John Nichol, the son of astronomer John Pringle Nichol, was born in Montrose, Angus on 8 September 1833 and died in London on 11 October 1894. Nichol went to Glasgow University in 1848, and Balliol College, Oxford in 1855, where with A.C. Swinburne and others he formed the Old Mortality Society for the discussion of literary and philosophical subjects. In 1860 Nichol privately printed a collection of essays on ancient philosophy and literary criticism, entitled Fragments of Criticism, with a view to obtaining a professorial position. In 1862 he was appointed to the first Chair of English Language and Literature at Glasgow University. Although Nichol applied for several philosophical chairs, this was a post he was to hold for over twenty-five years. In politics Nichol was a strong supporter of the Liberal Party in his youth, but came to endorse the alliance between the Liberal Unionist and Conservative parties. From 1866 onwards Nichol lectured in many towns of Scotland and England as a forerunner of the ‘University Extension’ movement and also campaigned for university reform. In 1873 St Andrews University awarded him the honorary degree of LL.D. On resigning his chair at Glasgow in 1889 he spent much time abroad, ultimately settling in London in 1890.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.