Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.

Woman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers online

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a wide culture that is making women's lives richer and
happier than they ever were before. Some women, like
some men, go to the University in order to take up teaching
or another profession that their attainments will render
honourable. But some women, like some men, seek a liberal
education for its own sake, and for its usefulness to others,
rather than its gainfulness to themselves. And a new need
of the help that they can give has grown up with their new-
power to give it. We will glance at two organizations, alike
in having a large staff of efficient but entirely unpaid teachers,

Sewing One AnotJier. 313

and a growing number of pupils who could not avail them-
selves of professional tuition ; alike in knitting up innumerable
friendships : unlike, in that the first has a local habitation
wherein all its teaching is given orally ; while the second is
carried on wholly by correspondence, and has no home
besides the home of its founder and president.

The College for Working Women, in Fitzroy Street,
London, was founded in 1874, in memory of the Rev.
Frederick Denison Maurice, originator of Queen's College,
Harley Street, the earliest of all the women's colleges which
now play so large a part in our intellectual life. It seeks to
provide women in business and in domestic service with three
things teaching, amusement, and opportunity of friendly
intercourse. When it began, three-fourths of the two hundred
women on its books were learning to read, write, and spell in
elementary classes. Now, thanks to the progress of popular
education, there is but one elementary class with twenty
pupils, though the members are between three and four
hundred in number. The Council seek a teacher for any
subject desired by not less than six students. Some subjects,
such as French, attract from their usefulness for daily work ;
others, as in the case of a girl who lately took up Greek,
because of their remoteness from the daily toil. There is a
Bible class on Sundays, and lectures on First Aid and Sick
Nursing have been given in connection with St. John's
Ambulance Association. The classes are supplemented by
a library of some two thousand volumes, all gifts. Members
who have worked for four terms in a class may use the
college as a club only, and the social side of its work grows
more important as time goes on. Take, for instance, the
Holiday Guild inaugurated by Lady Strangford. The four
Saturday evenings in the month are devoted to a dance ex-
clusively for students, presided over by young ladies ; an
ambulance practice ; a working-party for the Institution for
Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind ; a concert, or
lecture, often given by some eminent person. About a
quarter of the working expenses is met by students' fees,
the rest by gifts from friends and from the City Companies.
Miss Frances Martin is the Honorary Secretary. The College
for Men and Women in Queen Square, London, founded in
1864, carries on a similar work.

314 Woman's Mission.

The College by Post, founded in iSSi, sprang out of
an effort which I made in my own early days at college,
to help, by correspondence, other girls, whose opportunities
were fewer than my own. University College, London ; West-
field College, Hampstead ; Girton and Newnham Colleges,
Cambridge, and Lady Margaret and Somerville Halls,
Oxford ; the Ladies' College, Cheltenham, and kindred insti-
tutions for higher education, have contributed to a staff on
which between two and three hundred teachers have now
been enrolled. From all parts of the United Kingdom, from
the Continent and the Colonies, students, representing many
different conditions of life and degrees of education, have
joined to the number of between three and four thousand.
Competition with professional teachers is carefully avoided,
and no " coaching " for examinations, other than our own, is
undertaken. Giving half an hour daily to Bible study in
one of our seventy Scripture classes is the condition of
receiving gratuitous instruction in other subjects. The
scheme of historical Scripture study, which I have elaborated
for our students, has now been published in a volume called
"Clews to Holy Writ," which went into its third thousand
within a few weeks of its publication. About twenty subjects
are taught in our secular classes. The hygiene class, which
is conducted by a medallist of the National Health Society,
is one of the most popular of these. The wise and kindly
influence of teacher upon taught, and the friendships, helpful
to both, which grow up through their work together, are
perhaps the most valuable and the least describable part of
the scheme. Through the "writing mission," suggested by
Lady Wright, some hundreds of our students are also in
friendly correspondence with factory girls.

