Education, Travel and the 'Civilisation' of the Victorian Working Classes
|Publication Date||February 2014|
|Formats||Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)|
In the second half of the nineteenth century, middle-class liberal reformers attempted to ameliorate class tensions, prepare the working classes for citizenship, and improve British industry by reforming working-class secondary and adult education. One feature of their movement was the promotion of working-class travel in Europe and the Empire.
In Education, Travel and the 'Civilisation' of the Victorian Working Classes, Michele Strong considers the experiences of working men and women, particularly artisans, but also young apprentices and clerks, who travelled abroad as participants in this reform movement, focusing particularly on the ways in which four overlapping institutions during the Victorian era drew workers into international travel: Thomas Cook and Son (a travel agency); The Working Men's Club and Institute Union (a national organization of clubs intended for rational recreation and cross-class interaction); the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce, and Manufacturers (a quasi-governmental organization); and the London Regent Street Polytechnic (a social and educational institute for young wage earners). Canvassing a broad array of working class and middle class voices culled from diaries, letters, autobiographies, and published reports, Strong argues that working-class educational travel became a battleground for competing notions of citizenship, class, gender, and national identities.