Cultural Shifts in England/Provision for youth

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Chapter VII: Provision for youth

In earlier times, the preservers of the young were members of religious houses, whose mission was ‘to save souls, and succour the poor and needy’. In 1536, Thomas Cromwell made Parishes look after their own poor, sick, and elderly. Thereafter, all England’s major youth clubs, associations, and institutions were founded by middle-class religious believers… many of them military men. They wanted to instil a feeling of well-being and discipline, obedience, and moral values in young lower-class youths, who mainly populated industrial inner cities. Allied to their founder’s creed, was the wish to reduce crime and improve the physique and mental efficiency of its working population, so that in time of war they would be suitable material for he army. Today all youth associations come within the National Council for Voluntary Services. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Founded 1956) and The Prince’s Trust (Founded 1976) both concern themselves with young people – developing their potential. The Central Council for Physical Recreation is a national governing body catering for all ages including sports officials and coaches. It is non government agency closely linked to schools, colleges and universities. The latest confident of young people are inventors - composer/programmers - of electronic communication equipment.

Tudor Poor Laws[edit | edit source]

When Henry VIII 1491–1547, created The Church of England, becoming ‘Supreme Head’, many of the religious houses who provided for the destitute and foundlings - girls and boys, ceased to exist, many of their charges thrown out onto the street. The King invited the Lord Mayor of London and thirty merchants to found three Royal Hospitals, Edwards, St Thomas and Christs'. The object was to create mathematicians and navigators for the Royal Navy and Merchant Seafarers. The first boys and girls entered Christs’ Hospital in Newgate, in 1552.

Acts of Parliament in 1531, made a split between those unemployed and those who were elderly and sick; by 1536, made parishes responsible for their own poor and sick creating Almshouses; 1572, accepted that there were some citizens who would never be able to look after themselves. 1598 and 1601, called upon a levy to contribute towards looking after the poor and to create jobs. All the Tudor Poor Laws gave the job of looking after the poor, sick and destitute, to Local Councils who created the Workhouses. The Act of Settlement 1662 meant that only folk within the parish boundary were entitled to relief. This continued for almost two hundred years until the New Poor Law 1834 created Boards and regularized election of guardians retaining outdoor relief.

Societies have always criticized their young, for not having their strength and passion. Children with uncaring parents, those whose fathers have left home for war, parents who have died in times of plague and pestilence; there are many reasons why children have been left to fend for themselves. Societies do not like to see this happening because it tends to destabilize and cause bad behaviour. Records show that Religious Houses and Town Councils established homes for needy children in the Middle Ages. These 'Foundling Homes' were built and maintained close to the town’s church and 'Almshouse' (1635), where they could be easily overseen… provided nurturing for the very young and girls.

Foundling Homes[edit | edit source]

Foundling Homes, for the care of children, was established by the Roman Catholic Church, as a deterrent to the killing of new born babies by the destitute. Many were taken in by Christs Hospital. The Foundling Hospital, founded in 1697. The Church of England’s Latitudinarians catered for the poor and needy. Orphanages operated at about the same time specifically for the poor and needy boys of the town where they provided basic schooling and training for work. The foundling homes, town orphanages and almshouses continued to take in the poor and needy children. Many were closely connected to a local monastic house. Foundling Hospital, established in Bloomsbury Fields by Captain Thomas Coram, received its Royal Charter in November 1739, for the ‘education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children’. Military Schools were founded for destitute children of servicemen, began about the same time, as did Griffith Jones who started the 'Sunday school and Day School Movement'.

In the second half the nineteenth century, when (High Farming) land enclosure, and the birth-rate, acted together to caused countrywide unemployment, the young people found their own solution… there was a steady exodus from the country to towns and cities. The unemployed sons and daughters of the mainly agricultural workers wanted to enjoy the fruits of the new industrial growth they had heard so much about. At the time there were seven and a half million people living in England and Wales. The newly built railways provided the means to transport them away from the countryside towards their longed for futures. The mills, potteries, brickworks and factories gave them work and in some cases provided them with homes. They mixed freely, married, and had children.

By the third quarter there were many teenagers who populated tightly packed back-to-back housing who had no work or aspirations. Some socially minded folk knew of this growing body of discontent. To improve these young people’s lives - improve their chances of employment, fitness, education, and employability, formed associations. These Institutions provided interests, sports, education and training… all promoted hard work, perseverance and discipline. There was also an element of religious study, imperialistic flag waving and spirited adventure, which captured and galvanized the young - allowed the leaders to fashion their charges in their own image – indoctrinate them. The first census of England and Wales was taken in 1801. The increased population was placed upon a decline in deaths, increased fertility rates, due to better living conditions, and earlier marriages.

