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Transcribe Bentham: A Collaborative Initiative

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Category:Box 018

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Box 18 contains material pertaining to Bentham's writing on education, or 'Chrestomathia' ('useful learning' from the original Greek).

Bentham was educated at Westminster School, Queen's College, Oxford, and at Lincoln's Inn. He came to believe that much of the teaching he had received - theology, Latin, Ancient Greek, literature, and the common law - was practically worthless. (Bentham described the universities of Oxford and Cambridge as 'two public nuisances', for the narrow education they provided and the religious adherence they demanded). In 1814, he first began to draw up plans for the Chrestomathic school, which was to be open to all pupils, regardless of religion, up to the age of fourteen. The curriculum was to be dominated by science, mathematics, and technology, which would be of use to the pupils when seeking employment. Bentham believed that a chrestomathic education would increase social and economic welfare, but also - in its exclusion of religion from the curriculum - would remove superstition and prejudice face by reformers.

Bentham intended that the school was to be built in his garden, and the building would follow his 'central inspection principle'. It was to be run on the Lancasterian model, that is, organised according to monitorial system in which the schoolmaster taught the school's senior pupils, and they in turn taught the rest. By this innovation, one teacher could teach hundreds of pupils.

No school was established which could truly be called Chrestomathic, in that it adhered entirely to the curriculum set out by Bentham, but there were close approximations. For instance, Hazelwood School at Edgbaston, was founded in 1818 by the Hill family on similar principles to those espoused by Bentham. Hazelwood received Bentham's full support.

In 1825, the University of London was founded on the principle of education being open to all, regardless of religious denomination. Bentham was not one of the founders of the University (renamed University College London in 1836), but many of them were his friends and followers who were inspired by his ideas.

The material is arranged as follows:

  • Folios 1 to 7 : Chrestomathia—Plan of New Essay, Telophantic Table [1815]
  • Folios 8 to 171: Chrestomathia—Geometry and Algebra [1815]
  • Folios 172 to 175 : Springs of Action, Principle of Utility—its two sense [1816]
  • Folios 176 to 177 : Chrestomathia—W Thompson of Cork, his queries, Prosepctus [1818, 1821]
  • Folios 178 to 182 : Chrestomathia—Hazelwood School Report [1824]; Prospectus of Bruce Castle School [1826, 3 printed copies]
  • Folios 183 to 187 : Hazelwood School—drawings and plans [1823-24]

Box 18 Progress

Untranscribed: 115
In Progress: 3
Ready For Review: 2
Completed: 71
Total: 191

0Completed: 71(37.17%)191

Pages in category "Box 018"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 383 total.

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