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Andrew Johnson

His life as a pupil at Westminster. Cliques and the effect of the arrival of girls in sixth form. [4.09] Stayed in touch with surprisingly few Westminster schoolmates. [6.21] Phab [experience week in partnership with a charity working with disabled and non-disabled children]. How it has changed over the years. His work gave it more stability, health and safety clearance and financial stability. [10.54] Phab’s expansion over the years, and possible reasons for its growth. [13.54] Difference between his school days and time as a teacher. School now seems better able to help pupils who are less academically gifted than the others. School takes part in more outreach and charity work. School facilities much better. The Manoukian Music Centre, Millicent Fawcett Hall [theatre], Weston’s [classrooms] and Lawrence Hall [sports centre] were all acquired after his schooldays. [16.20] Difficult to tell if there’s been a change in ethos. Still promotes individuality. [18.07] Effects of internet. [19.25] Effects of increased numbers of pupils. [21.28] How his experience of the school has changed now he’s a teacher. [23.06] Will miss colleagues and pupils, but not the physical place. [26.12] His future plans. His move to the London Academy of Excellence. Potential to make a difference to social mobility. How he will interpret the role. [31.11] Proud moments as a pupil. [33.22] Proud moments as a teacher. The changed atmosphere in Ashburnham. The house publication The Ash Tree and house concerts and plays. The house has become a community. Has enjoyed his time as a teacher.

David Summerscale

Went to Sherbourne School. Parents lived in France. Read English at Cambridge. [2.50] Taught at University of Delhi. Unhappy at first but then loved it. [5.34] In 1939, Parents moved to Paris, then back to England in 1940. France as a long-standing interest for him. [6.54] Beginning to teach English at Charterhouse in 1962/63. Oliver van Oss, the Headmaster at Charterhouse. Very talented pupils from very different homes. Often very anxious pupils. [13.25] Less academic pressure then. More time to learn and enjoy. [16.10] Left Charterhouse to be Headmaster of Haileybury School, just after he got married. [19.05] Haileybury was still in the dark ages. Boarding only. 60-bed dormitories. Quite claustrophobic. [20.23] Not very stimulating academically. Spent 10 years there trying to modernise it. [23.43] Didn’t want to be a Headmaster. Loss of freedom, even then. The last generation of the amateur headmasters. Didn’t think too much about the next career step. [25.52] Had begun to start thinking that he couldn’t do much more as Headmaster there. [27.22] Distinct dislike between Charterhouse boys and Westminsters. [28.29] Contacted by Burke Trend, a Governor at Westminster, about the position of Head Master. The interview. A difficult interview question. [31.24] Call from Edward Carpenter to offer him the post. [32.10] Westminster wasn’t as academically successful as it thought it was. [33.04] Arrival at Westminster. John Rae. [35.29] Westminster needed Head Master who spent time in the Common Room, who was available to talk to. [36.18] Challenges of a school in London - like the IRA. The difference in tempo between Haileybury and Westminster. [38.21] His predecessor at Haileybury completely dominated the school. Westminster too had been dominated by Rae, his predecessor. Common Room and pupils were all doing as they liked. [40.12] He tried to encourage teachers to do what they enjoyed doing. [40.49] New staff needed to be robust. Interviews and practice classes were less rigorous then. No hierarchy or Senior Management Team. Would rely on the Head of Department. Appointments often relied on hunches. [44.13] House Masters were more difficult to appoint. [47.19] Left Westminster just before it became more professional. The first Ofsted inspection. Creating policies for Ofsted. [50.44] Jim Cogan, the Master of the Queen’s Scholars. The role of Under Master. [54.43] Living in 17, Dean’s Yard with his family. Uncomfortable but loved their home. Some privacy. [57.30] Very good atmosphere in the Common Room. [58.01] No facilities for music or science when he began. The Robert Hooke Centre Appeal. [1.1.38] A community spirit among the teachers, since all in close quarters. Accommodation for staff a growing problem. [1.02.53] The challenges of establishing new houses with very little space. Problem of growing pupil numbers. Existing houses were overcrowded. The creation of Hackluyt’s and Milne’s, and the Masters involved. [1.06.50] His participation in sport. A way of meeting other teachers and pupils on common ground. Refreshing that sport wasn’t extremely competitive. [1.10.01] Dramatic productions. [1.11.10] Relations between the Abbey and the school. 1.15.10] Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster. Undervalued by some within the Abbey. Respected by some in the School. [1.17.53] Receiver Generals and their relations with the school. [1.18.30] His experience as a parent of a Westminster pupil. Relationship with Tristram Jones-Parry, the Head Master who succeeded him. The effect of Westminster on his daughter and son. [1.22.55] Age differences didn’t seem to matter as much at Westminster as at some other schools. Less of a hierarchy among pupils. [1.24.12] Changes to headmasters’ roles. Felt the right time to leave.

