Would it be true to say that the eleven plus examination brings out a spirit of competition in some parents? Would some parents like their offspring to become judges? One person who looked carefully into the characteristics that marked a judge was Francis Galton. He published the book `Heredity Genius’ in 1869. My edition is that of 1962 from the Fontana Library. It is necessary to point that that I was not alive in 1868?
Galton thought that judges played an important part in society. He felt that that judges were not men who were carried away by sentiment or who became dreamers. He decided that judges were often `vigorous, shrewd, practical and helpful men, glorying in the rough and tumble of public life’. He maintained that judges aimed at position and influence and desired to found families!
Galton held that the average age that a judge was appointed was 57 and the average age they died was 75. (“They commonly died in harness.”)
Did the sons of judges inherit the characteristics of their fathers? Galton thought so.
Parents of today’s eleven plus children may feel stimulated to look back through any genealogical tables that may exist in the family. Who knows, there may be the odd earl or two. Perhaps the family were all doctors and lawyers. Galton felt that judges had `sterling’ qualities. Eleven plus children need `sterling’ qualities to put up with all the extra work and study – along with having to listen to earnest exhortations from teachers, parents and the rest of the family and friends.