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Originally published in 1938, this book presents a social history of eighteenth-century elementary education. The main focus is on the different reactions of philanthropists in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to the movement for establishing schools on a religious basis for the children of the poor. Intended to draw attention to an often marginalised area, the text provides a detailed analysis of the ideologies behind charity schools and the various difficulties they encountered. A detailed bibliography, appendices and illustrative figures are also included. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in eighteenth-century history and the role of charity schools in the development of education.