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They fought alone. True Stories of the men who fought for our freedom to know. What are you doing in my office. Why are you lying. Asked my Bemis solicits an attorney representing in this instance Mr Samuel Demarest Julius Fang gata and John stag and their respective business houses of each day. I gather I'm expected to know them. Granted Mr Lancaster but I was so much money you are no longer now to whom you owe it to my credit. Well Mr. Bemis please inform the gentleman that I shall pay as soon as possible really Mr. Lancaster. Don't dast my place this school of mine Bemis operates on charity were supported by the Society for the education of the
poor. When I obtain more funds from them I shall pay your client my clients of an exclusive spot of six months out they wish to be paid. I now inform you that you have to wait better yet of grace. I have commenced legal action to place you in that prison though expressed by Lancaster. The National Association of educational broadcasters and the University of Michigan present they fought along. Our story today takes place in England in the early 1900s George the Third still reigns in Britain and the island empire is in the throes of the industrial revolution. This is the story of Joseph Lancaster and his battle for the right of the poor to an education. So they threaten they with debtors prison brother Lancaster.
It was hardly a threat Mr. Allen it was a promise and one that he will carry out unless we can raise three hundred ninety pounds in two weeks. How did they get that deeply into debt. Needed things with this I'm afraid so restricted to the field of education brother Lancaster. What about the most practical. Where can we find three hundred and ninety poems in two weeks. I've been in that is prison once because of school finances. I don't want to return Mr. Allen. Understandable because this time they could stay for life. Right and they were never interested in finances by the Lancaster but try to understand this. The Burrough Road School has several long term debts. Fortunately in the name of Lancaster not of our society these must be paid off regularly. Now then if the all to imprison the school will close the charitable contributions will cease. Who wants to support a nonexistent school by debt. However we will continue to mount at the
rate of some 500 pounds per year. We must find some way of raising the 390 pounds I am a Quaker not a magician rather. But there is an alternative. Yes I'll get the passage aboard the first ship I can find. Leave the country leaving. Exactly. I can't leave the school. Not now. There must be fun somewhere. They will leave by force in two weeks. Have we really exhausted all means of support. I am convinced of it. Well we we haven't approached the nobility. This isn't the sort of thing they're interested in. We can understand that ability. There is one way to get them interested and it just might work. What is that suppose I could convince the one person in England whose decision would sway everyone in the Empire. King George the Third himself he would have to be extremely would rather Lancaster.
Perhaps I should say foolhardy. That's precisely how I got into this mess. Maybe it's the only way to get out of it. Tell me if I wanted to see the King. How would I go about it. There was an old gentleman at the palace who potters about with cultural affairs that affect the royal family. His name is Lord Westbrook. I would suggest they see him first. But honestly I think there is little hope. Lord Westbrook must be our manager. Been listening to the quartet. I beg your pardon we're expecting you. I mean I mean. That I'm sure you must not miss it. Mr. Lancaster How do you do madam and how do you presume you know what's expected of them. Madam I'm afraid I do not.
You see I was just how many times must I explain. Of course Mr. Lancaster didn't know that the decision had been made. The king will definitely attend. You must have the royal box ready for that very thing. Understand you can see nine hundred in the theatre Mr. Lancaster. Right is the ticket so we can clear at least one thousand pounds. I'm a very worthwhile charity. The best people will be there to support the West. It's a marvelous thing for the children if I may venture a comment thousand pounds for a Sunday school is not only marvelous It's downright ridiculous. I beg your pardon Mr. Lancaster. Real dick you loose it. What would an obscure theater manager know about such matters. At least just a moment. Yes. What would a theater manager know about such from 1000 pounds. I could take 5000 children off the streets of London for a year and for another thing madame.
My lord I am no theatre manager just a manager not I wouldn't want to live well how do you doing in here. I tried to tell you it was a mistake my lord. Isn't this a ghastly mess just what are you Mr Lancaster. I'm a school teacher who teaches who doesn't believe in Sunday school. Sunday school is excellent for religion madam but there is a greater vacuum in London today than can be filled by religion a lot I believe you must be out of your mouth what about the children in the streets. What education do they get. Lord Westbrook. Pardon me I think I'll ask the musicians about your charitable work is that it. Mr Lancaster. I know better ways to spend a thousand pounds. Mrs drummer I warn you keep your opinions to yourself. I have gone to great pains to persuade that doddering idiot Lord Westbrook on this. If you jeopardize my work in any way I shall see the queue.
