should a school
fail to do well in the annual examination. This, which is conducted by
the Central Board, was in the first place inspectional, and was meant to
give the schools the necessary outside impulse. In order to carry out
the principle of letting the examination follow the teaching instead of
the teaching the examination, each school was invited to send up its own
syllabus of work done, but this led to so much needless expense, since
there were as many as fifty-three Latin papers set in one year, that
some kind of uniformity became indispensable. The present regulations
prescribe that only pupils who have been a full year in a school shall
be presented for the written examination, and in at least five subjects.
Forms which do not take papers are examined orally in one or other of
the subjects studied during the school year. The scheme bears some
resemblance to the school examinations of the Joint Board, but a new
feature is the test in languages of ‘ability to read fluently,
intelligently, and correctly, passages chosen from prepared and
unprepared texts.’ The papers set are of varying grades of difficulty,
and the schools choose which they will take. Thus in Latin there were
seven papers set in 1898, of which the fourth is supposed to be
equivalent to the standard of the Welsh Matriculation. Not many pupils
are likely to go beyond this, since the schools are distinctly
preparatory to the university colleges, which a matriculated pupil can
enter. If this standard should in a few years be reached by a fair
proportion of pupils in each school, the intermediate system can claim
to be successful, for it will be accomplishing its avowed purpose, to
carry its pupils from the Fifth Standard to the Constituent College of
the University of Wales. For pupils who aim at the Welsh Matriculation
these annual tests should be sufficient, but experience shows that there
is a tendency to aim at results earlier in the school career; and the
chaos of external examinations, from which many English schools are not
yet completely emancipated, should be a warning to Wales to be wise in
time, and from the beginning concentrate efforts on the same lines. This
seems to be best effected by following the example of the Joint Board,
and combining school examinations with the awarding of certificates. A
scheme on these lines is now in course of preparation, and will probably
come into operation in 1899. The subjects of the general examination are
to be arranged in groups: _A._ Scripture and English; _B._ Mathematics;
_C._ Languages; _D._ Science; _E._ Practical subjects. Within certain
limits a choice is allowed from these five groups. Junior and senior
certificates are to be awarded on papers of different grades of
difficulty. The senior standard is to be carefully approximated to that
of Welsh Matriculation, in the hope that the University may be willing
to accept it as an equivalent. There should not be much difficulty about
this, since the University Court is represented on the Central Board,
and the Board in its turn on the Court, so that very close and
sympathetic relations are maintained between the two bodies that have
charge of the educational interests of the country. The next step would
be to win acknowledgment for it as a substitute for the Medical and
other preliminaries, and a further stage would be an Honours grade that
might replace the higher certificate of the Joint Board as an admission
examination to English colleges, and a substitute for the Previous and
Responsions. Even this might in time be attained, and the Welsh Board
would then have fulfilled its mission of making one school stage lead
harmoniously and naturally to the next.

Such is the scheme as it presents itself to the minds of the promoters,
who look far away beyond the present troubles of small schools,
irregular attendance, and inadequate funds, and see in the distant
future the glorious fabric of their dreams: one system of schools for
both boys and girls, leading them on step by step till they are ready to
enter their own colleges, and thence, if more adventurously inclined,
cross the border and ask the hospitality of the ancient English
universities. The ladder in its widest acceptation is to be set up in
Wales, so close to the home of every boy and girl that none may plead
inaccessibility as an excuse for the failure to mount. And this system
is to be worked by popular bodies, touching at one end the local
schoolboard, at the other the university colleges, so that its
foundations may be firm and lasting, ‘broad-based upon the people’s

Such is the ideal; how far is it reflected by the reality? Of actual
results it is too soon to speak, since the oldest school is not yet five
years old, and the numbers in them are so small that the whole
eighty-four now in existence, including boys and girls, have not
together as many pupils as the thirty-four schools of the Girls’ Public
Day-School Company. There were many difficulties to be met. The ground
was new and unbroken, the meaning of secondary education, except in so
far as it was expressed by a higher grade school, was hardly understood
by the mass of the people. Some schools won a too hasty popularity,
owing to the impression that they were ‘finishing’ institutions for
elementary scholars, hence the one-year or one-term pupils of whom so
much has been heard. This mistaken notion will be but slowly dispelled,
and it is not impossible that in a few years’ time, should the Central
Board prove successful in its attempts to ‘level up,’ the number of
schools may prove too large for the demand. Many boys and girls who must
begin to prepare for their life work at fourteen or fifteen would be
better off in a higher grade school than struggling to find their depth
in these new waters. The elimination of these would prove no serious
loss, and it would clear the ground for a fairer treatment of those
pupils, whether from elementary or other schools, who are really able to
profit by secondary education. The Welsh system cannot be considered
complete while so many of the well-to-do and educated classes hold
aloof, helping, it is true, with money and sympathy, but sending their
children to be educated across the border. Who shall blame them for not
offering up their own boys and girls as _corpora vilia_? Yet, until the
schools can offer something to such pupils as well, they must remain