So we pass from the intellectual to the moral sphere, and
to organizations that aim at enabling people to be, rather
than to know, taking first those that aim at fitting special
classes for special duties.

The Home and Colonial School Society, established in
1836, is for the Christian training of women teachers, and
sends forth annually some seventy-five to elementary schools,
and some fifty to family teaching and secondary schools.

Little can be done by the best of schools for those whose

Serving One Another. 3 1 5

home influences are adverse, and this was never truer than
it is to-day, when the day-school system prevails widely for
every class of the community. Hence the importance of
insisting upon the sacred responsibilities of parents, often so
lightly undertaken and so thoughtlessly delegated to others.
At the request of some Bradford mothers, Miss Charlotte M.
Mason, in 1888, drew up a scheme for assisting parents of
all classes to study the laws of education as they bear upon
the bodily development, moral training, intellectual work,
and religious bringing up of children. The Bishop of Ripon's
wife was the first President of the Parents' National Educa-
tional Union, and the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen are
the present Presidents. Among those who warmly took
up the scheme were Dr. Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham, the
Bishop of London, Miss Beale, of Cheltenham College,
Miss Clough, of Newnham College, and Miss Buss, of the
North London Collegiate School. Its organ is the Parents'
Review, an admirable monthly. The House of Education
offers definite training to those who hope to become mothers
or governesses. "I was deeply impressed," said Her Majesty's
Inspector of Schools, in November, 1892, "with the earnest
and business-like way in which the students addressed them-
selves to their work, and I do not doubt that they will devote
themselves to the care of children with exceptional zeal and

Analogous to the above is the scheme newly shaped by
Mrs. Walter Ward (nte Emily Lord) for definitely training
women, of more education and refinement than the average
domestic, to be nurses for children. The demand for such
trained persons is likely for some time to exceed the supply.

Each of the enterprises dealt with above is fresh proof
of a growing sense that " life is an opportunity for service."
The story of the varied labours of earnest women " all for
love and nothing for reward " would be incomplete without
any mention of ministry to spiritual needs. Other papers
deal with this fully ; here we may barely allude to the great
army of unpaid Sunday-school teachers, and to the Church
of England Sunday-school Institute, and the Sunday-school
Union, which aim at equipping women for their important work.

316 Woman s Mission.

Thoughout we have to recognize a duty not only to the
destitute and degraded, but to those who ask not alms but
help of human fellowship, and appeal less to our pity than to
our sympathy. It is through the co-operation, and not
through the conflict of classes, that progress will be made,
and the amount of this co-operation will depend upon
the degree in which each class realizes what are its special
responsibilities, and what are the true interests and the
highest aims of the human race.

" We must be here to work ;
And men who work can only work for men,
And, not to work in vain, must comprehend
Humanity, and so work humanly,
And raise men's bodies still by raising souls,
As God did first."




THE introduction into " elementary " and " continued "
education in England of domestic science instruction, as
a regular part of the curriculum, is a matter of somewhat
recent recognition. But, when once accepted and adopted,
the spread of the scheme has been most rapid, so that within
the last twelve years the three most essential domestic arts,
viz. cookery, laundry-work, and household sewing with home
dress-cutting, have been fully organized on true educational
lines, and are now regularly taught both in elementary
schools and in technical education classes, with the methods
and accuracy of other practical sciences.

There was a universally felt want of some organized
system of teaching the art of "making the home," an art
which was literally dying out amongst the crowded popula-
tion of the great cities and large towns, with the inevitable
consequences of such ignorance, even degradation and
intemperance. Moreover, with the loss of the art of
"home-life" came the loss of wage-earning power, and while
the number of unemployed women was daily increasing,
a vast amount of remunerative employment in domestic
matters was left undone from want of skill on the part of
the would-be wage-earners.

