chapter  3
20 Pages

FAIRY PALACES: IDENTIFICATION AND IDEOLOGY IN CHILDREN'S FICTION

A few months after the first number of The Graphic appeared at the end of 1869, Royal Assent was given to Forster's Education Act of 1870. Its provisions were fairly limited: higher grants were given to church schools, and local boards were set up to oversee education - yet it set clear the path for state development of education as a right for all children. Further acts in 1880 and 1902 extended its provisions: they were part of a larger movement which acknowledged, for the first time, the importance of childhood as a separate state of being which needed nurture, support and encouragement. Legislation against cruelty to children, changes to the law on poor relief, the inception of nursery schools, and the range of provisions of the Children's Act of 1908 all combined to ensure that childhood was now a condition with its own rights: not for nothing was the new century hailed as 'the century of the child'.