Mark Freeman: social and educational history of modern Britain

Papers presented



Current work in
history of

Other research

Other interests/links

My UCL Institute of Education webpage

istory of adult and informal education and youth movements

The history of adult education and youth movements is one of my main interests, and I am currently pursuing work on the history of educational centres and adult schools, and the history of the settlement movement.

Recent publications include articles on the governance of adult education institutions in 1920s Britain, the decline of the adult school movement between the wars, and the early history of the Outward Bound Trust, all in History of Education; two articles on Quakerism and youth movements, published in the English Historical Review and Quaker Studies; and an article in Social History on historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain.


In 2008 I published a pamphlet entitled Quaker Extension c.1905-1930: The Yorkshire 1905 Committee (York: Borthwick Institute of Archives, 2008). ISBN 978 1 904497 23 3. This examines attempts by the Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting of the Society of Friends to engage young Quakers in the activities of the Society, and to promote Quakerism more widely. Click here to see sample pages from this pamphlet. This 'scholarly and thoughtful pamphlet' makes a significant contribution to the religious history of the early twentieth century.

I edited a special issue of the journal History of Education on 'Education and Citizenship in Modern Scotland' in 2009. I also edited the final issue of 2012, on the theme 'Sport, Health and the Body in the History of Education'. This is now available in book form, published by Routledge.

This book is a history of the first fifty years of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT), one of three trusts established by the Quaker philanthropist Joseph Rowntree in 1904. It focuses on the contribution of the JRCT to adult education in these years, in particular the educational settlement movement with which Rowntree and his trustees were closely associated. It relates the settlements to the work of other adult education providers, and assesses their educational philosophy and impact. The book also makes a contribution to the wider history of the Society of Friends in modern Britain, exploring, for example, the JRCT's role in the promotion of the Society's peace testimony and its support for an itinerant Quaker ministry. It traces the evolution of Quaker philanthropy, and examines how Friends' social concerns were affected by the historical circumstances of the first half of the twentieth century, including two world wars, the mass unemployment of the 1930s and the emergence of the modern welfare state.

I have also published articles in History of Education and Quaker Studies on various aspects of adult education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Two of these are jointly authored, with Jonathan S. Davies, who is now at De Montfort University. Click here to see a full list of my publications.

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