Still, with all its flaws, and they are not a few, the system has
something to teach England. The love of knowledge, noted even in the
days of darkness, the willingness to make sacrifices, evinced by gifts
of land and money to new schools, the keen interest in their welfare
felt by all grades of the community, and the absence of that class
jealousy which tends to check the spread of popular education in
England—all these we should do well to note, and copy if we can. Then we
may be prepared to thank Wales for teaching us both what to do and what
to avoid.

                              CHAPTER XII

Such is in brief the story of the last half-century, 1848 to 1898.
Looking back on what is in the main a line of progress, there seems now
and then a check, here and there a retrograde movement under the guise
of a new discovery. All this is inevitable, since we are but human. But
taking the period as a whole, none can doubt that it marks a very real
advance; and this end of a century seems a fitting time to pause and
rest on our oars, while we survey the breakers through which we have
passed; then once more set forth on our onward path, assured that there
can be nothing worse before us than what is already behind.

It is not only for girls’ education that the revival has come. A general
awakening has passed over the country: men and women, boys and girls,
rich and poor, the lady of leisure and the hard-working mechanic, all
have had something brought within their reach that formerly belonged
only to the few. Three years ago these gains were summarised in
convenient form by the Royal Commission on Secondary Education,
appointed ‘to consider what are the best methods of establishing a
well-organised system of secondary education in England, taking into
account existing deficiencies, and having regard to such local sources
of revenue from endowments or otherwise as are available, or may be made
available, for this purpose.’ Even now the country is waiting for
legislation on the findings of that Commission. When we remember that we
have really been waiting ever since 1867, we do not feel over-sanguine
of results; but happily events have since then moved in many directions,
and the Commission, before proceeding to recommendations for the future,
was able to draw up a long list of reforms that had already come about
and changed the whole face of education in England in less than thirty

First in order of time stands the Endowed Schools Act, which did so much
for boys, and rescued something from the spoils for the benefit of
girls. Next came the Elementary Education Act, which brought primary
instruction within the reach of every boy and girl in the land, and set
a new machinery in motion destined to change the whole face of the
country. In 1888 the institution of county councils provided that local
authority which was to make a system of decentralisation in education
possible, while the Technical Instruction Acts of 1889 and 1891 and the
Local Customs and Taxation Act of 1890 at once brought these new powers
into play, and originated a fresh set of educational institutions in the
Polytechnics and other similar colleges. Lastly, the Welsh Intermediate
schools, established by the Act of 1889, were providing an object-lesson
in the organisation of secondary education.

Besides this public work, the Commission had to take cognisance of the
enormous changes in the education of girls, due to the wide diffusion of
High Schools and the admission of women to the Universities. ‘There has
probably been more change in the condition of the secondary education of
girls than in any other department of education,’[19] say the
Commissioners, and they also note that ‘the idea that a girl, like a
boy, may be fitted by education to earn a livelihood, or, at any rate,
to be a more useful member of society, has become more widely diffused.’
Various other changes came under their cognisance: the gradual rise of
Higher Grade schools, evolving themselves through inherent necessity
with no impulse and little encouragement from without; the many attempts
at what has been called Continuative education by means of evening
classes; the help afforded to large numbers by University Extension; the
improved status of the teachers; the various colleges established for
their training, and the many educational societies which have grown into
powerful forces during the last twenty years. After taking due note of
all this, they declare that the time has come to weld these various
organisms into one consistent whole. They anticipate no easy task. ‘The
ground of secondary education is already almost covered with buildings
so substantial that the loss to be incurred in clearing it for the
erection of a new and symmetrical pile cannot be contemplated. Yet these
existing buildings are so ill-arranged, so ill-connected, and so
inconvenient, that some scheme of reconstruction seems unavoidable.’[20]