This all suggests a government plan, an alternative social and religious reason, or militaristic manipulation. It was eventually all of these things, as the youth groups expanded and found public favour. All contributed towards making Britain a well run and regulated society… the youth clubs proved their worth. How was it that a group of well meaning people achieves such applause and gratitude and why is it that such organization have lost many members amongst today’s youth?

National Youth Organizations[edit | edit source]

It is generally accepted that National Youth Organizations started around the time of The Great Exhibition, although the concept goes back further – it took some years before the idea was put into place. The purpose behind all the different organizations was very similar, carried out by individuals who wanted to instill discipline, comradeship and unselfishness through common cause. Each organization was attached to a religious body not just for the accommodation and facilities they provided but for their creed as well. It maybe said that it was to the non-conformist churches we have to thank for providing the bulk of the inspired leaders who gave time and energy to the cause.

Thomas Cranfield founded the 'London City Mission', opened in 1835, for the city’s poor: to improve their physique, mental capacity, and moral well-being. Four years later Lord Shaftsbury founded the 'Ragged School Union'. This provided free education for the poor using teachers and charitable donation; teaching: reading, writing, calculation and religious instruction. All this took place on two Sunday sessions and evening classes on Tuesday and Friday. Later sports were added and outdoor excursions arranged.

Young Men's Christian Association[edit | edit source]

In 1844, the 'Young Men’s Christian Society' (YMCA) was formed by George Williams; initially he was concerned with the spiritual welfare of young men in drapery and other trades. His aim was to create a society that engaged young men who might otherwise seek entertainment and interests outside their home – it was missionary work gathering young men up within the church. Those who had no home were given board in a hostel which had strict rules particularly the times the door was locked for the night. 'The Girls Club Union' was formed just over thirty years later by Maude Stanley.

At the same time the 'Ragged School Union' was formed under the guidance of Lord Shaftsbury. Thomas Cranfield gave the organization its name coming from the London City Mission in 1840, built on physical, mental, and moral well-being of young people. By the turn of the century the ragged schools petered out. A number of remaining schools continued as men’s clubs, Sunday schools and evening classes. What was important to this paper is the development of boy’s and youth’s institutes.

In 1847, a children’s meeting was arranged in Leeds to educate on the evils of drink. Ann Carlile and Jabez Tunnicliffe started a regular children’s meeting. From this was born the 'Band of Hope' which had as its patron Queen Victoria, becoming part of Victorian society, and the Church.

By 1860 the annual funding for schools by parliament was more than eight hundred thousand pounds. There was a move to extricated education away from the church. Children began work at the age of eight, in unregulated areas it could be earlier. By the turn of the century starting times were twelve. Formation of the 'Association for Girls' by a Newcastle Commission that revealed there were certain parishes without schools.

Barnardo Homes[edit | edit source]

Doctor Thomas Barnardo 1845-1905, arrived in London from Ireland in 1866 and was astonished to see children begging in the streets for food. He took a great deal of interest in their plight continually searching for destitute children to help them find food and shelter. A year later he opened his first home for boys, later a girl’s home was added. His creed was based upon, No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission. All the boys were taught a craft or trade and the girl’s domestic science.

Cadet Corps[edit | edit source]

In the 1850s Cadet Corps were formed in certain schools. It was meant to be a back-up to the Volunteers following heavy losses during the Crimea War. Later they were incorporated into the Territorial’s… A few were formed outside schools. These 'Army Cadet Corps' were recognized by the War Office and allowed to wear a uniform. After the war these were made into Rifle Clubs and Social welfare Organizations. A number of orphanages were established to look after children who had lost their parents as a result of the war. The staff was made up of sailors who returned without a job. An organization was then formed called the Naval Lads Brigades granted recognition by the Admiralty in 1919 and given the title of 'Navy League Sea Cadet Corps'. In 1938 a retired officer from the Royal Air Force started the Air Defense Cadet Corps. Later this was changed to the 'Air Training Corps' by Royal Warrant in 1941.

The Education Act 1870[edit | edit source]

The Education Act of 1870 was the first piece of legislation to deal with education throughout the country. It allowed voluntary schools to continue but established a system of ‘school boards’ to oversee what was going on. The Act secured attendance of children between five and thirteen years of age to a school. Young women and girls were expected to stay in the home or when married be in their own. This changed when women’s voices were raised, enquiring and demanding to be allowed what they wanted to do. They claimed that if they were good enough to be taken on as nurses then they could do other things to help the nation. Clubs and institutes founded for unemployed girls in Lancashire.

