Submitted for publication in conjunction with A World Conference on International Education Interpreting International Education - Dimensions of Theory and Practice Geneva, 11-13 September 2002 University of Bath / International Baccalaureate Organisation
The First International School:
The Story of the London College of the
International Education Society (1866-1889)
by Robert Sylvester
Introduction Thomas Friedman (2000) in his book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, argues that the present age of globalization is, in fact. the second era of globalization, especially when one considers the volume of trade and cross-border capital flow relative to GNP as well as the flow of labor across borders. The first period of globalization he posits, occurred from the mid 1800s to the late 1920s. That era witnessed a period when, in FriedmanÕs words, the world shrank from a ÔlargeÕ size to a ÔmediumÕ size. He further points out that the first era of globalization was broken apart by the successive impacts of the Russian Revolution, World War One and the Great Depression. This present era of globalization is distinguished, in his view, by the speed and the power of the global changes in communications, in travel and the concurrent rise of multinational corporations. In this latter period of globalization the world shrank again from a size ÔmediumÕ to a size Ôsmall.Õ
The focus of this chapter is an investigation into the rise of efforts to establish international schools during this first Victorian period of globalization of the late 19th Century. These efforts have, for the past forty-five years (see Bibby 1946), been lost to any serious consideration by researchers in international education. This historical investigation may well be of interest to forming a more complete understanding of the present rise of international schools in the second era of globalization which has become even more evident during the last decade of the 20th century. The story of the early international schools, and especially, the first international school in the West, needs to be told in the historical context of a tension between the parallel growth of national systems of education and a popular awareness of international relations and sentiments. As Scanlon (1960) noted in his text, International Education:ADocumentary History: The nineteenth century also marked the beginning of great national systems of mass education. The motives behind these systems varied, from the despotism of the Frederick Williams to the warm humanitarianism of a Pestalozzi; but all were committed in one way or another to the advancement of national interests. It is against this background of vigorous nationalism that the efforts of early pioneers in international education should be examined. For fundamentally all were out of step with the nineteenth century. In an era of provincial loyalties, they argued for loyalty to mankind. And in an era of mass education for patriotism, they contended that the school was the only agency capable of advancing education across national boundaries. Little wonder that their proposals were viewed as radical, visionary, and utopian (pp 3-4.) Butts (in Deighton 1971) viewed the historic rise of international education and the tension that existed with the rise of nationalism in the following manner:
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the appeal for greater cooperation among the scholars and educational institutions on nations began to grow more insistent. French philosophes, German cosmopolitans, and English internationalists of the Enlightenment began to speak of the necessity for transcending national barriers through educational understanding. In general, however, their voices were drowned during the nineteenth century by growing claims that education should become an instrument of national policy rather than of international understanding (p. 165.)
Stomfaz-Stitz (1993) observed more recently, in a history of peace education in North America, that the hidden strands of the history of international education may have yet to be discovered and treated in a serious fashion by researchers and historians. What is considered a progressive attitude toward a global approach to educational planning today has its roots in international educational and peace education efforts that emerged, in her view, during the Victorian Age.
The Spring Grove School The story of the ÔfirstÕ international school is British in presence and European in scope. Brickman (1962) notes that the International College at Spring Grove, London, just a few kilometres east of the present Heathrow International Airport, was established in 1866 and operated until 1889 when the premises were sold to the Borough Road Training College. The college was established under the inspiration of Richard Cobden, the chairman and founder of the International Education Society as well as under the leadership of the scientists Thomas H. Huxley and John Tyndall. Brickman indicates that Òthe idea for an international school originally came from a committee set up by the commissioners of the Paris Universal Exposition  to conduct an essay contest on the advantages of a school for pupils of various national originsÓ(p 231.)
