Informal education and philanthropy
It is in the nineteenth century that we see the great
expansion of provision and the entry of paid workers and informal educators.
This is particularly associated with the emergence of philanthropic
organizations (developments which are chronicled in Walking informal education.
We witness the emergence of:
organizations. The YMCA was
founded in 1844 and within a few months was employing its first
worker/secretary. Boys and girls clubs and institutes began to appear
mid-century, and uniformed brigades such as the Boys Brigade in the 1890s.
See, for example: George
Williams and the Central YMCA, Maud Stanley and the Soho Club
and Home and Baden-Powell,
Scouting, Guiding and Covent Garden.
institutes - which had their
origins in the working men's libraries and mutual improvement societies of
the eighteenth century. These appear to have began around 1810 - with the
most famous, the London Mechanics' Institution, being formed in 1823 (now
Birkbeck college). See, for example: George Birkbeck and the
London Mechanics Institute
co-operative movement. From fairly early
on, the Co-operative movement in Britain and Ireland placed a significant
emphasis on education and improvement. Perhaps one of the most interesting
in terms of informal education has been the Women's Co-operative Guild
(founded in 1883) which drew on club forms developed within the adult
school movement in order to improve the social and political position of
women within the movement.
schools and youth institutes. The first ragged
schools appeared in the late eighteenth century (the Ragged
School Union was founded in 1844) and were concerned with the schooling
and welfare of children who were unable to access other forms of
schooling. Out of them grew hostels, clubs and various more formal
opportunities for continuing education. See, for example: Lord
Shaftesbury and ragged schooling and Quentin Hogg and the Youth's
schools. The first adult
schools appeared at the end of the eighteenth century and
were initially concerned with teaching reading (the bible), writing and
arithmetic (see the Welsh
Circulating Schools above). Later, in the 1850s there was
something a revival of adult schools associated with the Society of
Friends. With this came a shift of emphasis to association and discussion.
See Quakers and
the development of adult schools. A more social form was
the working men's club. See Working Men's Clubs and Soho.
libraries, galleries and museums. The
development of libraries, art galleries and museums have been fundamental
to the opening up of opportunities for self-education and informal
education. Of particular significance were the emergence of town libraries
in the 1600s and parochial libraries and circulating in the early 1700s.
There were museums attached to one or two of the early coffee houses (see Coffee houses and
informal education) and art galleries in the 1800s (see The
National Gallery and Trafalgar Square).
men's colleges. The first such
college. The Sheffield People's College, was founded in 1842 by the Rev.
R. S. Bayley. He had found the Mechanic's Institutes to be rather narrow
in their studies and sought to open up the curriculum to 'humane studies'.
It was followed in 1854 by The London
Working Men's College which was intimately connected with
the Christian Socialism movement and thinkers such as Frederick Denison
Maurice. The college set out to be a community of teachers and students
with a common life.
extension. The term 'university extension'
first really appeared in the 1840s in Britain but the focus usually falls
on the work of James Stuart and the University of Cambridge from the mid
1860s on. He initiated a series of courses in various towns which met with
a considerable response - largely from women and teachers. Kelly (1970:
220) notes that it was in this early period that three key features
emerged almost accidentally: the printed syllabus, the written work and
the discussion period.
settlements. Henriette and Samuel Barnett
founded the first university
settlement in 1884 (soon to be followed by many others). They
were characterized by considerable opportunities for their residents to develop
through participation in the life of the association (pa vie associative),
the fostering of various clubs, groups and initiatives, and programmes of adult
education. See, also, Mary Ward and
the Passmore Edwards Settlement and Jane Addams.