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Autumn Term 1966

Tuesday, 11 October, 2016 -- Helen Wilson

It is now exactly 50 years that – having successfully applied for a British Council program - I could spend the autumn term 1966 at Eltham College. And, up to these days, this has been one of the most important times in my life.  

Not only that I acquired a command of the English language that accompanied me – after graduating in law and economy – all the years in my professional life as a public servant with the Bavarian State administration - in the Ministry of Finance, the State Chancellery and - for the last quarter of a century (1988 – 2014) - as head of administration of one of the big German universities (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) and finally responsible for a branch campus in South Korea (2009 – 2016).

My stay also was of high importance for me from the point of view of culture: Mr. Williams and Mr. WHO Chambers (due to his signature we called him "WHOCCY") both developed my notion for classical music considerably: We went to Covent Garden, the London Philharmonic and even the Royal Albert Hall – many unforgettable experiences, including the world premiere of Malcolm Williamson’s “The Violins of Saint Jacques”. And Peter Aubusson in the study next door got me acquainted with the music of Gustav Mahler, which in Germany at that time was widely unknown, but has gained great attention throughout the last decades.

On the other hand, room mates like Robert Collins and Timothy D. Yeadell or study mates like David Sanders and Richard Pollock made me acquire a very intense feeling of the late Sixties in London. I remember well a visit to the vivid market on Portobello Road – a jacket bought there is still in use.

In sports, I got acquainted with rugby, a sport that I still think to be one of the most original ways to play in a team, and I was glad to be a member of the 2nd XV, the shirt of which has accompanied me over all the years. And playing basketball with Andrew Yates as a trainer is also a good memory.

Of course, and very important, I also took advantage of the way of scientific working that was at that time much more usual at Eltham College than I knew it from my school in Germany. Even reading Bertolt Brecht’s 'Leben des Galilei” was an important experience – discussing German literature from the English point of view and explaining the German sight.

Looking back, these three months contributed a lot to my personal development and implanted an understanding of as well as a favour for the British way of life.

And, although the time spent at Eltham College was very short, much too short, this was the basis of a kind of "family tradition" - all of our three children went to an English-speaking boarding school, however - due to the increasing globalisation - in the United States.

Thomas A. H. Schöck