HC Deb 14 March 1870 vol 199 cc1866-7

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether the following numbers given by Mr. Fitch in his recent Report on Education (see pages 21, 73, 78, and 111) are correct—namely, 83,126 children between the ages of three and thirteen in Birmingham, and 58,307 in Leeds; whether it was ascertained by the last Census (1861) that the number of children of the total population of England and Wales between the ages of five and twelve is 15.8 per cent of the gross population, or 1 in 6⅓, and that the children of the working classes, of the same ages, are 12.7 of the gross population, or 1 in 8; whether the calculation on p. 18 (note) of Mr. Fitch's Report, if accurately made, would not lead to the result that 14.3 per cent, or 1 in 7 of the population, are children for whom education in primary schools is required; and, whether, according to the population given in Return No. 114, of Session 1868, the number of children between the ages of five and twelve in Birmingham would thus be a little more than 45,000, and those in Leeds 29,000?


said, in reply, that he had reason to believe the numbers quoted by the noble Lord in the first part of his Question were correctly quoted from the Returns furnished by the Registrar General. With regard to the second Question, he believed the first quotation from the Census was correct; but he had not had time to inquire into the accuracy of the other. The Census Returns, however, were as open to the noble Lord as to himself. With regard to the third part of the Question, he believed Mr. Fitch's calculation was correct; and as to the fourth, he believed the noble Lord had confused one Return with another. The Return No. 114 referred only to the parishes of Birmingham and Leeds in the year 1861; while the present Return referred to the boroughs, and was for 1869. It was unnecessary to trouble the House with minute calculations of percentages of the population of different areas, but he might add that, in 1861, the population of the parish of Birmingham was 212,621, and of the borough 296,070; and the population of the parish of Leeds was 117,565, and of the borough 207,165. The noble Lord would see, therefore, that no inferences drawn from Returns relating to parishes of these towns in 1861 could by any means apply to the boroughs as they stood in 1809.

In answer to a further Question from Lord ROBERT MONTAGU,


said, he had made it his business to ascertain facts to answer the noble Lord's Question as regarded the Return which he had laid on the table of the House; but he really could not answer any question with regard to the accuracy of Returns made by a statistical society.