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Episode 13 - Education Is More Popular Than Ever: The Newcastle Commission (1859-1861)

Uploaded: 9 April 2018

What is the state of education in Great Britain?

Such was the question asked in 1859 by the Commission brought together by the Palmerston Government. Tasked with examining the impact of state subsidies for education in place since the 1830s Factory Acts, Newcastle's Commission actually made some astonishng discoveries that we will reveal in this episode.

Not only was the relatively laissez-faire and voluntary school system of England and Wales keeping literacy rates on a par with compulsory systems such as Prussia's, it was actually outperforming some of them, assisted by an apparently ferocious and completely spontaneous demand for knowledge among the people of Britain.

As always on Footnotes of History, prepare to have your mind blown!

The Newcastle Commission: 700 pages of astonishing insight into 19th century Victorian schooling

Further sources:

Education [Newcastle] Commission, Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of popular education in England, https://archive.org/details/reportofcommissi01grea

P. Gardner, The Lost Elementary Schools of Victorian England,

E. West, Education & The State, https://amzn.to/2Hmhylj​​​​​​​

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