Teaching in the blood…

We have had a few days break away exploring some areas of West Sussex we hadn’t visited before. Chilly weather but some sunny intervals gave us the chance to visit some beautiful places and discover some perspectives on history…

We investigated some history on a personal level in the city of Chichester, where my great great grandfather, William Wade, was born in 1835. In the 1841 and 1851 censuses he was living in a street called Little London just off East Street, one of the main thorough fares across the city.

His father John Wade was a chairmaker, but 15 year old William is described as a Lancastrian school teacher. What is a Lancastrian school teacher? My question…

A bit of research revealed that a significant  new form of education began in the 19th Century when the Quaker Joseph Lancaster started a free London day school in 1801. It attracted the attention of George III, and its success led to the foundation of The British and Foreign School Society, which became a formative influence on the development of  free state education.

Joseph Lancaster visited Chichester on 13th September 1810 at the invitation of his friend, the local Quaker John Barton. By 1812 two Lancastrian schools were established in Chichester, one of which was on a site round the corner from Little London, where William Wade was living with his parents and siblings. How my great, great grandfather came to be a teacher in one of these schools I do not know. My guess is that he himself received an education there, and became a teacher of the younger children, through the pupil teacher method used.

However it happened, this revolutionary system which educated the children of the poor and under privileged, changed the course of my great, great, grandfather’s life. William did not follow his father and become a chairmaker; instead he followed a profession,  eventually gaining government certified teacher status. By the 1861 census he has left Chichester and is living and teaching in Birmingham, where he met his wife to be, Catherine Matilda Downing, my great, great grandmother.More about her family in another post…

William’s grandson, my grandfather Sydney, became a teacher, as did both his children, my mother and aunt. Both my sister and I are/were teachers, and one of my sons teaches Maths, the other Music. In the blood…?

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4 responses to “Teaching in the blood…

  1. Well done on all these discoveries!! I enjoyed reading this.

  2. Made me wonder if John Wade taught too? As in taking on apprentices – the earliest form of teaching?

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