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William Thompson

Members will be saddened to learn of the death, on 12 February 2005, of Mr William Bernard Thompson, at the age of 90.

William Thompson read Classics at the University of Manchester, also representing the University at athletics, and went on to complete a Diploma in Education in 1937. He spent much of the next twenty years teaching with distinction at schools in Sheffield, Winscombe and Southampton, punctuated by war service during which one of his achievements was to be responsible for the foundation of the Youth Hostels movement in Italy. In 1956, he left his post as Senior Classics Master at King Edward VI School, Southampton, in order to take up an appointment as Lecturer in the School of Education at Leeds. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1969.

William Thompson was a highly respected member of the School, renowned for the attention and support he gave to his students. He had a consuming interest in the teaching of Classics in schools and devoted great energy and considerable imagination to the development of new methods in the face of the challenges to traditional approaches posed by changing patterns of education. Internationally, his reputation stood high. He played a major part in the biennial meetings of the international Colloquium in Classics Method, was Visiting Professor in the teaching of Latin at the University of Minnesota in 1966, and was invited to give lectures and seminars at a number of European universities. Within this country, he was an active member of the Classical Associations Education Sub-Committee and the Council of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers. Over the years, Mr Thompson built up a unique collection of school text-books, some dating back to the beginning of the 19th Century, and other materials relating to the teaching of Greek and Latin and classical civilization. This collection is now housed in the Brotherton Library.

William Thompson retired from his post in September 1979 after twenty-three years service to the University. In retirement, he continued to pursue his interests in classical education with undiminished enthusiasm, including vigorously championing the cause of the School of Classics in the face of the financial cuts facing the University in 1981. For many years the Universitys representative on the Governing Body of Hipperholme Grammar School, he maintained this commitment, too, for some time into retirement.