Born into a landed family in Lincolnshire, Bromhead was educated at the University of Glasgow and later at Caius College, Cambridge before taking up the study of law at the Inner Temple in London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1817. Returning to Lincolnshire, he became High Steward of Lincoln. He became the 2nd Bromhead baronet, of Thurlby Hall in 1822.
While at Cambridge, Bromhead was a founder of the Analytical Society, a precursor of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, together with John Herschel, George Peacock and Charles Babbage, with whom he maintained a close and lifelong friendship. While he was, by all accounts, a gifted mathematician in his own right (although ill-health prevented him from pursuing his studies further), his greatest contribution to the subject is at second hand: having subscribed to the first publication of self-taught mathematician and physicist George Green, he encouraged Green to continue his research and to write further papers (which Bromhead sent on to be published in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and those of the Royal Society of Edinburgh).
Bromhead repeated his success by encoraging a young George Boole who was also from the East Midlands. Bromhead was President of the Lincoln Mechanics Institute and the curator of the facility was George Boole's father. Boole came to notice when he gave a lecture of the work of Isaac Newton on 5 February 1835. The young Boole's development was fed by books that Bromhead supplied.
- Edwards, A. W. F. "Bromhead, Sir Edward Thomas Ffrench". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37224. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Cannel, D. M. and Lord, N. J. (March 1993). "George Green, mathematician and physicist 1793–1841". The Mathematical Gazette 77: 26–51. doi:10.2307/3619259. Mentions Bromhead's role in the career of George Green.
- "Bromhead, Edward Thomas Ffrench (BRMT808ET)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Society for the History of Antronomy, Lincoln, retrieved 20 August 2014
- A. W. F. Edwards, ‘Bromhead, Sir Edward Thomas Ffrench, second baronet (1789–1855)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 20 Aug 2014
- "Author Query for 'Bromhead'". International Plant Names Index.
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
(of Thurlby Hall)
Edmund Gonville Bromhead