WORKMAN, Herbert Brook M.A., D.Lit., D.D. 1862 - 1951
Obituary from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1952, page 121
Born at Peckham, London, in 1862, son of John S. Workman, a Wesleyan minister. He was educated at Kings- wood School and Owen’s College, Manchester, where he gained the M.A. in Philosophy of London University.
Offering for the Wesleyan Ministry, he was sent to Didsbury College and later acted as Assistant Tutor for three years.
Then followed fifteen years of circuit work in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle and Aberdeen, during which he enjoyed the unusual distinction at that time of serving two terms in the Moseley Road Circuit, Birmingham.
Then came the call to Westminster College, where he was Principal for twenty-seven years—from 1903 to 1930.
Here he effected a revolution leading to the pre-eminent position Westminster holds to-day.
Under his inspiration and with the help of a distinguished staff, the whole academic standard of the College was raised, until in 1930 the College was able to offer to its students degree courses as internal students of London University, followed by the Teacher’s Diploma.
The leadership of the Principal was felt alike among students, clerical and domestic staff, the latter always giving him devoted service.
For many years he served as Senator of London University.
His outstanding leadership was further recognised by his appointment in 1919 as Secretary of the Methodist Education Committee, a post he held until his retirement in 1940.
During these years there was an inevitable decrease in the number of our Day Schools, but the contribution of the Church to Christian education was more than maintained by the skill with which our Training Colleges were expanded to send into the teaching profession larger numbers of well-trained, devoted men and women.
He was President of the Conference in 1930.
Under his guidance Southlands College was transferred from Battersea to Wimbledon Common.
To him we owe our present wonderful team of residential schools. Woodhouse Grove, Rydal School, Kent College, Canterbury, Queen’s College, Taunton, Truro and West Cornwall Schools were all brought together under the Education Committee by Dr. Workman.
Four more schools were largely his own creation : Hunmanby Hall, Kent College, Pembury, the East Anglian School for Girls and Culford School in its new site.
It can be said that during this period Methodism produced no greater scholar as a Church historian.
His biography of John Wyclif has become a standard authority on the subject, and he made distinguished contributions to Church History.
Few understood the place of Methodism in the Catholic Church better than he. Scholar, college principal, administrator, man of affairs, preacher of the Gospel.
What versatility ! but running through it all a devotion to Jesus Christ and his Church.
He retired in 1940, continuing to live at Wimbledon. It was a liberal education to converse with him, for he hated the superficial and always penetrated to the core of a subject.
He died on 26th August 1951, aged eighty-nine, in the sixty-sixth year of his ministry and was buried, as he wished, in the grounds of Culford School.
©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1952