Born: No­vem­ber 14, 1816, Heck­mond­wike, York­shire, Eng­land.

Died: May 26, 1880, Hea­ton Mer­sey, Stock­port, Eng­land.

Buried: Pos­si­bly in the Ci­ty of Lon­don Ce­me­te­ry, Il­ford, June 1880.



John was from an old Cum­ber­land fa­mi­ly, the son of min­is­ter Sped­ding Cur­wen and Ma­ry Jubb, and hus­band of Ma­ry Thomp­son.

He was edu­cat­ed at Wy­mond­ley Col­lege, Hert­ford­shire; Cow­ard Col­lege (as that in­sti­tu­tion be­came known when it moved to Lon­don); and Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, Lon­don.

In 1838, he be­came as­sist­ant min­is­ter in the In­de­pen­dent Church, Bas­ing­stoke, Hamp­shire; co-pas­tor at Stow­mar­ket, Suf­folk, in 1841; and pas­tor at Plais­tow, Ess­ex, in 1844.

He de­vel­oped the Ton­ic Sol-fa me­thod of teach­ing to sing, us­ing it in his own schools and church, and lec­tur­ing up­on it in va­ri­ous parts of the coun­try.

In 1853, he helped found the Ton­ic Sol-fa As­so­cia­tion to pro­mote the me­thod, and in 1862 the Ton­ic Sol-fa Co­llege.

Resigning his min­is­try due to ill health in 1867, he es­tab­lished a print­ing and pub­lish­ing bu­si­ness to pro­duce Ton­ic Sol-fa li­te­ra­ture.