Really useful knowledge and the politics of radical education with reference to the working class press, 1848-1870
This work looks at independent working class radical education in England from the year of revolutions, 1848 to the passage of the 1870 Education Act. It takes as its starting point Richard Johnson's analysis of really useful knowledge. Differing, however, from Johnson, it argues that radical ideas and radical working-class education and schools, far from disappearing after 1848, in fact flourished. It takes as its main source the often overlooked pages of the late Chartist and radical working-class press and focuses on the detail of radical meetings and events and the ideas that informed them. After an introductory chapter which firmly situates the research in its theoretical, historical and particularly chronological context, the following three chapters consider the events of 1848 and how these influenced working-class ideas and education. The experience of radicals in the period after 1848 is then considered, when support for Chartism declined but Chartist ideas moved further to the left. Two chapters look at the later 1850s and the little discussed educational strategy for political change put forward by G.J.Holyoake and opposed by W.E Adams. Two final chapters consider the development of radical education in the post- Chartist period of the 1860s and, finally, suggest some conclusions from the work in respect of the politics of the 1870 Education Act and beyond.