But my clock informs me that I have an appointment with Mr Lancaster for this hour. I refuse to stay another moment in the same room with such with this crude individual. I am shocked humiliated by people of this concert to go off as planned in the presence of the King. You may count on it. And now if I may show you I am quite capable of finding the door thank you. A very formidable female Mr. Lancaster. Now the clock said you wanted to see me about song. It's the barrel scum a lot and I need help. People usually do when they come here. I should explain first that this is not simply one school but a whole revolutionary idea of education. Storming out of your office talk of evolution What in heaven's name goes on here what do you mean your highness.
I didn't expect you know. And who is this revolutionary. Yes yes Mr Joseph Lancaster Your Highness Your Highness. This is an unexpected pleasure Your Highness if I. Yes Mr. Lancaster. Stop Westbrook just to see what's going on. I'll get about your business. I'll just sit here. I have had. Yes your Highness. Well we dismissed like the middle of a revolution a revolutionary system of education your highness. Well I'm pleased to hear that ever since that American business this matter of revolution is a melancholy subject in this house. This won't cost us any colonies than it has but one goal your Highness to give you a better Englishman Mr. Lancaster operates the barrow road school for children of the poor. Educating the poor for water for England and for humanity itself Your Highness. Because a human being is poor we do not deny him the church. The same should hold true for his
education. So frightfully expensive. These humanitarian goals are also cost not my system your Highness doesn't own revolutionary. I am able to teach five hundred thousand students in a single classroom with a single teacher. It's cheap and effective for a few shillings a year I can take a child off the streets and teach them respect for property teach them discipline and the three Rs. And you're here to persuade my father the king to support this system. Yes I am. You must realize we are exposed to many revolutionary ideas and most of them turn out to be figments of a lively imagination. What do you mean Mr. Lancaster. Mr Lancaster knows very well what I mean. The next class meets at seven o'clock Monday morning your highness. I would deem it a privilege to have you attended and see for yourself. Have you heard the good news Mr Vallance I'm new as I have heard some new is without doubt I have not.
Days ago the Kings Duke William himself visited the school. He was wonderfully impressed. You are right so you said to be bold and I was bold and it worked. And somewhere with a bonus they asked me to phone brother Lancaster. They know images trauma trauma trauma. A woman in Westbrook's office. Yeah that was a tremendous power in the social world novelist reform that US opinionated female as I recall. They will be interested in what she had to say about they in the newspaper about me. About my school. Let me let me read it. There exists in London a cruel plan for educating the ragamuffins of our lowest classes. Such an enterprise can have only the most barbarous results. It will make the children discontented with their lot. It will give them an impatient longing for the conditions of those above them. It will make
them neglect their proper occupations and strain after other one what in thunderation is the more and mark that her opinions carry great weight in some quarters. What's the rest of it. We shall do them no good to elevate their minds for we cannot elevate their conditions. Good. Mrs. Trimmer's a violent female by the Lancaster one who was accustomed to having her own way and trampling on those who oppose her. You can't oppose the royal family and Duke William is on my side of this is or was. He said he was enthusiastic. They'll be surprised at how quickly the enthusiasms of the head of area and royalty can be done. We'll see about that. Meanwhile I have spent my last two pounds buying coal for the school furnace. Could you hold the cause of course. But what are they doing about the main problem Mr. Attorney Bemis. By
time as a free man is fast running out I'm trying to get to the king. Suppose they fail. What then. Then it was a good fight. Remember it. In prison yes. Here's my pocket money and a little something else. Take this envelope and keep it with me constantly. What is it. It contains a reservation on the Burma queen in six days. She sails for Baltimore. My passage is paid for. That's all I could do. Oh no I could not. Passage is the only sure thing between the end of life in prison by that I guess they had best keep it. Thank you but I haven't given up yet. I have another appointment with you William tomorrow. They are wasting my time. Once the Duke sees this item in the paper and he probably has they are done for. I'm sorry Mr Lancaster not my custom to make hasty decisions Your Highness it may be presumptuous for
me to word speed but conditions beyond my control of course. You stirred up a hornet's nest with this tremor woman. For some reason it's in her head to fight you and she's come up with some powerful argument but you have seen the school you know what's been of course of course I do. That's why I want to discuss it with her and come to an agreement. I've requested Lord Westbrook and Mrs Dromo to pay a personal visit to your school. Show them what you showed me. Then maybe you can change your attitude. How do you William could visit the school and not see the danger of it. I shall never know. I thought it was very nice myself and the children are so well behaved Mr Lancaster. Thank you. Well behaved do you call it Lord Westbrook. This is nothing but a militant
regime. Do you know any other way for one teacher to handle a thousand students students today but dangerous revolutionaries tomorrow. I don't think so mellowed Westbrook. May I remind you that a woman can see these things much more clearly than a man. Then you think Madam that the great mass of Englishman the poor should be kept in ignorance. I mean that the happiness of the neighboring community would be better served if we taught them things that would prove useful in their neighbors milord matter. Please call out Kerry. I cannot believe that some wholesome school quickly enough. Brother Lancaster they dare not delay any longer that woman has again come out in the press again. But I still haven't seen the kid probably never read it.
