SHEFFIELD CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION
Sheffield Classical Association
"At Rotherham, besides the study of theology, and of the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, and other ancient and modern languages, the institution provides instruction in mathematics, chemistry, metaphysics, and natural and moral philosophy. These studies are conducted by the Rev. James Bennett, Theological Tutor, and the Rev. Thomas Smith, M.A. Classical Tutor."
Henry Pickford was born in Sheffield about 1806. His father, Mr. James Pickford, was an industrious, respectable, and pious man, by trade a saw grinder. Leaving school when about thirteen years of age, Henry Pickford began to work with his father at the trade of saw grinding. From that period he was self educated," except some little assistance rendered by the late Rev. Thos. Smith, A.M., Classical Tutor of Rotherham College (see elsewhere on this site) , and one or two other persons. His natural taste was for the acquisition of languages. He was, I believe, in a great degree animated in these pursuits by the laudable ambition of imitating that remarkable Sheffield man of whom we have just been hearing, the late Rev. Daniel Chapman. He pursued his studies, early and late, with characteristic ardour and considerable success. One day he very much astonished the attendants of the Bible Society's depot by applying to purchase a Chaldo-Syriac Testament . . .
This young man, though moving in the inferior walks of life, had, by persevering industry and diligence, attained to a considerable knowledge of various languages. The writer of this article well recollects the pleasing surprise which was created in his mind some two years since by the following circumstance, which led him to make further inquiries respecting him, and ever after to feel a lively interest about his progress and future prospects. Mr. Pickford happened to call upon him. Amongst other inquiries one was made whether he had ever read any of the Greek dramatic writers ? He replied in the negative ; but wishing to ascertain his proficiency in the reading of Greek, a request was made that he would recite a few lines from Sophocles, which was lying on the table. He did so ; not only correctly as it regarded the reading, but, after a little attention, rendered the passage into English in a manner very creditable to him. This circumstance is mentioned to show that the mind of this young man was of no ordinary kind, when, without friends, almost without assistance of any sort, and certainly without any regular or efficient education, in the midst too of a laborious daily occupation, he could attain to such a proficiency. He had acquired considerable knowledge of the Latin language. The writer has now in his possession many of his translations from various authors, several books of Juvenal, the whole of Persius, &etc. To Hebrew and to several of the Oriental languages he had paid much attention. Professor Lee (of Cambridge University), who had seen some of his translations, pronounced that they did him much credit. French, Italian, German, Spanish, also obtained a share of his attention. Under such circumstances a proposition was made, and through the kindness of friends nearly brought to a successful conclusion, that he should be sent to the University of Cambridge, and put in a way of honourably distinguishing himself by the fair exercise of those talents which God had bestowed upon him." One of the papers above referred to by Mr. Atkinson as having been sent to Professor Lee, consisted of a translation into one of the Oriental languages of a well-known personification of one of the four Seasons, I think "Spring," by Mrs. Barbauld.