This touches the key of the situation. The reconstruction must at any
rate begin with adaptation, then the gaps may be filled with new and
convenient edifices. However much such a plan offends our notions of
order and logic, we do well to remember that every one of these
structures, jerry-built though they may be, has grown up out of some
real need; and before we propose to fit all their tenants into neat
little model dwellings, it behoves us to be quite sure that such a plan
would be as satisfactory in the working as it looks on paper. The mere
fact that of the girls receiving secondary education in England seventy
per cent., and of the boys thirty-eight per cent., are in private
schools, often in towns where there are grammar and high schools with
plenty of empty places, should make the advocates of ruthless innovation
pause and stay their hand. The public must in the last resort determine
what it wants, and though demand sometimes follows supply, the opposite
process is a constant one. However much theorists may inveigh, according
to their special prejudices, against higher grade or ‘private adventure’
or any other kind of school, the fact of their successful existence,
even in the face of rivals, shows that they do supply a want; and the
only prudent course is to find them a place in our system.

This has been fully recognised by the Commissioners, who wisely suggest
proceeding on lines similar to those on which elementary education was
at first organised. The local authority proposed in 1867 can now be
easily constituted, since we have the county councils to supply a
nucleus to which educational experts can be added, as is already done on
some technical instruction committees and in the Welsh county governing
bodies. The local authority would proceed ‘to inquire how far the
schools within its area provide secondary instruction adequate in
quantity and quality to the needs of each part of that area.’ In doing
this, regard is to be had to proprietary and private as well as endowed
and other public schools, and the report adds the following significant
comment: ‘We are far from desiring to see secondary education pass
wholly under public control, and into the hands of those who are
practically public servants, as elementary education has done, and we
believe that where proprietary or private schools are found to be doing
good work, it would be foolish as well as unfair to try to drive them
out of the field.’[21] Where the supply of secondary education is
deficient in any part of the area, the local authority should have power
to establish new schools.

The functions of these authorities are therefore to fall under four

1. The securing a due provision of secondary instruction.

2. The remodelling, where necessary, and supervision of the working of
endowed (other than non-local) schools and other educational endowments.

3. A watchful survey of the field of secondary education, with the
object of bringing proprietary and private schools into the general
educational system, and of endeavouring to encourage and facilitate, so
far as this can be done by stimulus, by persuasion, and by the offer of
privileges and advice, any improvements they may be inclined to

4. The administration of such sums, either arising from rates levied
within the area, or paid over from the National Exchequer, as may be at
its disposal for the promotion of education.

In this way these local authorities would receive large powers of
supervision, but comparatively little coercive control, since ‘it is not
so much by superseding as by aiding and focussing voluntary effort that
real progress may be made.’

The general guidance and direction of secondary education should be
committed to a central authority, to include the various departments of
Government now concerned with it.

Further recommendations are: the consolidation of existing sources of
revenue into one fund; and a generous scheme of scholarships for the
poor, in preference to a general lowering of school fees.

These main recommendations, as well as other subordinate ones, seem wise
and moderate, fair to all classes, and consistent with their professed
aim, ‘to draw the outlines of a system which shall combine the maximum
of simplicity with the minimum disturbance of existing arrangements.’ A
bill drawn up on these lines would probably meet with very general
acceptation from all classes, except those persons, probably few, who
are ready to subordinate the general good to their own private fads.
Unfortunately Parliament has hitherto proved unwilling to give time for
such a bill. The ill-fated Education Bill of 1896 dealt with secondary
education as a sort of accessory to primary; and as, unlike the latter,
it has not yet become a subject for party divisions and acrimonious
controversy, it is not at present sufficiently interesting to the
general run of politicians to call forth any special exertions on their
part. The private bill brought in last session by Colonel Lockwood
expressed the wishes of a large section of the teaching profession. It
proposed to form one central educational authority under the Committee
of the Privy Council on Education, by consolidating powers relating to
secondary education possessed by the Charity Commissioners, the Science
and Art Department, and the present Education Department, and to
establish local secondary education authorities, to consist partly of
members of the county council and partly of other persons with special
educational experience. It also proposes registers of efficient schools
and of persons qualified to teach in them. The ministerial bill
introduced by the Duke of Devonshire into the House of Lords at the
fag-end of the session merely proposed to bring together in one office
the two departments of Science and Art and Education, under the control
of one permanent secretary, and to create a Board of Education on the
model of the Board of Trade. To this new department the supervision of
endowed schools, under schemes framed by the Charity Commissioners, was
to be transferred. The thorny questions of constitution of local
authorities, raising of rates, etc., were left untouched. It was not
proposed to carry the measure, merely to show the country before the
vacation the lines on which the Ministry were inclined to proceed.
Thorny as are many of the points under discussion, such as central and
local authority, amalgamation of existing departments, etc., they are as
nothing to the real difficulties that must follow when these matters of
administrative machinery are settled. The inspection and grading of
schools, the due consideration that must be shown to secondary education
proper and to that part commonly known as technical, the proper respect
for existing schools that are good and the ruthless elimination of such
as are bad—in these lies the true crux of the situation, and under all
circumstances some part of this work will probably fall to the local
authorities. An enormous amount of responsibility must devolve on those
who first take up the arduous task.

