George Dixon was born in Gomersal, Yorkshire, on 21 July 1820, the son of Abraham and Laetitia [née Taylor]. The Taylor family lived at the Red House in Gomersal, and George’s cousin Mary Taylor was a close friend of Charlotte Brontë.
Charlotte visited frequently and today the house is preserved as a museum, having featured in the novel Shirley under the name of Briarmains. More can be learned by referring to the Red House Museum’s website
George Dixon was educated at Leeds Grammar School in the 1830s. This school had been the subject of protracted litigation at the turn of the Nineteenth Century. Eventually, in 1805, Lord Eldon (the Lord Chancellor) decreed that, following a dispute between the Headmaster and the governors, the school could teach subjects other than the classical languages and divinity. What bearing might this spirit of reform have had on George Dixon as a boy? Years later he was to become one of the leading educational reformers of his day.
For an overview of the history of Leeds Grammar School, see http://www.gsal.org.uk/about/history/