26 JULY 1940, Page 18

A Missionary of Education

The Trodden Road. By Albert Mansbridge, C.H. (Dent. is.) The Trodden Road is Dr. Albert Mansbridge's pleasant and notable biography. It is a record of many originations • of cease- less service to the cause of education ; of travels ; of friendships with persons of eminence ; and lastly, of theorisings and musings on religion and education. It is an attractive presentation of the events of a dedicated life, and of a large and enduring achieve- ment.

Dr. Mansbridge touches lightly upon his greatest achievement —his founding, nearly forty years ago, of the Workers' Educational Association. The Association shared its founder's faith that Education led to the Promised Land. It preached and crusaded for education. In this cause it stirred and brought together trade unionists and co-operators and the universities. It inspired new hopes of democratic possibility and new ideals of citizenship. It stimulated experiment and invention in the teach- ing of adults and in animating education. It became and is today, an organ of high and twofold importance: a continuing and transforming influence in the lives of tens of thousands of indi- vidual adult students, and a force in the nation sustaining morale and spirit and repelling the agencies of triviality and degradation.

But though the W.E.A. is Dr. Mansbridge's outstanding gift to Adult Education, it is not the only one. It was followed by many othersnecessary for the completion and extension of the revolu- tion it began. The Trodden Road tells of these supplementary creations: particularly of the Central Library for Students, now the National Central Library, through which the student of small means may draw upon millions of books ; the British Institute of Adult Education, concerned with the maintenance of standards and the widening of horizons ; and the World Institute of Adult Education, designed to bring national movements, most of which are owed to Mansbridge, into the harmony of common methods and purposes. It tells also of the Seafarers' Education Service.

It is a striking feature of Dr. Mansbridge's creations that they succeed. The Seafarers' Education Service arose out of,a com- plaint that seamen zeroing Brazilian ports had only "tattered magazines" to read. Mansbridge, invited to help, agreed to do so. He founded the Service which since has become the College - of the Sea, with libraries in several hundreds of boats. The College is however more than books. Its voluntary staff is full of distinguished men. It offers to every seafarer "the best advice or tuition which England can give."

The essence of The Trodden Road, however, is not in its narra- tion of the events of its author's career. It is in its revelation Of the author. It shows us Dr. Mansbridge as what he is : a mis- sionary spirit, a predestined and indomitable believer, an apostk of Education. We sense in him "a talent which t'were death to hide "; a message of ardour and faith which he must deliver to


his generation. Dr. Mansbridge has campaigned rather than lived. He has gone through life with battle-cries, marching and singing, at the head of the host.

The secret of Dr. Mansbridge's power, as readers of his book will guess, is within. Whether helped by others or not hewifild have been the bearer of a torch, and of undying fire. He would have had a call. He would have created and led a movement ;

would ould have assaulted animated heights and animated his followers. Both for what he has done and for what he is Dr. Mansbridge

has the right to ask us to read his book. J. J. .MALLol,