Richard Cobden, one of the leading supporters of the Spring Grove School, detested both war and imperialism and was a fierce opponent of the hawkish policies of Prime Minister Palmerston. He advocated free trade, international arbitration and disarmament. He showed an enthusiasm for phrenology, the pseudo-science whose advocates believed that the nature of human character could be divined from the minute examination of the shape of a skull. But he was also a true cosmopolitan. At his death, the Daily Telegraph wrote that Ôhe taught political economy to the gentlemen of England, and he brought untaxed bread into the poor man's home. Of no other politician can so much be said.Õ Stewart (1972), in giving the background to the establishment of the Spring Grove School and the influence of the Radical politician Richard Cobden in the venture, noted: ÒMany leading advocates of free trade hoped to realize their vision of international harmony by the creation of a new type of education which would enable the citizens of different countries to become international ambassadorsÓ(p 118.) Stewart also reports that the first contingent of students in 1867 numbered twelve day scholars between the ages of ten and fourteen who enjoyed the advantage of eight acres of ground. There was one master to each ten students and, in the absence of corporal punishment, the school incorporated isolation and deprivation of privileges as the primary forms of discipline. The student body of the Spring Grove School of that time included French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Indian, North American, Brazilian, Chilean, Nicaraguan and Bermudan boys (Brickman 1962.)
Bibby (1959, p.168) notes that a scheme to establish a series of international schools in Europe was first proposed at the Paris 1855 exhibition through an essay contest under the theme of Òthe advantages of educating together children of different nationalities...Ó(ibid.) Bibby, like Brickman (1950) seems to have assumed that the Paris Exhibition of 1855 witnessed the first time that an essay contest on international education was launched. However, Stewart (1972), using several distinct primary sources, credits the substantive essay contest on international schools to have taken place at the London Exhibition of 1862 under the auspices of the French Committee of that later Exhibition. The historical evidence seems to support the first essay contest on the establishment of international schools in the West to have taken place at the London Universal Exposition of 1862, a date which may be considered as the dawning of the first organized attempt to establish internationals schools in the West.
Importantly, Stewart (ibid) characterized the Spring Grove School as the Òone genuine and successful attempt at international education in the nineteenth century..Ó He notes that there were three proposals made between 1855 and 1862 towards the establishment of a form of international school in Europe. The proposal by the French Inspector General of Public Instruction, Eugene Rendu was first made in 1855, probably as a result of discussions at the Paris Exposition of that year, but was delayed in publication until 1862. James Lorimer, a lawyer in Scotland published two articles in the summer of 1861 with a proposal similar to RenduÕs. Lorimer called for a Ôrational study of languagesÕ and the application of travel in the service of Ôinternational understanding.Õ The third proposal for an international school was made by the French business magnate, Aristide Barbier in 1862 on the occasion of the International Exhibition in London that year. He donated five thousand francs to the French Committee of the Exhibition as a prize for the best essay on the Ômeans of establishing international education in Europe.Õ Barbier himself suggested the establishment of four colleges for boys of ten to eighteen years of age. The essay contest of 1862 was ultimately won by Edmond Barbier (only a namesake - not a relative of the winner) who also happened to be the translator of the ÔdefinitiveÕ French edition of DarwinÕs Origin of Species. The successful essay resulted in the creation of the European Association for International Education based in Paris, with Eugene Rendu as its secretary. There is, as yet, no historical evidence of any connection between this Paris-based European Association of International Education and CobdenÕs International Education Society that owned and operated the Spring Grove School.
Stewart (op cit) reports that the governors of the Spring Grove school in England were not initially organised until 1863 when a provisional committee that included Richard Cobden (who died before the school would open) Dr. W.B. Hodgson, Thomas Twining and the scientists John Tyndall and T.H. Huxley. Stewart notes that Edmond Barbier acted as secretary to this committee. The committee sent out a circular in 1863 which tried to answer various criticisms of the school project, especially the fear (apparently in the popular mind) that the pupils would, as a result of their time at the school, Òlose all sense of national feelingÓ (p 121.) When Richard Cobden died in 1865 his place as chairman of the International Education Society was taken by A.W. Paulton a fellow activist in the Anti-Corn Law League (Bibby 1959, p 168.)
