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NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 12 April 2015

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1964-71

The new issue of The Elizabethan contains an intriguing article by Roger Birchall who quotes extensively from one written half a century ago by K L Woodland on the occasion of his retirement. I was only in the first year at the time and don't recall the article, but I have a vague recollection of KLW's leaving presentation, his being on the stage with, I think, Ambidge and Colin Carter. I had never had any direct contact with him, but he looked as I imagined a Dickensian vicar; in fact, in my first few days, when I was trying to put names to faces, I thought he might be the Rev Kay. Anyway, his 1965 article, penned even before the Swinging Sixties had properly taken hold, appears to be a bizarre tirade against malign influences on impressionable schoolboys. Evidently boys in those days (we, actually) were - shock-horror - drawn inescapably to pop music ("This mind conditioning process ... diverts the enthusiasm of the Shavian fan from Bernard to Sandie") and - would you believe it? - were sometimes influenced by girls ("the meek submissiveness to his girl friend of the spoon-struck sixth-former" ; "... excessively concerned with sex, so that the mating urge - a basically feminine phenomenon - becomes the dominant influence in the life of every boy except those ... in the school chess teams [his domain]").

Other facets of the time to attract his attention included Yogi Bear, Daleks and elastic-sided shoes with pointed toes. And, as Birchall says, he did draw attention, rightly, to the exploitative propensities of big business. However, Roger seems to take Woodland at face value and, as presumably he knew him, I'm in no real position to query this. However, even allowing for the gap of 50 years, I did wonder if some of it at least was tongue-in-cheek. I'd be interested in the views of those who have seen Roger's (four page) article and who also knew KLW. Incidentally, the appendix to EHJ's book indicates that Woodland, who was appointed in 1931 when he was 25, was a student in London during the mid '20s. He might not have been a bright young thing, but did he go round with his eyes closed?


NAME: Nigel Wood  Nigel Wood

DATE: 13 April 2015


"And 'Copulo ergo sum' has become today's neo-Cartesian slogan'" I can remember this KLW witticism in isolation, but it seems from its general thrust - if that's the right word - that it might have come from the retirement article that Nick has mentioned. 1965 is, after all, only two years after 1963 when, according to Larkin, it all began. Two bits of remembered trivia: KLW lived in Ridgeview Road (or was it Naylor Road?) Whetstone and had the mysterious title of 'Co‑ordination Master'. I never knew what he co‑ordinated. The only time he spoke to me or I to him was before I started at QE, at the curious ceremony of the purchase of school uniform. He made some slightly jokey remark about the names 'Wood' and 'Woodlland'. It was, I think, kindly meant. Yes he did look like a Dickensian vicar, but, for me, even more like Casaubon in Middlemarch.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 27 April 2015


I must confess that the mating urge becoming the dominant influence in the life of every boy [see original message] certainly did not apply to me but maybe that is because I did occasionally play for the school chess team. This was not on any say so of KLW I do not think but because the captain of chess and great history student, Eddie Guy, who was in Broughton House, liked the way I beat his vice captain in the Broughton team and asked me to play in the school team. Maybe he had to get the approval of KLW behind the scenes or maybe not. It used to be quite an experience playing chess with Eddie, who used to analyse any move I made and say you could move there and then this will happen next move etc. for about 5 or so moves ahead. This chess playing experience served me in good stead whilst working in the accounts/finance section of British Road Services HQ when I used to play and beat a fellow assistant accountant in the lunch breaks.

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