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Elias Kulukundis

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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