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Tristram Jones-Parry

Schooldays at Westminster. [2:05] Memorable teachers. A Maths Master who left Germany just before WWII. Stephen Lushington, English Master. [2:45] Time in Wren’s. House Master, Charles Keeley, a History Master: difficult to get to know, no pastoral care, but great teacher. [3:54] Shooting at the leader of the Combined Cadet Force. [6:29] Involvement in drama at school. [7:13] Closed exhibition to Christ Church, Cambridge, to read Mathematics. Involvement with drama. College life. [9:44] First job, working for Coal Board. Computers still new. [10:38] Unpopularity when visiting mines, since visiting to see if the mine should be closed. Difficult. Resigned after a year. [11:18] Decision to become a teacher. Computing. [12:12] Head of Maths at Westminster at 25 years old. Enjoyed teaching. [14:00] Enjoyed his time at Westminster. Pupils were beginning to think for themselves. [14:49] School had become more academic, partly due to John Rae’s Head Mastership. [16:05] Being House Master of Busby’s. Drugs. [17:46] Called by Scotland Yard when boys climbing Foreign Office. Similar things happened frequently - more relaxed then. Girls began boarding in Busby’s in his last year as House Master. [19:07] Became Under Master. Reputation for being fierce. Governing Body complaints about pupil behaviour. [23:23] Pushing pupils to work hard. Maths is exciting. [25:43] Left Westminster for Emmanuel School in Battersea. Started to take in girls while he was there. [27:53] Importance of co-education. [29:28] Head Mastership of Westminster came up. Asked to apply. [29:50] Giving thought-provoking sermons. [32:28] Talking to pupils but also support staff. [33:03] Advantages of Westminster. Pupils feel part of the life of the country, for example taking part in the Iraq War demonstrations, and yet in tranquil and beautiful surroundings. [43:08] Receiving pupils whose parents wouldn’t be able to afford fees. [36:00] Didn’t get Abbey involved in School as much as wanted. [36:34] Proposal to set up school in China rejected by Governing Body. Proposal to have underground gym in Dean’s Yard. [37:26] Disney payment for rights to Winnie the Pooh. Other donations to the School. [40:27] Giving pupils expelled from other schools a second chance. [41:03] Pupil perceptions of his toughness. [42:52] Retired early at 58. [43:23] Teaching Maths at state schools in his retirement. [44:38] Changing the timings of the school day at Hampton Court School to complement teenagers’ circadian rhythms. [47:46] Pupils at Westminster very varied. Advice to Andrew Lloyd-Webber that musicals aren’t profitable. [49:31] Sense of social responsibility. Could cause discomfort when teaching at Westminster. [50:52] Exciting the difference you can make at a state school. [51:36] Discussing his trips to Communist countries with pupils. [53:29] Advantages of Buddhism. Everyone should attend Abbey. [55:25] School exhibitions to Skye and elsewhere. Pupil mislaid on a mountain. More Health and Safety now. [57:19] Expeditions were run by staff who were following their passions. [59:09] Effects of new technology in schools. Programming. Cyberbullying. Pornography online. [1:01:50] Increasing number of women teachers. [1:04:16] Changes in the value of grades. [1:06:36] The beauty of an elliptical flowerbed.

Rodney Harris

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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.

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.

