This being labor day weekend, I plan to spend some time laboring in my own shop, but also reflecting on those who chose to bridge the gap between the working classes by attempting to illustrate the dignity of all labor. A portion of the History of Beethoven St. School was written as follows:
'John William Tate, the first headmaster, was held in awe by the whole school. He was indeed, in our eyes, every inch the headmaster. With his whitish hair and white imperial, sky-blue eyes, florid complexion, white vest decorated with a massive gold Albert, and tie held in position with a gold ring, he dominated the community. In winter he sported a rich box-cloth overcoat, gathered in round a high waist, then flowing on like a lady's dress to within a few inches of the ground.'The small experiment in the Beethoven School brought important changes for a time in British education... We can hope for something similar to happen again in the US.
The parents were eager to send their children to such a school and, in 1885, the school made history. In the late nineteenth century, British industry had a problem very similar to its problems today. Having long been regarded as both the cradle and the engine of the industrial revolution, it found itself being surpassed by foreign competitors. The Paris Exhibition of 1878, where eight million people saw British goods outclassed by those of France and Germany, came as a particular shock, especially as France had been overrun by the Germans and in turmoil over the Paris Commune, only seven years before. As today, attention focused on the education system. It was here the fault was seen to be. One Manchester industrialist, Sir William Mather, expressed the general view in a speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science:
"--- the present methods of teaching in our public elementary schools do not satisfy the wants of the nation, or do justice to the children who are compelled to attend---"
Also, I am attempting to re-publish my out of print book, Making Elegant Custom Tables as a kindle edition. I'll let you know if it works. My first step is to scan each page, then convert it all to an editable pdf document. Then after necessary corrections are made, I will upload it to Amazon.com
Make, fix and create...