Item GSAA/DIR/4/3 - Letter sent by Simmonds [from Derby School of Art] to Edward Catterns, GSA Secretary

Letter sent by Simmonds [from Derby School of Art] to Edward Catterns, GSA Secretary (Version 1) Letter sent by Simmonds [from Derby School of Art] to Edward Catterns, GSA Secretary (Version 2)

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Letter sent by Simmonds [from Derby School of Art] to Edward Catterns, GSA Secretary


  • 27 Aug 1885 (Creation)

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1 sheet

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Refers to decision by GSA to print the results of student examination successes; to amount of money spent by himself on the School; argues against Committee of Management claiming that he was allowed to take over Derby School of Art as a favour to himself; refers to recent High Court against a headmaster of an Art School.

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This material has been appraised in line with Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections standard procedures.


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Thomas Simmonds, 1842-1912, had been a teacher of Science and Art subjects at Derby School of Art, before taking over from Robert Greenlees as Headmaster at Glasgow School of Art in 1881. He seems to have been on the staff at Cheltenham School of Art early in his career, and may also have spent time teaching at the Birmingham Schools. Simmonds was very businesslike and his career suggests he was a good Headmaster in a managerial sense. Whilst at Glasgow School of Art he was instrumental in convincing the governors of the need for a new building, and regularly complained to the committee of management about the conditions that the students had to work under. He also attempted, unsuccessfully, to promote links between Glasgow School of Art and the Woollen College, a small independent textiles college. In 1885, he returned to Derby School of Art to take up the position of Headmaster. He had arranged to take up this position by April 1885, leaving Glasgow School of Art in May 1885, but his contract was not supposed to end until August 1885. This, plus the attempts by Simmonds to claim all monies he saw as due to him from student successes at the Science and Art examinations in South Kensington, led to an embittered correspondence between himself and the School. The letters that survive from this period illustrate the problems and financial fragility of the position of the headmaster of a provincial School of Design.

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