Richard Henry Tawney, fellowship and adult education

Richard Henry Tawney, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x65625. ccbyncnd2 licence
Richard Henry Tawney in 1934 | National Portrait Gallery

Richard Henry Tawney was a noted economic historian, democratic socialist and educator. Here we make a brief assessment of his contribution as an adult educationalist – and his strong belief in fellowship.

contents: introduction and life · equality· association and the dispersion of power · social function · democratic citizenship · fellowship · adult education and fellowship · education as social policy · conclusion · further reading and references · links · how to cite this article

Richard Henry Tawney (1880-1962) was a noted economic historian, educator and activist. Born in Calcutta, the son of a Sanskrit scholar, he was educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford. At Rugby R. H. Tawney formed a lasting friendship with William Temple (later to be Archbishop of Canterbury) and while he became deeply critical of public schools, he does appear to have taken on some of that school’s emphasis upon morality. At Balliol, he deepened his appreciation of social moralism and joined the Christian Social Union. As Terrill (1973: 25) comments, the ‘social problem’ was still very much in the air at Oxford, as was a ‘vigorous, but not destructive questioning of religion’.

R. H. Tawney left Oxford in 1903 and went to live at Toynbee Hall (along with his Oxford colleague William Beveridge). At that time Toynbee Hall was the home of the Workers’ Educational Association and was heavily involved in social research and the formulation of social policy. Toynbee Hall and the WEA were to make a significant mark on Tawney. He worked there for three years with the Children’s Country Holiday Fund (founded by the Barnetts in 1877). However, Tawney began to distance himself from Barnett’s philanthropic orientation and to argue for more structural and democratic ways of addressing social issues. He joined the Fabians in 1906 and left to work at the University of Glasgow as an assistant in economics.

In 1909 he married William Beveridge’s sister, Jeanette (William Temple officiated) and moved to Manchester. There he began work on his first work of social history: The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century. In the same year as it published (1912), Richard Tawney moved back to London and took up an appointment as Director of the Ratan Tata Foundation based at the London School of Economics. The Foundation had been funded by a wealthy Indian benefactor and sought to further research and policy formulation to combat poverty.

During the First World War R. H. Tawney served as a Sergeant in the Manchester Regiment and was badly wounded in the battle of the Somme in (1916). His account of his experience in The Attack (published in the Westminster Gazette in August 1916) is a memorable piece of writing. Following a period of convalescence, he worked at the Ministry of Reconstruction. Richard Tawney was elected a fellow of Balliol in 1918 but was to leave in 1920 to take up an appointment at the London School of Economics (where he was to stay for 30 years, becoming Professor of Economic History in 1931). A number of classic works followed. These included The Acquisitive Society (1921), Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926), and Equality (1931). Richard Tawney was also a prolific writer of articles (many of which were published in the Manchester Guardian).

R. H. Tawney served on a number of public bodies including the Sankey Coal Commission, the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education, the Education Committee of the London County Council and the University Grants Committee. He was also active within the Labour Party, standing as a candidate several times. In addition, he wrote a significant amount of the 1928 Manifesto, Labour and the Nation and the key Party statement on education: Secondary Education for All (1922). He was, with Ernest Barker and Percy Nunn, the shaper of the Hadow Report, The Education of the Adolescent. The argument for a universal system of secondary education came to be a basis for the 1944 Education Act. Richard Tawney was also active within the Church of England – especially around the social teachings of the church (see, especially, Tawney 1935)

Richard H. Tawney was Professor of Economic History at the LSE until 1949. After that, he continued writing – responding to requests for articles and pieces from various sources. As Terrill (1973: 107) has commented, he seems not to have had space or heart to put together his ‘great unwritten work on the seventeenth century’. His friends gradually died and Jeanette’s death in 1958 appears to have brought a void (op. cit.: 108). He was honoured with a special dinner in 1960 to mark his eightieth birthday (guests included politicians like Clem Atlee, trade unionists like Frank Cousins, educationalists, historians and friends like Richard Titmus from other spheres. This activity was, in part, a factor in the publication of a further collection of his articles The Radical Tradition (1966). In January 1962 he entered a nursing home in Fitzroy Square, London – and within a few days, he died peacefully in his sleep.


