This book focuses on two educationalists, Oscar Browning (1837-1923) and Elizabeth Hughes (1852-1925) who were the principals of the two separate day training colleges for men and women at Cambridge. The early initiatives of these two leaders began the development of education studies at Cambridge University and, therefore, serve as test cases to examine the relationship between teacher training and the university. As their early programmes foreshadowed the work of the present-day Faculty of Education, a historical review of these Victorian educational experiments uncovers how the unstable relationship between teacher trainers, the university and the government of the day has affected the status of the Education Department within the university.
Oscar Browning and Elizabeth Hughes were extraordinary, larger-than-life characters, who have not yet been well-served in the historical accounts. Their ideals about what teaching should be about is one well worthy of re-visiting. The colleges they set up at Cambridge acted as models for training colleges all over the country so they were an influence on the national scene. In so far as they visited and lectured in Europe, America and Japan, they also had international influence.