One burning question, which ought to be settled for the whole country
alike, is the relation between the grammar and high schools on the one
hand, and the elementary schools on the other. Are we to have one upper
department for both, or two? Some time ago the consensus of opinion
seemed to be in favour of one; that was on the assumption that the
proportion of children passing beyond the standards would be a small
one. Some such idea seems to have been in the mind of the Duke of
Devonshire when he spoke of ‘a sound system of secondary schools which
will be open alike to the most promising children of the elementary
schools and to the middle classes generally.’ But this view rests on the
assumption that the primary departments of both sets of schools are very
similar in their curriculum and methods. This is very far from being the
case. ‘The elementary schools are not, under the present conditions in
England, the common basis of secondary education, nor, though an
increasing number of pupils proceed from them to secondary schools, are
the public elementary schools the sole, nor, indeed, the chief channels
through which pupils proceed in this country to day or boarding-schools
of the secondary grades.’[22] The changes that would be necessary in the
elementary schools would be so numerous and far-reaching, and the
expense so enormous before they would be able to attract the great mass
of the middle classes, that no one could seriously propose to abolish
the primary departments in secondary schools, as long as parents are
able and willing to pay the school fees. They are a necessity, and would
have to be supplied by private adventure, as is done at Cardiff and
other large Welsh towns, if a public system declined to acknowledge
them. In the interest of what we might call the ‘secondary party,’ the
primary department of the secondary school must be maintained. On the
other hand, the teachers in Government schools seem equally unanimous in
the view that their own special continuation schools are better suited
to the mass of elementary pupils than the grammar or high school.
Neither party seems anxious for the fusion, and so long as a liberal
scheme of scholarships is maintained, it is possible to do full justice
to those elementary scholars who can look forward to a school life
sufficiently long to enable them to reach the highest classes of their
new school. To allow pupils to enter upon an extensive and liberal
curriculum, who are likely to be removed before its real meaning and
unity has dawned upon them, is a thing we should never even contemplate,
were our notions of curricula and grades of schools a little less hazy
than they are at present in England. The board school child, who is sent
at the age of thirteen by her proud parents to have a year’s finishing
at a high school, is typical of the present confusion. There is really
no more urgent problem before us than a scientific differentiation of

Still, whatever course legislation may take on this and other problems,
whether funds are raised by fresh rate or merely by adding together
existing sources of income, no matter what are the constitution and
functions of the local authority, this, at least, we may rely on—the
interests of girls will not be forgotten. For that we have to thank that
little band of men and women who have laboured during this last half
century in the face of prejudice, opposition, and indifference to remove
the neglect with which England treated one half of her children. This
much, at least, is established: no future educational legislation will
omit to provide for women and girls. For this we have a pledge in the
appointment of women on this last Commission, in their mention in every
scheme for a new educational institution that now passes through
Parliament, and their recognition on every new elective body

We have gained, gained immensely. Still, we cannot blind our eyes to
some evils the good has brought with it. The very acknowledgment of the
right of girls to as good an education as their brothers has in some
cases, happily rare, led, under the pretence of equality, to a
subordination of the girls’ interests. Thus, some of the recent attempts
to establish joint schools for both sexes, whether on the grounds of
economy or the fanciful plea of imitating the family life in a large
school of over a hundred children, does indirectly involve a fresh
injustice. What the reformers asked for was a share in educational funds
for girls and a better education for the teachers, that they might be
qualified to undertake the very highest teaching in girls’ schools. The
attempts recently made in some schools aided by public money to
economise by teaching boys and girls together, abolishing the
head-mistress and putting a headmaster over boys and girls alike, while
arranging the curriculum and time-table to meet the needs of the boys
and letting the girls do the best they can with it, is only a revival,
under a new guise, of the old idea, that girls are not entitled to the
same consideration as boys. Our modern reformers will not find their
occupation gone while they have this old prejudice to combat. It is
unjust to the teachers as well as to the taught. Hitherto it has been
almost universally acknowledged that teaching was an occupation for
which women were by nature specially suited. Is it really proposed to
oust them from all but the lowest ranks, and reserve the prizes, the
chief inducement to work, for men only? This is what must happen, should
there be any wide spread of the mixed schools. With the disappearance of
the head-mistress we should lose much of that moral training which has
hitherto been regarded in England as no less important than the
intellectual and physical. We have hitherto prided ourselves on being in
advance of Germany in employing women to teach the highest classes in
our girls’ schools. Germany is now beginning to follow suit, and by
means of special courses at some of the universities and at the
Victoria-Lyceum, Berlin, some of the best mistresses are being trained
to take these posts. Surely we in England do not intend, without a
struggle, to take the retrograde path!

