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Patrick Kennedy

War broke out as he started at Westminster. [3:16] Evacuated with the school. Dwindling numbers of pupils. [6:10] Left Lancing when France fell. [7:21] Chocolate rationed. School moved to Lancing College. [13:10] Chose Maths as his main subject. Tony Benn was in his class. A booby-trapped door that caught the Head Master, John Christie. [18:39] Comments on John Christie. [19:30] The house magazine for Grant’s. [21:46] Stayed at a farmhouse. Good quality dairy products there. [23:13] The Home Guard at Buckenhill. The House Master, Murray Rust, was a Major in the Home Guard. [25:24] Robert Bruce, a friend. Walks together in the mountains after university. [27:35] Football. [31:15] Tennis. [32:20] Activities in the boys’ spare time. [33:49] Reading evenings. Walks. [34:36] Harvesting mistletoe. [37:33] Tony Benn, who was called Wedgewood Benn. A time Benn was beaten for putting his feet up on the desk during a lesson. [49:20] Masters’ wives were very integrated with the school. They used to cook for the boys. [51:53] Cycling at the weekend was very popular with the boys. [52:55] An example of Murray Rust’s quick thinking in an encounter with a hand grenade in the Home Guard. [59:25] Long-distance race across the common, called the Bringsty Relay. [1.04.03] Academic studies. Weekends dedicated to music and arts. House choirs.

Peter Gysin

His prep school, Feltham Fleet, was much stricter than Westminster. Late for the Westminster entrance exam because his father’s car broke down. [3:10] A sherry party for the parents of new boys at Busby’s. [3:36] The characters of different houses. Busby’s was a good balance of liberality and discipline. [6:30] Theo Zinn, a Classics teacher, was a family friend and the reason Gysin came to Westminster. His teaching style complemented Denis Moylan’s. [8:03] A description of various contemporaries. [10:13] His involvement in the Busby play. [11:21] How his time at Westminster has helped him. A lack of exaggerated respect for status and hierarchies. [12:45] The Oxbridge exams. Interviews were less important then. [14:02] The College Street Clarion. Its sporadic appearance. [14:55] The Busby house ledgers. [16:43] The change in the tone of the school when Dr Rae took over in 1970. The school became more involved in wider society. [18:47] The food. Dull but edible. He was the house champion jelly-eater. [20:53] The benefits of the weekly boarding system. [21:42] His involvement in the Busby Society, for former Busbites, and its annual dinner.

Richard Townend

Arrived at Westminster from a prep school on a farm in Sussex where there were only 60 pupils. The Westminster Masters’ gowns and mortar boards. The Westminster pupils’ uniform was complicated and varied according to whether it was a saint’s day or in season or out of season. [3.54] Arrival at Westminster and learning Westminster slang. [5.54] They put on plays all the time in different languages. [6.43] Busby’s. [7.18] The Latin Play, which was in the summer then. [9.49] The timetable. There were very few day boys then. There were only three in Busby’s. [12.33] Spartan living conditions. No heating. Meals. They would draw lots not to sit next to the House Master’s wife. [15.25] Fagging. [17.02] The role of the House Tutors. [18.42] Lunches in Busby’s. The popularity of the House Matron. Personality of the House Master. [23.10] Busby’s a relatively liberal house. [23.50] Music his favourite subject. A German Master, Sanger, who played Mozart and Heiden symphonies through lessons. The French Teach, Hugo Garden, was a world expert on Mahler. Both were refugees. [27.19] Charles Keeley. His teaching style. [28.52] Class sizes. [30.00] Musical facilities and the Director of Music, Arnold Foster, who was Vaughan Williams’ musical secretary. Conditions for music teaching. [35.03] Viola lessons from Beryl Ireland in the Master of the Scholars’ drawing room. The school organist. [37.45] David Burke, the first full-time music teacher. [39.49] He sometimes covered for Burke when he had left the school. [40.36] Exams. [41.56] Reaction to his decision to go to a conservatoire. [44.57] Learning the organ with the Abbey organist. [48.03] The school Abbey choir. Changing standards in church music. [49.44] School and house concerts. Difficulties of re-starting the musical tradition in the school. [56.52] The choir. [59.18] The orchestra’s repertoire. [59.58] House concerts. [1.05.44] Busby house prayers. Ramona, the house maid, paid to sabotage house prayers. [1.09.43] Masters who stand out. [1.14.43] The importance of the Common Room. [1.16.03] Boys’ family backgrounds at the time. Career prospects. [1.27.57] Competition between House Masters to have the most attractive maids. Boys’ appreciation. Throwing oranges at the monks in the monastery opposite.

