THE WELSH INTERMEDIATE EDUCATION ACT OF 1889 ONCE the 1870 Elementary Education Act began to be implemented, the more perceptive educational reformers in Wales, as in England, turned their attention from elementary education to secondary and higher education. During the '70s attempts to re-organize individual grammar schools, under the Endowed Schools Act of 1869, aroused interest and controversy throughout Wales.1 The extent of the deficiency in the provision of secondary education was, however, not fully appreciated until the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (founded in 1872), began to function. The college came into being largely because of the enthusiasm of a group of London Welshmen.2 From the beginning its existence was in jeopardy: there were just not sufficient grammar schools in Wales to provide it with students. This was the burden of a speech by H. Hussey Vivian in the House of Commons in July 1879, drawing attention to the 'deficiencies of higher education in Wales'.3 Welsh politicians of all parties immediately seized upon this as a promising national issue, and during the election of the following year every candidate in Wales pledged himself to press the government to consider the matter. Gladstone was reminded of this by Lord Aberdare a few weeks after he was returned to office.4 The Prime Minister had already declared his sympathy with Welsh national and educational aspirations during the 1879 debate, and he readily agreed to Aberdare's suggestion that a committee be set up to investigate the provision of 'inter- mediate' and higher education in Wales and to make recommenda- tions for its improvement. Appropriately, Lord Aberdare was appointed the committee's chairman. 1 J. R. Webster. 'The Place of Secondary Education in Welsh Society. 1800 to 1918' (unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University of Wales, 1959). chs. IV and V. E. L. Ellis. 'Some Aspects of the Early History of the University College of Wales'. Transactions of the Cymmrodorion Society, 1968. p. 203. 3 Pari. Debates, 3rd Series. 247. p. 1142 (1 July 1879). Lord Aberdare to Gladstone, 10 May 1880. in Sir Ben Bowen Thomas. "The Establish- ment of the "Aberdare" Departmental Committee, 1880. Some Letters and Notes'. Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, XIX. pt. iv (May 1962). There was some confusion in the use of the terms 'secondary' and 'intermediate' educa- tion in the latter part of the nineteenth century. 'Secondary education' was first used officially in Britain in the Taunton Report (1868)to describe those schools which lay between elementary schools and the major public schools. It was Matthew Arnold who introduced the term to the Taunton Committee, and it was he who was later responsible for popularizing it. To Arnold, secondary education was essentially middle class education, although later it was to lose this meaning. 'Intermediate education' was a neutral term and was useful to describe all types of school falling between elementary school and university. It was, however, never really accepted, and after the 1902 Education Act it fell into disuse.