Schools of cookery arose in London, Liverpool, Leeds,
Edinburgh, and Glasgow, giving instruction in that one
essential subject to any one who would take the trouble to
improve their knowledge, and providing at the same time

318 Woman s Mission.

centres where teachers could be duly trained, and whence
diplomas of efficiency were issued. Still there was great
difficulty in persuading educationists that the duties of home-
life could be systematized and organized as practical science ;
and it was not until 1881, after six years of persistent effort,
that cookery was accepted by the Education Department of
Great Britain as a subject that could be taught in every day-
school, with a Government grant for every girl who qualified
for it under the required conditions. The educational plans
needed to bring so practical a subject into harmony with the
generally accepted lines of education, were developed under
the Committee of the Liverpool School of Cookery and
Technical College for Women, one of the schools in the
large educational body now known as " The National Union
for the Technical Education of Women in Domestic Sciences."
This union was created for the purpose of providing training
for teachers of cookery in the elementary schools, teachers
well taught in "the reason why" of the subject, and well
practised in the art of imparting the knowledge of thrift
combined with comfort, as well as skill in practical work.
After the first shudder, at the thought of " education "
including domestic work, had subsided, common sense
rapidly prevailed, and while seven thousand girls earned the
Government grant for cookery in 1884, in 1890 it was paid
for nearly seventy thousand, and cookery was fully acknow-
ledged to be a branch of national education.

Encouraged by this progress, the Committee of the
Liverpool Technical College for Women conceived the idea
of introducing laundry-work in the same way, and accord-
ingly devoted much time and attention to the development
of a system which would be equally acceptable to the Govern-
ment as that of cookery. The whole union accepted this
second scheme ; teachers were trained in the same way as for
cookery, and it was recognized by the Education Department.
Encouraged by a Government grant for every girl taught,
laundry-work was quietly making its way into elementary
schools, when the sudden call for technical education for those
past school life arose in 1890. Technical education was
wanted for the wives and daughters of the artisans, for the
" makers of the home," as well as for the wage-earners. What

Growth and Development of Domestic Science. 319

should it be ? Where could it be obtained ? Here the
Schools of Cookery came forward, and presented to the
Technical Education Committees, throughout the length and
breadth of the land, schemes of practical education all ready
to hand, in the most needed of domestic subjects cookery,
laundry-work, and household sewing. Household sewing,
i.e. home dress-cutting, mending, patching, and darning of
garments in daily wear and tear, had also been popularized
and methodized in the Liverpool Technical College, and
been made as possible a subject of education as the renowned
three R's. As to the methods of teaching, the great point
was to teach " the reason why " of everything ; to get rid of
tradition, chance, rule of thumb, and that general inaccuracy
which has always been the bane of female work, but which
now, happily, is gradually disappearing when scientific
exactitude is found to be so forcible an element of success
even in domestic matters. That scientific accuracy, and that
knowledge of cause and effect which would create intelligent
and interested workers, were equally needed in all the three
branches of which this paper treats. The waste of food in
the kitchen, the damage to garments in the laundry, the
thriftlessness in the home wardrobe, were all the outcome of
ignorance of the value of materials, of the uses of the forces
of nature, of the power of order and exactness. Once bring
simple explanation into connection with manual skill, and
the whole face of daily work would be changed, and the idea
of drudgery in work would disappear. Such has already
been the effect of this new form of scientific training, and
aided by a popular penny manual for each branch, the con-
tinuity of the teaching has been secured, and the pupils
supplied with efficient helps to memory.

The systems of teaching cooking and laundry-work have
grown out of purely English ideas, but the scheme of house-
hold sewing is largely indebted to the admirable methods
adopted in the Grand Duchy of Baden under the eye of
H.R.H. the Grand Duchess, herself one of the leading
educationists of Europe. To the excellent system there
employed for teaching household sewing has been added
in England a very simple and most satisfactory plan of
teaching home dress-cutting, a popular system called the

320 Woman s Mission.

" Grenfell," which combines a certain amount of scientific
accuracy with that ease of acquirement, which was the one
thing needed to make a system acceptable to every class of

In all these subjects, the use of the blackboard is the
backbone of methodical instruction.

