The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Hygiene as an Integral Part of a Normal Education

by A. T. Schofield, M.D., M.R.C.S.
(National Health Society)
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 396-399

[Alfred Taylor Schofield, 1846-1929, was a Harley Street nerve doctor. He wrote extensively on Christianity and medical issues, especially nerves, sometimes under the pseudonym Luke Theophilus Courteney. He married a woman from Ireland. His younger brother, Harold, had died in 1883 as a missionary in China.]

"Great bodies move slowly," and as yet the report of the International Hygienic Congress is not yet out, I am unable at present to give the substance of the paper I had the honour of reading there; therefore, as Miss Mason is most anxious to offer to the readers of this Review, in this number, some explanation of the reasons that have led the teaching of hygiene to be definitely included among the objects of the P.N.E.U., I will try in a very few words to place the matter before its readers.

It is indeed not a little strange that in the closing decade of the nineteenth century words of mine should be needed to enforce in England the necessity of making the teaching of hygiene an integral part of every woman's education. I have now been for many years earnestly urging this point before audiences of educated ladies whenever and wherever I could, and yet seem to have made but little real advance; and I have now come to the conclusion that people care little for themselves or for their girls to study any subject that is not accompanied by an examination giving some honour, however shadowy. It is clear, therefore, that the way to reach my end is to work through the examining bodies at Oxford and Cambridge and elsewhere, and induce these, if possible, to make the teaching of this subject at first optional, and afterwards compulsory, in their senior girls' and women's examinations. Miss Mason is therefore trying to get, through the medium of this Review, 10,000 signatures in support of this object. I have already been helped by the kind personal interest and aid of H.R.H. Princess Christian, Vice-President of the National Health Society [daughter of Queen Victoria], and of H.R.H. the Duchess of Albany, President of the Sanitary Institute [widow of Queen Victoria's son], who have each presided over meetings specially convened to further this object; as well as by the hearty support of their respective societies, and of very many men of science.

And now a word or two on the subject itself.

A general knowledge of the leading facts of physiology, of the laws of health, of the care and training of children, of nursing, of the prevention of disease, and of sanitation, seems to me so absolutely essential to women, whether wives, mothers, teachers, governesses, nurses, visitors, missionaries, or workers in any sphere that I can only account for the present ignorance of the science of hygiene by the crude, and at times objectionable, way it has been taught, by the absence of interesting and intelligible manuals, and by its almost entire neglect by all our teaching bodies.

When we consider that, in spite of our sanitary laws, we have still some 150,000 preventible deaths and over four million needless sick beds every year, mainly through the culpable ignorance that still everywhere prevails on these important matters; when we remark that it is not reasonably possible that any one can acquire a knowledge of Hygiene without having it in their power on many occasions to prevent both sickness and death; when we see how easy is the science of prevention compared with that of care; how any one, for instance, in a few minutes can be taught to kick a piece of orange-peel off the pavement, and so prevent a broken thigh, which on the other hand requires the training of years to know properly how to set--we see that, whatever other subjects in a woman's education may be left out, whether ancient history, biography, chemistry, botany, mathematics, algebra, or physical geography, this all-important subject ought at all events to be included. It is impossible for any woman to acquire this knowledge without having her sphere of usefulness greatly increased, or for a week to pass without her being able in some way to turn this knowledge to some practical use. All that is necessary to be known in these matters can be taught without the use of technicalities or the introduction of purely medical matters. It can be taught, as I have well proved, thoroughly and efficiently to girls of all ages, though the best time to teach it is towards the close, or after the close, of the school career. May I then, without adding more words, venture to ask for the hearty co-operation of every reader of this Review in obtaining on the blank page (which should be cut out and sent to A. T. Schofield, Esq., M.D., Westbourne Terrace, Hyde Park, S.W.) as many signatures as possible in favour of making hygiene a part of every woman's normal education?


(This object is personally supported by T.R.H Princess Christian and the Duchess of Albany.)

We, the undersigned, heartily approving the principle adopted by the P.N.E.U., that Hygiene form an essential part of every woman's education, do hereby humbly request the Controlling Boards of the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations to include Hygiene and elementary Physiology as optional subjects in their girls' and women's Intermediate Local Examinations.

Names.   . . .   Addresses.
Isabel Aberdeen. . . Haddo House, Aberdeen
L. M. Braidwood. . . Willesden Green, N.W.
T. W. Sharpe. . . Education Department
Henry S. Perrin. . . 31 St. John's Wood Park
Florence Campbell. . . 22 Queen's Gate Gardens
Angela M. A. Campbell. . . 43 Stanhope Gardens
M. Aldrich Cotton. . . The Cloisters, Westminster
May E. Hoare. . . 96 Ebury Street
Amy Wilson. . . Leytonstone
E. Maud McNeill. . . 9 Moreton Gardens, S.W.
Marion E. Parsons. . . 55 Bedford Gardens, W.
Frances Purdon. . . St. Catherine's, Surbiton
Maud Gurney Fox. . . 9 Cottenmore Gardens, Kensington
Sara N. Defries. . . 3 Elgin Avenue
Geo. Lindsay Johnson, M.D.. . . Corbins, Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead
Ella Cockburn. . . 39 Elvaston Place, South Kensington
C. A. Smith. . . Keswick House, Putney
Mary E. Alexander. . . Glendale, Hampstead Hill Gardens, N.W.
Frances Macpherson Grant. . . Ballindalloch, Scotland
Elizabeth Anna Gordon. . . 61 Princes' Gate
Louisa Hallman. . . 5 Crawley Place
Catherine F. Kitching. . . 19 Crossfield Road, Belsire Park
Ida S. Thomson. . . Mecklenburg House, Putney
E. Sutton. . . 28 Gloucester Street, S.W.
Amy J. Smith. . . 12 Eaton Place
Sibella Money. . . The Vicarage, Kilburn
Hannah Whitall Smith. . . 44 Grosvenor Road, S.W.
Mary Tudor Kirkpatrick Picard. . . 59 Abbey Road, N.W.
A. W. Wills. . . Heath Lodge, Hampstead Heath
Annie Henrietta Fryer. . . Westhaven, Cricklewood, N.W.
Caroline Hollis. . . 1 Maida Hill West, W.<
Maria Georgina Repton. . . 64 Eaton Terrace, S.W.
F. Kennedy. . . 39 Onslow Square
M. A. Chreiman. . . 39 York Place, W.
Penelope Moon. . . 37 Warwick Gardens, Kensington, W.
Mrs. Holton. . . 83 Gloucester Road, S.W.
F. Franks. . . 13 York Place, W.
A. J. Duff. . . Hatton Castle, Turriff, N.B.
John Jackson. . . Central Hill, Upper Norwood
Alfred Thompson. . . 15 Haverstock Hill, N.W.

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