Martin Rogers

[0.53] Why he became a teacher. Had worked in industry selling nickel alloys – always had teaching in the back of his mind. Father did not want him to teach – did not pay well enough, and would never see real world outside of schools. [1.53] Taught chemistry. Studied natural sciences, but had broad education which was helpful. [2.20] How he came to teach. Chemistry master suddenly had to leave – sudden vacancy was lucky since he had no qualifications other than degree. Had joined CCF (Combined Cadet Force) but disliked. Enjoyed rowing, tied in well with job. Easier to get there in those days. [3.50] Enjoyed ‘God Soc’, good link to the Abbey. There are now nearly sixty such societies. [4.50] Houses. Originally tutor in Busby’s from 1956. House Master of Rigaud’s in 1964. Master of the Queen’s Scholars in 1967, liked connections with Abbey. At the time Master of the Queen’s Scholars was Under Master. Got to know parents well. Asked to become Master, no application process. [7.30] John Rae. Rogers becomes Headmaster of Malvern in 1971. John Rae became Head Master year before Rogers left for Malvern. Knew him well from Somerset. Extra work with change of Head Master as Under Master. Controversial figure but did much for the school. Always seen on television, helped to raise funds etc. Parsimonious place, ordeal to move out. Jane Rogers had baby in hospital as the House Master’s bedroom was insufficiently private! College much more private. [13.00] House in College much more spacious. Ground floor for music practice and bookbinding; drawing room and upper two floors for them. Top floor is now an additional flat. No ghosts ever spotted. [15.10] Lodged first female pupil at that time in spare room. Had family connections to school – brother there too – but apprehensive to walk out into Yard. In 1970s girls primarily came for supplementary science lessons. [17.40] Science teaching. Mentions ‘Crump’ (Cyril John Crumpler), Geoffrey Foxcroft, Muffet (David William Muffett). Science still considered by older teachers to be inferior (to classics. Subject still developing at Westminster despite its being around on the curriculum for a while. Rogers enjoyed science very much, especially the practical aspect. Facilities not impressive by modern standards, but improved a lot and modernised during his time. Parents came to science open days. Only footage of science then is film of Queen visiting Sutcliff’s – greater event then than now. [23.55] His idea to begin Film Society, based in Busby’s. Started off as Busby’s affair, spread throughout the school. John Carlton at ease with cameras. Contrast with predecessor, Walter Hamilton – though he was nice too, first took him on as a teacher. Resentment (mocking) when he left for Rugby. By modern standards seven years is reasonable. Teachers staying too long has a ‘deadening’ effect. Hamilton returned to Magdalene College, Cambridge after Rugby. [29:50] Under Masters. Now expected to move on and become heads after five years. Not standard in Rogers’ time, but happened on occasion. [31:00] Jim Cogan. Could be very brusque – Rogers did not experience this, but may have been concentrating more on moving. Big decision for John Rae to appoint successor as Under Master. [33:00] Staying at Rigaud’s for only three years was the wrong thing to do – for children and parents. [33:55] Different houses had different characters. College particularly different – special responsibilities. Defining feature of Rigaud’s ‘totally mad cook’ – huge underground kitchens dripping with water, rodents, gas leaks. Many foreign staff, tenuous jobs. [37:55] Spanish cook in Busby’s could be bribed to drop teapot in important moment in prayers, sing songs. One Finnish maid amongst them. Broke hand cleaning early in morning and had to wake House Master up – most dramatic thing to happen. [39:20] Busby’s. Enjoyed working for House Master (‘boss’) as tutor. Had to stand in once for him – would now be called Resident Tutor. [41:00] Could park in Great College Street without a problem – unthinkable today. Unlike other boarding schools, Westminster was relaxed and not isolated. [42:00] Lycée Janson (Lycée Janson de Sailly) used to come each year, once found climbing out of Dean’s Yard to get out instead of opening the gate. [43:00] Footage of one pupil saying ‘there are no bounds’ at Westminster. Provenance unclear. [44:00] Different and freer atmosphere with less security. Used to run out at break to get theatre tickets. [46:00] Much more difficult to discipline – Westminster on doorstep, how to find anyone who has left? This liberalism is generally positive. Academic pressure has forced structure. In past five/ten years this has accelerated; greater risk of failure. Consequent loss of breadth. Sport has improved, if not main attraction. [50:00] Scholars particularly musical, Rigaud’s good jazz band. Can remember Roger Norrington conducting as a pupil. [51:20] Main differences since ‘60s. New buildings are main difference– out of Dean’s Yard makes it less centralised and less frantic. Actual classroom activity largely unchanged. [53:10] Election. Only half school around by the end of Election Term due to study leave. Election Dinner return from School to College Hall. Trying to slim down excess – music in particular: ‘vested interests’. Trying to bring more in from Westminster – had to reduce numbers of teacher as Common Room grew. [58:00] Yard cricket/football controversial since surface is being redone. Conspiracy theory has that surface is being changed in order to prevent Yard games. Cobbled pathways to stay. Rigaud’s has been cleaned and is very bright; some wish it hadn’t been cleaned. New sports’ centre – art deco building, mainly used by Under School. [1:05:00] Much more weekly boarding at Westminster than other boarding schools. [1:06:00] Decline of corporal punishment. Much more difficult to get rid of at Malvern; occasionally used at Westminster. Much more progressive attitudes in city boarding school. Two demonstrations in ‘60s, largely diffused by John Carlton. [1:08:00] Thames flood. Woke up once with loudspeakers bleating ‘danger of flooding’. Barrier erected to prevent floods. [1:10:20] Tyburn constantly dripped in Rigaud’s basement. Now Under Master’s house. Gutter went through house and discharged rainwater. [1:14:45] Commem. Thinking of making compulsory – not same atmosphere without whole school. [1:16:45] London makes big difference to school. New Head Master (PSJD) has much experience but none in London. As mentioned, much more liberal. Head Master and family living in Vincent Square – ‘radical change’. Headmasters have not lived in Little Dean’s Yard since David Summerscale (1986). Much more like normal house than awkward atmosphere of Lord North Street. [1:23:25] School has no longer any property on Eccleston Square. All moved to Vincent Square. Big expansion in property owned by school, especially along Victoria Line. Lord North Street property and 4 and 5 Barton Street have been sold.