An article in the Journal of the Society of Arts (Bell 1863) published in London in 1863 noted that ÒThe recent International Exhibition [in London] seems naturally to have led to the discussion, amongst the many distinguished men of different nations then in this country of various plans for removing national prejudicesÓ(p. 336.) A published report resulted from the essay contest sponsored by M. Barbier and the French Committee of the London Exhibition. The report proposed that Òa European CompanyÓ be formed Òfor the purpose of establishing a college, or rather school, in each of the four great countries in Europe.Ó The colleges would receive children of equal numbers from the four countries and it was envisioned in the report from the essay contest that students would be instrumental in teaching each other languages in a sort of peer-tutoring system. The students would migrate to another college at the end of a year and would find that the Òrules would be exactly alike; so that a boy going from one college to another, would be certain to find there the continuation of the studies he had begunÓ(p 336.) The Journal article optimistically observed that a great deal of time needed to learn the European languages would be saved and Ònational prejudices and antipathies would be modified, a new generation, endowed with more liberal and enlightened views would be formed, the whole tending to the promotion of peace and social progress in the various nationsÓ (Bell, 1863, p. 336.)
The biographer of T.H. Huxley (Cyril Bibby 1959) in outlining HuxleyÕs role as an educator, relates the rise of the Spring Grove School to the widespread discontent with the public schools in England that led to the establishment of the Clarendon Commission in 1864 (Bibby 1956.) By his account: Òforward-looking citizens set about the establishment of educational institutions with fewer cultural and domestic deficiencies.Ó As Bibby further observed, ÒIf today it were proposed to found boarding schools in different countries, with similar curricula and methods of teaching so that their pupils might migrate from one to another and thus acquire linguistic fluency and an international outlook without disrupting their studies, what charges of Utopianism might not be made!Ó (1959, p 168)
Brickman (1962) indicates that international secondary schools were, in fact, established in the 1860s at Chatou, near Paris and at Bad Godesberg near Bonn but were discontinued soon after in response to the Franco-Prussian War (p 230.) However, Charles Dickens (1864) in his weekly publication called All the Year Round outlined in significant detail in an article entitled ÒInternational EducationÓ[emphasis added] the planning for the founding of a series of international schools in Europe, first in France. He detailed the establishment of a school in St. Germain-en-Laye (just outside Paris - about Ôfive leagues distantÕ) which would take a Òbold theoretical swingÓ undertaken under the auspices of the European Association for International Education under the leadership of M. Eugene Rendu the Inspector General of Public Instruction. ÒThe plan is to establish in the different countries of Europe a series of international and corresponding schools for the middle and upper classes, which will enable a boy during the course of a liberal general education, to acquire thoroughly several modern languages, each being learned with the others, among school fellows of all nations, in the land where it is spoken. The arrangement of classes and method of study being precisely the same in each international schoolÓ [emphasis added] (p 106.) Dickens later noted that this arrangement would be established in such a way Òso that the pupils in passing from one nation and language to another, would find no notable change in the course of study to retard the progress of their education.Ó (p 106) Dickens further noted that the Ôinternational schoolÕ would contain pupils of different countries and different creeds in such a way that Òthe school receives all creeds on equal terms, the growth of cosmopolitan indefferentism (sic) is said to be a guarded against by the careful maintenance of a high moral and religious feeling in the school.Ó He then notes Ò...it would be well if boys could thus learn that there is but one common religion, whatever the number of theologiesÓ(p 107.) Dickens compared this effort to form international schools to the establishment in the 14th-16th centuries of the European universities into a Ôrepublic of lettersÕ in which a sense of individual nationality would not be diminished. ÒIt certainly would not denationalize the young English mind. English boys, sure to be numerous in any school of the sort thus proposed, would be a community ready to fight in play-hours with the boys of any other nation if the honour of their country were brought into question.Ó Dickens further observed ÒEvery boy would uphold and magnify his own, and the result in each case would be, with the tolerance that comes of near acquaintance with different ways of thought, anything but the undesirable state of mind in which a man donÕt care to think himself a Frenchman, or a German, or an Italian, or an Englishman, but prides himself on being a citizen of the world at largeÓ(p 107.) Dickens apparently did not view the education available in England at the time with much appreciation as he noted in the Journal article that the educational choices of the time were Òa choice of evils variously mixed with goodÓ and then added the strikingly modern sensibility that Òthe spur of some added international competition may quicken the pace of school reform at homeÓ(p 108.)
