Darnell, George (DNB00)
DARNELL, GEORGE (1798–1857), was an eminent schoolmaster, who established, and conducted for many years, a large day school at Islington. With a somewhat feeble body, but an active and shrewd mind and a kind heart, he occupied himself much with efforts to render the beginnings of school work less uninviting to the pupil by making them more easy for both pupil and teacher, as exhibited in his ‘Short and Certain Road to Reading,’ his ‘Grammar made Intelligible to Children,’ and his ‘Arithmetic made Intelligible to Children,’ which for many years had an enormous sale. The prefaces to these little works, abounding in good sense and in practical suggestions, have been helpful to teachers, and many of the principles he formulated, which were new at the time, are now almost universally recognised. His series of copybooks have been long and widely used, and for many years ‘Darnell's Copybooks’ was a phrase familiar as a household word. They were started about 1840, and Darnell was the first to introduce the plan of giving a line of copy in pale ink to be first written over by the pupil, then to be imitated by him in the next line, the copy being thus always under the young writer's eye. Darnell died at Gibson Square, Islington, on 26 Feb. 1857, aged 58 (Gent. Mag. 1857, i. 499).