Maud Stanley founded the 'Girls Club Union' which trained young girls in domestic science and home craft, first aid and fitness. 'The Girls Friendly Society' was raised in 1875. In 1880 it became compulsory for all children to be educated between the ages of five and ten. Over a period of years the age-band and provisions extended and improved, to include disabled children.

The Boys' Brigade[edit | edit source]

William Alexander Smith 1852-1914, joined the Glasgow branch of the YMCA in 1872… becoming, by its obvious good cause, a more committed Christian. He attended a meeting held by the evangelists Moody and Sankey. This energized him to open up a branch at his own church which he continued serving for nearly ten years. William Smith was an inspired teacher realized that to achieve converts he needed to instill discipline. These thoughts promoted the establishment of the first 'Boys’ Brigade' unit in 1883, the 1st Glasgow Company. Smith convened the first Council of the Boys’ Brigade in 1885; three years later became the full-time Secretary. Both William and his wife Amelia took upon themselves the task of promoting the Company of boys, enticing others to join. In this they succeeded by engaging in good deeds and doing social work in the community.

In 1881, Edward de Montjoie Rudolf, 1852-1933, founded 'The Waifs and Strays’ Society'. The object was to find a home for destitute children that would be free… a year later the first home was opened. After a period of nine years there were ninety-three homes caring for nearly three and a half thousand children.

For many of these institutions it would be an easy thing to do, to adopt a cynical view of their activities as do-gooders who could afford to dabble in good works. It is only when you look closer at the numbers of children who were being helped that this cynical view is dashed. Their teachers and leaders were nurturing and socializing their charges bringing much needed comfort and security.

The Church Lads Brigade[edit | edit source]

Mr. Goldstraw in 1885 started The Gordon Boys Brigade which was closely tied to the Anglican Church. In 1891 Colonel Walter Mallock Gee forms Saint Andrews Lads Brigade. The London Diocesan Council for the welfare of Lads lead by Colonel Everard A Ford also forms a Brigade. 'London Federation of Working Boys’ Club' formed. It was T W Pelham’s wish ‘to offer to the poor what public schools and universities had been to the rich’. He wanted young people to feel good about themselves. In 1891 an amalgamation forms The Church Lads Brigade. That year there were nearly thirty million people living in England and Wales… over four times the numbers living a hundred years before… In two generations there had been an enormous growth in the population, mainly to affect cities. In 1899 the school leaving age was raised to twelve. In 1901 the Reverend Thomas Milner forms 'The Church Red Cross Brigade', which, in 1911, became 'The Church Nursing and Ambulance Brigade for young women and girls'. In 1911, the CLB becomes recognized as cadets by the War Office becoming part of the government’s 'Territorial Cadet Force' that drilled with rifles and engage in military manoeuvres. The amalgamation of the two Brigades took place in 1978 to form the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade become founding members of 'The National Council for Voluntary Youth Service'.

Education Act 1902[edit | edit source]

In the 1902 Education Act, County Councils and County Boroughs given the duty to administer elementary and secondary education according to local needs and circumstances.

The Boy Scouts[edit | edit source]

Lord Robert Baden-Powell 1857-1941, returning back in England from Mafeking, South Africa, in 1903, discovered that a small handbook he had written on scouting had become standard reading for youth leaders and teachers. He lectured at meetings of the Boys’ Brigade and was asked by its founder William Smith to work out a scheme to train boys in good citizenship. The book he wrote became ‘Scouting for Boys’ published in 1908. .Later, ‘Guiding for Girls’ completed his work providing practical training and social skills for the youth of the country.

By the time the opening rounds were being fired, at the start of the First World War, there were sixty thousand members in the Boys’ Brigade… The Scouts, the previous year, boasted one hundred and fifty-two thousand members. Charles Russell, in 1908, began his work with out of work young men who had no home – in deprived areas of Manchester… his work lead to the 'National Association of Boys’ Clubs'.

The National and Local Juvenile Organizations’ Committee was established to look into the physical and moral welfare of the young in time of war… they were concerned about combating delinquency which climbed after the First World War. This action was the start of the government’s intervention into the development of a policy for youth work. At the end of the war the Education Act of 1918 raised the school leaving age to fourteen, made all education free and promoted voluntary youth organizations. Two years later the 'Young Farmers Clubs' were formed.

The Red Cross[edit | edit source]

The junior section of the 'British Red Cross' began in 1924. There were links with schools and colleges to form cadets 14-17 years… youth detachments of 16-20 continued to function after WWII. There were strong links formed in 1905 with the 'St John Ambulance Brigade', England’s premier voluntary group. Both these societies have always played an important part in the minds of all citizens in times of war and disaster.

