More John Venn

Venn Building, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, HU6 7RX
Drypool Bridge, Alfred Gelder Street, HU1 1EW

John Venn was born in Hull in 1934; his father was the Rector of Drypool Parish. He went to school in London and then went up to study mathematics at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University. In 1859 he became an Anglican priest, but returned to Cambridge in 1862, to lecture in moral science. Alongside this, John studied and taught logic and probability theory, which led him to formalise the use of what would become known as Venn diagrams. These diagrams enable the visual organisation of information in overlapping circles, so that the relationship between sets of items can be seen and their similarities and differences identified. They are now widely used in the fields of probability, logic, statistics and computer science. There is a building named after John at the University of Hull, and during Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture in 2017, Drypool Bridge was repainted to represent Venn diagrams. John died in 1923.

(see also city centre Hull Firsts Trail)

Clive Sullivan MBE