1st Edition

Opening Schools and Closing Prisons
Caring for destitute and delinquent children in Scotland 1812–1872

ISBN 9781138329959
Published June 28, 2018 by Routledge

USD $63.95

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Book Description

The book covers the period from 1812, when the Tron Riot in Edinburgh dramatically drew attention to the ‘lamentable extent of juvenile depravity’, up to 1872, when the Education Act (Scotland) inaugurated a system of universal schooling.

During the 1840s and 1850s in particular there was a move away from a punitive approach to young offenders to one based on reformation and prevention. Scotland played a key role in developing reformatory institutions – notably the Glasgow House of Refuge, the largest of its type in the UK – and industrial schools which provided meals and education for children in danger of falling into crime.

These schools were pioneered in Aberdeen by Sheriff William Watson and in Edinburgh by the Reverend Thomas Guthrie and exerted considerable influence throughout the United Kingdom. The experience of the Scottish schools was crucial in the development of legislation for a national, UK-wide system between 1854 and 1866.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Chapter 1:

Punishment, reformation and prevention: changing attitudes to juvenile crime in mid-nineteenth century Britain

Chapter 2:

‘The lamentable extent of youthful depravity’: the Tron Riot of 1812

Chapter 3:

Stirrings for change: developments in Edinburgh, 1812-1846

Chapter 4:

‘An intermediate step’: the Glasgow House of Refuge, 1838-1854

Chapter 5:

Prevention is better than cure: the Aberdeen industrial schools, 1841-1854

Chapter 6:

Ragged school rivalry: the Original versus the United Industrial School in Edinburgh, 1847-1854

Chapter 7:

‘A better model’: the influence of the Scottish approach in England

Chapter 8:

The formation of a national system (i): reformatory and industrial schools legislation, 1854-1872

Chapter 9:
The formation of a national system (ii): the effects of legislation on individual schools

Chapter 10:

Schooling for all: industrial schools and the 1872 Education Act

Chapter 11:

Change and continuity: nineteenth century approaches in context



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Andrew G. Ralston, a student at Glasgow University in the late 1970s, was encouraged by the late Geoffrey Finlayson, author of the definitive biography of Lord Shaftesbury, to take an interest in the history of the treatment of destitute and delinquent children in nineteenth-century Scotland. Having completed a degree of D.Phil at Balliol College, Oxford University, he has subsequently co-authored over twenty successful school textbooks.