The Spectator

The lay of the land

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From ‘Schoolboy labour’, The Spectator,

12 May 1917: Work on the land, even though the time be stolen from books, will have a distinct educative value, because Public School boys are less handy than boys of the same age in a poorer class. Take boys of 15 in an agricultural district who work regularly on the land… They have an aptitude and appearance of physical maturity, which are almost unknown in the well-to-do classes. Their physical strength is not greater than that of Public School boys, but it is applied more cunningly, and their general competence is remarkable. To have even a short experience of how labourers work on the land will be an unforgettable experience. As for those who some day will be the owners and managers of land, it will be one of the most enlightening fortnights in the whole of their education.