One of the distinguishing features of Richard Tawney’s work was that it was historically informed and imbued with ‘special qualities of personal experience and affirmed morality’ (Williams 1961: 214). These qualities place him alongside nineteenth-century social critics like Ruskin and Arnold who contributed to the ‘traditional great debate’ (op. cit.). ‘As long as men are men’, Tawney (1921: 13) wrote, ‘a poor society cannot be too poor to find a right order of life, nor a rich society too rich to have need to seek it’. His arguments were founded on his Christian beliefs:

The essence of all morality is this: to believe that every human being is of infinite importance, and therefore that no consideration of expediency can justify oppression of one by another. But to believe that is necessarily to believe in God. (Tawney writing in his commonplace book, quoted by Wright 1990: 19)

He saw in socialism, and the fellowship it entailed, the means of extending God’s kingdom on earth.

One of his great contributions was his reconceptualization of equality (Tawney 1931). It was integral to his vision of socialism and can be seen as being linked to three other key ideas: the dispersion of power (the so-called ‘shape of socialism’), function and citizenship. All four contribute to the ideal of fellowship. (The basic line of argument here follows that of Terrill 1973).

For Tawney, the existence and approval of inequality was a fundamental affront. He recognized that the notion of equality had more than one meaning and was surrounded by debate and controversy. Commenting on the work of Arnold, Mill and others, he argues that what they were concerned to emphasize was something ‘elementary and commonplace’. It was the fact that ‘in spite of their varying characters and capacities’,

…men possess in their common humanity a quality which is worth cultivating, and that community is most likely to make the most of that quality if it takes into account in planning its economic organization and social institutions — if it stresses lightly differences of wealth and birth and social position, and establishes on firm foundations institutions which meet common needs, and are a source of common enlightenment and common enjoyment. The individual differences of which so much is made… will always survive, and they should be welcomed, not regretted. But their existence is no reason for not seeking to establish the largest possible measure equality of environment, and circumstance, and opportunity. On the contrary, it is a reason for redoubling our efforts to establish it, in order to ensure that these diversities of gifts may come to fruition. (Tawney 1931: 55-6)

Tawney’s conception of equality rested on three pillars.

All humans share a common humanity. This view was derived from a belief in the fatherhood of God. ‘Men are of equal worth because of their common condition (brotherhood) as sons of God’. (Terrill 1973: 136)

Society should be organized that ‘all its members may be equally enabled to make the best of such powers as they possess’ (Tawney 1931: 46-7). This can be described as a doctrine of ‘self-fulfilment’ and Tawney saw education as a strong force in its furtherance (Terrill 1973: 136).

Rewards should be linked to social purposes – ‘distribution should never fall out of relation to service rendered to the community’ (ibid.: 130).

The moral and social case for equality made by Tawney, could not in Titmus’ words, ‘be more persuasively argued’ (the foreword to Tawney 1964: 15).

Association and the dispersion of power

One of the benefits of Tawney’s historical orientation was that he came to debates with a solid appreciation of the nature of power and its dynamics. He was deeply opposed to centralization and saw the problems of an over-concentration of power in the hands of the national state. He was critical, for example, of the support of many socialists in the 1920s and 1930s for the ‘Police collectivism’ of Russia. As Terrill (1973: 210) put it, Tawney believed that ‘the dispersion of power is meant to prevent one man “lording it over others”. It makes people more accessible to each other than a system where power is highly centralized and society is a tapestry of authoritarian links’. The ‘horizontal shape of socialism’ is equality, the ‘vertical shape’ the control and dispersion of power (ibid.: 139).

With the drive to fragmentation seemingly inherent in the development of capitalist societies, R. H. Tawney saw that democracy offered an alternative. ‘Capitalism’, Tawney (1953: 165) wrote, ‘is a juggernaut sacrificing human ends to the idolatry of material means’. It could only be subverted only if there was a common will for socialism in a society. This would entail the ‘cooperation of free and equal citizens, generating common purposes, making their will the effective power of the state’ (ibid.: 153).

Just what the shape of a democratic society in which power is dispersed is a matter for some debate. Tawney did not line himself up with Guild Socialists (e.g. Cole 1921) for any substantial period of time – but notions of associational democracy do appear to come close to his vision.

