By Christina de Bellaigue

A growing number of center classification households have been taking the schooling in their daughters heavily within the first a part of the 19th century, and boarding-schools have been multiplying on each side of the Channel. Schoolmistresses - hardly ever, in reality, the 'reduced gentlewomen' of 19th century fiction - weren't simply frequently profitable marketers, but additionally performed an incredible half they performed within the improvement of the instructing career, and within the growth of secondary schooling. Uncovering their careers and the stories in their students finds the probabilities and constraints of the lives of center type girls in England and France within the interval 1800-1867. but those that crossed the Channel within the 19th century frequently commented at the alterations they found among the stories of French and English girls. ladies in France appeared to take part extra absolutely in social and cultural existence than their opposite numbers in England. nonetheless, English women have been felt to get pleasure from significantly extra freedom than younger French ladies. utilizing the advance of education for women as a lens in which to ascertain the lives of girls on both sides of the Channel, Educating girls explores such contrasts. It unearths that the variations saw by means of contemporaries have been rooted within the advanced interplay of differing conceptions of the position of ladies with styles of academic provision, with faith, with the kingdom, and with differing rhythms of monetary development. Illuminating a ignored quarter of the historical past of schooling, it unearths new findings at the historical past of the professions, at the heritage of ladies and at the dating among gender and nationwide id within the 19th century.

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London, 2002). ³¹ More, Strictures, i. 109–10, ii. 29–30. First published in 1799, Strictures had gone through thirteen editions by 1826. 16 The Development of Schooling in a context in which work for pay was constructed as a male prerogative and femininity predicated on domesticity, teaching—as an extension of the maternal role—was the only occupation a middle-class woman could undertake without losing caste. ³² By the 1780s a growing number of authors were arguing that in order to fulfil their domestic role women needed a rational intellectual education.

Voluntary inspectresses, dames inspectrices, would visit girls’ schools and report annually on the schools in their arrondissement. Every schoolmistress was required to place a sign at the entrance to her school indicating her name and the nature of her establishment. A further ruling in 1816 established a distinction between institutions, where the curriculum was relatively advanced (including ancient as well as modern history, literature, and geography), and pensions, where the curriculum was more limited.

The same was true of pupils at the Miss Brownings’ school in Blackheath in the same year. Although schools in the capital benefited from the prestige of being able to advertise ‘the best London masters’, the proliferation of female establishments was very much a national phenomenon. ¹⁸To a certain extent this pattern endured in the nineteenth century. Even towns as small as Melton Mowbray, which had a population of only 776 in 1831, managed to support one boarding-school and four private day-schools for girls.

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