James Porter by Walter William Ouless

James Porter (2 October 1827, Belfast – 2 October 1900, Cambridge)[1] was a British academic[2] in the second half of the 19th century.[3]

Porter was born on 2 October 1827 in Belfast, the son of Rev. James Porter, Presbyterian minister, Rector of Drumlee, Castlewellan, County Down.[4] Porter's siblings were:

Porter graduated M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1847, and continued to Peterhouse, Cambridge (admitted 8 July 1847, graduated B.A. as 9th wrangler 1851, M.A. 1854, D.D. 1881).[4]

Porter taught mathematics at Liverpool College[5] 1851–55, and was ordained deacon in 1853 and priest in 1856.[4]

He was to spend the rest of his career at Peterhouse. He was appointed Fellow in 1853; Dean in 1856; Bursar in 1861; Assistant Tutor in 1863; Tutor 1866–76; and Master 1876–1900. He also served as Senior proctor in 1868–69 and 1876–77; Vicar of Cherry Hinton 1880–82;[4] and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 1881–84.[6]

"He was endowed with a great activity both mental and physical, which found expression on the one hand in a keen participation in athletic sports, and on the other in whole-hearted efforts to promote the highest interests of the University."[7] In Dr T. A. Walker's History of Peterhouse (1906) the Rev. James Porter is described as a “man of notable business qualifications and of a rare generosity of spirit.”[8]


  1. ^ The Master Of Peterhouse The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Oct 03, 1900; pg. 4; Issue 36263
  2. ^ National Archives
  3. ^ "Porter, James". Who's Who & Who Was Who. Vol. 1897–1916 (1 December 2007 online ed.). A & C Black. Retrieved 1 August 2018. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ a b c d "Porter, James (PRTR847J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ Look & Learn
  6. ^ University web-site
  7. ^ Knott, Cargill Gilston (1911). Life and Scientific Work of Peter Guthrie Tait. Cambridge University Press. p. 14.
  8. ^ Walker, Thomas Alfred (1906). Peterhouse. London: Hutchinson & Co. p. 187.