John Corsellis

[00:24] Background. Father was barrister, served in First World War and keen pilot; died flying in 1930. Two older sisters, went to Francis Holland. Brother to Winchester. Corsellis to Westminster. [04:14] Prep School at St. Clare’s, Walmar, Kent. About 40 boys. Taught Latin and Greek. Encouraged to try for Westminster. Timid and nervous. [05:48] Put in for the Challenge a year early and failed, tried again and failed and admitted as Town Boy as a Homeboarder. [07:01] Head boy of St. Clare’s. Reading lesson in Chapel – good training in public speaking. Disciplinary authorities and responsibilities. [08:13] Went from ‘big fish’ at Prep School to ‘lowest of the low’ at Public School. [08:24] Joined Westminster September 1936. [08:38] Two uncles had been to Westminster. In awe of the school. [09:35] Friendly school. Proud of Westminster School. [10:02] Started at Westminster living at the northern end of Baker Street. Walk to school in top hat and tail coat through the parks. Enjoyed the attention. [11:12] Family moved to Brighton. Commuted for a term on a daily basis. [11:44] Didn’t enjoy football or cricket matches at Prep School. Became a scorer – went with first XI to away matches, got to enjoy the food, ‘felt nice and important’. [12:38] Westminster offered fencing instead. ‘Tiny claim to fame at Westminster’ with fencing. Clerihew ‘Corsellis / rhymes with trellis / Hence / Fence’. [15:30] Fencing in Little Dean’s Yard when weather was nice. Fenced over the graves of the monks in the cloisters. Old Gym when the weather was bad. Armory garden, Ashburnham Garden? [17:14] Distinguished French fencing instructor. No electric scoring. Didn’t have to do football, cricket or water for fencing. [18:40] Left-handed. Was made to write right-handed. Disorientates right-handed fencers used to fighting right-fencers. Successful. Made school team. Public Schools Championship – first in foils, second in épée. [20:30] Beginning of first term, new intake congregate in Yard and addressed by master in charge of Corps. Gave patriotic speech. Alternatives – Scouts or gym. [22:15] Influence of brother. ‘Mildly disrespectful of authority’, advised not to do Corps. Opted for Gym. Learning to vault and parallel bars. [23:40] Conscious of war. Pacifist tendencies. Aunt ‘militant pacifist’, role model. [25:25] Westminster ‘evangelical, in the wider sense’. John Christie, Head Master, as ‘striking preacher’. Classics Master as pacifist, left school when the war started, ‘presence not very desirable’. Not characteristic of a normally tolerant Westminster. [27:45] Three contemporaries from College joined Friend’s Ambulance Unit (FAU). William Barnes; nickname ‘Bishop’, strong personality but liked and respected, became head boy. [29:57] Norman John Peppin Brown; became Professor of Philosophy in Canada; Catholic. [31:00] Donald Swann; musical, same election as Corsellis, went to Oxford. [31:38] Left Westminster, entered into articles with a lawyer in Oxford. Apprentice, didn’t need a degree. ‘Paid for the privilege of being a trainee in a lawyer’s firm’. One or two years of part time lectures at university. [33:24] Would meet up with Swann while both in Oxford, in British Restaurant for ‘awful meals, quite cheaply’, or two own sandwiches. Got to know Swann’s father, grew up in Russia until the revolution. [36:58] Advise Swann of FAU. Both ended in the same camp in the Cadbury Estate in Birmingham, six weeks of training. Converted stables for recruits, help to toughen up. [38:52] Both sent to ‘training hospital’ Guy’s Hospital in Orpington. Had been Canadian military hospital in First World War, ‘geriatrics hospital’ between wars. Converted to sector hospital to move patients out of London. Swann, Bill Mann (ended up music critic of the Times), Douglas Harvey. [41:08] Hospital porters, used as ward orderlies.

