Skinner, Dr John William

Methodist headmaster and local preacher, born at Spalding on 26 November 1889. Entering Westminster College, London in 1909, he obtained his Teaching Certificate with a distinction in Music and a B.A. (London) in Latin, French, Maths and Education. From 1911 to 1912 he studied French at the University of Paris. After teaching posts in North Shields and Watford, in 1914 he returned to Westminster College as a member of staff , then moved to Truro School before joining the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry despite poor eyesight. He saw action in France, Egypt and Palestine, being mentioned in despatches. Returning to Westminster College, in 1920 he took an MA in French literature and gained a doctorate in 1926 with a thesis on Emile Montegut.

In 1924 he was appointed headmaster of the East Anglian (now Culford) School at Bury St. Edmunds. The school flourished under his headship to such an extent that the premises and facilities became inadequate for the growing number of pupils and staff and in 1935 moved to Culford. Its growing reputation throughout East Anglia and beyond was a testimony to his vision and foresight. Retiring to Bury St. Edmunds in 1951, he maintained his active interest in education, including acting as a tutor to local preachers in training. Among his publications were A Rational French Course, Youth on Fire, Youth Takes the Helm and School Stresses. He served as a member of the town council for a year and also on the West Suffolk Hospital Management Committee. Singing, playing the organ and piano, golf and tennis, travelling and church architecture were among his hobbies in retirement. He died on 1 April 1955.