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The Absent-Minded ImperialistsEmpire, Society, and Culture in Britain$
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Bernard Porter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299591.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

The Middle Classes at School

The Middle Classes at School

(p.64) 4 The Middle Classes at School
The Absent-Minded Imperialists

Bernard Porter

Oxford University Press

Schooling is a good place to begin in looking at the middle classes' attitude towards empire, as it was with their social superiors. It was here that the foundation of their view will have been laid. Unfortunately, ‘middling’ schools present special difficulties, being far more diverse in character than the public schools, and less regulated and less well recorded than those for the working classes. They catered to a wide variety of social types, from the aspirant skilled working class to the less well-off professionals. Within these groups they could be socially quite mixed; too much so, in fact, for the ‘Taunton’ Commission of Inquiry into them (1868), which suggested they be formally segregated into three further ‘grades’ or subclasses. Many of them consequently tended to be ephemeral: springing up at one moment in response to demand, only to collapse shortly afterwards, leaving little trace.

Keywords:   middle classes, empire, schools, working class, Taunton Commission, grades, subclasses

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