Mudcat Café message #2542955 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2542955
Posted By: Will Fly
19-Jan-09 - 07:38 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
I took my old 11+ exam (remember that?) at a local Mechanics' Institute in Lancashire in 1955. The building was a reminder that there was a huge self-improvement programme for working-class people that started in the 1820s - often philanthropically funded by industralists on the premise that a better-educated workforce was a more productive workforce. That movement gave birth to the Public Library movement, with the "penny rate" that funded it.

One factor has changed since those days: there was no benefit if any kind for those with no money. No sick benefits, no unemployments benefits, no housing benefits - until the Means Test in the 1930s (subject of "Love On The Dole"). So, it may be that the incentive to lear, to better oneself, to "get on" was more urgent than today - when, if one so chooses, one can just about live off the State.

Please note: I'm not necessarily saying that we live in a more feckless society than of yore, but life is easier now than then for those who do reject education and self-improvement.