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Source A is a memoir written by Elizabeth Makinson, who finished her teaching career in Bradford 1913. A memoir is a collection of memories based on a certain theme. This source would have come into existence, because Elizabeth will have reached a certain age and would want to review her childhood experiences and her early teaching career. Elizabeth’s memories are based on her education in a Board School called Belle Vue, and her early teaching career in Drummond Road, which was another Board School.
Bell Vue was mainly for lower middle class children, as rich upper class children would have Governesses or would go to College. This particular school was on Manningham Lane, which at the time was a very desirable place to live. The education wasn’t free, as the children would pay 6 pence per week. This wasn’t considered expensive as the children would receive a high standard of education.
They would learn a wide range of subjects, these were Arithmetic, Euclid (Greek), Geography, History, Drawing and Painting, Songs, Tonic Solfa (Singing in Ranges), English Literature, Physiography, Physiology, Cookery and Domestic Science, French, Elementary science, Practical and Theatrical Chemistry. This school was well funded as there was expensive equipment including Bunsen Burners, Crucibles, Test tubes, Retorts, Beakers and Small, Brass Balances. The school was funded for gym kits and other gym equipment such as climbing frames, vaulting horse, parallel bars, ropes and dumb-bells.
The Headmistress Miss S. L. Beszant would take the children on school outings to the Bradford Destructor, Esholt Sewage works, and to the Theatre Royal to see the matinee showing of Romeo and Juliet, featuring the famous actress, Ellen Terry. In the next paragraph of the memoir she describes the school where she worked called Drummond Road Board School in the infants department in 1900. She received a place in this school when she passed the Teachers Entrance Examination.
This school would not have been well funded and would have probably been free for lower class and working classes, who attended. This source would be quite useful to a historian who is studying schooling, because it illustrates what types of schooling were in use after the 1870’s Education Act and the quality of education in these schools. However, as it is a memoir Elizabeth tends to remember the good points rather than the bad. This would therefore cause the source to become less valid, but in looking at other sources we can see how reliable this source is.
Source B is a photograph of a Board School in 1894. This photograph was possibly taken, because towards the late nineteenth century photographs were taken to demonstrate poverty; therefore this photograph could have originally been taken for this purpose rather than education. This source tells us that there were only nine pupils, which is a very small class. This was because some of the pupils would have been half-timers, which means that they would work six hours in the mill and then attend school afterwards.
The children in the photograph are frowning, however this does not necessarily mean that they did not enjoy going to school. This is because in Victorian times photography was a very long process; therefore it was easier to frown rather than smile. This source could be slightly unreliable, because photographs can be set up and arranged in order to gain a desired opinion. However this statement does not necessarily mean that the source is completely unreliable, because by looking at other sources we can see how true it is.