Another hysterical attack. Take the advice of an old man get the home and pack for a while there's still a chance to save the school. Reconcile the brother the Burrough Road School is lost. My only chance now is to leave on the morning tide. If they remain free to begin again in America. Mr McQueen there's something you should know. Who could that be. I'm sure I don't know I'm not expecting. Let us pray introduce they self. Oh I know him Mr. Allen His name is Bemis and he is an attorney for certain of my admirer Demarest playing tag as I recall Michael right. Mr Lancaster Sol Fox you want to run out on me a what are you talking about. You have booked passage on the boat on the Queen which sails on the model. How did you know that
there are ways do you deny it. Lancaster I think the presence here demands an explanation. I have come for my pound of flesh that our two constables outside the DAR salary Guard Mr Lancaster to present. No we shall not go. I have three more days before your two weeks are up two weeks Mr. Bemis. That was your stipulations you were not applied when you made your plans to escape. I invite a Mason is that you plan to leave on that but I am a queen to morrow. Then your information is wrong. You of course I do not know brother Lancaster they should not lie even under such strenuous circumstances I am not lying. I sold that reservation this morning. You can't expect me to believe I don't care what you believe. Ask the Captain of the Bama queen. But if you arrest me now I'll sue you for ten times what I owe you. Demarest Bangor am Stagg and believe me BEMIS You will pay. Now get out of here. All right go.
I'll be back and take those two constables with you. What what is all this. I sold that passage this morning I need the money. Heavens for what. There's a concert tonight to raise funds for Mrs. Trimmer Sunday school and it cost money to get in at a time like this would you. Cause the King will be there in person. My lord my lord Westbrook me if it isn't Mr. Lancaster. Good evening my lord. Yeah I hardly expected you with this affair but
anything for charity. The only charity I'm interested in is by the barrow Road School my lord. I've come to see the king ever at the theatre of lights and you've got to help me my lord. It's my last chance. I hope it was to her I can't get near the key you can get me past the gods in the hall. God with your you can do it you've got to her what life. Then I'll manage to get to the Royal just I'm determined to see George the Third in person tonight. Out with the program tonight. His Majesty here sometimes resting on the vestibule off the royal box. That's all I wanted to know. But if the program from what I've heard of those musicians in your office that day his majesty will be like a bad guy for me to be surprised
if we both end up in the Tower of London for the present is as good as another for me. And we've made it. This is the end of it. You see those crowds and the king will come through there. Yeah he may he may not. But there is one thing you must promise me not say that you will not go into the box. Well. That he will I promise I will hold you to that. And I've always wondered about how a guy fawkes must of felt when he was about to blow up Parliament. You know I know this. Musicians must be coming out their starting point.
