Journal Article

Masculinity, Social Mobility, and the Plan to End Pauperism in Mid-Victorian England: Kneller Hall Teacher's Training College

Christopher Bischof

in Journal of Social History

Volume 46, issue 4, pages 1039-1059
Published in print June 2013 | ISSN: 0022-4529
Published online June 2013 | e-ISSN: 1527-1897 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jsh/sht003
Masculinity, Social Mobility, and the Plan to End Pauperism in Mid-Victorian England: Kneller Hall Teacher's Training College

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This article situates the story of Kneller Hall teacher's training college for men and its graduates within the context of shifting mid-Victorian ideas about gender, social mobility, and the role of government. Though they had been trained and led to expect well-paid jobs in district schools for pauper boys, owing to retrenchment and a changing political wind Kneller Hall's graduates found themselves trapped in low-paying teaching jobs within workhouses. They were unable to carve out either a personally or professionally fulfilling position in the rigidly established workhouse hierarchy and became literate observers, critics, and victims of the very institutions which they were supposed to help eliminate. Encouraged by the regimen and culture of Kneller Hall to marry, work hard to earn a breadwinner's wage, and engage in rational leisure, the material conditions they faced once on the job prevented them from doing any of those things. The article explores how Kneller Hall's graduates reacted to the conditions which they faced and suggests that this case study of their experiences helps us to understand how teaching and paternalistic on-the-ground reform work more generally came to be predominately the province of women in mid- and late-Victorian England.

Journal Article.  10875 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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