There seems to be another danger imminent, due, perhaps, to the great
speed with which events have moved. At any rate, we have landed
ourselves in a dilemma. The educational movement has been parallel with
many social changes. The fluctuations of business, the lowering of
interest, and other complex causes which make saving difficult to men
engaged in business or professions, have added greatly to the number of
women who must now earn their living. Thirty years ago it was the custom
to wait till the father’s death closed the parental home, when the
daughters, untrained to work, unaccustomed to privation, were sent out
into the world, to seek their bread as best they could. So general was
this practice even among the more enlightened, that the committee who
helped to found Queen’s College expressed their belief and hope that
‘the ranks of that profession (_i.e._ of a governess) will still be
supplied from those whose minds and tempers have been disciplined in the
school of adversity, and who are thus best able to form the minds and
tempers of others.’ We are no longer such stern believers in adversity;
we now realise that training and earning cannot begin simultaneously,
and, further, we have learnt that neither for Adam nor for Eve should
work be accounted a curse. All this has led to a great revolution in
thought. Work has been made honourable in the eyes of girls. Already at
school they are encouraged to choose a profession and to take the steps
that lead to it much as their brothers do. If they marry, the years of
regular disciplined work prove a helpful training for their new duties;
if they remain single, they keep a purpose and an aim in life. This
existence of regular duty, of appointed periods of work and holiday, is
the easier life; and now that remunerative employment has come to be
regarded as a privilege and not a stigma, the ranks of women workers are
fast being overfilled. We have heard much talk of late about _new_
careers for women; but the very abundance of the talk serves to betray
the poverty of the land. Of new careers there are few. In some cases it
only means that the work is transferred from a man to a woman at a lower
wage. This is no economic gain to either sex. The field should be open
to both alike, but for equal payment. There are also a considerable
number of occupations which, if not performed by women, would remain
undone, or be done less well. Such are nursing, certain branches of
medical work and of factory and sanitary inspection, some kinds of
journalism, the teaching of almost all girls and of little boys, to say
nothing of the wide field of manual and domestic occupations which fall
specially to the woman’s share. Large fields of philanthropic and social
work are their own special domain, but these are usually unpaid. There
is plenty in truth for women to do, but not enough remunerative work ‘to
go round,’ as the saying is. Happily, the working life of many women is
short, since marriage or the claims of relations often bring it to a
premature close, so that the terrible over-supply has not yet made
itself too keenly felt. As yet the sufferers have been chiefly those of
the old school who entered the arena unarmed for the fray, and have
retired to swell the ranks of the ‘necessitous gentlewoman.’ But signs
are not wanting that even the trained and the capable will soon have to
suffer. Worst of all is the pressure in the teaching profession. The
delight of the enthusiast and the child-lover, it is also,
unfortunately, the refuge of the destitute and the one resource of the
unimaginative. The girl who has diligently and successfully pursued her
own studies without ever learning to take an initiative or to turn out
of an appointed groove can contemplate no other way of spending her life
than in passing on to others the knowledge she has herself acquired. If
hers is a rich home, salary is no particular object. So she ruthlessly
spoils the market for her poorer sisters, and takes the bread from
another woman whose very existence depends on her earnings. Meantime the
work in the home, among acquaintances, the poor, the friendless, the
native town, those endless and varied fields of woman’s labour, remains
undone. In preaching to our girls the nobility of work, some of us have
forgotten to speak of its very highest branches. All honour to those
noble women like Miss Clough who never did forget it!

