Religion and Relationships in Ragged Schools

An Intimate History of Educating the Poor, 1844-1870

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Laura M. Mair
Routledge Studies in Evangelicalism
  • New York, NY: 
    Routledge
    , April
     2019.
     270 pages.
     $140.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780815394600.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

Focusing on the interaction between teachers and scholars, this book provides an intimate account of "ragged schools" that challenges existing scholarship on evangelical child-saving movements and Victorian philanthropy. With Lord Shaftesbury as their figurehead, these institutions provided a free education to impoverished children. The primary purpose of the schools, however, was the salvation of children’s souls. 

Using promotional literature and local school documents, this book contrasts the public portrayal of children and teachers with that found in practice. It draws upon evidence from schools in Scotland and England, giving insight into the achievements and challenges of individual institutions. An intimate account is constructed using the journals maintained by Martin Ware, the superintendent of a North London school, alongside a cache of letters that children sent him. This combination of personal and national perspectives adds nuance to the narratives often imposed upon historic philanthropic movements. 

Investigating how children responded to the evangelistic messages and educational opportunities ragged schools offered, this book will be of keen interest to historians of education, emigration, religion, as well as of the nineteenth century more broadly.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Laura M. Mair is Research Fellow at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. She has published on the ragged schools in the Journal of Victorian Culture and Studies in Church History. Mair was a consultant to the V&A Museum of Childhood in connection with the 'On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants' exhibition. She is currently an advisor to London’s Ragged School Museum.

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