John Corsellis

[00:25] Move from Homeboarders to College. Two uncles went to Westminster: Philip Manley Bendall and Geoffrey Skeat Manley Bendall. Knew ‘D J Knight’ – teacher or housemaster? (Housemaster of Homeboarders 1929-1936) [01:35] Started in Homeboarders. Allowed to take Challenge a third time once in the school. [02:08] Didn’t believe self to be academically gifted, but was well-behaved and conscientious. Got bottom place in College. [02:42] Big change. Started to board. Had been commuting from Brighton. [03:20] Used to boarding – had boarded at Prep School. ‘Laid-back’ culture in late 1930s Westminster. [03:48] Dormitory one large room. 18th century building. High ceiling. Divided up with wooden panelling into 40 cubicles. [04:55] ‘Degree of promiscuity’, boys sneaking into each other’s cubicles. Too ‘law-abiding’ and frightened to get involved. [05:40] Don’t remember being cold. [06:03] Monitors try to maintain order. Didn’t always succeed. Did lots of reading with a torch at night. John Mason Whiskard in next cubicle. Richard Geoffrey Whiskard, older brother. Was a monitor, Corsellis was his fag. Involved almost nothing. Gave Corsellis inscribed copy of ‘Oxford Book of English Verse’ on leaving the school. Was a role model: ‘modest, decent, fair’. Father was a senior civil servant. [08:50] Tasks as a fag. Whiskard was part of the editorial team of the Elizabethan, Corsellis kept a record of their contemporaries. Doesn’t remember preparing food or drinks. [10:45] Latin Play, still in College Dormitory each year. Never even considered for a part. ‘Soft spot for Terence and Plautus’. Matter of considerable excitement. One year attended by the King and Queen. [13:20] Disruptive effect on normal school life, but ‘most enjoyably’. No one annoyed by it. Prologue and Epilogue great fun. [14:50] Felt involved even though didn’t appear. Roped in to help support. [17:05] School felt like a place full of radical ideas and debate. [17:45] Head Master Costley White, ended up Dean of Gloucester. Pompous. ‘Losing his grip’. Governors decided a strong hand was needed afterwards. John Traill Christie followed. Corsellis ‘hero-worshipped him’ as a boy. Exercised authority. [22:00] Doing gym instead of joining the OTC. Discovered fencing. So few fencers, it was easy to be a high achiever. [23:00] Stand out teachers: Peebles (maths). Hillary (history), good role model. Godfrey-Barber (Classics), organiser of the Scouts, Pacifist, eased out of the school. DC Simpson (Master of the King’s Scholars, Classics Master), approachable and kind. Claridge (Modern Languages, school librarian), ‘feud’ with John Bow. [17:45] Christie as a ‘striking preacher’, good projection. Would have been unfavourable for anyone anti-authoritarian. [28:45] Pacifist leanings even when joining the school. Encouraged by the virtues of Christianity in Christie’s preaching (non-intentional) – Christ seemed to be a pacifist. [29:48] Four pacifists in College. William Barnes, became head boy, ‘striking character’, joined Friends Ambulance Unit. Donald Swann. [31:15] Could argue Friends Ambulance Unit to be a ‘logical extension of Westminster’. Contemporary Norman John Peppin Brown, ended up Catholic philosopher in Canada. Corsellis recruited Swann, possibly Brown, for the FAU. [32:32] John Christie, first Lay head master since Camden, yet remembered for his preaching. Charismatic teacher. ‘Put the fear of God in one’. High standards, intolerant of poor performance. [35:12] Felt like Christie was trying to change Westminster – wanted to introduce more discipline. Some boys resented him for it. Culture of staff common room was already strong. [38:10] Could attend debates in the Houses of Parliaments. [38:48] Not the only good fencer- Pears Brothers (Michael Andrew Pears and David Francis Pears) were excellent fencers. [41:30] Kim Philby (Harold Adrian Russell Philby). Had been aware of his father, reviewed a book of his in the Elizabethan. [42:08] Also produced ‘pillars of the establishment’, like Sir William Deakin (Frederick Wilham Dampier Deakin). [42:24] Westminster in the 1930s was particularly outward-looking. Speakers came in to school. Not there when Gandhi came. Poets. Active literary society. Felt in the centre of things and not cut off. [44:40] Paul de Labilliere, Dean of Westminster. Lovely man. Corsellis went back to Little Dean’s Yard to visit someone after leaving and was invited in for tea at the Deanery. Gallery of Westminster Abbey. [46:15] Abbey a big part of school life. Taken for granted as the school chapel. [47:18] Sang in Bach chorale. Couldn’t sing in tune, but volume was too great for anyone to notice. ‘Marvellous feeling’ performing in the Abbey. [48:05] Was at school when