Schools for the Poor

Frances Billinge, Gail Ham, Judith Moss and Julia Neville, 2019. Schools for the Poor in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Devon: Towards an Explanation of Variations in Local Development, in Studies in Church History ,5, 307–323.

I was part of a Devon History Society project which researched nineteenth century education. Our article has now been published in the journal of the Ecclesiastical History Society. It is an analysis of elementary school development in the three contrasting Devon communities of Bovey Tracey, Throwleigh, and Dartmouth. during the mid-nineteenth century. ‘This was a time of intense interest in the expansion of education amongst the labouring poor, but scholars have found it difficult to explain why schools were established in some places but not in others. With information from local sources, …[we ]identify the social context in which developments did (or did not) take place and the actions of the relevant interested parties. …a significant variable accounting for success or failure is the availability of a local champion with the skills not only to persuade others of the merits of a school, but also to seize opportunities to further the project and manage the relationships necessary to assure its success’ p.307. For Bovey Tracey it was the work of Annie Croker which led to the establishment of non-denominational education for the poorest children. Further information on Annie Croker can be found in Pioneering Women under ‘Topics.’

Frances Billinge June 2019.