Henry Pickford was of a very amiable and cheerful disposition. Indeed, his exuberance of spirits, united with great fluency of speech, was apt, at seasons, to explode in uncontrollable fits of mirth, fun, and laughter. Some persons were inclined to regard such outbursts as indicative and proof of real habitual levity of mind. Such an opinion would certainly be a great mistake. Such occasions were simply the outward manifestation of one of Nature's kindly gifts. In fact it acted as a safety-valve. In July, 1830, seeing that his bodily and mental powers were kept at too great and constant a strain, I persuaded him, and he actually made arrangements, to accompany me to the Western coast, in order to enjoy what at the time he very much needed, an entire relaxation for some weeks. Unfortunately for him the saw trade, which had been dull, became brisk. His employers, therefore, pressed him very hard and earnestly to do all the work he possibly could ; and he, being anxious to get all the money he was able in prospect of the University, instead of going with me to the sea-side and inhaling the invigorating breezes of the ocean, stayed at home and exerted himself to the utmost; in one instance working all night, during a season of remarkably hot weather. He ere long found that he had to pay the penalty which physical laws exact on all, without distinction, who disregard or infringe them. That great exertion did him an irreparable injury, having eventually the effect of developing a latent tendency to consumption, so that from that time he only lived a year. Although during the succeeding months there were the usual alternations of hope and fear, cloud and sunshine, yet his earthly expectations were in reality blasted. His medical advisers were Dr. (afterwards Sir Arnold) Knight, and the late Mr. Wilson Overend ; but from the first they gave to his parents but slender hopes as to his recovery. It was my privilege to visit him during the whole course of his illness. He died in July, 1831, about 25 years of age. Amidst the eager and successful pursuit of literature he had not neglected the one thing needful. He was a young intelligent, and sincere Christian, and purposed devoting his talents and his life to the service of his Lord and Master. Relying on Divine mercy through the atonement and intercession of Christ, his end was peace. Respecting him nothing can be more appropriate than the lines of Mrs. Hemans :
" The ethereal fire hath shivered
The fragile censer in whose mould it quivered,
We wish to invite anyone with an interest in Latin verse to: ‘Inter Versiculos in Sicilia’, a 10-day workshop in Latin verse composition, sponsored by the University of Michigan, and led by David Money (Cambridge).
See our website for full details:
This site also contains sections on previous workshops (2011, 2016), with poems by participants, advice on composition, etc, which may be of interest.
For applications and expressions of interest, please contact (as soon as you can): Gina Soter email@example.com
We hope you will consider joining us. And we would also be very grateful if you could pass on the information to students and potentially interested colleagues and friends, and encourage any mentions of the workshop on social media or elsewhere, so that the message can reach a wider range of potential participants in all countries. We would stress that the workshop is open to anyone at all (with reasonable Latin): no previous verse-writing experience is expected. We have found that most complete beginners can achieve some impressive results within the time of a workshop. It will be accessible to Latinists of varying levels: suitable for undergrads, but also for postgrads, and teachers at schools or universities – all of whom may find their appreciation of verse enriched by the practical approach we take.
One of our team writes that ‘the exercise can be unexpectedly compelling, illuminating and useful. As with many art forms, one of the best ways to understand what others have done, is to try to do it yourself.’ Here are a few other comments from past participants: · Taught by a connoisseur of all the obstacles and traps in Latin poetry writing, we made the first stumbling steps on our newly discovered metrical feet; inspired by Sicilian sun, music, food, and wine, the stumble developed – little by little – into a dance. · Even if I do not continue writing poetry, Inter Versiculos has already improved my ability to read and appreciate Latin poetry. . . . my reading feels more natural and it is far easier to appreciate the poem's meaning. · ‘Inter Versiculos’ not only opened my eyes to Latin poetry and its many wonders, but also to the gorgeous universe that is Sicily. · I was never more aware of the importance of quantities. · Having previously only studied classics in very traditional and rigid European schools, it is good to get away from the cobwebs of Northern scholarship and dash into the burning Sicilian sunshine. · I knew it was difficult to write with such confines as the different meters but I never truly understood until I tried it for myself. It was really satisfying to be able to have tangible evidence of my learning throughout the week. · Prose was always my thing--or so I thought. Now that I understand the skill involved in writing poetry, I have a completely different love for it. Before I used to prefer the Caesar portion of the syllabus; now I far prefer the Vergil! · The way Latin poetry is conventionally taught, it can feel like trying to solve a puzzle … but the process of learning how to ‘write’ the poetry has augmented my understanding of it a thousand-fold . … This perspective is unique and invaluable; I certainly could have gotten it no other way. · I.V. also fostered a unique sort of community, the likes of which I never would have imagined: it brought tenured professors, ancient armchair Latinists, and green undergraduates all down to the same level of expertise.