A few years later in 1866 an extensive article in a weekly London magazine, The Reader, (Bohn, 1866) detailed the progress of the planning for a series of international schools in Europe. The justification for such a development, it was noted, lies in the observation that Òour public schools are insufficient to secure the thorough acquaintance with modern continental languages which the needs of the present day demandÓ(p 678.) The article noted also that the student Òmust have that living acquaintance with modern languages which will enable him to communicate on terms of equality with his compeers in other countriesÓ(p 678.) The Reader article cited impediments in commerce, literature and science as a result of the failure of the public school systems to provide effective language instruction. The plan was then outlined in a manner clearly prescient of the type of efforts undertaken almost exactly one hundred years later by the International Baccalaureate Organisation [see the article in this publication on the history of the IB Diploma by Ian Hill] to create a practical system of international education:
It is proposed to establish, in two or more countries, schools or colleges for the instruction of pupils in the language of the country in which each school is situated, as well as of those in which sister establishments may be founded.... The combined operation of sister institutions implies uniformity, not only in the subjects taught, but also in the method of teaching. Thus the pupil would continue the study of his native tongue in the same method as at home, and the irreparable injury at present inflicted by change of system on those children who are sent abroad to private schools would be avoided. In passing from one school to another, even from one form to another in the same school, the chances are very small that a boy finds himself on an equality with his new class-fellows. The parallel arrangement of the courses in different countries proposed by this scheme would enable the ŽmigrŽ pupil to enter a class of the same degree of proficiency as that which he had just left, and with less risk of inequality than in the supposed case at homeÓ(p 678.)
The article then assured the reader that the scheme had been entrusted to competent hands of Ôan accomplished scholarÕ who was capable to Òdirect a system of international educationÓ[emphasis added] (p 679.) However, this proposed system of international education was still rooted in national interests as it was also noted that, Òthe scheme deserves the support of all who have an interest in the cause of education, and who feel it a duty to provide a future generation with the means of maintaining our and their country on a footing of equality with other StatesÓ (p 679.)
A Grand Victorian Opening of an International School Bibby (1972) in his most extensive biography of T.H. Huxley, notes that the most remarkable event for 1866 was the Òopening at Isleworth of the International College which, with Huxley and Tyndall among its governors, provided a fascinating and successful experiment in the common schooling of a wide range of nationalitiesÓ(p 61.) Stewart (1972) notes that the main benefactor for the school was William Ellis who provided a large part of the money that was required for the purchase of the site in Isleworth (Middlesex) as well as for the erection of buildings. Ellis (1800-1881) amassed a fortune in marine underwriting and himself founded five schools named after George Birbeck (Bibby 1959, p 169fn.) The completion of the construction of the first buildings and the unofficial opening took place on 1 May, 1866. However, the official opening took place on the 10th of July of 1867, with the formalities conducted by a former pupil of Ellis, the Prince of Wales Òamidst the fluttering flags of different nations.Ó The official name of the school was:
ÒThe London College of the International Education SocietyÓ
The Illustrated London News, in its issue of July 20, 1867, reported on the official opening of the London College of the International Education Society at Spring Grove near Hounslow southwest of the center of London. The school was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and a striking half-page illustration is included in the newspaper. The illustration reflected the international nature of the school with flags of many nations seen in the background of the scene. It is worthwhile to quote, in large part, this historically important contemporary account from the News of July 20th:
