Thomas Hughes (20 October, 1822 – 22 March, 1896) was an English author, social reform advocate, and lawyer. He is remembered for his semi-biographical work Tom Brown’s School Days.
Fun Facts about Thomas Hughes:
- Thomas Hughes was born in Uffington, Berkshire (Oxfordshire these days). He was the second of eight siblings, all boys and one girl. His sister, Jane Senior, became Britain’s first civil servant.
- The future author attended a preparatory public school called Twyford School from age eight to eleven. He continued his education at the Rugby School, a public institution.
- The young Mr. Hughes was an excellent athlete, but an average student. Nevertheless, he attended and graduated from Oriel College.
- In 1848 Thomas Hughes became a lawyer. He continued in the occupation and eventually was appointed a county court judge of Chester district.
- Thomas Hughes was interested in social structures and was involved in social reforms. He founded the Working Men’s College, the earliest adult education institution in Great Britain. He also helped form early trade unions.
- In 1865 Mr. Hughes was elected to Parliament and served until 1874. He fell out of favor because of his support of the Elementary Education Act which set the framework for education of kids ages 5 to 12.
- He was one of the founders of Rugby, Tennessee in 1880, originally called Plateau City, but Mr. Hughes chose Rugby. The town was conceived as an experiment in Utopian living for the young sons of the English upper class. The experiment, however, failed.
- Frances Ford married Thomas Hughes in 1847, she was the niece of English travel writer Richard Ford. The couple lived in Wimbledon and had five sons and four daughters. Their daughter Mary was a known social worker focusing on eliminating poverty, and another daughter Lillian Hughes was on the Titanic when it drowned.
- Tom Brown’s School Days was published in 1857 and ran into almost 50 editions. The book helped create a positive image of public schools and those who graduated from them.
- Oriel College in Oxford has a Hughes Scholarship which is open to members or sons of members of several Co-op Societies due to the author’s involvement with the movement.
Zohar – Man of la Book
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