- The Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) 1983- 1997.
- A Short History of the Early Development of Science Teaching
- Bernhard Samuelson (1820-1905)
- Certificate of Pre- Vocational Education (CPVE) 1985-early 1990s.
- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
- Charles Knight (1791-1873)
- City and Guilds of London Institute - more background.
- Cockerton Judgement: Reflected a Period of Chaos, Confusion and Vacillation.
- Finsbury Technical College (1883-1924) and the Central Institution
- General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) 1992-2007.
- George Birkbeck (1776 – 1841)
- Great Engineers and Pioneers and their Education
- Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) and Education
- Henry Brougham (1778 – 1868)
- Henry Cole (1808 - 1882)
- Hertha (Sarah) Marks Ayrton (1854 - 1923)
- Higher Education Institutes (HEI) including Universities, the National Colleges and the Polytechnics
- Institutions of Technical Education/Instruction in Britain in 1878
- James Booth (1806?-1879)
- James Hole (1820 - 1895)
- Junior Technical Schools (JTS)
- Learned Societies and Professional Societies/Institutions
- List of Dissenting Academies
- Livery Companies/Guilds
- Notable Teachers at Finsbury Technical College and the Central Technical College.
- Other Forms of Technical Schools in the Early 20th Century
- Polytechnic Institutions of London
- Quintin Hogg (1845-1903). Educationalist, Merchant, Philanthropist and Founder of the Regent Street Polytechnic.
- Rev. Henry Solly (1813-1903).
- Short History of Apprenticeships
- Sir Lyon Playfair (1818 – 1898)
- Sir Philip Magnus (1842-1933)
- Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) (1825/26 –48)
- Society for the Promotion of Employment of Women 1859+
- Technical and Secondary Technical Schools
- The 'Andersonian' - The First Technical College.
- The Appliance of Science
- The Artizans' Institute and The Trade Guild of Learning
- The Cooperative Movement and Education in Britain Part 1
- The Invisible College (1645-1658).
- The Lunar Society (1765-1813)
- The Pitman Dynasty. Isaac, Benn, Jacob and James Pitman.
- The Spitalfields Mathematical Society 1717 to 1846.
- Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)
- Trade Schools in England
- Warrington Academy and the Academy Movement
James Hole (1820 - 1895)
Sadly little is known about this remarkable individual and as a result he has not received the recognition that he truly deserves in the development of the Mechanics’ Institutions and in his contributions to adult and technical education. The testimony to his commitment and far sighted ideas on the Mechanics’ Institutions movement and adult and technical education is reflected in his seminal essay subsequently published as a book in 1853 (1) for which he received an award from the Society of Arts (SoA/[RSA]. The Society had organised an essay writing competition following their annual conference in May 1852 in which they had discussed the Mechanics’ Institution movement. It is a remarkable piece of work that is still relevant and merits reading today. The essay describes the part played by a number of educational agencies in the teaching of working people. The prize brought Hole to the attention of the Society of Arts and he was instrumental with two other members of the Society namely James Booth and Harry Chester in creating a national examination system (see history of technical and commercial examinations and the biographies).
James Hole was born in London in 1820 and moved to Manchester when still in his youth where he became an active member of the Mechanics’ Institution movement. He then moved to Leeds in the early 1840s writing a large number of books and articles in journals mainly focussing on improving the life of workers particularly through their education. Subjects covered by his writings included co-operative undertakings, housing and his main passion adult education. Hole was an Associationist, a movement pre-dating that of the Fabians, which advocated the benefits that would be realised by the best use of existing and emerging associations in the community, state-fostered or voluntary, to improve society. Hole argued strongly that everyone, and most certainly the working class, had a right to education. He continually argued that education was not a privilege but an absolute right. In spite of the fact that Hole had reservations he argued that a national system was essential as a wholly voluntary system was inadequate. He argued cogently that the government should provide funds at national and local levels although he expressed reservations about state control and the dangers of intervention and interference from the politicians. Hole was critical of the government’s earlier attempts to subsidise schools but praised the benefits of local and voluntary efforts by comparing ‘day work’ and 'piece work’ in the businesses and factories. He felt that Mechanics’ Institutions should be supported by central government but that they should not be in competition with government schools.
He became very involved in adult education and the Mechanics’ Institutions in Leeds and Yorkshire holding the post of Honorary Secretary of the Yorkshire Union of Institutes between 1848 and 1857. In that capacity he became the most knowledgeable person about the Mechanics’ Institution movement. The essay referred to above provided a very systematic, detailed and reasoned analysis of the Institutions highlighting their weaknesses, benefits and potential. Hole did not write about education policy preferring to survey the educational agencies that were associated with worker education in Leeds. Agencies and institutions described in the essay included day and evening schools, Sunday schools, criminal and pauper education agencies and Mechanics’ Institutions. He was a very loyal, committed and highly regarded citizen of Leeds.
He established an itinerant village library service in 1852 operated by the Yorkshire Union of Mechanic’s Institutions The travelling library issued boxes of fifty books every six months to subscribers who paid one penny per week. This invaluable service continued for over forty years.
As mentioned above Hole was instrumental with Booth and Chester in creating the Society of Arts examinations. Chester and Hole saw that an examination system could be a useful way of improving the effectiveness and management of the Mechanics’ Institutions. These two individuals began the development and James Booth then implemented the examination system. Hole felt that examinations were a relatively simple but essential way of reforming and improving the performance of the Institutions. Equally important was to provide high quality instruction for workers that prepared them for work and as members for society. Hole felt that the main weakness of the Mechanics’ Institutions was that they had adopted the wrong form of instruction. The three most common methods of learning were the library, lectures and class teaching. He observed that class teaching was the most effective but too often there were few good teachers and suitable classrooms. Other weaknesses highlighted included the mechanics’ inadequate elementary education and their reluctance to stay the course although in many cases this was understandable (see history of technical education). Accepting these weaknesses Hole felt that examinations could bring about improvements and act as a motivator. In his essay he proposed the creation of a national Union of Institutes and its examiners would establish greater confidence through the introduction of a comprehensive system of examinations rather than the somewhat divisive awarding of certificates of proficiency that often created ill-feeling amongst the learners.
Eventually he returned to London in 1867 where he died in 1895. Two years before his death is published a book on national railways arguing for a state owned system.
It is time to recognise more fully this remarkable individual and his thoughts, ideas and achievements on adult, social and technical education.
(1). Hole. J. ‘Light, More Light!’ on the Present State of Education Amongst the Working Classes of Leeds Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts. 1860.
Foden. F. ‘The Examiner –James Booth and the origin of common examinations’. Leeds Studies in Adult and Continuing Education. 1989.