Educational history has been regularly noticed in the Urban History Yearbook in reviews, and in the bibliography under the heading of urban culture, but it has been a minority interest among urban historians and in Britain the treatment of schools and schooling in town histories has tended until recently to be perfunctory or conventional. However, the impact of social and cultural history on both urban and educational history is resulting in more of an overlap of interests. Hence the publication later this year, in the series of themes in International Urban History, of a set of comparative essays on urban educational history: The City and Education in Four Nations. This article anticipates the historiographical reviews, case studies and theoretical discussions of that volume. It attempts to show, from a British perspective, how recent historiographical bends raise questions and issues of interest to urban historians of the modern period.