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Hugh Bedford

[00:28] Family’s relationship to Westminster school. Five members at Westminster, starting in 1870s. Rev. Edwin Curtis Bedford. Francis Donkin Bedford. David Edwin Wyatt Bedford. Felix Hugh Wyatt Bedford – father; very involved with the school, member of Masonic Lodge, at school with Kim Philby. 1950s. [03:15] Attend Ashburnham himself. Large number of new boys. Fagging. [04:28] Monitors. Substance and shadow. [04:50] Had to pass test after two weeks – names of houses, house ties, slang, etc. [05:35] Not much to do with monitors. Hierarchy, work way up. Progressed through school years. [06:24] Fagging. Practical tasks, but some to demonstrate authority. Changed over time. [07:18] Ashburnham moving from Little Dean’s Yard next to Busby’s to Dean’s Yard. Not disruptive for pupils. [08:20] Isolating being away from heart of the school. Always something going on in Little Dean’s Yard. Didn’t spend a lot of time in the house. [10:02] Denison Brock housemaster. Approachable. Ran a good house. See once a month to go through marks. [11:20] Post war construction. O Level exams at army drill hall because of damage to School and work being done to the shell. [13:02] Queen’s visit 1960. CCF inspection by the Duke of Gloucester. Ron French in charge of CFF; extensive preparations for inspection in Vincent Square. Marching on grass. [14:18] CCF or Scouts compulsory. First year go on trips when Corps took place (Tate, British Museum, etc,). [15:14] Saturday Mornings go to Robert Mayer concerts at the Royal Festival Hall. [16:22] South Bank. New. Made an impression. Good introduction to music. [17:00] Not a musician, not involved in music within the school. Hilary John Davan Wetton at Ashburnham, became conductor. John Phillip Arnold playing cello. Arnold Foster in charge of music. [18:15] Art. Leslie Spaull, art master. Great enthusiast. One lesson a week. [19:00] Art department in Ashburnham house. [20:14] Form Master Andrew John Moyes. Young teacher. [20:50] Memories of Mr Moylan, Latin teacher. Strict. Charge for lateness or disobedience. Good teacher of Latin. Weekly test – moved table based on marks. Alan Charles Nelson Borg in top three. [23:58] Edward Craven, sixth form Latin teacher. Could be distracted to talk about convoy work in the war. Post-war teachers out of the army. Mr Rogers and Mr Woodhouse, young masters, went on to be Head Masters. [26:15] Most people didn’t talk about their army service. Knew nothing of Denny Brock’s service. Outward bound trips. Corps camp – tent commander Corin Redgrave. [28:06] Mr Moylan as careers master. Weak career advice, no sense of what post-school life was like. Hard to go from school to bank. Unprepared. [29:20] Why choose to work in bank. Wanted to be in city. Uncle working at the bank – enthusiastic. Didn’t go to university. Most from Westminster sixth form didn’t go. Seventh form usually went. [30:48] Scientist at Westminster. Decided late on to go to bank. Structure of school useful. [32:28] Women working in the bank, not used to. [33:38] Science teaching good. Mr Crumpler, Mr Foxcroft, Mr Stokoe. Not so charismatic. [34:28] Science in Great College Street. New laboratories. Lecture theatre. [35:35] Hierarchy of scientists and classicists changing. Would have preferred to be a historian. [37:08] Colin Bird, also in Ashburnham. Went into Bank of England on the same day. Still friends. Went into Modern Languages. [38:35] House events. Sport; did quite a lot. Not many social events. Eating lunch together in Ashburnham, others eating in College Hall. Seating by hierarchy. [41:30] Cricket. Had played at prep school. House cricket and colts team. David Roy, new boy, in first eleven by second year. Better at football. [44:21] Clever members of Ashburnham. Dan Peter McKenzie (AA). Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. World expert on Earthquakes and volcanoes. Anthony Leslie Vogle, actor. Michael Brough, microsurgery. [45:45] Only played football until 16. Played at Grove Park. Squash played by those who couldn’t play anything else. Theo Zinn. [47:30] School good at fencing. Alan Borg. [48:16] Food. Roast beef and potatoes. Puddings. Better than at prep school. [49:30] Ashburnhamite family. House bond important. [50:00] Conscious of school before joining. Taken to matches. Entrance exam and interviewed by the Head Master. Walter Hamilton. [50:50] No contact with Walter Hamilton. Distant figure. John Carleton, taught English in classroom up School. Markham room. [51:55] Promotion of Under Master. Talk higher up the school and other Masters. Would have been better to have someone in from outside with new ideas. [52:55] No real changes within the school with change of Head Master. [53:18] No real contact with Head Master in the sixth form. Never went into any of the other houses. Over other side of Dean’s Yard. Went into Wren’s classrooms. [54:55] School ties. Ashburnham ties were blue. Rigaud’s orange. Pinks. Didn’t wear a full pink tie, but ‘out of season’ pink ties. First eight wearing full pinks to Henley. Awarded house tie for contributing to house, mostly for sport. One house tie, no junior and senior. [58:42] Long distance race in athletics. Between Barnes and Putney. Bringsty Relay on Wimbledon Common. [51:47] Standards competition. Points for athletics performance, house totals added up. Junior and senior cup. Grant’s often winning. [01:00:43] Roger Givan. Rigaud’s runner. Under 16 champion. Denny Brock keen on house events. Singing competitions. [01:02:05] House singing. Sung as group. Mix of songs. Every house has a choir. Held up School. Individual instrument pieces. [01:03:20] No house concert. Music now on a higher profile. [01:04:00] Teaching done in Wren’s and beside Ashburnham house. [01:05:05] Gym. Now moved from cloisters. [01:10:43] First boy ever to go to Westminster from that Prep School.