The only sound test, in the first place, of a political system , is its practical effect on the lives of human beings… It is idle for a nation to blazon Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, or other resounding affirmations, on the facades of buildings, if to display the same motto in its factories and mines would arouse only the cynical laughter that greets a reminder of idealisms turned sour and hopes unfulfilled. What men demand is not merely paragraphs in constitutions, but results, in the form of arrangements which secure them the essentials of a civilized existence and show a proper respect for their dignity as human beings. Democracy must prove, if it is to survive, its faith by its works. It is unstable as a political system, as long as it remains a political system and little more, instead of producing, as it should, its own type of society and a manner of life in harmony with that type. (Tawney 1966: 147)

Tawney looked to extend industrial democracy. In an additional chapter to the 1938 edition of Equality, he set out some of British democracy’s important assets: a tradition of civil liberty; what he described as ‘a vigorous and decentralized system of local government’; and a ‘multitude of voluntary associations’ accustomed to managing their own affairs (Tawney 1931/1964: 196). However, having established the analysis underpinning the significance of the dispersion of power he does not provide us with a full-blown account or exploration of what this might mean for the nature of civic society and the organization of the state. Colleagues like Harold Laski (1925) did take this a stage further by, for example, arguing that power is by nature federative, and that ‘good government’ entails the identification and facilitation of localized units to which appropriate powers could be given.

Social function

As we have already seen with regard to Tawney’s discussion of equality, he believed that function should be a principle governing the way societies work. He argued that the right to property should be conditional on the obligation to serve. ‘All rights’, he wrote, ‘are conditional and derivative, because all power should be conditional and derivative’ (Tawney 1921: 48). This was because they were derived, in his view, from the end or purpose of society.

If society is to be healthy, men must regard themselves , not primarily, as the owners of rights, but as trustees for the discharge of functions and the instruments of a social purpose. (op. cit.)

A society in which industry and institutions are organized around the furtherance of human happiness and social good Tawney described as functional. He contrasted this with ‘acquisitive societies’ where production and accumulation have become ends in themselves. Capitalist societies were, thus, acquisitive – the pursuit of gain rather than good had become a religion. Within functional societies, R. H. Tawney argued, institutions and organizations are educational agencies that help to generate debates around what the social good might be – dialogue and associational life would also help to generate agreement. There would be a ‘concentration of purpose’ among citizens – and ‘from those purposes spring rights’ (Terrill 1973: 163).

Function is intimately related to service in this understanding of social purpose. Service, in this sense, is participation in furthering purpose (op. cit.). Herein lies a great deal of Tawney’s originality. He tied service and purpose to the position of property. By organizing around function it meant that industry and commerce could be governed by the activities of trade boards (who were made up of participants in the industry and were responsible to the community for the conduct of their industry). An additional feature of his vision was that every trade would be treated as a profession). These features came together as follows:

[T]he organization of society on the basis of functions, instead of that of rights, implies three things. It means, first, that proprietary rights shall be maintained when they are accompanied by the performance of service and abolished when they are not. It means, second, that the producers shall stand in a direct relation to the community for whom production is carried on, so that their responsibility to it may be obvious and unmistakable, not lost, as at present, through their immediate subordination to shareholders whose interest is not service but gain. It means, in the third place, that the obligation for the maintenance of the service shall rest upon the professional organizations of those that perform it, and that, subject to the supervision and criticism of the consumer, those organizations shall exercise so much voice in the government of industry as may be needed to secure that the obligation is discharged. (Tawney 1921: 176)

Function is wrapped up in notions of the common good. A community’s appreciation of what this might entail changes with time. Purpose provides the rationale for industry (and other social and economic activity), service its ‘proper psychology’ (Terrill 1973: 172).

Democratic citizenship

For Tawney, citizenship within socialism went beyond the usual range of activities associated with the membership of some territorial unit. It had both deeply personal and political implications. He looked to the relationships of individuals to the state, and relationships among individuals, whether the state was involved, or not (Terrill 1973: 177).

Socialism accepts… the principles, which are the cornerstones of democracy, that authority to justify its title , must rest on consent; that power is tolerable only so far as it is accountable to the public; and that differences of character and capacity between human beings, however important on their own plane, are of minor importance when compared with the capital fact of their common humanity. Its object is to extend the application of those principles from the sphere of civil and political rights, where, at present, they are nominally recognized, to that of economic and social organization, where they are systematically and insolently defined. (Tawney 1931: 197)

Within his conception of a socialist society, thus, power is dispersed, function is linked to social purpose, and there is a far greater degree of social and economic equality than pertains in capitalist societies.

