Norwood Papers

Ref: MS 230

Title: Norwood Papers

Personal papers and documents of Sir Cyril Norwood (1875-1956), educationalist

Dates: 1875-1956
Level: Fonds
Extent: 19 boxes
Name of creator: Sir Cyril Norwood

Administrative / biographical history:

The collection consists of personal papers, letters, notebooks, diaries, memorabilia, news-cuttings and other documents of Sir Cyril Norwood, Kt., (1875-1956), a prominent and distinguished figure in English education.

Cyril Norwood was born 15 September 1875, the son of the Rev. Samuel Norwood of Whalley, Lancashire, whose family removed to Leytonstone, London in 1886 when the grammar school of which Norwood senior was headmaster closed. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and St. Johns College, Oxford, where he took a First in Classical Moderations (1896) and in Litterae Humaniores (1898). After achieving first place in the examination for entry into the Home Civil Service in 1899 he joined the Admiralty, but in 1901 resigned and, determining to make his career in education, was appointed master of the Classical VIth at Leeds Grammar School. In December 1901 he married Catherine Margaret Kilner, daughter of a medical practitioner of Kensington. On leaving Leeds Grammar School Norwood took up the post of Headmaster of Bristol Grammar School (1906-16), where he established a reputation for success which resulted in his being invited to apply successively for the posts of Master of Marlborough College (1917-25) and Head Master of Harrow School (1926-34). On leaving Harrow in 1934 he became President of his old College, St. Johns, Oxford, from 1934 to1946, receiving a knighthood in 1938. In 1946 he retired to live at Iwerne Minster, Dorset, where he died 13 March 1956.

During his career he fulfilled other prominent roles, including: Chairman of the Secondary School Examinations Council (1921-46); Chairman, Allied Schools (1934-54); and Chairman of the Committee on Curricula and Examinations, which in 1943 produced the influential report Curriculum and examinations in secondary schools (the "Norwood Report") which led to the post-war tripartite system of secondary education. A committed Christian, he was also President of the Modern Churchmen's Union (1937-47).

His publications, in addition to the Norwood Report, include: The higher education of boys in England (1909), The English educational system (1928), and The English tradition of education (1929).

The collection also includes three journals kept by Norwood's father, the Rev. Samuel Norwood. Although these have only occasional references to his son's career, entries during the years 1906-7 are of wider interest as they record Samuel Norwood's emigration to Canada through the agency of the Salvation Army, an organisation on whose behalf he undertook work related to the Salvation Army's programme of assisted emigration from England to Canada at that time.

  • Related collections: None
  • Source: Donated 1998
  • System of arrangement: By sections, mainly chronologically
  • Subjects: Education - Great Britain; England -- Emigration and immigration; Canada -- Emigration and immigration
  • Names: Norwood, Sir, Cyril, 1875-1956; Norwood, Samuel, fl. 1900; Salvation Army
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: None
  • Copyright: According to document
  • Finding aids: 'The Sir Cyril Norwood Papers, arranged and listed by Lawrence Aspden: a Catalogue', University of Sheffield Library, 2002