ALS from George Dixon, Member of Parliament, to S(ir) Forster (Forster's Education Act/Elementary Education Act 1870; Chief Secretary of Ireland;Royal Society member and Rector of Aberdeen University) on letterhead of Dixon's home, 'The Dales', Birmingham, Nov. 29, 1885

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Largely responsible for a system of national education in England, here, Dixon acknowledges Forster's prior congratuations (for Parliamentary appointment) and offers a return compliment. Dear S. Forster, I received your congratulations - but wanted to acknowledge them until I could return the compliment. I am delighted to be able to do so now - trust that we shall have many a talk in London. It is to be feared that there will be fare more talk than work in Parliament! Ever yours truly, George Dixon One of Dixon's first achievements as Mayor in early 1867 was a private conference he held in his house for the leading men of the town to discuss a possible remedy for the lack of education for children. In March a public meeting was held in the Town Hall where the Birmingham Education Society was formed along the lines of one created in Manchester and Salford in 1864. The society raised money to pay the school fees of some children, and raised awareness of the need.The Education Societies paved the way for the bolder and more political National Education League, started in Birmingham in 1869, chaired by Dixon, with support from Joseph Chamberlain, R. W. Dale, Jesse Collings, and William Harris. The League resolved that a bill should be prepared for the next session of Parliament to give non-sectarian education to all children. After some political promises and compromise the Elementary Education Act 1870 (Forster's Act) was passed, meeting some of the requirements of the League, and the first School boards were elected. The League continued to campaign for a further seven years and elementary education (to age 12) eventually became free and compulsory in England and Wales. In 1867 Dixon introduced a bill to establish school boards in areas where there were already sufficient schools. This bill was rejected.One of Dixon's experiments was the creation in 1884 of Bridge Street Technical School in the old Cadbury's premises, bought by him, converted to a school at his own expense, and leased to the board at a nominal rent. It taught science and mechanics to 400 of the brighter boys for two years beyond normal school leaving age. This was a great success and was repeated in large towns across the country, and led to the Technical Instruction Act, which formalised the finance of this type of school. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 787

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Titel: ALS from George Dixon, Member of Parliament,...

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