Dr Douglas East

Had a prep school friend who went to Westminster School and visited him there. He remembers the King’s Scholars and their splendid costumes. [1:20] He was asked to rebind the Abbey library in 1983. Charles Low became aware of him and asked him to start bookbinding at Westminster. He had just retired from classes, then started bookbinding classes a day or two later. [4:45] The amount of pressure on pupils, who are working with their minds all the time. Important for them to have a break and work with their hands. [9:55] Bookbinding saved several people from nervous breakdowns. [11:02] More competition to get into Oxbridge than there used to be. [13:24] The bookbinding exhibition gets better each year. [15:59] Hasn’t had time to make a binding of his own in years. Description of inlay onlay bookbinding technique. [17:33] Doesn’t have a favourite binding by a pupil. They’re all different and good in their own way. Not keen on the idea of prizes. [19:29] Benefits for teachers doing bookbinding. A break from academic work. [23:11] Description of a flood from a tap left on in a top floor flat. His tools covered in rust when he returned from the summer holidays. [24:09] The new bookbinding room. Severely claustrophobic from his time in the Navy. Hasn’t been on the Tube since the war. Was once trapped in a lift and hasn’t been in one since. [26:36] An unhappy childhood. [26:47] Started teaching at 17. Went to Oxford later. There were more people than usual at Oxford, back from the war. He studied history, the only proper subject, which embraces everything else. [29:08] Start of the Cold War in 1947. Crisis in Berlin. Felt that he could have been called back into the armed services at any moment. [31:56] Diploma in Education. [33:23] Went to Abbotsholme School, a pioneer for progressive schools. Forestry, farming, music and crafts were all part of the timetable. [34:21] Seeing a bookbinding class for the first time. Had never thought about bookbinding before. [35:21] Started running bookbinding classes at Abbotsholme. [37:50] Worked at the Public Records Office Conservation Department. Very good experience. Lecturing at Camberwell for the professional course on archives and records. Local Authority had funding cuts and sold Camberwell. [39:55] Recommended to the Abbey Library and came to Westminster. [41:38] Maundy money, a reward for good work, given by the Queen in the Abbey. [44:22] Writing poetry. Wants to continue with bookbinding. [44:45] Wants happiness for his pupils. [47:47] Has been vegetarian for 70 years and is still very fit. Became vegetarian during the war, surrounded by slaughter. He decided he could stop some slaughter. [49:06] Not a vegan, although this is the logical thing to be. Veganism can be a bit of a nuisance to other people. [50:01] Used to have many colds every year. After two year of being vegetarian, he hasn’t had a cold since. [51:10] Much easier to be a vegetarian now. Before, there was no provision made in restaurants. [51:40] At Oxford there was only one other vegetarian in his college. They were given things on toast. [51:10] Nelson, his favourite historical figure. He doesn’t understand digital things. [53:41] Misses his analogue camera. Doesn’t have a computer. [54:30] Least favourite historical figure is Elizabeth I. Dismissed the Navy without pay as soon as it defeated the Armada, leaving sailors starving in Plymouth. Dismissed the militia without pay too. Description of the discovery of Philip II’s private diary. [1:00:01] Criticisms of the statue of Elizabeth I. [1:00:52] Enjoys some Dickens. Liked reading The Cruel Sea, which reflects his experience of convoys during the war. From Londonderry to Gibraltar in 1943. Port Said and the Suez Canal. [1:05:50] Enjoyable experience of South Africa. Likes the accent even now. [1:06:53] Mentions different pupils. [1:08:12] The idea of perfect happiness is having the right people around you, marrying the right person and having nice children. His marriage was a mistake for both of them. Their son died before he was born and they then drifted apart. He’s been on his own for 45 years. Being at the school is his idea of perfect happiness. [1:09:57] He believe in the next world and will communicate with people he’s left if he can.

Elias Kulukundis

Timestamp Index:

Background and family in Greece. [2:55] Relations with boys in his house. Conditions for boarders. More Spartan than might be normal today. [4:50] The ‘60s. Changing times and changing teaching styles at Westminster. [7:06] Portraits of specific teachers. Several intellectuals who had left Europe before WWII. [9:40] He didn’t engage very much in extra-curricular activities. Cross-country running in Grove Park. [11:55] Commute to school with chauffeur. [12:48] No discussion of homosexuality at Westminster in the ‘60s. No homophobic bullying. Atmosphere of unspoken tolerance. [16:15] Lack of awareness about changing legislation around homosexuality. Coming out to his parents and father’s concern for his future. [19:55] Less involved in societies because of being a day boy. [20:32] Tolerance of religious minorities at the school. Perhaps partly due to European teachers. [22:30] John Carleton, Head Master, a remote figure for most boys. [23.53] More open-minded teaching than in some other public schools. [25:14] Factory visits during a harsh winter when sport was not possible. [25:47] Fewer social relationships outside Rigaud’s. Social life tended to be contained within your house. [26:49] Discipline and changing relationship to senior boys during the ‘60s. [28:28] Reaction to a serious misdemeanour surprisingly lenient and understanding. [29:57] Involvement of parents in school life. Parents’ evenings. [31.29] Alexander, friend and future partner, and Richard McKenna, a group of three close friends. [33:15] Tinned food at school. Unpleasant but edible. [33:56] Friendship with Alex. [34:44] Alex’s friendship with Theo Zinn, Classics Master. [33:58] Life after Westminster. [37:00] A favourite memory of Westminster: visiting Fortnum and Mason’s with Alex.

