1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Owen, Sir Hugh

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22233171911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 20 — Owen, Sir Hugh

OWEN, SIR HUGH (1804–1881), Welsh educationist, was born near Talyfoel Ferry, Anglesey, on the 14th of January 1804. Educated at a private school at Carnarvon, he became clerk in 1825 to a barrister in London. In 1836 he entered the office of the Poor Law Commission, eventually becoming chief clerk of the Poor Law Board, and retiring in 1872 to devote himself exclusively to educational work. As early as 1839 he had become secretary for an association to start a National school in Islington, and in 1843 he had published A Letter to the Welsh People on the need of educational activity, which was widely read. Successful in arousing the interest of the British and Foreign School Society, he became in 1846 honorary secretary of its newly-formed branch, the Cambrian School Society. He was one of the founders of the Bangor Normal College, for the training of teachers, and of the University College of Wales at Aberystwith, of which for many years he was honorary secretary and treasurer. He was for three years a member of the London School Board. His scheme for secondary education, formulated in 1881, was almost wholly adopted after his death in the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889. The revival of the Honourable Cymrodorion Society, the National Eisteddfod Association and the Social Science Section of the National Eisteddfod was due to Owen. He was knighted in recognition of his service to Welsh education in August 1881, but died at Mentone on the 20th of November. A bronze statue was erected at Carnarvon in 1888 by public subscription.