Charles W. Valentine (1879-1964) attended Nottingham high school and then Preston grammar school, leaving at seventeen to teach at a small boarding school. After seven years of teaching at various secondary schools, interspersed with largely self-financed degree studies, Valentine's university education was extensive. He obtained a BA from London University (taken externally at University College, Aberystwyth, where he was an exhibitioner), an MA from Cambridge gained with a double first in philosophy and psychology in 1909 (as a foundation scholar in moral sciences at Downing College), and a DPhil from St Andrews in 1913. He also spent part of 1908 as a student at the Wurzburg laboratory of Oswald Kulpe, where he met a fellow student and future life-long friend Cyril Burt.
He spent the next ten years working first at the University of St Andrews, and then Queen's University, Belfast, before becoming professor of education at the University of Birmingham in 1919. This was a post he held until his retirement in 1946. During this time, his research covered many areas, including child development, transfer of training, imagery, mental testing, home and classroom discipline, the reliability of examinations, and the place of Latin in the curriculum. Valentine's earliest and last publications were both on what he termed his "hobby" An Introduction to the Experimental Psychology of Beauty, published in 1913 and The Experimental Psychology of Beauty, published in 1962.
An interest in aspects of Freudian thinking, in particular in the psychology of dreams and the light that they cast on the unconscious, occupied him for many years. He also embraced the problems of military education in the Second World War, even to the extent of enduring the rigours of army basic training though nearing retirement age.
Valentine was founder and editor of The Forum of Education, and then of its successor, the British Journal of Educational Psychology, which he edited and managed for 25 years from its creation in 1931. He was president of Section J (psychology) of the British Association of Science in 1930 and president of the British Psychological Society for 1947-1948. He was also chairman of the Birmingham higher education subcommittee from 1919 to 1925.