Nesbit, Anthony (DNB00)

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NESBIT, ANTHONY (1778–1859), schoolmaster and writer of school-books, was the son of Jacob Nesbit, farmer, of Long Benton, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was baptised on 3 May 1778. In the preface to his ‘Arithmetic’ he states that he was educated ‘under the direction of some of the first commercial and mathematical preceptors in the kingdom,’ and that, having a decided predilection for teaching, he became a schoolmaster at an early age. He lived successively at Whitby, Malton, Scarborough, Bridlington, and Hull. In 1808–9 he was an under-master at Preston grammar school, as appears from a communication to the ‘Lady's Diary’ for 1809. In 1810 he describes himself on the title-page of his ‘Land Surveying’ as ‘land surveyor and teacher of the mathematics at Farnley, near Leeds.’ About 1814 he set up a school at Bradford, removing in 1821 or thereabouts to Manchester, where his school in Oxford Road became well known. About 1841 he removed to London, and started a school at 38 Lower Kennington Lane [see Nesbit, John Collis.]

His books, which had a considerable reputation in their day, especially in the North of England, are: 1. ‘Land Surveying,’ York, 1810. 2. ‘Mensuration,’ 1816. 3. ‘English Parsing,’ 1817. 4. ‘Practical Gauging,’ York, 1822. 5. ‘Arithmetic,’ Liverpool, 1826; second part, London, 1846. 6. ‘An Essay on Education,’ London, 1841. His sons, John Collis Nesbit and Edward Planta Nesbit, took part in the compilation of the last-named work. Some of his books went through several editions, and his ‘Land Surveying,’ revised by successive editors, still retains its popularity, the twelfth edition appearing in 1870. He was an excellent teacher, though somewhat severe; and in the preface to his ‘Arithmetic’ he laments that an over-fond parent too often ‘prohibits the teacher from using the only means that are calculated to make a scholar of his son.’ He contributed to the mathematical portions of the ‘Lady's Diary,’ ‘Enquirer,’ and ‘Leeds Correspondent.’ He died in Kennington Lane on 15 March 1859, and was buried in Norwood Cemetery (Gent. Mag. May 1859, p. 547 a).

[Authorities as cited; personal knowledge.]

R. B. P.