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British Sunday Schools in the Era of the First World War: 1900–1939

MCCARTNEY, CAITRIONA,MARY,SEONAID (2018) British Sunday Schools in the Era of the First World War: 1900–1939. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 22 August 2021.

Abstract

Sunday schools played an important role in shaping and forming the religious life of Britain. Throughout much of the twentieth century the schools had a pervasive influence in society. From political figures to royalty, the schools touched the lives of much of the population. However, despite the significant role they played in the religious life of the nation, research concerning them rarely extends beyond the outbreak of the First World War. Additionally, the schools have traditionally been portrayed as ineffective tools of religious education and formation. This thesis intends to address the importance of the Sunday schools and to assess their effectiveness in the era of the First World War. It will examine the schools from 1900 to 1939 in order to consider their experiences before, during, and after the war. In doing so the research will demonstrate the importance of religious belief and practice in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Exploring the history of the Sunday schools during the First World War provides a new insight into debates concerning religion and the conflict that challenges the perception of the irreligious British soldier. Correspondingly, the thesis reveals that the First World War was not a major factor in the decline of religion in Britain. It also details the experiences of the schools during the interwar period, which have largely been under researched, revealing the continuing importance of Christianity during this time. The thesis reveals that rather than being stagnant, the schools attempted to reform their work to provide the best education for their scholars. Principally, it will argue that the Sunday schools were an integral part of religious life in Britain and therefore deserve a much more thorough treatment and appreciation in the historiography of British religion in this period.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Sunday Schools; First World War; Interwar Britain; Religion; British Christianity; Religious Education;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Aug 2018 10:08

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