coronation happened, but as Town Boy. Watched procession. Probably saw more of it than the boys in the Abbey, juniors were right at the back and didn’t see anything. [49:15] Ceremonies in the Abbey. Very much part of life. Privileged. School gym. [51:05] Meals in College Hall. Food wasn’t particularly good, even before the war started. [52:00] Women at the school. Matron, allowed the boys to listen to Bach symphonies on the radio in College. [53:10] Suffered from appendicitis. Taken to private hospital looking over Vincent Square. Head Master’s wife (Lucie Christie) came to visit, shared books - 17th century literature. [54:12] Being at school when the war broke out. Evacuated to Lancing just before Munich Agreement was signed. Happy memories of Lancing College, especially scenery. Bitterly cold and fairly spartan. [55:55] Allowed back to Westminster for a brief period. Evacuated to Exeter. Mother decided he would leave the school early, get more practical training experience. Not expected to succeed in competition for scholarships for Oxford or Cambridge and wouldn’t have been able to afford to go without one. Left school and articled to a lawyer at Oxford. [57:50] Shorthand typing course at age 18. Could touch-type and write shorthand. [58:30] Atmosphere among pupils being evacuated. Positive. Challenge. ‘Closed ranks and got on with it’. Learned basic first aid. Fire watching. Most of the boys contemplating post-school life – wanted to do a year at university before being called up. Closer to the teachers. Greater feeling of team spirit. Conscious that it was a big job for the teaching staff to cope. Would Westminster survive at all? [01:01:15] Survival of school in debt to JT Christie. [01:01:58] Partly integrated into Lancing college when evacuated – shared activities. Own identity still preserved. [01:29:56] Staff make conscious effort to preserve Westminster identity. [01:03:25] War felt inevitable, boys were aware. Boys with family members in Europe. [01:05:45] Doesn’t remember talking about the war on a personal level with others boy. Kept a low profile. Aware there were a number of pacifists. Unaware William Barnes was a pacifist at the time, but knew Donald Swann was. [01:07:40] Pick up from where left off with first interview. Orpington, working as a hospital orderly. Classical education in Latin and Greek and adequate knowledge of French and German proved useful. After Orpington, spent time as nurse in state hospital. Spoke German to patients, including a fanatical Nazi who was refusing blood transfusions out of worry his ‘Aryan blood would be sullied’. Little chance of surviving. [01:10:45] Sent to headquarters as personal assistant to Whitworth (Old Etonian), who was planning the to assist refugees that would be created as Allied armies made their way through Europe. Dealt with policy correspondence. [01:11:55] FAU ran a training centre in Hampstead in an old house. 12 week training courses. Corsellis didn’t attend, but dealt with teaching material so learnt from that. [01:12:35] Sent abroad. Two months in Egypt, one month in refugee camp for 25,000 Yugoslavian refugees from Dalmatian coast. Teams of 8-10 relief workers. One interpreter liaison officer. Needed to learn Serbo-Croat, found book for Italians wanting to learn Serbo-Croat. Latin and French education made Italian easy, so taught self Italian and simultaneously learned Serbo-Croat. Quickly acting as interpreter. [01:12:14] Went on to Italy, developed fluent Italian. Up to Austria. Camp for 20,000 Yugoslav refugees. Sent on own to translate. Neighbouring camp in next field, 12,000 Yugoslav refugees from Slovenia, part of anti-communist resistance movement, had been involved in Civil War. Political advisor to army decided they were a problem, told would be sent down to Italy. Intention was to send them back to Yugoslavia under agreement with Yugoslavian authorities. Brutally massacred by the communists. Sent back by deceit and threat of force. Wrote book about it, finally achieved a kind of apology from the British government. [01:23:58] Book published in Slovenia. Outselling Harry Potter. Inspired/encouraged a Slovenian writer to write fictionalised book on the subject, with Corsellis-based character as hero. [01:27:45] Other claim to fame – published poetry of his brother from Second World War. [01:30:40] After the war, worked for 13 (ran for 10) for Education Interchange Council, wanting to open up exchanges with ‘ex-enemy countries’ and then with Communist countries (biggest danger of being opponents in a third world war at the time). Told not to become a modern languages specialist at school, but had since learned many in line of work. Good classical education was good preparation.

