View Full Version : Tracing a school teacher's career: help!

21-03-2008, 4:30 PM
I have an ancestor called Annie Alice Newton, who trained as an elementary school teacher in Burton upon Trent in the 1890s. According to the 1901 census, she continued her career after her marriage to William Henry Marson, in Aston, Birmingham. Is there any way I could find out which school(s) she was a teacher at? I went through a couple of Directories (Bennett's Business Directory, 1914, and Kelly's Directory for Warwickshire, 1912) and made a list of local schools. (The Marsons lived in Villa Street, Aston.) The most likely school was one run by the Misses Lloyd, called Aston Park Boarding and Day School, but it's only a guess on my part.

Having got that far, I'm not entirely sure what my next step would be. Any help/guidance would be most appreciated.

21-03-2008, 4:47 PM
Sorry, I can't help you with tracking down the schools, but I am a bit surprised that she managed to continue as a teacher after her marriage.

According to the 1901 census, she continued her career after her marriage to William Henry Marson, in Aston, Birmingham.

When I trained as a teacher in the 1980's I was taught in my "History of Education" course that women were not allowed to teach if they were married - it was considered that their role was to look after their husbands.

I found this on the BBC website: "Until the Sex Disqualification Removal Act was passed in 1919, no married women were allowed to work as teachers."

The article then goes on to say that despite the act many married women were debarred from teaching, and were sacked if they married.

I believe that married women were able to continue in their jobs if they had to work because their husbands were unable to, for example, if the husband was disabled.

If she continued in her job, I can only assume that it must have been at a private school, (as local authorities were sacking married women teachers as late as the 1920's) although this might have been seen as unacceptable by many parents.

22-03-2008, 8:09 AM
The fact that Annie was shown as a school teacher (schoolmistress, is how it was worded) surprised me too, I must admit! This is the first time that I've had a female ancestor with a job after marriage. The family did seem to put quite a high value on education though, as both sons went to Aston Grammar School, and the oldest one then continued on to Birmingham University, after gaining two scholarships.

I didn't realise there was an actual law forbidding women to teach after marriage, until the 1920s, so thank you for that background! It's ironic that if the husband was teaching, the wives were allowed to be a matron at the school...as long as they were "caring" for someone it was OK.

Slightly off topic, I recently discovered that the children's author, Alison Uttley, who was born in 1884 in Derbyshire, not only won a scholarship to a grammar school, but went on to Manchester University and gained a degree in Physics Honours, then went to Cambridge for a year. She later taught Science at a school in London. Given that this must have been during the first decade of the 20th century, her family must have been very forward thinking people!

22-03-2008, 9:53 AM
I have a set of 2xggp who were both teachers. In the 1881 census they are both shown as teachers although that does not prove that Clara was actualy employed as one at the time. The family moved a great deal between differnt schools & I wonder if the law was "suspended" in the smaller schools in rural towns & villages for the practicality of having 2 teachers at the same time?

It looks as if I am going to have to dig a bit further to see if she actual did work after her marriage.

22-03-2008, 10:02 AM

One of the places to search could be parish meetings & accounts as many school teachers were at the local schools which were run by the churches.

Also their accomodation was often provided with the job.
eg My 2xggp are shown on the 1881 census as living in the "School House" in Allensmore.

22-03-2008, 10:06 AM
I too, or rather my husband has ancestors who were married, and both were master and mistress of the same National school in the late 1800's according to census's and The Post Office and Kelly's Directories.

22-03-2008, 11:08 AM
British Origins have a list of Teachers Registrations from 1870-1948, but there are only 2 Ann/Annie NEWTONs, one is in Barnsley and one in Manchester. I also looked for her married surname but again no success.


22-03-2008, 12:54 PM
Thank you all for your input. Perhaps Birmingham's authorities were more enlightened than other parts of the country, or more prepared to turn a blind eye to married women teachers! As Ffortune mentioned, it's possible that Annie might just have given her occupation as it was before her marriage, and that she wasn't actively teaching.

Another thought that occurred to me was: could she possibly have privately tutored female students at her home, do you think? Her sons were 5 and 2 years old at the time of the 1901 census, so teaching in a school wouldn't have been possible, surely?