The Prince Of Wales And The International Education Society - The new building for the London College of the International Education Society , at Spring Grove, near Hounslow, was opened by the Prince of Wales on Wednesday week. This society, of which the late Mr. Cobden and M. Michel Chevalier were two of the earliest promoters, aims at providing the means of going through a continuous and systematic course of education - English, French, and German, or vice versa - at several different establishments in succession, conducted on the same plan and under the same general superintendence. It will prevent the interruption of studies and the distraction of which parents frequently complain when boys have been removed from a school in England and sent to a foreign school, for the sake of learning other European languages than that of their native land. The subjects and methods of instruction being arranged on a common basis, the pupil will have nothing to unlearn, and his progress in substantial knowledge will not be checked, while he is acquiring French and German by residence at Paris or on the Rhine. The whole course of teaching will occupy seven or eight years, of which two or three years may be spent at Chatou, near Paris, and the same amount of time at Godesberg, near, Bonn, in the school conducted, respectively, by M.P. Barrre and Dr. A. Baskerville. A fourth will be established in Italy. The Head Master of the London college is Dr. Leonard Schmitz, late Rector of the High School of Edinburgh, with able assistants. A most characteristic feature in the course of instruction is the prominent place which is given to the physical sciences. By this kind of study, as well as by that of mathematics, it is sought to train the mind to accurate habits of reasoning, which the founders of the Spring Grove College esteem the most important object of education. The names of Professors Tyndall, Huxley, and Williamson, and Dr. W.B. Hodgson, in the list of directors, are a sufficient guarantee for this part of the scheme. It seems calculated to remedy the great deficiency exposed by the late Report of the Public School Commissioners, and commented upon by Dr. Faraday, Sir John Herschel, and the lecturers at the Royal Institution, whose essays on this subject have been collected, under the title of ÒModern Culture.Ó The study of Latin and Greek is nowise neglected at Spring Grove, under so eminent a classical scholar as Dr. Schmitz; but it is to be commenced at a later age than usual, after mastering the grammar of the English language. Drawing, singing, drilling, and gymnastics form part of the regular course of instruction.
The opening ceremony passed off with entire success. The Prince of Wales arrived in a carriage-and-four at one oÕclock, when a gun was fired, and the Royal standard was hoisted. he was received by Mr. A.W. Paulton, the chairman, and several directors, with Dr. Schmitz, who is one of the former schoolmasters of his Royal Highness, having taught him while at Edinburgh in his youth not many years ago. A procession was formed to conduct the Prince through the building. having inspected every part, he came out in front and planted a tree - a Wellingtonia gigantea, or mammoth-tree of California - which will grow to an immense size and serve to commemorate his visit. He used a silver spade, which was presented to him by the directors. The college was then declared to be opened. The Prince of Wales and the Duc dÕAumale, who was also present, took luncheon in the dining-room with the directors and many distinguished guests. Mr. Paulton was in the chair, and spoke, with his accustomed earnest eloquence, of the part taken by his deceased friend, Mr. Cobden, in establishing the International Education Society. The Prince of Wales, in replying when his own health was proposed, said that Mr. Cobden was a personal friend of his own lamented father, the late Prince Consort, who was himself most strongly impressed with the same views regarding the education of youth, and especially regarding the study of modern languages, which he (the Prince of Wales) thought quite essential. He gracefully bore testimony to the pleasure and benefit he had received from the instructions of his friend Dr. Schmitz, at Edinburgh, and hoped the London College of the International Education Society would prosper in every way ( p 63.) Bibby (1959) records that the first headmaster of the Spring Grove School, Leonhard Schmitz (1807-1890) was born at Aix-la-Chapelle and educated in part at Bonn and was formerly Rector of the Edinburgh High School (p 169.) Bibby (1956) notes that the school had an enrolment of 80 students in residence in the first term of the new buildings at Spring Grove (p 28.)
The early years of the Spring Grove School witnessed an apparent struggle on the part of the directors (including the scientist T.H. Huxley) to establish a focus on science teaching in the curriculum. The Secretary of the International Education Society at the time, J.F. Tremayne, submitted a formal programme of science instruction to the governors covering each of the several years of instruction for the school programme. There is evidence (Bibby 1959, 1956) that the first headmaster resisted the attempt to introduce up to three to four hours per week of Science teaching, apparently, in the belief that it would interfere with the teaching of the Classics and the language emphasis that formed a central part of the early marketing of the school (Bibby 1956, pp 29-30.) The syllabus passed down from the governors of the International Education Society was elaborate, with a proposed system of science electives in place for the fifth, sixth and seventh years (p 30.)
