The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

XIV. Education

§ 35. Edward Thring

Edward Thring, “the enthusiast” of Sidgwick’s essay, was headmaster of Uppingham school from 1853 till his death in 1887, during which period he raised a small, country grammar school to the educational level of the best public schools of the new foundation, he and his staff contributing nearly the whole of the capital sum required to effect the change in the material conditions of the school. To these conditions he attached high value, and he spared no pains to acquire buildings planned to meet the manifold requirements of a modern school, apparatus and appliances to advance or illustrate its studies, comely school-rooms and domestic surroundings which respected the boys’ privacy. His best known book, Theory and Practice of Teaching, is not a professional treatise, but a series of disconnected chapters full of shrewd observation and practical hints expressed in a rugged yet epigrammatic style, which makes good reading. In his books, as in his daily work, he insisted that schools must be judged by their success in educating the dull and the mediocre boy, and not by examinations or by readiness to comply with the official craving for uniformity. Himself of a masterful disposition, he could not tolerate any interference with, or attempt to ignore, the individuality either of scholar or of school.