The ABC of the History of Schools in Dacorum

by Joan Hands

Dacorum Heritage Trust 1992

Booklet, 21 * 15 cm, 48 pages

There is a web page for Dacorum (which includes Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Kings Langley & Tring and a number of villages)


Sample Extract


 Adult education for the "working classes" really took off in this country in the early 1800's. By 1850 there were over 600 Institutes with a total of 100,000 members.

The Industrial Revolution might have sparked off this thirst for general and scientific knowledge and people like John Anderson in Glasgow and George Birkbeck helped to provide it, freely and openly.

Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, Potten End and Tring all boasted such establishments. Reading Rooms were generally associated with the Institutes as well as evening lectures. The Public Library Service owes a great deal to this idea.



This was developed by Or Bell, a Quaker, and Joseph Lan­ caster and widely used in both National and British Schools in the early 19th century. Older pupils supervised younger children, under the watchful eye of the teacher.

The National society preferred the Madras Plan, the pupils standing in the centre of the room in reading or arithmetic groups whilst the rest sat in long desks along the walls to write.

The Lancastrian system had writing desks in long rows in the middle with the reading/arithmetic groups facing their monitors and the lesson texts on the outside walls.

Locating Books
At the time this page was last updated copies were available from the publisher