The son of a PM itinerant, Stewart Hooson (1832-1903; e.m. 1856), he was educated at Elmfield College, York and Bourne College, Birmingham, where he quickly joined the staff. On its move to Quinton in 1882 he was appointed headmaster, serving throughout its existence. He took his London BA in 1884 and then a BSc at Mason College (later Birmingham University) and believed in a broadly based education catering for the whole person. A keen sportsman, he is said to have played cricket for Warwickshire. He was the first layman to be listed on the PM stations.