Dead Socialist Watch, #271

Sidney Ball, tutor at St John’s College, where he became known as “Oxford’s socialist don”. Involved in the University settlement at Toynbee Hall, co-founder of the Oxford University Fabian Society in 1895, member of the committee that produced Oxford and working-class education in 1908 and – a little bit of Oxford trivia here – the person who first proposed that the doctorate be called a D.Phil in 1916, in order to distinguish it from the Germanic “PhD” on the one hand and from Oxford’s own “D.Litt” on the other. (I had no idea that this particular idiosyncracy owed to anti-Hunnish sentiment.) Born in Pershore, Worcestershire, 20 April 1857, died at Boars Hill, Oxford, 23 May 1918.

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