By the mid nineteenth century, Oxford and Cambridge began to adjust to the demands of educating the future elite of a more fully industrialised nation. Through a series of reforms, Oxford or Cambridge became a more desirable and accessible destination to an expanding middle class. An Oxbridge education became a seal of gentlemanly status in a society where rank counted. Also, through the reforms, it was hoped that the new mid-nineteenth century intake would merge into an ‘urban gentry’ ready to take on an active public service role within Victorian society. The need for a new elite with a strong public service ethos reflected the desire for social improvement of the mid Victorian decades. This presentation will chart how Oxbridge adjusted to the new reality of the nineteenth century.
Oliver E Hadingham, Waseda University, Japan
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