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‘A Shining Furrow’

The Life of Charles T Whitmell, Astronomer & Educationalist

David Sellers


Format: Paperback

Size: 297 mm x 210 mm (A4)

Pages: 182

ISBN: 9780954101312

Published: 1 September 2021














Price: £27.00

(post free in UK)

About this book


The epitaph on the tombstone of Charles Whitmell (1849-1919) bears the simple description: ‘Astronomer’. As this book reveals, however, he was much more than that. By the time his life was over he had secured a place in the hearts of his fellow citizens across a remarkable range of activities. He became a well-known teacher and educationalist, a prolific writer on mathematics and astronomy, a campaigner for votes for women, girls’ education, mixed-gender education, free education and working-class educational opportunity—even a poet. He was appointed Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools successively in Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff, Leeds and West Yorkshire. His services were always in demand as an expert and humorous lecturer on literature, travel, philosophy, geology, astronomy and physics. As his enthusiasms expanded, so too did the reach of his correspondence with like-minded souls around the world.


Three years after Whitmell’s death in 1919, his sister, Charlotte, donated his notebooks and diaries to Leeds University Library: an astonishing 217 volumes. This unusual biography is based on that collection, as well as on Whitmell’s published work.


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