Crofton Park Library
Army School in a Global Trade War


Army School in a Global Trade War

The early twentieth century was an era characterised by modernist zeal and the prospect of technological and material progress. The British state was considering for the first time that its survival depended upon a strong, educated and well fed working class. This was in contrast to the past, during which time the ruling classes were generally of the opinion that their interests were best served by an oppressed uneducated and ultimately subservient working class.

Indeed many from the elite saw the provision of a public library to the working class as a matter of feeding the mouth that would later rise up and bite it on the hand. Not however the local MP for Brockley, who at the time the library opened, allied the meritocratic zeal of Carnegie with his own bulldog nationalism. On the opening of the library he was noted as saying, ‘In the future battles would be fought in the fields of commerce; hence the necessity to educate and the need of these public libraries’.

Crofton Park Library was therefore not going to be the crucible for a new revolutionary uprising but instead a boot camp for a new class of educated working class soldier, who would assist industrialists and entrepreneurs in a new form of conflict, international trade.


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