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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.

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.

Virginia Lindley

Family background. Parents were writers: editor for the BBC and poets. Older brother who was praefectus at Westminster. [1,00] Earliest memory of the school - being taken to plays, concerts, Little Commem. Enamoured by the buildings and the place – lots of activity. Had private English coaching with John Field. [2,30] Schooling before Westminster – Rye grammar school. When it was turned into a comprehensive her teaching suffered. Quality of the teaching at Westminster was amazing. [4,10] How she came to go to Westminster. Connected through her brother. Played violin in the College concert when there was a shortage of players. Spoke to Martin Rogers who informally invited her to come to the school, because hers didn’t offer university entrance. [5,30] Heard that she was going to Westminster via telegram whilst on holiday. [6,25] Logistics of being a girl in a boys’ school. Treated like a personal guest, stayed in the spare room. Abbey and Latin Prayers. Steep learning curve. Wasn’t told anything about where to go and what to do. Had to dine at the top table with College. Worked in her room. Stayed in the Master of the Queen’s Scholars house. [9,40] Lessons. First lesson was with John Field, whom she knew. Kept herself to herself. Intellectual side was very stimulating and hard work. [10,50] Browning with John Christie. Called her Miss Dickinson. [12,00] Janet Carleton – very fierce but a delight. Knew her and John Carleton. Taught Scott. [12,52] Music side with Mr Burt. College competition. Won as a soprano. [13,40] Thames rowing. Coxed the boat and won. [14,10] Martin Rogers. Oblivious to any of the school rules as she wasn’t properly introduced to them. Caught with Grant’s boys in her room at 11:30pm discussing Yeats. Able to use her familial connections with many of the teachers to get away with restrictions. [16,50] Did she feel she was a trailblazer for the beginning of a co-educational Sixth Form at WS? No, done by personal arrangement with Martin Rogers, father didn’t pay any fees. Had to overrule a statute of Elizabeth I to allow women to be educated. Yet not properly a pupil. Occasional girls came in from St Paul’s to do sciences because Westminster’s labs were better. Helped that she had an older brother and that she knew his friends. Never struck her that she was an only girl among boys. [18,50] Bizarre marking system. Generally treated as any other pupil. [20,05] Uniform. Nothing outlandish. No requirements dictated at all. [21,13] Station afternoons. Catching up on work, helping Jane Rogers, watching football at Vincent Square. [23,11] School services, the Abbey. Awe inspiring, beautiful, privileged. Loved compline, candlelit, special service. Appreciated it enormously. Felt part of Latin prayers eventually. [24,39] John Carleton. Incredibly easy, tolerant, smiley, trusting. Total competence and a big sense of humour. Unshakeable and liberal with rules. Good couple with Janet. [26,10] Little contact with rest of school apart from at whole school gatherings and at meals. Little time. Sometimes went to the theatre or the pub. [27,40] London in the 60s. Connections between bits of London she knew, having not grown up there. Went to Peabody estate. Never threatened. [30,00] Range of reading. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Browning, Tennyson, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth. Teachers had their areas of expertise. Like Oxford learning. [32,10] Taking the Oxford entrance exams. Unseens and essays. [34,14] Oxford interview. Had many family connections. [35,11] Discrepancies between male and female colleges. No overlap, yet they mixed a lot with boys in male colleges. [37,37] retained some connections with OW boys and friends from Somerville. [40,12] Musical activity at Oxford. Egalitarian setting met many people from varied backgrounds and subjects. [41,00] enjoyment of studying English as a degree. [42,30] English ran in the family, part of discussion. [44,00] Westminster Greek trip. Joined her brother on it when he was at the school. Went with 2 Paulinas. Theo Zinn: charismatic, eccentric, reading Agatha Christie. Loved all the ruins. Fan of botany. [46,10] Rome. Taken to see the Sistine Chapel. Wasn’t wearing the right outfit for a lady so posed dressed as a boy with short hair. [49,00] Educational quality of the trip? Instilled a feeling for the classics in pupils, more like a holiday. Appreciate the environment. [49,50] Ted Craven. Archetypal classics master, reserved. Not as characterful as Theo. [50,49] Felt a part of College. Even the staff living there overlapped with the staff who taught her. Not a real part of the school despite this. Lived separated in number 3. [54,21] Classrooms. Taught in mainly Ashburnham house, the library, Liddell's – very nice setting. Fewer pupils, intimate family atmosphere. Compelled to learn. [57,30] Teachers losing their temper. Jim never did so at her. John Field – a dramatist. Took the class to a performance of Hamlet with Ian McKellen. Was furious because not one of them had thanked him. Then carried on as if nothing had happened. A useful lesson. [59,50] Not much of a sense of rivalry between subjects. Healthy rivalry within the English Seventh. Tradition of having to read your marks out. From the arts perspective, the sciences were somewhat looked down upon. [01,01,00] 10 years earlier, superiority of the Classics dept. Classics was second nature in her family. [01,01,47] Didn’t do much theatre. [01,02,16] Carol Service. Held at St. Margaret’s. Asked to read a lesson by Field. Burt had asked her to sing soprano recitatives and be in control of descants. Challenge, wanted to make it audible. Heard people saying that it was an extraordinary voice for a boy. [01,04,45] Champagne parties and social events, centred around Martin. His Aunt. [01,05,59] Carletons as hosts. John and Janet were very sociable and well connected. Because of her own background, she never thought much of where people were from, encountered famous people everywhere. Daniel Day-Lewis. Made more lasting relationships with people who were interesting. [01,08,48] This attitude towards people helped her to thrive at Westminster. [01,09,17] Field and Carleton were very much a part of Westminster’s history. Field invited her and her mother on a private Abbey tour. Huge benefits. [01,10,43] Life after university. Obtained degree, could have gone to RCM. Ended up taking on a summer job housekeeping and looking after 6 children on a Scottish Island in the Hebrides. Full charge of a 24-bedroom house. Connection to the mother from Oxford choir. Household returned to London and Bath, the permanent housekeeper retired, and she returned to live on the island permanently. [01,14,00] Difficulties of old-fashioned homes and old telephoning. Telephone number was Colonsay 1. Still had to wind a handle to get the exchange on the island. Stayed there for nearly a year. [01,17,11] House cow. Not allowed to look after it herself. Given the produce of the cow daily: a huge excess of milk for one person. [01,18,37] Spent a few years doing antique restoration and china handling. Then got married. Helped with her children’s work.

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