The English boys boarding preparatory school, 1914-1940

(1995). The English boys boarding preparatory school, 1914-1940. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis is a detailed study of a long-standing English institution. The preparatory school is an integral component of the education system of Britain's wealthier classes and has influenced the lives of many of this country's greatest men. The popular conception of the inter-war prep school is that of an unpleasant world of bullies, beatings and cold baths. This notion stems from the writings of a few influential authors and may not represent the reality. This thesis seeks to examine this conception by comparing it with a detailed description of the institution drawn from a wide range of sources.

The study has utilised information from memoirs as well as interviews conducted with those who attended or taught at a prep school before the last war. Contemporary articles and reports have been' supplemented by knowledge drawn from the schools own archives. One objective of-the thesis has been to use these sources in their original form.

The prep school is defined and placed in its historical context. The nature of the popular conception is clarified before every aspect of prep school life in this period is then examined. The study considers the curriculum, games and staff. There is a detailed account of daily life. Rules, organisation and discipline are described and the ethos of the institution explored. Parents and relationships with son and school are also considered. Finally there is an attempt to identify the long term effect of the prep school experience.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 57507
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  • PhD Thesis
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  • © 1995 The Author
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