Johnson, William (1784-1864) (DNB00)

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JOHNSON, WILLIAM (1784–1864), educationalist, was born in Cumberland in 1784. He entered at St. John's College, Cambridge, 30 April 1810, and became B.D. in 1827, as a ten-year man. In 1811 he was curate at Grasmere, teacher of the school there, and a friend of Wordsworth. In September 1811 Dr. Andrew Bell [q. v.], the inventor of the Madras or mutual system of education, came over from Keswick to see Wordsworth. He had an interview with Johnson, and was so impressed by the conduct of his school that in January 1812 he offered Johnson, through Wordsworth, an appointment at the new model school which the National Society was building in London; the salary was 100l. a year. Johnson accordingly removed to London, took charge of the temporary school in Holborn, and afterwards of the permanent establishment in Baldwin's Gardens. Johnson was an able teacher, and as Bell's system attracted much curiosity at the time, he was almost daily called on to explain its merits to visitors. To Johnson was largely due the success of both the Madras system and the National Society. For many years he was ‘trainer of masters, travelling organiser, and inspector of schools,’ and afterwards ‘cashier and comptroller of the accounts of the society.’ He was intimate with Southey, Wordsworth, and Lord Kenyon. On 19 Oct. 1820 he was appointed rector of St. Clement's, Eastcheap, with St. Martin Orgar. In 1840 he retired from his scholastic work. Johnson died at his rectory 20 Sept. 1864.

[Southey's Life of Andrew Bell, ii. 398, &c.; Guardian, 28 Sept. 1864; Gent. Mag. 1864, ii. 526, 661; information kindly supplied by R. F. Scott, esq.]

W. A. J. A.