EDWARDS, WILLIAM (1851 - 1940), H.M. inspector of schools

Name: William Edwards
Date of birth: 1851
Date of death: 1940
Spouse: Edwards (née Steinhal)
Parent: William Edwards
Gender: Male
Occupation: H.M. inspector of schools
Area of activity: Education; Public and Social Service, Civil Administration
Author: Edgar William Jones

Born at Denbigh 22 January 1851, son of William Edwards. He was educated at a private school there, at the Liverpool Institute, and at Queen's College, Oxford [ 1869 ], where he had a brilliant university career. He took first class honours in classical moderations and Greats, and a first class also in the final mathematical schools [ B.A. 1873, M.A. 1876 ]. He was elected [ 1874 ] Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and in 1925 the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by the University of Wales.

After a short period of teaching, Edwards was in 1877 appointed H.M. inspector of schools, and devoted thirty-eight years of valuable service to inspecting and inspiring the work of the elementary schools in Glamorgan. [In 1884 he had been one of the three candidates finally considered for the principalship of the new University College at Bangor.] On reaching the retiring age as an official of the Board of Education in 1915, he was invited by the Central Welsh Board for Intermediate Education to succeed Owen Owen as chief inspector, and was public-spirited enough to sacrifice his well-deserved leisure and accept the post. In 1920 he was appointed a member of the Secondary Schools Examinations Council. His rare scholarship and long experience proved an invaluable asset to the work of the Central Board, especially in wartime, and the Board retained his service till 1926. His paper, ‘The Settlement of Brittany’ (Cymm., xi, 61-101) shows what use he could have made of the leisure so willingly sacrificed. Edwards was a man of iron constitution, tall and dignified in appearance. He was a keen student of education and wrote a number of pamphlets and papers on that subject. A pamphlet which he wrote in 1929 aroused general interest; it was called A New Proposal and dealt with the timely topic of school examinations. ‘A school certificate,’ he suggested, ‘should be issued to each pupil, and on it information given as to the value of his work in every subject examined.’

During his long residence at Merthyr Tydfil he and his wife, née Steinhal, took an active part in the social and cultural life of the town and district. He died at Merthyr 12 February 1940.


Published date: 1959

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