Lincoln Ralphs

Sir Frederick Lincoln Ralphs (17 February 1909 – 16 October 1978) was a British education officer and student activist.

Ralphs was born in Wellington, Shropshire, to a Methodist family who had been victimised for their involvement with trade unions. They moved to Sheffield while Ralph was young, and he attended Firth Park Grammar School and the University of Sheffield, where he graduated in both science and in law.[1] While there, he became involved with the National Union of Students (NUS), and served as President of the NUS from 1934 to 1936.[2] From 1937 to 1938, he was also President of the International Confederation of Students.[3][4]

In 1938, Ralphs married Enid Mary Cowlin, Vice-President of the NUS, who later became a lecturer and held many prominent offices in Norfolk, the couple moving to Norwich in 1946.[5] Appointed as Deputy Education Officer for Norfolk, one of his first jobs was writing a document calling for the creation of a university in the county; this was eventually founded as the University of East Anglia.[3]

In 1950, Ralphs was promoted to become Chief Education Officer for the county, and he served in the position until 1974.[3] In this role, he opposed the creation of the Open University, but was active in the Schools Broadcasting Council, and in 1969, he also became chairman of the Further Education Advisory Council.[6] He was the key figure behind the establishment of Wymondham College in 1951.[4]

A lay preacher, Ralphs also served as President of the National Sunday School Union.[3]

In the 1973 Birthday Honours, Ralphs was made a Knight Bachelor.[7]


  1. ^ Education Today: Journal of the College of Preceptors, Vols.22-23, p.44
  2. ^ National Union of Students, "Presidents of NUS"
  3. ^ a b c d Michael Sanderson, The History of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, pp.14-15
  4. ^ a b Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, The Global Lincoln, pp.19-20
  5. ^ Adam Gretton, "Leading Norfolk figure Lady Ralphs passes away at the age of 99", Eastern Daily Press, 31 January 2014
  6. ^ Asa Briggs, The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Volume V: Competition, p.460
  7. ^ UK list: "No. 45984". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 May 1973. pp. 6473–6506.

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