Abbott, Edwin (1808 to 1882)

Lived at 8 Palace Square in 1881

Edwin Abbott (Bn 12 May 1808 D 27 May 1882 18 Palace Square) was an educational writer.  His father Edward Abbott, was an Oilman and Italian Warehouseman, descended from George Abbot (Bn 1562), Archbishop of Canterbury (1611 to 1633).  Edwin lived at 18 Palace Square (1881 Census), with his occupation stated as ‘Retired Head Master of Philological Public School’, with his wife Jane (Bn 1806 D1882), one of their sons, Sydney, and daughter Anne.  They had two Servants, Cook, Martha Townsend (aged 41) and Domestic Housemaid, Emily Pearce (aged 21).

From 1827 to 1872, Edwin was Head Master of the Philological School in Marylebone, a school which he himself had previously attended until 1822 (salary £100 per annum which rose to £500 before his retirement in 1872).  He expanded the curriculum to include English, German (from 1840), and science (electricity 1854; chemistry 1870).  In 1834 the school established ties with the newly founded King’s College, London, and became a feeder for the City of London School.  Abbott’s letters (1859) reveal a firm but humane disciplinarian.  His rule was ‘a child’s first duty is obedience to those who are in authority over him; and if he does not learn this, everything which he does learn is more likely to do him harm than good’.

The school was later renamed St Marylebone Grammar School (1901) and one of the four senior houses was named after him.  As well as elementary works on Latin and English grammar, he compiled ‘Complete Concordance to the Works of Alexander Pope’, which was published in 1875.  He married his first cousin, Jane Abbott in 1831. They had eight children, including Edwin Abbott-Abbott (Bn 1838 D1926), author of the satirical romance ‘Flatland’ (published 1884).


son, Rev Edwin Abbott-Abbott [photo: Google]

His daughter, Elizabeth married, in 1857, John Humffreys Parry, Serjeant-at-Law, a sympathizer with the moral-force Chartists and a former pupil and close friend of Abbott.  Another son Sydney (Bn 1844 D1887 aged 43) worked for the British Museum, Department of Printed Books.