By Alec Ellis and G. Chandler (Auth.)
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Grammar books were available in large quantities and were modelled on a variety of systems. Matthew Arnold advocated the adoption of chosen texts and looked to the Committee of Council to select suitable books. It is curious that he was not so much concerned with the relative merits of books as with the need to standardize their use in schools. An inspector of Roman Catholic schools in 1858 concurred with Arnold in his view that no books had been published which were so superior that they were widely adopted by school managers.
Imray, the Superintendent of a ragged school in the Marylebone district of London, reported in 1849 the establishment of "a small library and reading-room" in which the schoolmaster acted as librarian. The subject content of the libraries varied greatly. K. included all kinds of useful and interesting works which were sponsored by its Committee of General Literature, established in 1831. Adequate distribution of the books was ensured by the opening of a Depository at Great Queen Street, London, in 1836, from where the Society sold its publications.
There were in 1851,13,879 "dames' schools" in England and Wales, the majority of which functioned for the supervision of children whilst their parents were at work, but could not be regarded as places of instruction. In the Census of 1851, more than 700 heads of such schools certified their returns with a mark. Approximately \\ million children in 1870 were on the registers of inspected schools, but at a conservative estimate an equal number attended either establishments which were completely unsuitable for educational purposes, or no schools of any kind.
A History of Children's Reading and Literature by Alec Ellis and G. Chandler (Auth.)