Michael Garnett and Will Stevens

[0:30] Joined Under School 1988, up School in 1993. Wren’s and Grant’s, didn’t board. Slept on people’s floors occasionally. Enjoyed breakfast and supper – incentives to stay the night. Boarded during A Levels – came to arrangement with Busby’s House Master. Didn’t want to go home and get asked how exams were doing. [3:00] Carvings. In the Remove. Sense of crescendo. About to break up for half term, had come to same idea. Commemorative things being planned. Plans around Little Dean’s Yard from lots of students. [04:20] Weekday night, got up 1 or 2 in the morning. Staying in the Dungeons in Head Boy’s room. Eddie Smith, Deputy Head, ‘fierce policer’ on patrol. Had to coordinate. Midnight? Would have had more chimes to strike chisel. [06:04] No gate to Dean’s Yard. Laxer security. No key codes on doors. Jumped wall. Preferable to put names on main arch, but needed to be hidden from Little Dean’s Yard. Gate to School locked at night. Took tools and provisions. [07:26] Previous prank. Busby’s students ‘abseil’ into Common Room through window. Take packets of prawns, hide around Common Room. Started to rot three and a half weeks later. Boys had worn ‘SAS black ninja suits’. Garnett and Stevens inspired by dress. [08:55] Meticulous about preparation. Took an elastic band to hold Maglite. Did art and experienced in manual work, but little stone work experience. Garnett practised on red brick in father’s garden. First time carving on ‘proper stone’. [10:52] Showed other people, word got around. Returned many years later, Bursar hadn’t known it had been done. [11:55] Other things going on that night, detracted from the carving. Door slamming and shrieking all night. Spraying silver graffiti in Little Dean’s Yard. Sound of scraping stone above – got porcelain toilet up to corner of the Old Library, above Burlington Arch. Affixed to stone with ‘industrial cement’. [14:40] Chiselling too loud. Brought a mallet, but couldn’t use. Bought chisels from Tottenham Court Road and wrapped in cotton wool and tape so could strike chisels with palms of hands. Still loud – covered by noise of Big Ben’s chimes. Increased as the night went on. Resorted to scraping, not traditional technique. Finished at half five in the morning. Gloves in tatters, bleeding knuckles. [16:50] Took masking tape, chalk, and printed out ‘MG’ in Times New Roman. Marked out between parallel lines. Took rubber to rub out chalk. Stevens’ not marked out. [17:57] Eddie Smith summoned Stevens to office. Had discovered. Stevens’ name was removed. Attempted four initials while Garnett did two. Had planned MG 99 but ran out of time. No punishment. [19:35] Post-Westminster. Garnett to Cambridge, to reach Architecture. Stevens to Ruskin School of Art. Read about ‘night climbing’ tradition, tried some out. Inspired by name carving. [21:50] Post Westminster. Garnett working as architect. Stevens painter, studio in Paddington, in gothic church crypt. Odd jobs. [23:22] Told Andrew Bateman, art teacher. Would have been far easy to carve when originally laid as far softer, but had hardened over time.

