|Maths class at the Cable Street Board School|
‘The spectre of an irreligious, overcrowded, and brutalized working class herded together in monstrously multiplying towns … haunted more than the humanitarian reformers’ and educational reform became an urgent question.'By the early 1830s about one and a half million pupils were enrolled in schools – and these schools were extremely varied.
Educational provision comprised:
- a handful of public schools for aristocrats and the upper middle classes,
- a number of endowed grammar schools in the older towns,
- Sunday schools
- charity schools.
There were various kinds of charity schools, ranging from the large foundations of the 1690s to small village establishments. Some charity schools catered for middle-class children whose parents could not afford anything better. The most notorious is the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, attended by Charlotte Brontë and her two elder sisters. It was renamed Lowood and described in vivid and unforgiving detail in Jane Eyre.