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To what extent were changes in Scottish leisure, religion and education between 1880 and 1939 due to urbanisation

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To what extent were changes in Scottish leisure, religion and education between 1880 and 1939 due to urbanisation In the 1880s people in Scotland were just as likely to live in a town or city as they were to live in the countryside. However by 1939 this had radically changed and most people were now urban dwellers. The process of urbanisation during this time is thought by many historians to have "affected the lives of ordinary people in all sorts of ways" (Sydney Wood). In particular there was notable changes in leisure, religion and education. In leisure people now had more time for themselves, and new opportunities became available to them. Religion became more and more diversified and secularisation became much more common. Education became seen as a necessity as apposed to optional and much more importance was put upon it. Though this is all true it must be looked at in more detail before it is associated solely with urbanisation. Leisure in particular was changed, but in many cases it had only just begun. Laws restricting working hours and increasing wages (for example the Shop Assistants Act 1911, and The coal mines (minimum wages) act 1912) meant that people, particularly men, had time and money they had never had to do with what they wished. ...read more.


. . for diverting the attention of the workers" (T C Smout). Changes in society and in particular the "upheaval of urbanisation rendered the system that suited rural Scotland unworkable" (Sydney Wood). In rural Scotland (ie the Highlands and islands) the Church of Scotland and also the Free Church remained the most popular, however in the cities it was a different matter. They had to compete with others such as the Episcopal Church, Congregational, Methodist and Baptist Churches and chiefly the Roman Catholic Church. In 1892 more than 1/3 of a million people attended its churches regularly, this rose to well over 600 000 by 1939, showing its large gain in support. Even so, this was not entirely due to urbanisation as the huge migration of Irish Catholics and Jewish must also be taken into account. Not only did they face competition from other faiths, but were challenged by scientists such as Charles Darwin who questioned the Calvinist beliefs. The bible was fiercely scrutinised and questioned which many who had "never thought of not going to church" (Morrice) found upsetting. The most detrimental change that materialized though was loosing their key role in welfare and education. "Churches were becoming private clubs" (Callum Brown) and became less involved with peoples lives. Teacher run training collages were turned over to the state in 1907 and rate and taxpayers now helped the poor. ...read more.


Then in 1923 elementary pupils ages 11-12 sat a qualifying exam that would determine their ability and the school they went to. Some went to a senior 5 year schools to gain Higher's and the possibility of going to university, others to junior 3 year schools and left without qualifications. Many thought this was unfair as it was often the better off children who gained entry to 5 year schools - it was "academic education to qualify them for their role as a controlling elite" (T C Smout). Universities were also reformed in the 1880s. In 1889 The Universities (Scotland) Act introduced a 4 year honour degree aswell as the ordinary 3 year degree. Women were admitted on the same terms as men and the number of places rose from 6000 in 1900 to 10 000 in 1939. Although there was other reasons for these reforms (eg improving the national economic efficiency), the dense population caused by urbanisation brought it to the governments attention sooner rather than later and made it easier to centralise resources. There is little doubt that there has been large changes in leisure, religion and education however urbanisation was only one part of this. Although urbanisation should not be undermined as an important factor it must be taken into account that other factors including Government reforms and War have also made this possible. Mhairi B Thomson 5S2 ...read more.

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