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The Absent-Minded ImperialistsEmpire, Society, and Culture in Britain$
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Bernard Porter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299591.001.0001

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The Middle Classes at School

The Middle Classes at School

Chapter:
(p.64) 4 The Middle Classes at School
Source:
The Absent-Minded Imperialists
Author(s):

Bernard Porter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299591.003.0004

Schooling is a good place to begin in looking at the middle classes' attitude towards empire, as it was with their social superiors. It was here that the foundation of their view will have been laid. Unfortunately, ‘middling’ schools present special difficulties, being far more diverse in character than the public schools, and less regulated and less well recorded than those for the working classes. They catered to a wide variety of social types, from the aspirant skilled working class to the less well-off professionals. Within these groups they could be socially quite mixed; too much so, in fact, for the ‘Taunton’ Commission of Inquiry into them (1868), which suggested they be formally segregated into three further ‘grades’ or subclasses. Many of them consequently tended to be ephemeral: springing up at one moment in response to demand, only to collapse shortly afterwards, leaving little trace.

Keywords:   middle classes, empire, schools, working class, Taunton Commission, grades, subclasses

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