Charles Badham

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Charles Badham (19 July 1813 – 27 February 1884) was an English university professor, active in Australia.


Early life

Badham was born at Ludlow, Shropshire, the fourth son of Charles Badham senior, a classical scholar and regius professor of physic at Glasgow; and Margaret Campbell, a cousin of Thomas Campbell, the poet. His elder brother, Rev. Dr Charles David Badham, became a physician and popular writer.

From seven years of age, Badham was sent with his three brothers to Switzerland to study under Johann Pestalozzi. Badham afterwards attended Eton College from about 1826, and in 1830 was elected to a scholarship at Wadham College, Oxford, but only obtained a third class in Classics (1836), a failure which may have been due to the methods of study at Oxford. In 1837 Badham went to Italy, where he occupied himself in the study of ancient manuscripts, in particular those of the Vatican library. Badham afterwards spent some time in Germany, and was incorporated M.A. at Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1847.[1]


Having taken holy orders, Badham was appointed headmaster of Louth grammar school, Lincolnshire (1851-1854), and subsequently headmaster of Edgbaston proprietary school, near Birmingham. In the interval he had taken the degree of D.D. at Cambridge (1852). In 1860 he received the honorary degree of doctor of letters at the University of Leiden. In 1863 was made one of the examiners in classics at London university. In 1866 he was also appointed classical examiner for the Indian civil service.

In 1867 Badham left England to take up the professorship of classics and logic in Sydney University, Australia, arriving in April, which he held until his death. The university had been established some 15 years but had fewer than 40 students, and the professor's official duties were not heavy. But Badham was not content to laze in a backwater and he even went so far as to write to the leading newspapers in New South Wales offering to correct the exercises of students who might be studying Latin, Greek, French or German, in the country. Some years later he travelled over the country holding meetings and endeavouring to get the people to become interested in the university and to found bursaries for poor students. When the government of New South Wales decided to found a great public library at Sydney, Badham was nominated as a trustee and was elected as the first chairman of trustees. He took the greatest interest in the library, and his wide knowledge was invaluable in its early years. He became the representative man of the university, and his speeches at the annual commencements were eagerly awaited. He always insisted that there must be the same standard of examination for degrees at Sydney as in the leading British universities, and he spared no pains in helping his students to reach that standard.

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