In the 1800s, formal education became available even to the poorest people.
Before the 1800s, education was not free and poor children got what education they could in Dame schools or Sunday Schools.
Some historians say the improvements were made because the public were beginning to complain about the lack of education and support for young children who worked long, hard days in factories. These historians also believe that the government wanted to educate people so that they could make more money for the country.
Between 1900 and 1909, 'red-brick ' universities were founded in Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol, concentrating on 'hands-on' courses such as science or engineering. These differed from universities such as Oxford and Cambridge which primarily taught less vocational and more traditional subjects such as history and the classics.
Mechanics' Institutes were set up in many towns to provide night-school education for working men and public libraries were built in many cities so that more people had access to improve their lives during their free time. The Museums Act of 1845 gave town councils with large boroughs the power to set up museums for the public. Members of Parliament thought that working class people would improve their lives by visiting the museums instead of spending their free time in pubs.