‘Inter versiculos’ 2018 is now actively seeking anyone curious about Latin poetry. We invite you to join us in Trapani, Sicily, July 5-14, 2018
Birmingham and Midlands Classical Association Teachers’ Day
Saturday 3 February 2018
9.30 - 9.45: Arrival, coffee and welcome
9.45 - 11.30: Feedback on the new GCE and GCSE specifications in Latin; discussion of the new specification in Classical Civilisation (Alex Orgee, OCR Subject Specialist – Classics)
11.30 – 11.45: Coffee break
11.45 – 12.45: Either: Teaching from material culture and images – Hannah Cornwell, University of Birmingham
Or: Teaching Minimus – Barbara Bell, Primary Latin Project
12.45 – 1.30: Lunch
1.30 – 2.30: Either: Odysseus and the Mycenaean World – Guy Kirkham-Smith
Or: Greek and Roman Religion – Ken Dowden, University of Birmingham
2.30 – 3.00: Classics for All Electra Programme: introducing Greek Clubs in schools – Kirsty McAlister, Edgbaston High School
3.00 – 4.00: Heroism in Homer and Virgil – Helen Lovatt, Nottingham University
4.00 – 4.30: Tea, final questions and departure
Please contact Joanna Johnson at Solihull School (JohnsonJ@SolSch.org.uk) to register your interest.
The cost of the event is £40 per attendee which can be paid on the day. Receipts can be supplied after the event. Schools do not need to be a member of the Birmingham and Midlands Classical Association to attend.
A little bit more about Professor Eric Laughton. We still think fondly about him in our household. He gave my wife and me our final examination results. We'd got married in the second year-a matter that confused some of our lecturers no end, though not, I think, him, so he called us in together on results day and congratulated us both-we'd done pretty well-with, as I remember, though dimly, a combination of Edwardian charm and genuine affection for his pupils. He had a genuine warmth that we didn't see very often. We were very young and he was very eminent! What is left of the administrative files of the department (letters to colleagues etc) give the impression that he was well-liked among staff of the university and a man of some influence. His published work is very austere. Look at this. It's the preface to his book on the participle in Cicero, written in the days before databases and computers. I imagine a card index, painstakingly compiled over many years.
'The task of reading all that Cicero wrote'-that gives the measure of the man! Respect!-as they say.
There were lighter moments. We both remember reading (possibly in our second year) Seneca's Phaedra with him. The edition we were using was dreadful and the play isn't exactly one of the high points of Latin literature, especially when you think of the Euripides' version (Hippolytus)! He took us through the text in a series of lectures and we were getting near the end. When we reached line 1267, our lecturer started chuckling and said something like: 'I wish to draw your attention to the following line which I find particularly amusing'. In spite of the fact that Seneca doesn't have a conspicuous sense of humour, our lecturer had our undivided attention for the rest of the hour. You never know-he might crack another joke! This is the line in question (Theseus is sorting through the remains of the body of his son, Hippolytus who has been mangled, when his chariot has run out of control!?):
quae pars tui sit dubito; sed pars tui
'I'm not sure what part of you this is, but it's certainly a part of you.
The last Firth Professor of Latin didn't always take things absolutely seriously.
Eric Laughton (1911—88), who began as an Assistant Lecturer in Latin in 1936, was later Firth Professor of Latin 1952—76; Pro-Vice-Chancellor, 1968— 72), Dean of the Faculty of Arts, 1961—4, and Public Orator, 1955—68; his publications included Latin for Latecomers and The Participle in Cicero.
A forgotten Edwardian lecturer in the Classical Department of the University of Sheffield-J. H. Sleeman.