Lord Julian Hunt

[00:20] First impressions of Westminster School. [00:38] Masters very nice. Challenge anecdote. [01:09] Day boy in Ashburnham. [01:58] Lushington as form tutor. [02:12] Leaving to have operation. Away for a long time. [02:50] Couldn’t play football. Lots of swimming instead. [03:10] Commute from Putney. [03:30] Masters. John Morton Wilson. Latin prose. [04:30] Enjoyed science. [05:04] Cyril John Crumpler, science Master. Mr Foxcroft. [05:35] Another pupil by the name of Hunt, connecting water tap to gas tap. Fire brigade called. [06:18] Experiments. [06:30] False roof up school. Latin prayers. [07:07] Walter Hamilton. Greek. [07:48] Joined the Corps. War still felt close. [08:10] Mr Brock, housemaster of Ashburnham. Telling stories of war. [08:50] Demonstrations at Hyde Park Corner on Sundays. [09:05] Art teacher. Mr Spore. Wanted to talk about naval history. [09:42] Francis Rause, housemaster of Busby’s. Major in war. Told stories, told back to him in House play at the end of term. [11:10] Matthew Orr, played piano in Busby’s. [11:52] Boys climbing lifts in Busby’s. Used later while stuck in lift in France. [13:22] Noel Picarda, used to go up to Hyde Park Corner with collar back to front and give mock religious sermons. [14:15] Talks at political literary (John Locke) society. C.P. Snow, speaking about Russia. Ted Heath. [16:32] Choice of science. [16:43] Dropped Greek to do science, mother horrified. [16:55] 3 In Maths Sixth. 27 in Classics. [17:25] College scholars primarily classicists. [17:49] Theo Zinn classicist. Did music appreciation. [18:40] Classists saw themselves as the elite in the school. Seemed to be the way things were, no real resentment. [19:45] Labs in Sutcliffe’s on Great College Street. Nothing to compare them to. Not pristine, didn’t feel like it was a disaster to take risks. [20:40] Slide rules for calculations. [21:08] Lack of health and safety. No safety glasses. [21:30] Not too much building work. Felt done. Dorms of 17 in Busby’s. Throwing slippers. [22:15] Fagging. Appalling. Abolished at sixth form. Busby’s first house to do so. [22:44] Sixth formers only ones to use the lift. As prefect, let everyone. [23:40] Football. C.C.P. Williams. Broke a window in Vincent Square. Westminster not particularly successful in sport. Played Chelsea Colts once a year. [25:20] Sanger. Playing cricket. [25:50] Walter Hamilton. Left for Rugby. John Carleton’s takeover. Didn’t have the respect Hamilton had. [26:55] Confirmation, conversation with Head Master. [28:05] Respect for Walter Hamilton. Strong character. Carleton charming, liked by parents. Not by students. Surprising Westminster did as well as it did under him. [29:25] Lushington speaking after Carleton in staff meetings. [30:33] Fisher, teaching mathematics. Had been a bas headmaster of Busby’s, but good teacher of mathematics. Wanted students to go to Cambridge, measured progress by it. Deterministic. Connecting mathematics to the world. [32:27] Adolph Prag. Helped with archives. From Germany. Mathematics as patterns and logic and beauty. Class of three, later four. Had to explain proof on blackboard. [33:35] Henry Christie, master of the scholars. Keen on rowing. [34:05] Reading divorce cases in the Daily Telegraph. Westminster handled change easily. [35:10] Going to parliament. Concerts at Festival Hall. [35:48] Strength of connection between Westminster and Trinity. 10 boys in same year passed up to Trinity. Not much of a Westminster society there. [36:55] Went to Trinity to follow footsteps of grandfather and uncle. [37:20] Dan McKenzie most brilliant in year. One of the discoverers of continental drift. Divinity class. Dan state disbelief in God ‘because I am a scientist’. Became Cambridge professor and Fellow of Royal Society. [40:42] Science as a group. Keeley, gave classes in Urdu. [42:05] Science education post-Westminster. Dropped Greek. Science was a way of connecting things together. Royal Institute lectures. Felt inferior to scientists, decided to go into engineering. [43:45] At Cambridge. Engineering as ‘mechanical sciences’. PhD. More interested in environmental matters. Turbulent flows. Supposed to go to America, but met wife and didn’t want to leave her behind. [47:00] In America during Vietnam war. March on Washington. Science and politics. [48:18] Most Old Westminsters had standard careers. [51:22] The usefulness of scientific ideas. [53:10] More public understanding of science. More media coverage. [56:00] Much wider range of A Levels now, less specialised. [56:40] Far more pupils doing science at A Level. [57:10] Changes in science teaching. Less time to just experiment. Broader syllabus now, but strictly organised. [01:00:05] St Paul’s closest UK comparison to Westminster. Special. [01:10:18] Westminster very institutional. Used to it. Boarding school from the age of nine or ten. One younger brother enjoyed it, but youngest did not.

