Blue plaque and new biography of Henry Morris

Commemoration plaque for Henry Morris erected at Shire Hall in Cambridge.
Commemoration plaque for Henry Morris erected at Shire Hall in Cambridge.

A blue plaque will be unveiled in Cambridge next week in recognition of one of the country’s greatest educational reformers.

The plaque, in memory of Henry Morris, will be unveiled at Darwin College at 12 noon on Monday (September 30). Henry Morris lived at the Old Granary in Silver Street – now part of Darwin.

This coincides with the publication of a new biography of Henry Morris, the Chief Education Officer who set up the Cambridgeshire Village Colleges, and pioneered the concept of Community Education.

His vivid phrase ‘Education from the cradle to the grave’ will appear on the blue plaque at Darwin College.

When he became Chief Education Officer in 1922, Cambridgeshire was the second poorest county in England and had no secondary schools. The network of Village Colleges around Cambridge reflects the magnitude of Henry Morris’s achievement.

The new biography has been written by David Rooney, a former warden of Swavesey Village College. Mr Rooney, who retired in 1985, now lives in Willingham. Published by the Henry Morris Memorial Trust, all proceeds from the book will go to the Trust, which awards travel grants to young people in Cambridgeshire aged between 13 and 19.

Copies of the book will be available to buy from Village Colleges and secondary schools across the county, as well as the main Reception at Shire Hall in Castle Hill, Cambridge.

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “Henry Morris was probably the most important educational thinker and reformer of the 20th century and the legacy of his vision can be seen thriving today across the village colleges of Cambridgeshire and beyond. David Rooney has done a first-class job of capturing the flaws and brilliance of this unique individual who did so much to shape the influences of the many young people who have passed through Cambridgeshire’s education system over the past 80 years.

“I am also extremely grateful to Darwin College for recognising the huge significance of Henry Morris and agreeing to erect a blue plaque at the College in recognition of his achievements.”