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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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E. S. Grant-Watson


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E. S. Grant-Watson : The Old School

'Meeting held at “Oakdene”, Northcourt Avenue. 2.3.43
S. A. Reynolds in the chair.
1. Minutes of the last meeting were read & approved.


5. Bruce Dilks reported on behalf of the committee, that in order to provide a controversial evening seven people had been asked to come prepared to speak or read about seven widely differing subjects. [...] The subjects would be open for debate and it was not proposed to cut short an interesting discussion in order necessarily to include 7 all subjects [...].

6. Rosamund Wallis read an extract from “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis. She was a lesson in the act of tempting, especially the kind of temptations into which people are most likely to be led during war time. A discussion followed on whether or not war produced a ‘moral torpor’ and whether it is necessary to live dangerously, in order to develop physical and moral courage. C. S. Lewis says that “Despair is a greater sin, than any of the sins that provoke it.”

7. Alice Joselin’s subject was Experiment in Education and she read first from E. S. Grant-Watson’s book “The Old School” which described the founding of Bedales in 1893 and its gradual change from its cranky, ultra-idealistic outlook then into a good modern progressive school. Her other reading was from A. S. Neil’s book “That Dreadful School” the author being founder and headmaster of “Summerhill”. [...] It was clear from the remarks that followed that this system of education had no support from members of the club. Dorothea Taylor. as an old Bedalean confirmed Grant-Watson’s A/C of the school (except that she had no recollection of the use of the switch) and told us of the great loyalty of old scholars. [...] This led on to the question of co-education and the very strong Sidcot contingent present at the meeting began to throw its weight about until Howard Smith recalled that in his Unit of the F.A.U. during the last war, the Old Sidcotians were labelled “Gods little Gentlemen”[.] Knox Taylor exhibited himself as the exception to this rule & the subject was considered dead. [Note: the F.A.U. is the Friends’ Ambulance Unit; Sidcot is a co-educational school associated with the Quakers.]'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Alice Joselin      Print: Book


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