Secondary Education in England, 1870-1902: Public Activity and Private Enterprise

By John Roach | Go to book overview

19

Endowed schools—2

The Leeds case was exceptional; there were many success stories as new endowed schools were set up and old schools reformed. There were cases too where private/proprietary schools received help from old endowments, two outstanding examples being Miss Buss’s schools—the North London and the Camden—and Manchester High School. In 1870 Miss Buss’s highly successful private school had been in existence for twenty years. From the mid-1860s she had considered putting the school, which was her personal property, into the hands of trustees. This was done in July 1870 and in the following year the Camden School was set up with much lower fees to provide education for girls of lower middle-class families up to the age of 16. There were in addition some scholarships to carry promising pupils from the Camden to the North London. The immediate problem was to acquire an endowment, particularly for the Camden with its low fees. Miss Buss tried very hard to raise money and found it extremely difficult. An especially galling blow was the discovery that £5,000 which had been raised for a girls’ school in the City of London had instead been added on to £60,000 already raised for boys’ education (A.E. Ridley 1895:93, 127-9).

It was fortunate for Miss Buss and her supporters that the Endowed Schools Commissioners were very sympathetic to their efforts, and that means were found to tap the Platt endowments, derived from the St Pancras area, which were controlled by the Brewers Company. The Platt money had been spent on maintaining Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, but there was sufficient surplus available for the commissioners to suggest that some of it should be spent on schools at Watford and some of it on girls’ education in St Pancras. The Brewers Company proved to be sympathetic—indeed the files suggest that some of the initiatives came from their side. There was a good deal of opposition from the parishioners of Aldenham who wanted more money for their elementary schools, but the scheme of 1875 transferred £20,000 to the North London schools, together with a further claim on the endowment income (PRO Ed 27:1637, 1639 (Aldenham); Ed. 27:3191).

Later, further help came from another Brewers’ charity, Dame Alice

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