This chapter concerns the popular classes: first, their experience of childhood in the second half of the nineteenth century, then the advent of mass schooling and its consequences. It draws primarily upon state records—inquiries into the ‘problem’ of children outside the schooling system and reports on the operation of schools. These records provide a grip on changes in the organisation of childhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, laying the foundation for the mid-twentieth century child-centred family. Private philanthropy addressed the issue of childhood experience, targetting the most depressed section of the popular classes. In the 1850s members of the colonial elite formed the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children, building a large asylum for ‘the progeny of dissolute and abandoned parents’. In the inter-war years universal school attendance and child dependency were firmly established, and there emerged a specialised world of childhood, stretching from infancy to early teens and extending across social classes.