Author Topic: Social History - Scotland  (Read 6086 times)

Offline Malmo

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Social History - Scotland
« on: Tuesday 15 August 06 13:00 BST (UK) »
Hello
Iíve been perusing the 1841and 1851 census returns for the whole of Cairneyhill near Dunfermline, in Fife. You might not know this but Cairneyhill wasnít noted for its gleaming towers, fashionable boulevards or vibrant nightlife.
Most of the adults either worked on the land, down the pits or in the textile industry.
Cairneyhill wasnít a big place and peopleís homes werenít numbered or named. They just lived on the ďnorthĒ or ďsouth side of the streetĒ.
I can only assume that the houses which line each side of the main street today are much the same now as they were then, small. Given the size of many of the families including mine, I canít imagine how they all lived together. They must have taken it in turns to eat and sleep.
However, from the information available I can see that all of the children in my very under privileged, working class family, both boys and girls, are at school. As far as I am aware this predates the Scottish education act. Of the children who had left school at the time of the first census, two that I know of went on to university at St Andrews and Glasgow.
I conclude that this pair went to school as well in the eighteen twenties and thirties. I can also see that one of the girls is following the same path that led to one of her many brothers becoming a Doctor. Of the children who survived birth, all went on for four score years or so, just like their mum and dad. Did they just prevail or did they live as merry as the day
I know this is just a microcosm of Scottish life but this glimpse like others I have come across, seems to contrast with the bleak accounts of life that are handed down to us. I can see education for all, opportunity and equality of opportunity before any government decree and long before the suffrage movement came to town.
Perhaps things werenít as gloomy as we are often led to believe.
Any thoughts or knowledge would oblige.
M
Fife, Dundee

Offline Clare Fowler

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Re: Social History
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 15 August 06 13:24 BST (UK) »
Hi there,

"Free" education for all in Scotland was a major aim of John Knox and the Presbyterian Church.  He was a great believer in the fact that all children should be able to read, and in "virtuous education and godly upbringing of the youth of this Realm".  As early as 1616, it was  'law' that every parish  This led to the parish school system which was up an running in the 1700s and was fairly successful in the Lowlands at least.  Schooling was either free or very cheap.  So what you are talkign about does indeed pre-date the 1872 education act, but the Scottish parliament and the church had been very active in this area for around 300 years before this.

For a good understanding of Socio-economic history of Scotland from the Union of    1707, I would suggest reading Tom Devine's The Scottish Nation: 1700-2000 - which is a good broad text or books by TC Smout and Chris Whatley, amongst others.

Cheers,
Clare
ELLIOT, CROZIER, HAY, AITCHISON, COWAN - Roxburghshire
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Offline GordonD

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Re: Social History
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 15 August 06 14:19 BST (UK) »
Tom Devine's book is good. I've recently read "The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots Invention of the Modern World" by Arthur Herman which also discusses the parish education system briefly and also the role of cheaper and broader access to universities in Scotland (with respect to the extremely elitist Oxford and Cambridge at the time) helped spur this the enlightenment on.

Gordon
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Offline Gadget

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Re: Social History
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 15 August 06 14:29 BST (UK) »
Anything by Tom Devine is good  ;D

Also, an interesting approach is:

Murray G H Pittock  A New History of Scotland, Sutton Publishing, 2003

and :

Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassell The Lowland Clearances - Scotland's Silent Revolution, 1760-1830, Tuckwell, 2003

Anthony Cooke (ed) Modern Scottish History 1707 to the Present, Tuckwell/OU, 1998


I've got a room full but not in a handy list yet!

Gadget
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Offline Malmo

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Re: Social History
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 16 August 06 12:31 BST (UK) »
Thanks Clare, Gordon and Gadget for the information. I have come across Devineís, The Scottish Nation but decided on other books instead. On your suggestion I will now go and get it. I have been trying to buy another book of his entitled, The Great Highland Famine, Hunger, Emigration etc since February from Amazon. They keep coming back to me to extend the delivery period by yet another four to six weeks. It must be scarce even though itís named as an available title.
I mention this book because I have read verbatim accounts concerning the Highland Clearances. Where this is generally accepted as a social aberration, perhaps rightly, there is information out there indicating that the policy was welcomed by at least some of its apparent victims.
I donít mean to bang on about my own people but I am very interested in the social history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries generally and education in particular. I would like to know amongst many things, how much it cost, who paid, what was the route to university and the selection process and again, where did the money come from.
You may be right Gordon, about the relative elitism between Scottish and English Universities but it would be nice to have the facts.
With due respect to all Scotís, I like scotching myths.
M
Fife, Dundee

Offline GordonD

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Re: Social History
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 16 August 06 13:15 BST (UK) »
In one chapter in Herman's book entrance to university is discussed (can dig out some more concrete facts about fees, etc later when I'm at home than the ones I can remember off the top of my head!).

