Bell, Andrew, Dd

Bell, Andrew, D.D.

inventor of what is called the Lancasterian School System, was born at St. Andrew's, 1752, and educated at the University there. Taking orders in the Church of England, he was appointed chaplain at Fort St. George, and minister of St. Mary's church at Madras. Here he commenced instructing gratuitously the orphan children of the military asylum, and made the first attempt at the system of mutual instruction. On his return to England he published in London, in 1797, An Experiment made at the Mule Asylum at Malras, suggesting a System by which a School or Family may teach itself under the superintendence of the Master or Parent. The pamphlet attracted but little attention until, in the following year, Joseph Lancaster opened a school in Southwark for poor children, supported by subscription, and conducted upon this system. It was so successful that similar schools were established elsewhere. The education of the poor being undertaken on so large a scale by a sectarian, the subscribers being also in the main dissidents from the Church of England, caused some alarm in the leading members of that church. Bell was opposed to Lancaster, and in 1807 was employed to establish schools where the Church doctrine would be taught, and to prepare books for them. Funds were provided, and the rivalry, by stimulating both parties to exertion, resulted in nothing but good; though the particular feature, that of mutual instruction with the help of a master only, has been found to require very material modifications. Dr. Bell, as a reward for his labors, was made a prebendary of Westminster. He died at Cheltenham, January 28, 1832, leaving over $600,000 for educational purposes.

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