Greenwood, Joseph Gouge (DNB01)

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GREENWOOD, JOSEPH GOUGE (1821–1894), principal of the Owens College, Manchester, born in 1821, was the son of the Rev. Joseph Greenwood, a congregationalist minister at Petersfield, Hampshire, and his wife Maria, whose maiden name was Gouge. At the age of fourteen he was sent to University College school, London, of which Thomas Hewitt Key [q. v.] and Henry Maiden [q. v.] had recently been appointed joint head-masters. Thence he proceeded to University College, London. In 1840 he graduated B. A. in the university of London, with honours in both classics and mathematics, gaining the university scholarship in the former subject of examination.

A year before this his father had died, leaving the young student responsible for a family of six younger children. For several years he supported himself and others by private tuition, and after a time as an assistant master in his old school; during an interval he acted as substitute for Henry Maiden in the Greek chair at University College. In his day he had few superiors in London as a private tutor in the classical languages and literature. One of his earliest pupils was Edward A. Leatham, who dedicated to him his striking 'Tale of the great Athenian Revolution Charmione' (1859). Greenwood had no time himself for the luxuries of authorship; but to this period of his life must have belonged his translation of the 'Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria,' edited by Bennet Woodcroft [q.v.] (1851), and the first plan at least of his 'Elements of Greek Grammar' (1857), an attempt to supplement Hewitt Key's application of the 'crude-form system' to Latin grammar by completing Maiden's fragmentary Greek grammar designed on the same principles.

In 1850 Greenwood accepted the offer of the chair of classics and history in the newly founded Owens College at Manchester. [see Owens, John]. He thus became associated at the beginning of its career with this important seminary of higher instruction, whose ultimate success was largely owing to his perseverance and devotion.

At first the college failed to establish a hold upon Manchester and its district, and in July 1857, when its fortunes were almost at their lowest ebb, Greenwood was appointed to the principalship on the resignation of this post by Alexander John Scott [q.v.] Greenwood continued to lecture, but soon after his appointment as professor the subject of history had been detached from his chair and assigned to Richard Copley Christie [q.v. Suppl.]; Latin and classical Greek were later transferred to separate professors; and during the last few years Greenwood retained only the teaching of Greek Testament criticism. His teaching of this subject (afterwards commemorated by the endowment of a Greenwood Greek Testament lectureship in the college) was, in accordance with the system of the college, as well as with his own disposition as a teacher, essentially confined to textual criticism. His private opinions were through life those of an orthodox but liberal churchman.

In the earlier years of the college Greenwood advocated much change in the system of college teaching, in order to recommend it to Manchester business men. In 1853 he had taken an active part in opening classes for the schoolmasters of primary schools; and having in 1858 become honorary secretary of a working-men's college on the same lines as that of the London college, opened a few years earlier under the influence of Frederick Denison Maurice [q. v.], he was instrumental in bringing about its amalgamation, in 1861 , with Owens College, of which for a long time to come it formed an important department. Within the next few years a tide in public opinion and sentiment at last set in at Manchester, which justified the foundation, in the midst of a busy industrial community, of a place of learning and research, educationally equal to university requirements. This growth of public interest and confidence in the college was largely due to the scientific teaching of Sir Henry Roscoe and his colleagues; but great credit belongs to Greenwood for consistently maintaining a due balance between the claims of the older and those of the newer branches of academic study. In these endeavours he was entirely at one with Alfred Neild, who during the greater part of his principalship presided over the governing body of the college. In 1867-71 a new era in the history of the college began with the movement for its extension, in which, with Thomas Ashton and others, Greenwood took a prominent part. The results were 'the rebuilding of the college on a new site and scale, the entire recasting of its constitutional and administrative system, an extraordinary development of its facilities for instruction and research, and something like a trebling of its financial resources.' On the opening of the new college buildings in 1873 the principal delivered an address 'On some Relations of Culture to Practical Life' (printed in 'Essays and Addresses by Professors and Lecturers of the Owens College,' 1874). In 1872 the Manchester Medical School was incorporated with the Owens College, after negotiations in which Greenwood displayed much tact; and two years later the new medical buildings of the college were opened.

The most important events in the history of the college during the later years of Greenwood's official life were the admission of women students into the college and the foundation of the Victoria University. He was no friend in principle to conducting the higher education of women on the same lines as that of men, and objected (at all events as a rule) to joint or mixed classes. Thus he exercised a restraining influence upon the settlement of the question at Manchester; but he was fully awake to the fact that when the new Victoria University had opened its degrees to all comers without distinction of sex, women students could not be denied the necessary facilities for gaining them. So far as the departments of arts and science were concerned, this was to a very large extent accomplished during his principalship. Into the spirit of the foundation of the Victoria University he from the first loyally entered, taking a chief part in the negotiations which in 1880 ended in the grant of a charter on federal principles, the Owens College, however, remaining for four years the only college of the university. He became its first vice-chancellor, holding the office till 1886 for three successive periods of two years, and warmly interesting himself in the determination of the examinations and courses of study in the university, which largely occupied its earliest years. His caution at times conflicted with the more boldly progressive policy upheld by the majority of his colleagues; but when the Victoria University became federal in fact by the admission of Liverpool University College and Yorkshire College, Leeds, he, with great circumspection, guarded the interests of Owens College. Towards the close of 1889, owing to failure of health, he resigned the principalship which he had held for thirty-seven years. Shortly afterwards he settled at Eastbourne, where he occupied himself with literary pursuits, including a revision of the text of Wordsworth, his favourite author through life. He died at Eastbourne on 25 Sept, 1894.

In 1873 the university of Cambridge, whose chancellor, the seventh Duke of Devonshire, was also chancellor of the Victoria University and president of the Owens College, conferred on Greenwood the honorary degree of LL.D., and in 1884 the university of Edinburgh, on the occasion of its tercentenary, bestowed upon him a similar honour. He was twice married: first, to Eliza, the daughter of John Taylor, a unitarian minister in Manchester, by whom he left two daughters; and then to Katharine, daughter of William Langton, manager of the Manchester and Salford Bank at Manchester. A portrait of him, by F. A. Partington, is in the Owens College.

[Obituary notice, Manchester Guardian, 26 Sept. 1894; obituary notice of the late Thomas Ashton, Manchester Guardian, 22 Jan. 1898; Memoirs &c. of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 1897-8; Joseph Thompson's The Owens College, its Foundation and Growth (Manchester, 1886); P. J. Hartog's The Owens College, Manchester, a Brief History of the College, &c. (Manchester, 1900); private information and personal knowledge.]

A. W. W.