This rush of all women in the same direction, this excessive
individualism which has given rise to the cant phrase, ‘living one’s own
life,’ is surely a stage through which we have to pass, but which need
not remain permanently with us. Much may be done by mistresses at school
to revive the dignity of home life, to check the untrue notion in the
girls’ mind that no work is worthy of the name unless it is paid for in
coin of the realm. Unpaid service is the pride of Englishmen; why should
it not be honoured by Englishwomen? Still, for most service money is the
fitting reward, and some measure of independence belongs by right to
every adult, whether man or woman. Why do not more parents try to make
life at home a worthy substitute for a professional career? Why not pay
the daughter a fair salary for services rendered, that shall make her as
independent in the matter of pocket-money and holidays as her college
friend who is teaching or writing? Just as important is a certain
liberty of action and a little room, no matter how small, where she can
see her friends undisturbed and have things her own way. Those persons
who are rich enough to leave their daughter a fair income at their death
can surely afford to allow her these little indulgences in their
lifetime. If she is some day to be thrown on the world penniless or with
a mere pittance, then the sooner she sets to work the better. Whenever
it is possible, parents should make up their minds, before a girl leaves
school, what sum of money can be laid aside for her, either for
immediate professional training or with a view to an income in the
future. It is reasonable and right that a girl, like a boy, should
choose her profession, provided the occupations of home are included
among those that are paid and respected. If the growing independence of
girls helps to bring about this change, the family too will benefit by
this quiet revolution that has taken place in our midst. The _Sturm und
Drang_ period will pass away, and the time for the quiet harvest must
succeed it. Enough, then, has been said by the devil’s advocate; it only
remains to enter into the fruits of our Nineteenth Century Renaissance.


 Aberystwyth College, 6, 9, 10.

 Addison’s Essays, 10.

 Aldeburgh Girls’ School, 160.

 Allen, James, Girls’ School, 96, 191.

 Aske’s School, Hatcham, 101.

 Astell, Mary, 8, 9, 10.

 Bangor College, 141, 145.

 Beale, Miss, at Queen’s College, 30;
   at Cheltenham, 30;
   gives evidence before Schools’ Inquiry Commission, 33, 42, 85;
   an educational pioneer, 38;
   her abstract of the Royal Commission’s Report, 48;
   her views on private teaching, 53;
   founds St. Hilda’s, Oxford, 122.

 Bedford College, 27, 28, 29, 121, 128, 129, 130, 131.

 —— endowment, 81, 90, 92, 93, 95.

 —— High School, 93, 94, 95, 135.

 —— Modern School, 93, 94, 95.

 Birmingham endowments, 80, 90, 91.

 Blue-stocking Club, 11.

 Board of Education Bill, 240.

 Boarding-houses, 152, 153, 166.

 Boarding-schools, 149, 150, 161, 162.

 Bodichon, Madame, 39, 40, 84, 107.

 Bostock, Miss, 28, 84.

 Bryce, Mr., 47, 84.

 Buss, Miss, at Queen’s College, 30;
   gives evidence before Schools’ Inquiry Commission, 33, 42, 85;
   an educational pioneer, 38;
   President of Schoolmistresses’ Association, 48;
   transforms the North London Collegiate into a public school, 85;
   procures endowment for it, 86, 87.

 Buss, Frances Mary, Schools, 87, 88.

 Cambridge Examinations, Junior and Senior, 33, 34, 40, 41, 51, 109,

 —— —— Higher Local, 34, 51.

 —— position of women at, 113, 114, 126.

 —— Triposes opened to women, 110, 111, 112.

 Camden School, 87, 191.

 Cardiff College, 141, 145.

 Careers open to women, 162, 163, 246.

 Chapone, Mrs., 11.

 Charitable Trusts Acts, 83.

 Charity Commission, 83, 100, 102, 174.

 Cheltenham Ladies’ College, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 53, 94,
    135, 153.

 Christ’s Hospital Girls’ School, 80, 97.

 Church Schools’ Company, 58, 59.

 City of London Girls’ School, 102.

 Clergy Daughters’ Schools, 17, 18.

 Clough, Miss, 38, 49, 81, 109, 116, 247.

 Cobbe, Miss, her reminiscences of school, 15, 16.

 Co-education at University of Wales, 176;
   at Polytechnics, 177;
   in Organised Science Schools, 187;
   in Higher Grade Schools, 206;
   in Welsh Intermediate Schools, 224, 227.

 College Hall, London, 134.

 County Councils, educational work of, 172, 177, 237.

 Curriculum of Girls’ Schools, 67, 71, 72, 75, 162.

 Davies, Miss Emily, an educational pioneer, 38;
   Secretary to Local Examination Committee, 40;
   gives evidence before Schools’ Inquiry Commission, 42;
   works to obtain endowments for girls, 84;
   foundress of Girton, 104;
   Mistress of Girton, 108.

 Day Schools, 149, 150.

 —— —— at Polytechnics, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188.

 Defoe on Women’s Education, 9, 10.

 Degrees for Women, attempts to obtain, at Cambridge, 110, 113;
   at Oxford, 120.