What a fabulous name for a lecturer in Classics-just say it aloud and think of Troy! J. H. Sleeman seems to have taught and researched into the Classics with great industry. He was as much concerned with explaining texts on a basic level (his edition of Caesar-see below) as providing research tools for the understanding of more esoteric authors (his lexicon to Plotinus). Here is his obituary from The Times showing that he survived to a good age (82):
From The Times of January 5th 1963
Professor J. H. Sleeman, Professor Emeritus of Classics in the University of Londlon, died yesterday in hospitaL at Penzance at the age of 82. John Herbert Sleeman was born on February 4. 1880 and brought up at Bristol. He was a scholar of Emmanuel Colege, C ambridge, where he read classics, and later a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. After lecturing for some Years at Sheffield he became in 1918 Lecturer and a little later University Professor of Classics at Royal Holloway Colege, University of London, where he remained till his retirement in 1946, He took a full part in the affairs of the college, being an early staff representative on the governing body and a president of the local association of university teachers. In later years he was regarded with much respect on the Classical Board of Studies and Board of Examiners in the university. He was always a devoted and successful teacher of every type of pupil, very patient and accurate alike with the weak general and the good honours student, who all benefited by his ripe scholarship. He did valuable work also with post-graduates. His kindness and quiet humour endeared him both to colleagues and to students to whom he and his wife were always verv hospitable and helpful. His health was not strong and while bv husbanding his forces he contrived always to fulfil his teaching and administrative duties it was, to some extent. at the expense of publication. although among his published work was Tacitus. Agricola and Germania (1914). His special interest lay in Neo-Platonism and after his retirement he completed an index to Plotinus. This was accepted for publication but he fore- saw that it would not appear in his life- time. In 1918 he married Dorothy, daughter of Mrs. William Thorpe, of Chesterfield. PROF. J. IL SLEEMAN
The fifth Professor of Classics at Firth College (University of Sheffield) and first Firth Professor of Latin.
The following biography is taken from the Dutch version of Wikipedia (with the help of Google translator!). Apologies for any remaining infelicities in translation. There isn't an English entry. The accompanying pictures give evidence of the meticulous scholar mentioned in the Wikipedia notes. They show Summers' copy of the Latin dictionary, 'Lewis and Short'. thoroughly annotated and corrected(!) throughout and the notebooks that he painstaking complied with notes and vocabulary lists for his published editions mentioned below. Summers' Papers may be consulted in the Special Collections of the Sheffield University Library. Thanks to them for allowing me to see them.
Walter Coventry Summers (1869 - Torquay, 30 March 1937) was a British Latinist, specialist in the field of so-called 'silver latin' (literature from the period after Augustus), professor at the University of Sheffield.
After being a fellow at St John's College (Cambridge) and assistant lecturer at Owens College in Manchester, W.C. Summers in 1909 was appointed Firth Professor of Latin in Sheffield. Here he remained active until 1930.
His most famous publication is his Select letters of Seneca from 1910. In the foreword, he thanks his publisher that he has dared to publish a book that probably only few readers will find. It shows how much Summers was a pioneer in this field, and how much the study of Latin was burdened with prejudices (negative with respect to Seneca, positive with respect to the literature from the August period, the so-called 'golden' Latin). But the book has been reprinted numerous times until the 1990s. Summers precedes his selection from Seneca's letters with a very detailed analysis of Seneca's language use . He emphasizes the use that Seneca makes of terms from everyday language use (colloquial elements). He also traces the history of what he calls the pointed style in Latin prose; this is the style technique of short, flashy sentences characteristic of the silver latin, with many unexpected turns, paradoxes, contradictions and the like . He also gives a résumé of the reception history of Seneca's work through the ages. The book was received positively 
The silver age or Latin literature from Tiberius to Trajan can be seen as the conclusion of his professional activity. In this he deals with every literary genre (roughly) in the first century after Christ, concluding each chapter with the later after-effects of the treated works / writers. Again, however, he considers it necessary to justify himself for the fact that he asks attention for this period in literary history; given some reactions  this was not entirely unnecessary.