Citizenship takes on its meaning in this context. In its simplest terms it is equality in action. It is the relationship of self-reliant, self-respecting equals in a society where the absolute claims of personality are respected. It is marked by initiative, responsibility, freedom and a new conception of good manners. (Terrill 1973: 176)

Tawney’s vision is of a shared life, a set of relationships that connect the personal and the political. These are relationships in their fullness, with attention paid to their morality, purposes, and processes. Individuals are called upon to live their lives in the light of the sorts of moral principles we have been discussing. Socialism, for him, implied a personal attitude and a collective effort. ‘The clarity of the latter depends on the former’, he wrote (1953: 58). People are asked to help build ‘right relationships’, to love their neighbours and themselves. T. H. Tawney looks to certain qualities in human communication. As Terrill (1973: 210) comments, this view of citizenship is the lubricant of good government and a good in itself. The relationships involved are more likely to be uplifting and rewarding than those operating within capitalism. His vision is of ‘cooperative life among equals who respect each other’s common humanity’ (op. cit.).


In these four elements, we can trace Tawney’s concern with the fellowship that would flow through society. His collection of essays, The Attack, begins with William Morris’ vision of fellowship:

Forsooth, brethren, fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell: fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death: and the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is for fellowship’s sake that ye do them, and the life that is in it, that shall live on and on for ever, and each one of you part of it, while many a man’s life upon the earth from the earth shall wane. Therefore I bid you not dwell in hell but in heaven, or while ye must, upon earth, which is a part of heaven, and forsooth no foul part. (William Morris in A Dream of John Ball)

Tawney may well have disagreed with Morris as to whether heaven could be realized on earth, but he did view fellowship as an extension or expression of God’s Kingdom on earth. His vision was not just confined to close relationships or to membership of a group or association. Like John Dewey, he wanted to build a common life – to embrace all those in a community. Unlike Dewey, Tawney infused this vision with a much fuller appreciation of the political and social transformations that it might entail. Fellowship, thus, is not just a matter of feelings, ‘but as a matter of right relationships‘ which are institutionally based‘ (Terrill 1973: 199). In other words, fellowship is both a quality of individual relationships and the organizations and systems of which people are a part.

Tawney came to recognize that capitalism could not ultimately provide a suitable environment for the formation of ‘right relationships’, and that the institutions it fostered were not conducive to the good life for all. It generated a ‘faith’ in acquisitiveness and a loss of social cohesion (Tawney 1921). Tawney judged that as capitalism developed facilitating fellowship would become more difficult. Other currents were also running against his vision, in particular, the ebbing away of Christianity in Britain and many other countries. However, there were pockets of possibility. The noblest aspect of popular movements in Britain, Richard Tawney commented, ‘has been the unbreakable spirit of comradeship embodied in them’ (1953: 191). Fellowship as ‘right relationships among free and equal individuals’ was still possible (Terrill 1973: 217). The conditions could be brought about it that would allow it to develop. Within capitalist development, there would be various moments of discontinuity. The hold of dominant ideologies (in Gramsci’s terms) was never complete. It was within the power of human beings to build communities, associations and relationships that were more enriching and fulfilling.

Adult education and fellowship

Richard Tawney joined the executive of the Workers Educational Association in 1905 and was heavily involved with Charles Gore in running the WEA/Oxford conference on ‘Working-Class Education’. The conference report, which gained a wide readership and argued for nationwide educational programmes for working-class people, led directly to Tawney being asked to undertake work in Longton and Rochdale.

Beginning in January 1908, and lasting some three years, the Longton and Rochdale programmes in economic history were an important experiment. In Rochdale, there were 40 students who all pledged to attend regularly and to write an essay every two weeks. Tawney was working a part-time assistant lecturer at Glasgow University and he travelled first to Longton, Staffordshire each Friday to take a class there on a Friday evening, and then on to Rochdale for the Saturday afternoon class. Richard Tawney was a popular teacher and ‘recognized in himself what was his vocation, to teach, to elicit ideas and frame minds, and to instil a respect for learning’ (Bryant 1997: 186). He also had a strong sense that the motivations of those involved in education frequently went beyond material benefit and involved a form of spiritual energy.

