Top: Outer cover of Mary Elizabeth Denison's school record book.
the 1870s there was no formal or compulsory provision for children to be
educated, it was primarily the privilege of the rich and the clergy to be
Such schools as existed were "Dame" schools where for a few
pennies children were taught a few basics by often untrained women or Church
schools where the emphasis was on a religious crede.
Boarding schools for
sons of the gentry or middle classes also existed.
In 1870 the Elementary Education Act or Forsters Act became law.
William Forster was a Bradford MP and for a time lived at Lane Head, Rawdon.
Power was given to locally elected school board to provide a basic education
for all children.
This came about as a result of the number of very young
children who had been found working in the workshops and factories which had
burgeoned during the Industrial Revolution.
A further Act in 1876 made it compulsory for all children to attend
school, by 1880 attendance was compulsory for all 5-10 year olds and the Balfour
Act of 1902 created the Local Education Authorities, through out the country
children would be taught the same subjects to the same standard.
Middle: "Child's School Book
District of the Yeadon School Board
of the Parish of Guiseley
In the County of York
Mary Elizabeth Denison (Name of Child)
residing at Yeadon
was born at Yeadon on the 13th
day of February 1867 as certified
by the Parents
Signed Elizabeth Brownlee, Certified Mistress, Girls Dept.
NB This book, on the child's admission to a Certified Efficient School, is
to be given to the Teacher, who will keep it and at the end of every year, make
an entry of the child's attendances (after 5 years of age) and progress (after
7) during the year. The book will be given back, duly made up, when the child
may claim the use of it, for reasonable time, when qualified for, and seeking,
Mary was born in 1867 so would have gone to school under the new Education
Acts but before 1902 when schools came under the Local Education Acts.
children from poorer families who were expected to contribute to the family
income were allowed to attend school part-time and also work a number of
Bottom: This document was kept by Mary Elizabeth Denison and would have
been the result of the 1876 Elementary Education Act.
"Conditions of Employment
1 No persons may take into employment a child under 10 years of age
11 Between 10 and 14 years of age the conditions of a child's employment
are fixed ----
A In Districts with Bye-Laws, by the Bye-Laws of each District.
These affect children up to 13 years of age: between 13 and 14 a child
falls under the general provisions of the Act of 1876 quoted below.
B In Other Districts
1 In Factories and Workshops, by the Special Acts regulating such
2 In General Labour by the Elementary Act 1876 according to which,
No child may be employed who does not hold a Certificate of Proficiency or
previous Attendance at School, according to the following standards
During the year The Standard of Proficiency shall be the Standard of
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, fixed by the following standard of the Code of
1876, or any higher standard, namely
The Standard of previous due attendance shall be the following number of
In not more than two Certified Efficient Schools during each year for the
following number of years, wether consecutive or not
1877 Two 250 Two
1878 Two 250 Two
1879 Three 250 Three
1880 Three 250 Four
and after Four 250 Five
Looking at the census for 1871 we
see that the family consists of:
Mary E Denison aged 4
Marther Ann Denison aged 29
Florence Denison aged 8
William Denison aged 9
Harril E Denison aged 2