 Domestic Economy Schools, 178, 179, 180, 181.

 —— —— evening classes, 181, 182.

 Dual Schools. _See_ Wales.

 Edgeworth, Maria, 13, 14, 15.

 Education Bill of 1896, 239;
   Colonel Lockwood’s, 240.

 —— Company, 157.

 —— Department, 196.

 Elementary Education Act, 100, 225.

 Elizabeth. _See_ Queen Elizabeth.

 Elizabethan England, 7, 8.

 Endowed Schools before the Conquest, 78.

 Endowed Schools for girls, 85, 91, 97, 100;
   three grades of, 99.

 —— —— assisted by grants of Technical Education money, 191.

 Endowments, of Convents, 5;
   Association to promote their application to the Education of Women,
   their distribution, 98;
   share of girls in, 79, 80, 84, 91, 97, 102.

 Euphues, 7.

 Evening Continuation Schools, 211.

 —— —— —— Code, 212, 213, 214.

 Ex-standard classes, 199.

 Fitch, Mr., 44, 46, 84.

 Games for girls, 152, 153, 155, 156, 164.

 Girls’ Public Day School Company, 56, 57, 66.

 Girton College, 106, 107, 108, 110, 114, 115.

 Governesses’ Benevolent Institution, 21.

 Grammar Schools, 6, 8, 80.

 Grey, Mrs. William, 54, 56.

 High Schools, 59;
   difference between English and American, 60;
   general features of, 61;
   organisation, 62;
   buildings, 63;
   curriculum, 72;
   methods of teaching in, 73;
   results on the pupils, 73, 76, 77;
   training of the teachers, 73;
   after careers of the girls, 77;
   hours of work in, 152;
   their relation to elementary schools, 241.

 Higher Grade Schools, 199, 200, 201, 203;
   at Leeds, 204, 205;
   at Cardiff, 206;
   needs of girls at, 207, 208.

 Hilda, abbess of Whitby, 3.

 Hitchin Ladies’ College, 105, 106.

 Holloway College, 102, 121, 131, 132, 133.

 Intermediate Schools. _See_ Welsh Intermediate Schools.

 King Edward’s Schools. _See_ Birmingham endowments.

 King’s College, Ladies’ Department, 135.

 Lady Margaret Hall, 117, 120, 121, 123.

 Lecture-system, 25, 72, 73.

 Local Customs and Taxation Act, 169, 217, 235.

 Lockwood, Colonel. _See_ Education Bill.

 Makins, Mrs., 9.

 Manchester High School, 89.

 Manual training, 74, 158, 171.

 Mary Datchelor School, 101.

 Maurice, F. D., 22, 23.

 Modern Schools for girls, 189.

 Montagu, Mrs., 11.

 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 11.

 More, Hannah, 11, 12, 13, 163.

 National Union for the improvement of Women’s Education, 54, 55, 56.

 Newnham College, 108, 109, 110, 114, 115, 116.

 Norman Conquest, effect on Education, 3.

 North London Collegiate School, 33, 53, 64, 68, 87, 135.

 North of England Council, 48, 49, 50, 108.

 Nunneries, education given in, 3, 5.

 Organised Science Schools, 187, 201, 202, 204.

 Owens College, Manchester, 136.

 Oxford Association for the Education of Women, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120,

 Oxford Halls for Women, 116, 117.

 Oxford Home Students, 123, 124.

 —— Local Examinations, 40, 50.

 —— Position of Women at, 118, 119, 120, 124, 126.

 —— University Examinations, 132.

 —— and Cambridge Joint Board, 51, 68, 69;
   Higher Certificate of, 69, 70, 116;
   Lower Certificate, 70, 71.

 People’s Palace, 174.

 Pfeiffer Charity, 102.

 Physical training, 75, 76, 158, 159, 160.

 Polytechnics, 176, 183, 184, 194.

 —— Battersea, 178, 182;
   Borough, 178;
   Regent Street, 173, 175, 177, 178.

 Private Schools, 163, 164, 166, 167, 168, 242.

 Queen Anne, 10.

 —— Elizabeth, 6.

 —— Victoria, 18, 19, 21.

 Queen’s College, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 245.

 Reading School, 79.

 Reformation, its effect on Women, 5, 6.

 Reid, Mrs., 27, 28.

 Renaissance, 6.

 Revised Code, 197.

 Revival of Girls’ Education, 1, 19, 248.

 Roedean School, 197.

 Scholarships at Cambridge, 116;
   at Oxford, 123.