This is the domestic science teaching which, so far, has
been generally established in England ; but steps are being
taken to go more into the minutiae of general housework, and
under the joint committee of the London School Board,
and the City and Guilds of London Institute, a centre has
been formed, rooms fitted up, and a system of instruction
organized, to enable the elder girls in elementary schools to
have a course of practical lessons in all the details of house-
cleaning, bed-making, etc.

The course of twenty-two lessons has just been completed,
and an examination held for the first time. Two hours were
given in which to answer a paper of eighteen questions
dealing with ventilation, drainage, thrift, method in house-
work, exercise, and the principles of the various forms of
cleaning required to keep a home in good order. After an
interval, followed a practical examination, during which every
branch of house-work was carried out by the girls, generally
working in couples.

The results were most satisfactory ; the girls, all either
twelve or thirteen years of age, showed in their written papers
a most intelligent acquaintance with the practical duties of a
housewife, and in the practical work displayed a skill, neat-
ness, and thoroughness, combined with evident pleasure in
all they did, that augured well for the comfort of their homes
in the future. This experiment having proved so successful,
the scheme is now to be carried out in other places, and there
is little doubt that before long it will develop all over the
country, as another and very important branch of the
technical education of girls in domestic science.

Meantime public opinion has been thoroughly educated
to appreciate the efforts of such a body of educationists as
the " National Union," through whose labours mainly this
work has been accomplished, and to regard the training-
schools of cookery, and the technical colleges for women's

Growth and Development of Domestic Science. 321

education in domestic science, as national institutions of only
a degree less importance than those longer established colleges
which deal exclusively with the training of the head apart
from the aid of the hands. Through these two great systems
of education, viz. elementary schools and technical educational
classes, this instruction in the science of home-life has been
brought within the reach of every woman and girl, from the
university graduate to the poorest little drudge, and has been
accepted with an eagerness that sufficiently guarantees its
permanence as an essential factor in the development of
national welfare. Though still young, it has fully justified
its existence by rapid extension almost too rapid, indeed ;
but as almost every year fresh organizations are developed,
it only needs time to bring the whole scheme to a level of
efficiency adequate to every possible requirement in the
making of the home.

The union of schools of cookery, hitherto known as the
" Northern Union of Schools of Cookery," was founded in
1876, when the rise of various schools of cookery, chiefly in
the North of England, made it inevitable that various systems
of training, probably of different degrees of efficiency, would
be started. It was, therefore, proposed that these schools
should unite for the purpose of issuing diplomas and certifi-
cates, and secure to the public an assurance that the teachers
holding the diplomas of the Northern Union were thoroughly
trained, and underwent examinations of a high standard both
in theory and in practice. As at that time the chief schools,
outside of London, lay in the North of England, and as
Scotland also joined in the scheme, the name " Northern
Union " was adopted. The first aim of these united schools
was to train their teachers in the thrifty and economical
methods specially suited to the circumstances of the working
classes, while not forgetting the wants of the well-to-do.
Next their attention was directed to the organization of
cookery as an educational subject, and to the training of
teachers in all the educational methods required for them to
become teachers of cookery in the elementary schools. The
same system of training, of examinations, and of fees for
teachers, was adopted throughout the union, while the
details were arranged by the committee of each school. The


322 Woman's Mission.

council meetings of the union being held year by year as
required, new developments were accepted as the public
needs seemed to demand them, and when legislation became
necessary the council as a large educational body appealed
from time to time to the Education Department, and obtained
the recognition needed to promote efficiency and progress in
elementary school work. By degrees the work of the union
widened, so as to embrace in its organization for the training
of teachers, the three most needed of the domestic sciences,
viz. cookery, laundry-work, and household sewing, with home
dress-cutting. At the same time the area of its membership
was extending all over England and Wales, and rendered
the title "Northern" so misleading, that at the council
meeting held in November, 1892, it was decided, with the
consent of H.R.H. the Duchess of Albany, the Patroness,
to change the name, and that from henceforth the union
should be known as "The National Union for the Technical
Education of Women in the Domestic Sciences."