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.

Stephen Spurr

When he arrived at Westminster he felt the school needed to rediscover its purpose and reshape itself for the 21st century. [3:42] His aim in the first year was to consult people over the future of the school. [4:00] His previous school had been Clifton School in Bristol. Every school is different, and when you begin at a new school you must understand its ethos. [5:08] At Clifton he had learnt how important it was to have co-education. Clifton had been in a difficult financial state when he first arrived. He had learnt how important it is for the Headmaster to keep on top of finances. [6:25] He had been a housemaster and head of a large department at Eton. Before then he had been a university academic. Westminster is like a small university in some ways. [7:30] Westminster was originally ahead of other schools in co-education, but now can be seen as a dinosaur. Believes that the Westminster model is the right one. [9:18] Doubts about excluding girls from the years below. [10:34] He decided to change the composition and numbers in the sixth form, so that Westminster no longer felt like a boys’ school that happened to have some girls in it. Decided on 1/3 girls, 2/3 boys in 6th form, with minimum of ¼ boarders. [12:23] School increased overall to 740, to allow for more girls at 6th form. Introduced a head girl. [13:19] The number of women in the Common Room has also increased. [14:08] The greater number of newcomers in the sixth form helps the boys who are already pupils to see the sixth form as a new beginning. [14:35] Balancing money spent on social mobility and money spent improving facilities. [15:53] The importance of fundraising. [17:55] The choice between fundraising for a very large endowment or raising money every year to plough straight into financial assistance. Chose the latter. [19:08] Harris Westminster Academy. Westminster needs to look outwards more. [20:23] Westminster summer school. Inspiring pupils to go into higher education. [21:55] Media portrayal of Westminster. Most schools try to get into the press. At Westminster, it’s the reverse. Many calls from the press, which are not always relevant. Need a good relationship with journalists. [25:47] The impact of social media. Pupils need to be educated on how to use it responsibly. Can be a very positive thing. [27:10] Relationships should not just be virtual. [27:48] When first came to Westminster pupils had Walkmans and weren’t talking to each other. Needs to be a community in the school. The development of a parenting forum, where parents can discuss their concerns. [29:44] A moral education should be central to the school. Nurturing individual talent is important, but pupils must also have a sense of social responsibility. [32:38] Relationship between the School and the Abbey was re-assessed during the preparations for the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the school in 2010. Began working together more. Morality and spirituality became more central to the school. [35:30] Introduction of civic engagement, for every pupil to participate in, rather than community service, which was for pupils who weren’t interested in sports. [39:16] Many Westminster pupils will go on to be leaders, and leaders must be socially responsible. [40:17] Traditions. Latin Prayers. Deciding either to abolish it or take it seriously. [43:46] When he began, the Governors had been concerned that Westminster had lost some of its style. The importance of the Archives. [45:47] The introduction of girls’ uniform. It had previously made it appear as though girls were just an add-on. [48:48] Pupils have more generosity of spirit now, and are less brittle and competitive. [53:31] The importance of the Monitors and Head Boy and Girl. [55:17] The Common Room previously hadn’t had much of a common purpose. He tried to involve more staff in the development-planning of the school. [57:35] The Headmaster needs to protect teachers from management, legislation, financial matters, and so on. Their sacred task is the teacher / pupil relationship.

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