 —— of Technical Education Boards, 178, 191, 192, 193.

 —— in Welsh Schools, 223.

 School Boards, 197, 198.

 Schoolmistresses’ Associations, 48, 49.

 Schools’ Inquiry Commission, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 52, 82.

 Secondary Education Commission, 101, 198, 209, 226, 234, 235, 237, 239.

 Sidgwick, Henry, 108, 109.

 —— Mrs., 109, 116.

 Sinclair, Catherine, 16, 17.

 Skinners’ School at Stamford Hill, 96, 101.

 Social Science Congress, at Glasgow, 40, 84;
   at Leeds, 54.

 Somerville College, 117, 120, 121, 123.

 South Kensington Department of Science and Art, 200, 201, 202, 203,
    208, 209, 210, 213, 214.

 St. Hilda’s, Cheltenham, 36.

 —— Oxford, 117, 122, 123.

 St. Hugh’s Hall, 117, 122, 123.

 St. Leonard’s School, St. Andrews, 94, 153, 154, 155, 156.

 St. Paul’s School, 79.

 State the, its relation to Education, 195, 196.

 Stuart Court, its influence, 8.

 Technical Education Acts, 170, 171, 235.

 —— —— Boards, 190, 237;
   Cheshire, 190;
   London, 129, 175, 176, 178, 192, 193;
   Surrey, 188.

 Universities, rise of, 4;
   admission of Women to, 103, 148;
   at London, 127;
   Victoria, 136;
   Durham, 139;
   Wales, 139;
   Scotland 147;
   Ireland, 147;
   foreign countries, 147.

 University College, Liverpool, 136, 137.

 University College, London, 26, 134.

 —— Colleges, provincial, 135.

 —— —— of Wales, 140, 141, 143, 144.

 —— Extension, beginnings of, 49, 50.

 —— for Women, 106, 133.

 —— of London, examinations for Women, 35;
   degrees, 35, 126, 127, 128, 129, 132;
   reorganisation, 135.

 Victoria. _See_ Queen Victoria.

 —— University, 136.

 Wales, University of, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143.

 Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 170, 217, 235.

 —— —— Schools, two kinds of, 223;
   dual, 225, 226, 227;
   curriculum of, 220, 221;
   compared with High Schools, 221, 222;
   fees, 228;
   present condition of, 232, 233;
   County Governing Bodies 218, 238;
   Joint Education Committees, 219;
   Central Board, 220, 228, 229;
   its examinations, 230 231.

 Welsh, Miss, 116.

 Westfield College, 102, 130, 131.

 Whisky-money, 170, 217.

 Winchester College, 78, 79.

 Women teachers, 244.

 Wotton, 6.

 Wycombe Abbey School, 157, 158.

 Yorkshire Board of Education, Ladies’ Honorary Council of, 48, 88.

 —— College, Leeds, 136, 138.

 Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty at the Edinburgh
                             University Press


Footnote 1:

  G. Hill, _Women in English Life_.

Footnote 2:

  L. Eckenstein, _Women under Monasticism_.

Footnote 3:

  Sir Th. Overbury.

Footnote 4:

  Mary Astell. _An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex._

Footnote 5:

  Defoe. _Essay on Projects._

Footnote 6:

  Mrs. Makins. _An Essay to Revive the Ancient Education of
  Gentlewomen_, 1673.

Footnote 7:

  Mary Astell. _A Serious Proposal._

Footnote 8:

  Hannah More. _Strictures on Female Education._

Footnote 9:

  _The Complete Governess._ A Course of Mental Instruction for Ladies.

Footnote 10:

  _Autobiography of Frances Power Cobbe._

Footnote 11:


Footnote 12:

  Mr. Hammond’s Report.

Footnote 13:

  A. F. Leach.

Footnote 14:

  Emily Davies, _Higher Education of Women_.

Footnote 15:

  _Special Reports on Educational Subjects, 1896–97._

Footnote 16:

  See _Handbook to Courses Open to Women in British, Continental, and
  Canadian Universities_, by Isabel Maddison, B.Sc., Ph.D.

Footnote 17:

  In character, not of course in size

Footnote 18:

  _Report of Royal Commission on Secondary Education_, vol. i. p. 98.

Footnote 19:

  _Report_, vol. i. p. 75.

Footnote 20:

  _Report_, vol. i. p. 1.

Footnote 21:

  _Report_, vol. i. p. 274.

Footnote 22:

  Preface to _Return of the Pupils in Public and Private Schools in
  England, and of the Teaching Staff in such Schools on June 1, 1897_.


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                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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