In the " Handicrafts " Section of the English Department
at Chicago, there is an exhibit in three frames, of the
methods of teaching these domestic sciences, explained by
photographs, specimen work, books, plans, rhymes, etc. ; and
in the library sent out from London is a copy of the first
truly educational book on laundry-work, published in 1891.*

* "Manual of Laundry- Work." Messrs. Longmans and Green, London.

( 323 )



ALTHOUGH the protection of our crops from devastation is
unlike the benevolent work recorded elsewhere in these
pages, it is benevolent work of the highest moment. Its
immediate consequence is to secure the fruits of labour and
to enhance the production of food ; which is to cheapen it.
Therefore this volume would be incomplete without some
reference though it must needs be slight and insufficient
to the enormously important labours of Miss Ormerod.

This lady is brought more nearly within the scope of our
purpose by the fact that she is the daughter of a mother who
was remarkable for the success of her own philanthropic
endeavours ; which took a shape common enough, though
rarely pursued with Mrs. Ormerod's method, determination,
and persistency. Possessed of strong good sense and sound
accomplishments, she devoted them to the philanthropic
purpose of grounding her children in knowledge and cha-
racter. Besides her daughters, she had seven sons ; they all
became private pupils of Dr. Arnold, or were under that
famous tutor at Rugby ; and so well had their mother pre-
pared them for school that Dr. Arnold felt himself con-
strained to mark his sense of it by sending a special message
of approval. It may be worth adding that while praising
their scholastic training, he specially commended the sound
religious knowledge with which the boys came to his care.
Of course such a mother would be sure to bestow her wise
and affectionate assiduities no less on her daughters than
her sons ; and it is to her peculiar method of teaching, which

324 Woman's Mission.

taught self-reliance in working and insured that whatever
knowledge was acquired should be sound and fixed, so to
speak, that Miss Ormerod traces the genesis of her important

Miss Ormerod's father, who is known to many as the
historian of Cheshire, had a property in Gloucestershire
Sedbury Park, opposite Chepstow, in Monmouthshire. His
health failing in extreme old age, she assisted her sister,
Georgina Ormerod, in managing the property ; and here
again, perhaps, we may trace the results of the mother's
training. The management of an agricultural property is not
often undertaken by educated women, or not, at any rate,
with the close personal superintendence that was bestowed
in this case. When thus engaged, Miss Ormerod's attention
was forcibly drawn to the waste that resulted from imperfect
or neglected information, and more particularly to the ravage
of crops by what was generally called " blight." " Blight "
was in fact the devastation perpetrated by insect plagues of
various kinds, by which now one crop and now another was
destroyed over large breadths of country. What " blight "
was did not, of course, remain a secret till Miss Ormerod's
time. It may be gathered from publications devoted to
agricultural pursuits that the matter was methodically studied
in a previous generation, though not to much purpose. Dr.
Fream, the learned editor of the Journal of the Royal Agri-
cultural Society of England, can tell us that "ten or a dozen
years ago the subject of agricultural entomology, as a serious
and profitable study, was scarcely recognized in this country."
"Blight" was contentedly adopted as the explanation of
every variety of ravage ; and though the loss occasioned
thereby was often great, and sometimes extremely grave,
"little attempt was made to investigate the nature of this
' blight,' still less its cause." And something more than
investigation was needed. Persistency in ascertaining what
the blight was in its several forms, what the attack, what
conditions favoured it, when and how it could best be met
this (though it was no light undertaking) was not enough.
An equal persistency in preaching what inquiry revealed was
necessary if good were to be done on a considerable scale.
Recorded in books of science, such knowledge has little

Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 30 of 49)