The advertisements in newspapers of the 1820s rival modern ads for extravagance of claims. You’d think everything was impeccable, especially in schooling — unless you’ve taken the precaution of reading Dickens. The brutal and squalid Dotheboy’s Hall in Nicholas Nickleby comes to mind. The first one of these ads below sounds sincere and upright, but it is outdone by the sincerity and comprehensiveness of the second. Everything for the education of the young Gentleman! But one wonders why young Gentlemen would need to know merchant accounting … perhaps the students are not quite so high in station as the proprietor would like to imply. And as for morals, the final claim of the second ad makes one think. Am I wrong, or does that imply — ?
Without further ado, here are two ads for schools from the London Times of 1827, and one additonal bonus ad:
EDUCATION. — At Mr. CLARKSON’S ACADEMY, Bowes-hall, near Greata-bridge, Yorkshire, BOYS are liberally BOARDED, furnished with books, &c., and carefully instructed in every branch of education necessary to qualify them for any situation in life, at 20 guineas a year; the French language is taught by a native of France at half-a-guinea per quarter extra. Mr. Clarkson pledges himself that every indulgence is afforded his pupils, consistent with health, morality, and religion; and that his friends and the public in general may be thoroughly convinced of the truth of what he asserts, it is his particular wish that parents and guardians travelling into the north should, if convenient, call at Bowes, and inspect the above establishment. For cards, and references to parents of youth who have been educated at this Academy, apply to Mr. Smith, the agent, 26, Lombard-street. Mr. Clarkson is in town, and may be consulted daily, between the hours of 11 and 1, at the Carolina Coffee-house, Birchin-lane, Cornhill.
ADVANTAGEOUS PLAN OF EDUCATION. — At an established BOARDING-SCHOOL, pleasantly and beautifully situate, 14 miles from London, a limited number of young Gentlemen are BOARDED, and EDUCATED in the Greek, Latin, French, and English languages, reading, writing, arithmetic, elocution, history, astronomy, geography, use of the globes, mathematics, merchants’ accounts, &c. with a monthly lecture in philosophy, chemistry, mechanics, mineralogy, etc. with the use of an extensive apparatus: terms, including all the above branches of education, books, stationery, washing, &c. 50 guineas per annum, and no extra charge whatsoever: no entrance required: gentlemen above 14 years of age are charged 60 guineas, and no extras. It is presumed the plan of education is calculated to promote with unusual facility the improvement of the pupils, while their morals and domestic cleanliness and comfort receive the greatest attention: the pupils occupy separate beds. Cards may be had of S. E. Sketchley, Esq., Kensington, Mr. Smith, optician, Royal Exchange; and of Mr. Bagster, bookseller, 31, Strand. Several London coaches pass daily.
Other enterprises are not to be outdone by the claims of schools! Here is the most extravagant advertisement in the same paper — soda water! In a state of perfection never before attained! —
SODA-WATER, in a state of perfection never before attained, prepared with patent Glass Machinery to prevent any unwholesome metallic impregnation to which all other Soda-Water is liable, being made with brass and copper pumps, tubes, and vessels. As this is a matter of some importance to the drinkers of soda water, they are respectfully infomred that this superior Water is manufactured and sold by R. JOHNSTON, chymist, No. 15, Greek-street, Soho, in oval glass or common stone-bottles, at the same price as the common Soda Water is sold. The great celebrity of this Patent Water, has induced the common Soda Water-makers to imitate the patent oval bottles; the intention is obvious; and to guard against the imposition, consumers will please to observe the genuine has the following inscription in the glass: ‘Hamilton’s Patent, sold by R. Johnston’ as above. These waters are exported safer, in better condition, and cheaper than any other. For the convenience of merchants and shippers, orders are received at 60, Cornhill.