William Ellis was the son of a French refugee and Italian mother. He started work at Lloyds of London when he was approximately 13, rising to Chief Manager of Indemnity Mutual Marine Assurance Company by the age of 27. He was a member of the Utilitarian Society and associated himself with the school of economists led by John Stuart Mill, the founder. Their main interest was the improvement of education and teaching political economy in schools – unusual at that time. He was even asked to give lectures to the Royal children of the the time by the Prince Consort. He founded his first 'Birkbeck school' in 1848 and then founded five further schools at his own expense. William Ellis School in North London is the last surviving school.
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William Ellis School
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