Bibby (1959) further reports that the Spring Grove School was apparently able to move positively in the direction of an internationalist mission: ÒThe mission to which the school managed to achieve its internationalist aim is surprising. The boys must have come from wealthy... but they were not restricted by nationality or religion or raceÓ (p 171.) However, Bibby cites from a local news-sheet of December 1870 (Our Neighbourhood) an occasion where the collection of students from around the world resorted to some rather extreme methods in settling their grievances with the school managers. As the local reporter recorded:
For some reason - doubtless a proper one - the Principal of the International College, Spring Grove, deemed it necessary to stop certain holiday privileges to the pupils. A deputation to the gentleman, headed by a son of a well-known literary man, failed to get a rescind of the terrible denial: and hence a feeling of supposed injustice and ill-advised insubordination. Forming among themselves a Council of Resistance, the boys proceeded to purchase provisions in the shape of hams, preserved meats, bread, biscuits, jams, sweets, tobacco, &c. (sic), wherewith to stand the discomfort of a self-imposed siege. A portion of this had been smuggled into the rooms of the College, the remainder being granaried at a ÒpublicÓ somewhere in the neighbourhood, to be delivered by ropes let down at night-time, as the wants of the garrison should demand. On the Saturday evening, a tumbling noise overhead awoke the officials to something unusual. Upon going to ascertain the cause it was found that the boys had barricaded the doors with chests of drawers and bedding, taking the dormitory-doors from their hinges, and adding them by means of long screws, making admission impossible without the use of great force. In vain they were asked to surrender. The Principal was sent for, but could do nothing. A much-loved undermasterÕs appeal did not alter their determination. As a last resort, on Sunday morning, the aid of the police was sought, and they made short work of the mutineers. Bursting in the doors, they were assailed by brandy-balls from many a catapult! but the Helmet-and-Blue-cloth of law and order quickly brought surrender and subjection. A drum-head school martial proclaimed the dread sentence of expulsion to ten of the offenders, who were considered principals in the fitful fray - a severe punishment, but a lesson that will stand as a terrible menace to the boysÓ(cited in Bibby 1960, pp 171-172.)
Another contemporary report described eyewitness stories of rather mercenary motives for the student unrest reflected in the placards displayed by the student mutineers; ÒSmallberry Green in a state of siege came like a clap of thunder upon us; but ÔBlues to the foreÕ brought us speedy peace. Still, who shall gainsay the danger, or tell where the spirit of mutiny would stop? The International College in open rebellion, and armed with catapults and brandy-balls! - unfolding and flying the terrible banner - Our Half-Holiday! No Uniform Caps! Unlimited Tobacco! No Surrender!Ó (cited in Bibby 1956, p 32.)
Stewart (1972) notes that the governors of Spring Grove School built extensive additional buildings in 1871 including a new wing to the original building and a gymnasium at a cost of ten thousand pounds. Bibby (1959) listed the later cost of the extensions at forty two thousand pounds, an investment which provided the boys with the Òrare luxury of baths with hot and cold waterÓ(p 172.) Stewart listed the pupils as coming from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United States, India, Brazil, Chile, and Nicaragua. As noted, while the initial focus of the school was to be language instruction, science also came to the fore as a central part of the schoolÕs mission. He notes ÒThomas Henry Huxley,... wanted to make science the backbone of the curriculum and proposed an ambitious scheme that would include physics, chemistry, biology, advanced social science and the natural history of manÓ(p 123.) Stewart also noted that this 19th century effort at establishing a linked group of schools was attempted later in the 20th Century by Cecil Reddie of Abbotsholme and by Kurt Hahn. Stewart describes the Spring Grove School as Òa remarkable achievement, a product of the liberal intelligentsia for their childrenÓ (p 124.)
An advertisement in the Times of 7 April, 1880 indicated that the Spring Grove School had two laboratories for science teaching and baths with hot and cold water, which was, at the time, a rare luxury (Bibby 1956, p 35.) A contemporary description of the neighbourhood upon which the Spring Grove School was built can be found in a local directory of 1887 (cited by Bibby 1956) described as Òa fashionable villa residency, nine miles from the metropolis, pleasantly situated on the western side of the London roadÓ which Bibby notes would appeal to the Òrespectable upper-middle-class parents for whose sons the school was designed...Ó (p 27) The same local directory also indicates that Spring Grove had by then a staff of fourteen masters including specialists in music, dance, French and German and an enrolment of over 100 students (Bibby 1956, p 35.)