1894: A study of the Argonautica or Valerius Flaccus
1900: C. Sallusti Crispi Catilina
1901: P. Ovidi Nasonis Metamorphoseon liber VIII. Edited with introduction, notes, vocabulary and index
1902: C. Sallusti Crispi Iugurtha. Edited with introduction, notes and index
1904: Cornelii Taciti Historiarvm liber III. Edited with Introduction, Notes and Index
1910: Select letters or Seneca. Edited with introductions and explanatory notes
1920: The Silver Age of Latin literature from Tiberius to Trajan.
Furthermore, in the second part of J.P. Postgate’s Corpus Poetarum Latinorum (1905) he provided the text of the satires of Persius and the Punica of Silius Italicus.
Sources, notes and / or references
 This is done in an extremely detailed way. As far as Seneca's use of words is concerned, for example, Summers has made lists with words that occur for the first time at Seneca, words that preceded Seneca only in poetry, and words that are only found in other writers whose language is also characterized by terms from everyday speech.
 A manner of writing that fitted well with the Latin language (the style which I was call pointed to, after all, one natural adapted to the Roman temperament, the Roman language (The Silver Age of Latin literature from Tiberius to Trajan, p. 15) ', and is already to be found in the work of Cato, and in the early speeches of Cicero, but it is a process that, even according to Summers, is not entirely without risks: the readiness to sacrifice the whole to the part that is so prominent a feature in Silver writing. (Ibidem, p. 5)
 Eg. H. E. Butler in The Classical Review, 24 (07), pp. 224-225 (1910): "With regard to the text and notes there is singularly little to criticize".
 See also eg these quotes from an otherwise benevolent review of this work (The Spectator, April 22, 1921): Tacitus, after all, is the only one of the post-Augustans who really matters very much. It is to be feared that the literary fashions of these post Augustan times were essentially decadent fashions, the child that made bath art in every century. But there is a good art and Professor Summers has undoubtedly written one.
'In 1903 W. C. F. Anderson, Professor of Classics since 1890, resigned to become Educational Secretary to the Berkshire County Council. He had taken an active part in College life and had done much work outside it, as a member of the School Board and later the Sheffield Education Committee, and as a Lieutenant in the Volunteer Royal engineers (G Company), and his many travels in east Europe and Asia Minor and his skill as a photographer had made him a most acceptable popular lecturer. He was succeeded by Walter Coventry Summers, a fine scholar, but not the easiest of colleagues who was appointed as Professor of Classics and held that Chair, and the Chair of Latin into which it was converted, from 1903 to 1930'. taken from Arthur W. Chapman (1955) The Story of a Modern University: A History of the University of Sheffield.
Professor Anderson seems to have been interested in Education in the widest possible sense of the word, actual to spread knowledge of the Classical World at all levels and in all the forms then available to him:
Published this morning:
Sir, Latin may not be per se a sine qua non of a good education, but it certainly provides a firm basis — a terra firma — for a broad-based understanding of the modern world (“Latin is an essential language for our digital age”, Benjamin Auslin, January 2). It was Latin, the lingua franca of the European continent for two millennia, which provided the link between the fall of ancient Rome and the 16th century Renaissance. The great scientist Isaac Newton taught himself Latin so he could attend and understand mathematics lectures at Cambridge in 1660. Latin was the language of instruction in the great medical schools throughout Britain and Europe. It is the language not only of the cognoscenti but also of the common man. Walk the streets of the Italian capital, the città eterna, and look down at the drains. What do you see? The inscription SPQR. Senatus populusque Romanus. Cast in iron, unchanged for 2,000 years, it means “The Senate and people of Rome”. Res ipsa loquitur: the facts speak for themselves. Vivat Roma! Vivat lingua Latina! And vivat my alma mater High Storrs School, the last state school in Sheffield to offer Latin as part of its curriculum, which is making strenuous efforts to raise funds to keep alive the teaching of this great language. Latin, a language of rigour and accuracy, is ipso facto the key to present-day European civilisation. Long may it be taught and learnt. Sir Andrew Cook Chairman, William Cook Holdings, Sheffield, S Yorks, UK
#Save Latin and Classics at High Storrs School