The glory of the age we live in’: Christian Education and Philanthropy: Eighteenth-Century London Charity Schools
13 Jan 2018, 14:00 to 13 Jan 2018, 16:00
IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Charity schools to provide elementary education for children of the poor were probably the most successful philanthropic activity in the long eighteenth century. Most cities and large towns had a number, almost every market town had at least one, and many villages had one. They were funded by subscriptions, donations and bequests of mostly laypeople, who also managed them. Their object was to form children and young people from the age of eight onwards as Christian citizens, providing a framework of prayer and devotion, instruction in the Prayer Book Catechism, learning to read, write and for boys arithmetic, and girls, sewing and needlework, and at the age of fourteen to provide them with an apprenticeship where their previous formation and learning would be continued while acquiring skills as a tradesman or servant. This was a religious as well as an educational enterprise. This paper, using evidence from charity school trustees’ minute books, especially from London and particularly the recently available minute books of St Giles-in-the-Fields charity school trustees, will discuss the integration of the schools in civic, religious and commercial life, in seeking to establish a godly nation, and the criticisms that arose that they educated poor children beyond their station in life.
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