He talked to them as man to man, neither claiming authority nor asking for unquestioned agreement. But as he talked, the breadth and quality of his mind and the meticulous accuracy of his scholarship reflected itself in the work of his students and established the standard of their thought. (Stocks quoted by Kelly 1970: 251)

It was in this experiment that the particular qualities of tutorial class teaching were shaped. Thomas Kelly (1970: 254) has described them as follows:

A tutorial class comprised (as it still does) twenty-four two hour meetings in each of three successive years. There were usually about 30 students, mainly though not exclusively men, and mainly but not exclusively manual workers. They came in search of knowledge, not certificates, and their interest was principally in political and social subjects… The enthusiasm and determination of the students was tremendous.

The various elements involved, and Tawney’s determination to cultivate a ‘spirit of comradeship in study’, were not original in themselves. The notion of ‘friends teaching friends’, for example, was part of the experience of the Working Men’s College in London. However, the way in which they were executed together in particular settings was something new. Tawney’s work provided a template for similar activity within the WEA and other bodies.

Richard Tawney’s commitment to adult education was lifelong. He served on the executive of the WEA for 42 years and was its president from 1928 to 1945. Terrill (1973: 37) argues that it was Tawney’s life in the WEA that made him both a socialist and an economic historian. In return he helped the WEA to establish a way of educating that was a proper expression not just of friends, but also of citizens’, learning together. He was also able to encourage education that was both liberal in its range and concerned with the fostering of a more just and enriching communal life.

Education as social policy

As we have already seen, Tawney contributed to the realization of key Labour Party documents concerning education and served on various public bodies. He believed that education was an engine of change in society – and an important means of attaining greater justice. He did not, however, expect education alone to transform society, it was just one element in a struggle for change. Richard Tawney also had a strong sense of both the goodness and evil of humankind. This, linked with his historical appreciation, led him to argue for the need to recognize the limitations of what was possible.

Three key themes appeared in his writing and speeches around education and public policy.

Those who worked in education should be missionaries for educational advance, ‘not just functionaries of the system as it stood’;

Democracy required conviction – and it was the role of education to ‘help people arrive at their own convictions’ (Terrill 1973: 84-5):

The education system reflected a narrow and narrowing concern for profit. ‘The fundamental obstacle in the way of education in England is simple’, he wrote. ‘It is that education is a spiritual activity’, he continued, ‘much of which is not commercially profitable, and that the prevailing temper of Englishmen is to regard as most important that which is commercially profitable, and as of only inferior importance that which is not’ (Tawney 1917: 30).

From this we can see that Tawney believed education to have both a deeply political and a spiritual dimension.

All serious educational movements have in England been also social movements. They have been the expression in one sphere – the training of mind and character – of some distinctive conception of the life proper to man and of the kind of society in which he can best live it. (Tawney 1966: 88)

The task of those who believed in education was to encourage and deepen a belief ‘that spiritual activity is of primary importance and worth any sacrifice of material goods, and that, in fostering such activity, education, if not the most powerful, is at least the most readily available agency’ (Tawney 1917: 30).


In what has gone before we can see that R. H. Tawney was worried about the loss or lack of social and spiritual purpose in society, and the extent to which inequality was embedded in, and approved of, within dominant discourses. His analysis of this was powerful. He was a social critic and moralist who brought ‘to the discharge of these functions the particular equipment of a professional historian’ (Williams 1961: 214).

Richard Tawney was, by his own account, no educational theorist. He could not pick and read books on education. However, he had a strong sense of education entailed.

Education… though it is much else as well, is partly, at least, the process by which we transcend the barriers of our isolated personalities, and become partners in a universe of interests which we share with our fellow-men, living and dead alike. No one can be fully at home in the world unless, through some acquaintance with literature and art, the history of society and the revelations of science, he has seen enough of the triumphs and tragedies of mankind to realize the heights to which human nature can rise and the depths to which it can sink. (Tawney 1966: 87-8)

As Barry Elsey (1987: 75) has commented, time has not been on the side of Tawney’s kind of adult education (or, indeed, on his understanding of education generally). Indeed, his ideas and commitments seem removed from the current climate of adult education and lifelong learning. As we have seen, underpinning his vision of adult education (and lifelong learning) were four ‘four pillars of thought’. The first was that of fellowship and, in particular, the fellowship of learning. A second was the significance of education generally, and adult education specifically, in the struggle to sustain democratic citizenship. To these may be added, ‘the idea of liberal education expressed through the great art of teaching adults’, and the link between adult education and the values of socialism (Elsey 1987: 69). However, if R. H. Tawney’s understanding of history and human nature is anywhere near right, alternative, more humane, forms of education should gain strength.