I'm sure Reese to go to Mr. Lancaster obviously the king is enjoying that but it's. Hard I have this time. My own career and a whole new concept of education depends on King George's walking through those curtains and would also have to convince him to lend you a supporter with your. One thing at a time. Not another. Someone is moving the box like
I thought. Yes he's coming perhaps. I don't think I want to be seen here I know you're going to leave me. I think it would be it would be better if. Oh dear me yes and Goodbye Mr Lancaster. Now what can I say to him out with you. Lancaster isn't it. Nor did I what are you doing here. I thought you was he isn't looking in there. My father. He's asleep. These things bored him silly. I'll ask you a question what are you doing here. Your Highness. I wanted to tell him about the school. I must speak to him directly. What you realize is not considered an orthodox method for getting the king's ear Lancaster's forgive me your highness. I'm an unorthodox person. Never before has there been a system of education like never any attempt to teach the poor. Never any interest in them as human beings it's all
on Orthodox. That's why I must see the king himself. If you wish to see the king Turner. Do say something to my Lord Westbrook about these awful concerts and there's less music on that stage altered and there isn't a cat fight. Certainly father. Oh this is the gentleman whose school I visited a while ago. Mr Lancaster your Majesty. Something revolutionary. What are you planning Lancaster. It's a plan already in effect your Majesty. May I have the privilege of explaining it fully. To be more tedious than a musical mess. Yes tell me about the rest. You sent from a Mullard.
Yes yes. Good afternoon Mr Lancaster. You've met me as we've met. Good afternoon madam. Milad Westbrook Why did you ask me to remain. You know how I feel about this gentleman. Lancaster the public is thoroughly aroused against his absurd idea for educating the poor. They see it as an attempt to disrupt all our social customs disrupt Mme. That's what I said. I can assure you the English family will never stand for having its children outraged by an atheistic view lots of feel like you know there's something to it is that what you wish to see me about my lord. I suppose it was you wasn't it. After I saw the king I had begun to hope that you saw the king. Yes madam. Oh oh now I remember you gave a decision a lot yeah I have it somewhere in Madrid it is a terrible here. Regarding the borough roads. Yes his Majesty feels that the
education of the common throughout is an enterprise to His Majesty therefore is used to contribute to that enterprise. The sum of one hundred pounds sterling which will be an annual donation for the remaining years of his reign. Oh almost anyone could see there were certain valuable aspects to your school Mr. Lancaster simply would design to you. Do you mean Mrs. Truman who I certainly don't now that I have the king's support. I am entitled to form a Royal Society for the support of the school. This thing is going to spread throughout all England schools in every large city modeled after the Battle Road and I will be free of creditors and bailiffs. Mrs trimmer.
I should be delighted to have you become one of the first members of this new Royal Society if you will. After the usual donation shall we say 50. This is Professor Clodagh accent. It is clear from the program you have just heard that in the first decade of the 19th century Joseph Lancaster succeeded in laying the foundations upon which elementary education in England is based. In the second and third decades of the century Lancaster spent many years in the United States where he was for a time hailed as the greatest educational prophet of the day. His system was used in hundreds of American schools and from it in many cities and towns are familiar grade in elementary school evolved. The monetary plan was cheap enough and thought to be so effective that it won
support from all groups of Americans. It served as a crucial first step in the establishment of free schools for the education of all American children and so helped greatly to create our American famed equality of educational opportunity. This has been the story of Joe's of Lancaster on the University of Michigan series they brought along. The day's program featured Len Rosen's and Joseph Lancaster. Others in the cast were at burrowers Frank Wendell kaki Betty Ellis Stephen Nelson Conrad Stolz and Bach. Music was arranged and played by Anita Bassett. Today's script was written by Bennett Wilder and directed by Edward stash of. Editorial supervision by
Professor Claude egrets and William Bender Jr. This is Ed Griffin speaking. The program was produced and transcribed by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. This is the end of the network.
They fought alone
Joseph Lancaster
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In 19th century England, Joseph Lancaster champions the rights of the poor to an education.
Series Description
Drama series on pioneering individuals produced at University of Michigan
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Social Issues
Educators--Great Britain--Biography.
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Actor: Burrell, Kenny
Actor: Nelson, Stephen
Composer: Bassett, Anita
Performer: Basie, Count, 1904-1984
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Speaker: Eggertsen, Claude A. (Claude Andrew), 1909-
Writer: Bender, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-3-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:56
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Chicago: “They fought alone; Joseph Lancaster,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “They fought alone; Joseph Lancaster.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: They fought alone; Joseph Lancaster. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from