Edmund Arnold Greening LAMBORN (1877–1950)
Headmaster, local historian, ‘Man of letters’, benefactor
34 Oxford Road, Littlemore
© Images and Voices,
Oxfordshire County Council
E.A.G.L. grew up in Cowley, the son of Arnold Edwin Lamborn, who was variously auctioneer, insurance valuer, carrier, and Susanna Greening, a farmer’s daughter. He began a career in education as a pupil teacher, rising to be headmaster of St Mary Magdalen Boys’ School at Gloucester Green and becoming head of East Oxford Council Boys’ School, Collins Street, at the age of 30. He presided there 1909–44, famous as a formidable headmaster and inspirational teacher, affectionately known as ‘Ikey’, who believed in progressive and experimental teaching methods combined with high academic standards. Many of his pupils went on to distinguished careers. H. A. L. Fisher described him as ‘the greatest elementary teacher in the United Kingdom’. Teachers from all over Europe visited the school and school inspectors ventured to visit only when they knew he was away. In Who Was Who (1940) he gives as one of his recreations ‘the education of education officials’.
East Oxford Primary School, 2010
He was a dedicated and esteemed local historian who published countless articles of note e.g. on the history of the Golden Cross, Beaumont Palace, heraldry and genealogy, and some impressive books such as The Story of Architecture in Stone (Clarendon Press 1912), The Armorial Glass of the Oxfordshire Diocese (OUP 1949). He was an excellent self-trained archaeologist and wrote excavation reports in collaboration with H. E. Salter and Andrew Clark. He also published widely on English literature.
He did not have a university degree, describing his education as ‘by books, buildings, and the companionship of wild creatures’. He liked to be called ‘Man of Letters’. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship he was awarded an Honorary Oxford M.A. in 1921. Lambourn Road (misspelled) in Rose Hill was named after him at the request of Lincoln College.
He lived at 34 Oxford Road, Littlemore (right) from 1911 to 1950, and his sister, a district nurse, remained there until 1965. His books and papers were given to the Bodleian Library.
His plan to set up the Greening Lamborn Trust was implemented by his sister. Its purpose is to promote public interest in ‘the history, architecture, old photographs and heraldry of Oxford and its neighbourhood’, by supporting with grants and loans scholarly publications and smaller works of local interest and also other media, including the display of historic artefacts in museums.
- Article published by Diana Wood in Oxoniensia (2009), the journal of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of his death;
- Entry in Who Was Who, A. & C. Black, 1920–2008 (OUP)
The plaque was installed on 18 September 2010 at 34 Oxford Road, Littlemore. The speakers were Dr Diana Wood and Professor Robert Evans, Chairman of the Greening Lamborn Trust.
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board
Local historian and benefactor
Man of Letters
Greening Lamborn Trust