Further reading and references

Elsey, B. (1987) ‘R. H. Tawney – “Patron saint of adult education”, in P. Jarvis (ed.) Twentieth Century Thinkers in Adult Education, Beckenham: Croom Helm. Helpful review of Tawney’s contribution to the development of the theory and practice of adult education.

Tawney, R. H. (1914) ‘An experiment in democratic education’ Political Quarterly (May). R. H. Tawney’s review of the nature of adult education and his championship of the ‘fellowship of learners’ is a classic expression of a more liberal and convivial vision of education. Also available in Tawney, R. H. (1966) The Radical Tradition. Twelve essays on politics, education and literature (ed. Rita Hinden), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Tawney, R. H. (1917) ‘A national college of all souls’ the Times Educational Supplement, February 22, 1917. R. H. Tawney’s moving call for education open to all that is generous, inspiring and humane. Written against the background of the First World War it views education as a spiritual activity. An amended version can be found in (1953) The Attack and Other Papers, London: George Allen and Unwin.

Terrill, R. (1973) R. H. Tawney and His Times. Socialism as fellowship, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Very helpful outline of Tawney’s life and assessment of his intellectual contribution.

Williams, R. (1961) Culture and Society 1780-1950, Harmondsworth: Pelican Books. Williams devotes a chapter to Tawney’s contribution as a social and cultural critic.

Winter, J. M and Joslin, D. M. (2006) R. H. Tawney’s Commonplace Book, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fascinating insight into the ideas that supported Tawney’s life long work as a socialist and as a scholar. The period covered is from 1912-1914


Armstrong, G., and Gray, T. (2011). The Authentic Tawney: A New Interpretation of the Political Thought of R.H. Tawney. Exeter: Imprint Academic.

Bryant, C. (1997) Possible Dreams. A personal history of the British Christian Socialists, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Cole, G. D. H. (1920) Guild Socialism Revisited, London: Leonard Parsons.

Elsey, B. (1987). R. H. Tawney – Patron saint of adult education in P. Jarvis (ed.) Twentieth Century Thinkers in Adult Education. Beckenham: Croom Helm.

Iremonger, F. A. (1948) William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury. His life and letters, London: Clarendon Press.

Kelly, T. (1970) A History of Adult Education in Great Britain, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Laski, H. (1925) A Grammar of Politics, London: Allen and Unwin.

Ormrod, David (1990). Fellowship, Freedom & Equality: Lectures in Memory of R.H. Tawney. London: Christian Socialist Movement.

Steele, T., and Taylor, R. (2008). R.H. Tawney and the Reform of the Universities, History of Education 37(1): 1-22.

Stocks, M. D. (1953) The Workers’ Educational Association: the first fifty years, London.

Tawney R. H. (1912) The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century, London: Longman, Green and Co.

Tawney, R. H. (1921) The Acquisitive Society (1961 edn.), London: Fontana.

Tawney, R. H. (1926) Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1938 edn.), West Drayton: Pelican Books

Tawney, R. H. (1931) Equality (1964 edn.), London: Unwin Books.

Tawney, R. H. (1935) ‘Christianity and the social revolution’, New Statesman and Nation, November. An amended version appears in (1953) The Attack and Other Papers, London: George Allen and Unwin.

Tawney, R. H. (1953) The Attack and Other Papers, London: George Allen and Unwin.

Tawney, R. H. (1966) The Radical Tradition. Twelve essays on politics, education and literature (ed. Rita Hinden), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Terrill, R. (1973) R. H. Tawney and His Times. Socialism as fellowship, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Williams, R. (1961) Culture and Society 1780-1950, Harmondsworth: Pelican Books.

Winter, J. M and Joslin, D. M. (2006) R. H. Tawney’s Commonplace Book, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wright, A. (1990) R. H. Tawney, Manchester: Manchester University Press.


R. H. Tawney Archive at the Institute for Education.

R. H. Tawney archive material – National Archives.

R. H. Tawney at the Internet Archives (you can borrow or download many of his books)

Acknowledgements: Picture: Richard Henry Tawney, by Walter Stoneman – National Portrait Gallery x65625. ccbyncnd2 licence

How to cite this article: Smith, M. K. (2001, 2007, 2020). ‘ Richard Henry Tawney, fellowship and adult education’, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [ Retrieved: insert date]

© Mark K. Smith 2001, 2007, 2020