Rod Beavan, 2013-06-24

Greatly enjoyed his time at King Edward VI Camp Hill Grammar School in Birmingham. Worked as a technician at the University of Birmingham for Neville Cartwright, a bacteriologist. Then worked in the Physics Department. Completed a PhD. [2:24] Started to consider teaching at a school. Enjoys the collegiate atmosphere and learning from colleagues about different subjects. [2:53] Started teaching at Sherbourne School in 1972 and stayed there for 19 years. [3:18] Head of Science at Westminster. Was attracted to the role’s combination of different sciences and the great reputation of the science department at the time. [4:51] The school is now a kinder place than it used to be, but hasn’t lost its academic edge or its tolerance for unusual people. Before, the school’s atmosphere could be quite abrasive and girls had to be survivors to enjoy it. [8:13] How to change the atmosphere in a school. [10:13] The characteristics of a Westminster pupil. Often more confident. Intellectual curiosity. [12:53] The importance of pupils progressing in every aspect of their lives. [15:10] Moved to SMT and gave up most teaching. Became the Senior Master and got to know more pupils. [18:30] He has really enjoyed his time in the SMT. Insight into the work behind the scenes. [19:58] Different Head Masters had little effect on him when he was Head of Science. They trusted him and left him to run the department. [22:33] Enormous increase in the number of pupils taking science. There is much more energy in the department than when he first came. [24:38] Changes in the science curriculum. Now more emphasis on understanding than in just knowing things. [26:48] Chemistry influences how he looks at the world. [28:42] His time as Chief Examiner for Edexcel.

Rodney Harris

Timestamp index:

Background. Grew up in Bromley and went to St Dunstan’s College. Enjoyed school. Teachers who made an impression. [2:10] Cambridge application process and the seventh term, to revise for the Oxbridge exam. [4:06] Teaching at a school in Beckenham between school and Cambridge. Assisting the owner of the school with his historical research. Life at Cambridge. [5:47] First posting was at Marlborough, his first experience of a boarding school. Always something to do. Changes at Marlborough over the 9 years he was there. [8:08] Being headhunted by Jim Cogan, Deputy Head, at Westminster. Long notice period requested, to prepare to change the Geography department at Westminster. [9.53] Problems with the Geography department’s teaching. Disappointing exam results. [11:06] Returning to London. [12:00] Perceptions of Geography by other Masters, and how this changed over the years. [13:13] Head of Department meetings. Much more combative than today. [15:24] Met Debbie, future wife, at Marlborough. She moved to London with him. [16:57] The founding of Purcell’s, the new girls’ boarding house. [19:42] Living at Purcell’s with Debbie, now Mistress in charge of girls at Westminster, and their children. [22:22] Changes to girls’ experience of Westminster over the years. Increasing focus on grades. [23:38] Parents becoming more involved. [25:13] Specific challenges with girls – discipline and pastoral. Often more easily upset. More focused. [27:50] The selection process. [29:00] His changing roles. [31:15] Head Masters’ different leadership styles. David Summerscale, Tristram Jones-Parry and Stephen Spurr. [33:51] Becoming Director of Studies. The importance of seeing people in their own classroom and space. [37:18] Quieter tone of Heads of Departments meetings today. Importance of autonomy for departments at Westminster. [40:20] Changes to school life. More societies, music and sport. [43:43] China project. Development of the project. Lessons learnt. Different working styles in China. [51:29] Decision to become the Head Master there. [53:02] Learning from previous Head Masters. Empowering those beneath you. [54:32] The privilege of living in London, at the heart of it all. Being close to theatres, cinemas, cricket.

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