The English novelist, Maurice Hewlett (1861-1923), a former student of the Spring Grove School, presents some evidence which links the eventual establishment of the London College of the International Education Society with the earlier educational presentations and discussions of the Universal Exhibition in London of 1851:
ÒMy father was an idealist of 1851; he showed the enthusiasm and nursed in his bosom the hopes and beliefs of the promoters of the International Exhibition of that year. There was a plentiful planting of foreign stock in England that year, and one of its weedy saplings was an International Education Company, which out of a magniloquent prospectus and some too-confident shareholders, bore the fruit, the London International College at Spring Grove. It never came to maturity, and is now dropped and returned to the ground of all such schemesÓ (cited in Bibby 1956, p 34 and Hewlett, 1912.)
Hewlett apparently spent several years at Spring Grove. In his quite morose recollection of his time at the College, he cited it as a Òbarren, profitless time...Ó(Hewlett, 1912, p 45) and observed only a marginal impact of internationalism at the time; ÒThe school-yard is taken for the world in small, and so allowed to be. There is no thought taken, or at least betrayed, that it is nothing more than a preparation for the world at large... There were no traces in my time of the Brotherhood of Man about it. A few Portuguese, a negro or two were there, and a multitude of Jews. But I fancy I should have found the same sort of thing at EtonÓ (p 45.) Later, in the same memoir, however, Hewlett notes that his own brother enjoyed his entire experience at the same school.
Unfortunately, few, if any, historical documents exist that can be found to explain the demise of the Spring Grove School which was apparently closed in 1899 and soon after transformed into the Borough Road Training College. For a period of over twenty years the intelligentsia of England struggled with the practicalities of schooling in the frontiers of international education, practicalities which, even to the present day, continue to represent a strong metaphor of the tension between the traditional objectives of a national educational system and the emerging realities of preparing students for an increasingly globalised society.
A New Historical Benchmark for International Education There were at least three other significant efforts towards schooling in international education before 1924, a date which has been traditionally accepted (Hill 2001) as an historical starting point for international education in the West with the establishment of the International School of Geneva. In addition to the Spring Grove experiment, institutional efforts in the United States, West Bengal and in Denmark are noteworthy stories that pre-date the founding of the Geneva school. In 1910 Edwin Ginn, an educational publisher and peace philanthropist established the International School of Peace in Boston (Scott, 1912, Meyer 1949.) The school was quickly transformed into the World Peace Foundation which today has its offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Harley 1931, Stomfay-Stitz 1993.) In 1921 the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, established an international school named Santinikentan a distance of 99 miles from the Bengal capital Calcutta (Brickman 1950, Scanlon 1960.) The motto selected for the school, which still operates today as an international university, was taken from an ancient Sanskrit verse: ÒYatra visvam bhavati ika-nidam - Where the world meets in one nestÓ (Kripilani 1962.) The year 1921 also witnessed the establishment of the International Folk (Peoples) High School in Elsinore, Denmark (Carr 1945, Stoker 1933, Kenworthy 1951) by Peter Manniche. Kenworthy (ibid) notes that the purpose of the school included the aim Òto further international understanding and co-operationÓ (p. 232) and the teaching staff included Swedes, Germans, Danes and English professionals.
The complete stories of these other international schools and their role in the growth of international education in the first era of globalization still remains to be told. The first era of globalization alluded to by Friedman (op cit), did apparently produce notable attempts to expand the boundaries of national education and to strengthen the frontiers of international understanding. The Victorian experiment in international education, which for over two decades operated outside Hounslow at Spring Grove should now, in the absence of competing historical evidence, be considered the ÔfirstÕ international school of the modern age in the West and a potential point of reference for a further consideration as a significant benchmark in the modern history of the larger field of international education.
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