Reddiford was one of the best things that could have happened to me. After a rather traumatic entry into education at a state school, and one or two false-starts at private day schools in Pinner, my parents had the inspired idea of sending me to Miss White’s establishment in Cecil Park. I don’t remember much about the early days, other than being in class 2B with Miss Bossingham as form mistress – I missed-out on the Preparatory class and Form 1. It was still ‘Wartime’ and when an air-raid siren sounded in the nearby public park all the pupils had to foregather in the main school hall – I can’t recollect any sort of proper bomb shelter, so suppose we would all have been killed simultaneously if the Luftwaffe had scored a direct hit.
I progressed into Form 2A, and then into the Lower 3rd – form teachers names now long forgotten I’m afraid. Then the big move into form 3B, which was housed in the ‘Garden Room’, which was a kind of glorified wooden shed at the end of the garden.
Here, under the watchful eye of both Mr and Miss White the real business of education began. I was hardly a star pupil, but I did show a certain aptitude for art, and with the help of Miss Howard the art mistress, Micky Burbidge and I were encouraged to take the entrance examination for the Harrow School of Art. We were both successful, and Micky and I have remained lifelong friends.
Whether it was Reddiford’s influence, or the liberating experience of being an art student in the early 1950s I don’t know, but I am eternally grateful for having been given a broad and enquiring outlook on life which has enabled me to move seamlessly through a number of challenging and absorbing occupations during my life.
What more could anyone ask?
Names I remember: Colin Mynott – Alan Webb – Malcolm Jackson – Hugh Syrett – Graham Smith – Bobby and Pamela Galley – Geoffrey Fallon – Tom and John Greenwood – David Poole – Richard Oldham – Peter and Joanne Blackwell – Stephanie Speller – Ann Burr – Maureen Beckwith – and so many more at the edge of my memory but the names just won’t come into focus. How I’d love to know what they have all done with their lives.