In the eighteenth century there was Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Aberdeen but in England only Oxford and Cambridge. Fees in Scotland were cheaper and were at a level that the new merchant class could definitely afford to send children to university whereas in England the fees were such that generally the aristocracy and landed gentry could afford it. Entrance in Scotland wasn't restricted on religion in the way that Oxbridge was restricted to members of the CofE (when UCL opened in 1826 and King's in 1829 access to uni broadened considerably in England). The influence of the Kirk was also declining in univerisity's in the 18th century: the book opens with the incident of a student that was hanged in the 1680s-1690s for blasphemy which would have been unimaginable a short while later.
The cirriculum was also organised in a different manner and the teaching of medicine in particular was viewed to be better north of the border with people coming up from England to study(especially as Oxbridge was cut off to many). The early universities in America based their education on either the German or Scottish systems (eventually the German system was used in all of them).

Gordon
Lanarkshire-Gray, Laughlan, Black, Hamilton, Kerr, Lindsay, Faulds, Brownlie, Wright, Richardson, Pitcairn, Campbell, Craig, Pettigrew, Mirrlees, McLardy<br />Stirlingshire- Tripney, Cowan, Gibb, Tulloch, Thomson<br />Dumfriesshire- Hope, Johnstone, Jardine, Donaldson, Wright, Irving, Sommers<br />Cumberland- Douglas, Harrison<br />Northumberland- Turnbull, Paxon<br />Ayrshire- Howie, Muir<br />Renfrewshire, West Lothian, Ireland<br />http://gtd005.rootschat.net

Offline Gadget

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Re: Social History
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 16 August 06 13:18 BST (UK) »
Hi Malmo

I presume you've read the classic on Crofting and Clearances:

James Hunter The Making of the Crofting Community, John Donald - various reprints

Hunter has written many papers and books and is as widely respected as Devine.

There is also a rather nice study of my area:

Eric Richards and Monica Clough Cromartie - Highland Life 1650-1914, Aberdeen UP,

Gadget
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Offline GordonD

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Re: Social History - Scotland
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 16 August 06 21:06 BST (UK) »
Some of the facts from the book that I said I would look up that were mentioned in the book:

Glasgow cost £5 a year in fees which was a tenth of the cost of fees at Oxbridge (in the 18th century but no exact year given). No entrance exams and some students were as young as 13 or 14 attended. Think it was based on having a certain degree of literacy and the means to scrape together the fees.
Most students had parents in the trade, commerce and professions rather than the working or labouring classes. Mentions sons of artisans, shopkeepers and farmers in the 18th century being educated alongside aristocrats-not common until a century later at Oxbridge. Between 1740 and 1830 50% of the students at Glasgow were from the middle classes with some but not many from lower down the scale. In 1790 50% of the students were the sons of industry and commerce (8% at Cambridge)- this statistic is used in demonstrating the merchant classes pursuit of the Enlightment's ideal of the "civilised" world in terms of business and education rather than an indepth comparison of  the student demographic.

However not all rosy! (The things here mentioned in the conclusion of the book). By the late 19th century the Scottish university system which had been a model for ones around the world was in decline. One quote by the rector of Edinburgh's High School was that the Scottish university system was the "handloom weaver of the intellectual world". Brightest people went to Oxbridge or to London (Herman sees some irony as the first of the new English unis UCL was modelled on the Edinburgh and at first the faculty was all Scottish or Scottish-educated). In 1892 to try to redress the decline with entry exams, BSc and honours degrees being introduced and women being admitted. No longer could peopel as young as 13 or 14 go to uni. He also states that this only served to make the system in Scotland more elitist with the poorer and less qualified people(possibly like those who could go from Cairneyhill a couple of decades before) not being able to get into university and with the best people still going down South.

In terms of the education at school, 1872 act abolished the school fees and primary education compulsory. A statisitc from this section was that 1 in 7 Scots children went to secondary school in 1914 and 1 in 20 in England. Those in most need not always helped though: the book has an estimate of around 15% of children in Glasgow never attending school.

Gordon

Lanarkshire-Gray, Laughlan, Black, Hamilton, Kerr, Lindsay, Faulds, Brownlie, Wright, Richardson, Pitcairn, Campbell, Craig, Pettigrew, Mirrlees, McLardy<br />Stirlingshire- Tripney, Cowan, Gibb, Tulloch, Thomson<br />Dumfriesshire- Hope, Johnstone, Jardine, Donaldson, Wright, Irving, Sommers<br />Cumberland- Douglas, Harrison<br />Northumberland- Turnbull, Paxon<br />Ayrshire- Howie, Muir<br />Renfrewshire, West Lothian, Ireland<br />http://gtd005.rootschat.net

Offline Malmo

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Re: Social History - Scotland
« Reply #8 on: Friday 18 August 06 14:07 BST (UK) »
Thank you for that Gordon, Thatís very interesting. I have seen Hermanís book on the shelves but the title put me off buying it. Maybe I should think again. I wonder if there is archive material for this subject held by the universities.
Not that itís important to me but, are you sure there were only two universities in England during the nineteenth century? I should add that I am not so much interested in universities per se. Itís how the ďlabouring classesĒ made their way into them during the nineteenth century that I would like to expand apon and educational ambitions in general.
I havenít read Hunterís book Gadget, but I do have Alexander Mackenzieís, History of the Highland Clearances which includes a lot of original material. I must confess to not having read it yet.
 I also bought the latest, two volume edition of, The History of Scotland, which contains historical accounts of many authors compiled by Houston and Knox. I naively expected it to cover everything I ever wanted to know!
The book I would really like to get my hand on is the one by Devine mentioned up the page.

M
Fife, Dundee