Gavin Griffiths

No strong impulse to go to Westminster. Serendipity rather than conscious plan. Just wanted to leave his school in Wimbledon. [2:07] Sees teaching as a job rather than a career. Accommodation at school meant he had a better lifestyle than he would otherwise have been able to afford, so unable to leave Westminster. [3:50] Enjoyed all his roles in the school. Attempts to prevent him from being Head of English. Without an SMT, it was easier for elderly teachers to put pressure on Head Masters than it is now. [7:05] Ashburnham House Master. Great job. Its location meant it was difficult to get people over there. Supervision of the house had not previously been very thorough. [8:31] Grant’s was fun but very tiring, since it was a boarding house and therefore very long hours. This improved after another boarding house master had a nervous breakdown. [10:18] Far greater parental involvement than before. Can make it more difficult for the children. [12:17] Westminster looks after children better than it used to. More involvement and pastoral support from the House Master now. [13:26] Change in the texts studied. Othello and Lolita now no longer on the syllabus. [18:33] Teachers’ tendency to perform. Used to being the centre of attention. [19:13] Big figures in the Common Room. Ernest Sanger, an Austrian Jew who left Europe before the outbreak of war. Should have been an academic. Theo Zinn, an enormous influence. [21:47] Inspirational teachers can often be the bully as well. [22:29] Common Room 30 years ago. All men apart from one teacher. Smoking and conspiring. An example of plotting against the Head Master, John Rae. [24:21] Improvements to Common Room photocopying during his time as Common Room President. Also finding a helpful Common Room secretary. [27:47] Computers have made some tasks easier but have created more work. Enjoyed teaching in different classrooms when there was more pressure for space. [31:14] Introduction of girls to the school. Frances Holland School didn’t have laboratories, so girls came for the science lessons. It began as an informal arrangement. [32:57] The introduction of girls meant there was more socialising in Yard. House differences became less important. [35:24] Much harder to get into Oxbridge than it used to be. [38:21] The importance of straightforward criticism. [41:24] Theory of the developing intellect. [42:01] Negative effects of child protection policies. More cumbersome now and instructs children to distrust all adults. Morally offensive. [45:20] Miss the 7th term for Oxbridge, when the most difficult topics were tackled, but otherwise the intellectual element of teaching is just as challenging. [46:49] Teachers that he particularly remembers. Russell Dudley-Smith, a polymath. Richard Jacobs, an inspiration as an English teacher. [48:58] The predominance of Maths, the only subject with no moral content. On whether this will continue. [51:43] Advice to teachers joining Westminster. Advice to pupils at Westminster. [54:51] The virtues of conformity or independent thinking. [55:41] Will miss having an audience when he leaves. [56:50] An anecdote about a pupil’s late prep. [58:22] Unsure what he will do after Westminster. Perhaps writing. [1:00:19] Preventing the stripper-gram from accosting John Rae.

George Law

Busy life at Westminster. Cliques and the effect of the arrival of girls in sixth form. [4.09] Stayed in touch with surprisingly few Westminster schoolmates. [6.21] PHAB. How it has changed over the years. His work gave it more stability, health and safety clearance and financial stability. [10.54] PHAB’s expansion over the years, and possible reasons for its growth. [13.54] Difference between his school days and time as a teacher. School now seems better able to help pupils who are less academically gifted than the others. School takes part in more outreach and charity work. School facilities much better. The Manoukian Music Centre, Millicent Fawcett Hall [theatre], Weston’s [classrooms] and Lawrence Hall [sports centre] were all acquired after his schooldays. [16.20] Difficult to tell if there’s been a change in ethos. Still promotes individuality. [18.07] Effects of internet. [19.25] Effects of increased numbers of pupils. [21.28] How his experience of the school has changed now he’s a teacher. [23.06] Will miss colleagues and pupils, but not the physical place. [26.12] His future plans. His move to the London Academy of Excellence. Potential to make a difference to social mobility. How he will interpret the role. [31.11] Proud moments as a pupil. [33.22] Proud moments as a teacher. The changed atmosphere in Ashburnham. The house publication The Ash Tree and house concerts and plays. The house has become a community. Has enjoyed his time as a teacher.

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