Stephen Lushington

[00:55] Why Westminster? [02:15] John Christie. [02:30] Why teaching? Substitute teaching at Eton. [04:40] 17 Dean’s Yard. [05:17] Teaching Latin and Greek and English. [05:50] Westminster pupils. Keen to learn. [06:25] English teaching preferable – element of choice. [07:28] Classroom up School. [07:55] Pupils. Anthony Howard. [09:35] Directing plays. [10:00] Anthony Howard living nearby. [10:50] No objection to plays from Common Room. [11:05] English respected by other members of staff. [12:05] Common Room colleagues. [13:05] Hugo Garten. Adolf Prag. John Wilson. Lawrence Bird. [14:22] Walter Hamilton, tutor at Eton. [14:50] Differences between Eton and Westminster. [14:50] James Peebles. Fisher. John Carleton. David Simpson. Francis Rawes. Denny Brook. Theo Zinn. [17:20] Walter Hamilton as Head Master. At a disadvantage. [18:45] Senior Housemasters (David Simpson, Fisher, Francis Rawes, John Wilson, James Peebles). [19:35] Time as Housemaster. [20:10] More interesting position. Wide age range of boys to be responsible for. [21:45] Pupils. Bright. [22:30] Successes of past pupils. Interesting. [23:20] Simon Gray writing about the school. Corin Redgrave. [23:50] Reappearance of drama. Medieval Everyman. Macbeth. Twelfth Night. Hamlet. Performed up School. Hired scenery. Running for four or five nights. Attended by most of the school. [27:10] Balancing jobs at school. [28:40] Rationing and bomb damage following Second World War. Teaching not more difficult. [31:20] Classrooms. [32:50] Rebuilt College Dormitory. Wren’s. [34:50] Play rehearsals. [36:40] Tough reputation. [38:00] Latin Play. [39:20] Parents very involved in the school. Many living in London. [40:50] John Christie’s wife keeping chickens on the roof of Liddell’s. [41:50] Reasonable food. Meals eaten by house. [44:40] Not many women at the school. [45:10] Accommodation at school. [49:30] Old Westminsters on the staff. Feeling of importance. [50:39] Charles Keeley, senior history master. [52:45] Proximity to the Abbey. Abbey services. [53:00] Coronation. [56:55] Rebuilding war damage. [57:47] Royal visit from the Queen. [58:10] John Carleton. Didn’t get on. Thought him a bad Head Master. [01:03:30] Might have stayed at Westminster longer under a different Head Master. [01:06:05] Appointment of John Carleton. [01:08:19] Walter Hamilton leaving Westminster for Rugby. [01:08:18] Got on well with John Christie. Walter Hamilton was an old friend. [01:10:32] Carleton lived above Liddell’s during rebuilding of College. [01:11:47] Leaving Westminster. Sad to leave. [01:12:35] John Rae. Tristram Jones-Parry. In touch with the school again.

Martin Boulton

[0:13] Why interested in teaching. Past teaching experience (Sherbourne) before Westminster, and why drawn to Westminster. Interested in somewhere more academic. Stayed for 12 years. Teaching Physics. House Master of Dryden’s. Didn’t miss having so much marking. [03:20] What defines a Westminster pupil? More demanding. Impolite – students correct mistakes on boards. Asked questions you don’t know the answer to. [04:24] Appointed Under Master. Working with senior management. Dr Spurr ‘runs a tight ship’. Changing of relationship with pupils – have a different view. [06:13] Moving on to Manchester Grammar School to be Headmaster. Different to Westminster. [07:00] Sport at Westminster. Took up climbing, had been a station with 12 pupils. Wanted to raise profile – now has 50 pupils and new climbing wall and expeditions across the world. [08:47] Changes in Westminster across career. More civilised. Pupils more polite. Just as interesting and academic. Now a nicer place to teach. Head Master sets the tone. Societal changes – intake of pupils and where they’re from. Westminster has always reflected the London society. Cosmopolitan. [10:12] Science in the school. Always been strong. Conversations on advanced science in common room at Hooke. Government influence (Michael Gove) pushing STEM subjects, national increase in science. [11:57] Working with the Common Room. Interesting conversations. [13:13] Token memory from Westminster. Experience in class room, teaching bright Remove sets. Ask the questions you want to be asked. Challenging and want to learn. [14:09] Wouldn’t change anything about time here. Never found time boring. Wouldn’t rule out returning. [15:00] How does Manchester compare to Westminster. Used to be pupil at Manchester. Encouraging students to make the most of their talent. [15:55] Involvement with Abbey and Collegiate body. One of the things to miss most. First year as Under Master – met Barack Obama, the Pope, and attended a Royal Wedding. Unexpected. [17:45] Led international applications. US university applications used to be written by hand, ended up writing 30-40 as House Master. Learnt a lot in the experience and used knowledge more widely to help students wanting to go to US universities. More Westminster students may be interested in accessing a wider range of US universities. [19:57] Most controversial time as Under Master? Most testing parts are behind the scenes – disciplinary matters with students or dealing with staff. If done well, no one knows what’s happening. Auction Scandal. Why became a news story. Internships for partner schools. [22:00] Influence of Westminster School on the wider community. Changed in last few years. Westminster House. Growth of civic engagement. Positive change. [23:20] Partnership with Harris Federation. Share expertise in teaching very bright pupils. [24:10] Most miss the once in a lifetime events at the Abbey. Meeting Royal family. Time in the classroom.

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.

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.

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.

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