National Voluntary Youth Organization[edit | edit source]

Prior to the Second World War there was great interest in outdoor pursuits. Cycle Clubs abounded and the Youth Hostel Association was formed in 1930. Six years later, a permanent annual conference date afforded to the National Voluntary Youth Organizations. By the start of the war there was a rapid growth in the numbers of young people joining voluntary organizations. Grant aid was made available from the Local Education Authorities and from the Board of Education for capital expenditure, maintenance, and help towards full-time salaries. The National emergencies during and after the war kept the numbers attending youth organizations high. 'The Methodist Association of Youth Clubs' set up, to put into place the supply, recruitment and training of teachers and youth leaders. This came on top of the foundation of the 'Outward Bound Trust' in 1946.

Age of Youth Culture[edit | edit source]

1950 saw the start, to what was to become, the age of ‘Youth Culture’. There was high employment – with never a fear that on leaving school at fifteen a job could not be found. There was a lot of money available for youths to buy entertainment at the cinemas, dance halls and sports arenas. Motorbike Clubs catered for ‘Greasers’ and Scooter Clubs for ‘Rockers’. It was the Snack Bar and Coffee Shop era. This period lead to ‘the consumer society’ more cars were on the roads, holidays were booked at Holiday Camps and Doris Day musicals seemed to be shown every week. The Fletcher report recommended the recruitment and Training of Youth Leaders and Community Centre Wardens.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award[edit | edit source]

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme was established in 1956. It was concerned with the involvement of the nation’s youth in outdoor pursuits, becoming a charitable trust three years later. In 2006, awarded a Royal Charter.

In 1958 The Government appointed the 'Albemarle’ Committee' whose main aim was to offer young people a constructive alternative to a street culture. The committee understood the problem to be one of urgent social control. Once again it was about building youth centres, finding full-time social and youth club workers, and setting up a training college and development council. Even after training the youth club leaders found it most difficult to restrain and control their charges who were mostly disadvantaged youth. It is a lot easier to hold the attention of young people who are interested in achieving whether in sport or school work. The new national College had no previous tradition, had no style and philosophy of youth work and often was at loggerheads with the values of other voluntary organizations. In 1965 the 'Sports Council' was set up to develop amateur sport and physical recreation. This was a period of expansion. By the late 1970s there was high youth unemployment.

The Prince's Trust[edit | edit source]

The Prince’s Trust, set up in 1976 became the UKs leading youth charity. It was premised on improving the lives of disadvantaged young people: offering, ‘a rage of opportunities including, training personal development, business start up, support mentoring, and advice’. The Trust Fund has as its aim: ‘the promotion by all possible means the mental, spiritual, moral and physical development and improvement of young people, and provide opportunities for them to develop their full capacities and enable them to become responsible members of society so that their conditions of life may be improved’. The Trust sets out five objects, and a published result - to their research into social conditions of the young.

Transforming Youth Work, a government report in 2001, outlined the statuary responsibility for all local government organizations to provide targeted youth work activities in their region. Those reports were published two years later indicating that they had taken the responsibility necessary - to achieve an improved service.

In January 2011, the National Unemployment Figures show there are 2.48 million unemployed, that’s one in four adults. A quarter of the working populations do not produce. Only one in five of the 16-28 age group work. Within the 16-17 age group unemployment figures are rising faster than any other group and of these the boys are losing their jobs faster than the girls. Almost two thirds of today’s school students hold a part-time job. Nearly all university students have a job before graduating. It is believed that teenage jobs do more to foster bad exam results than any other reason. It is believed that these figures will get worse as more cuts are imposed and taxes rise. The possible extension of working life will also slow down the intake of new workers. These statistics suggest that communications through the internet will expand not only as a way of searching for work but in communicating with others in a similar position – social networking. To cope with the shortage of jobs a nationwide ‘New Deal’ is going to be rolled out for the young. The vast majority of current youth facilities and programmes are to do with physical wellbeing, to a lesser degree jobs... spiritual needs, come a poor third.

Acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

Researches made so much easier by the following works: Waldo Mc Gillicuddy Eager (1953) ‘Making Men’ and made indispensable, as was, F Dawes (1975) A cry from the Streets. A C Percival (1951) Youth Will Be Led, gives a good idea of how, why, and when, the different societies formed, A Gillette (1968) One Million Volunteers satisfies most, giving an overall story of the youth service. Wikipedia is indispensable, to dip in and out of, covering most of the gaps.