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John Henry Brookes: The Man Who Inspired a University

Wednesday 6 April 2016

1 Hour


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Writer Bryan Brown looks at the life of John Henry Brookes, one of the 20th-century’s most influential educational leaders and a driving force behind education in Oxford.

Brown looks at the early life of Brookes, the influential thinkers that shaped his views, his arts and crafts career and his struggles to create the Headington campus that has evolved into the university named in his honour. Brookes believed that education should be for all. He became vice-principal of the Oxford City Technical School and head of the School of Art in 1928 and exerted a major influence on the institution for 30 years.

Brown trained as a designer, and his life has been heavily influenced by Brookes. He led a campaign for Brookes’s legacy to be recognised. Brown recommended the Oxford Brookes name when the university was established in 1992 and designed the Oxford Brookes University brand identity. Oxford Brookes University began life as the Oxford School of art in 1865, when it occupied one room of the ground floor at the Taylor Institute in the centre of the city. As part of its150th celebrations in 2015, the university commissioned the book that celebrates the life of the founding father. Here he talks to Susie Baker, director of the Waynflete Office, Magdalen College School.