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Ian Campbell Reminisces
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Balnakeil Bay Scotland
Copyright Ian Campbell ©
The technical college was a challenge, the students attended because they wanted to succeed in passing examinations they worked hard and expected to be driven. As most of them were weekly boarders in guest houses and bed and breakfast they had ample time to work in the evenings. They got very good results and as nothing succeeds like success each year we recruited more public school pupils, with the apprentices and children from local Secondary Moderns soon we poached sixth formers from the local single sex grammar schools. Whe I left we had over a thousand A level students. Several to be successful rock bands and several agents managers and other successes. Some took ONDs and went on to work in local industries. We did a lot of nurse training for the two local hospitals, Scarborough and York. We educated police recruits part time we developed courses when an employer showed a need. It rather took off and the Governors got more and more concerned at the rate of expansion but several showed their confidence by sending their own children there. We poached from Eton and Harrow Benenden and the (girls school on the cliff outside Brighton).
We encouraged the Students to form a union and affiliated to the NUS, I persuaded the Governors to pay the fee.
With that we held concerts booked the local theatre for rock concerts this ended when we booked the Who and were inundated with people from all over the north and it was a riotous sell out, after that the Governors got cold feet at the many thousands of pounds handle by seventeen and eighteen year old students flowing in and out of the bank account closed it down, and said we must stop.
Thalia and I were painting and drawing and holding exhibitions of our work as well as contributing to Open and Group Exhibitions, we were very busy. As far as I can remember three in Scarborough Art Gallery, Two at the Theatre Royal in York the inaugural exhibition at Hull Arts Centre The University of Brighton Torquay and Coventry City Art Gallery. We were very busy, for example we finished teaching on Friday afternoon hanged the complete exhibition ready for the private view on the Saturday Evening and drove home on Sunday, sometimes with the four children.
Our paintings were sized so that with a simple frame they fitted in the back of the LWB Land Rover with no packing and no movement the drawings went under with the children mixed up with the bedding and they all curled up and slept awakening one at a time to sit in the front between us and watch everything go by in the dark. One we stopped at a Chinese Restaurant late at night and we all went behind and had a meal with the familly four of ours mixed up with four of theirs all similar ages.
The children loved to wake up when we travelled say where are we have a drink or a snack and snuggle down and go back to sleep. We often drove at night to miss the traffic so that we had the days free, I don't know how we did it. I drove Thalia map read slept and looked after the children while I had a short sleep while we were stopped.
The real magic was setting out and arriving at some remote lonely place and watching the dawn, the peace and tranquility awed the children as they looked aroud wide eyed at where they had woken up.Beside a silent loch surrounded by mountains the loch mirror calm with whisps of mist among the trees, with deer grazing,on a remote beach in Northumberland, after a long drive over keepers tracks the top of the Cheviot. We drove most of the length of Wades Road through the highlands, in those days gates were not locked, if we saw someone we asked permission we were never chased off we were often invited to camp on private land. At Ballahulish we collected all the litter on the lakes side the McDonald of Glencoe came along saw what we had done and invited us to camp on his land. He was talking to the children and asked what is your name, Angus said Angus Campbell, he came over to us and said, there is my boat get in it and row out to that island and see whatt your ancesters did to mine. We did and landed with the children just off the beach was a graveyard with falling in tombs all with slate headboards, each with engraved picture of the death of the occupant with their names and dates of birth and death. Each had the same date, the date of the massacre of Glenco. We spent hours uncovering the inscriptions and photographing them. The photographs must be somewhere. The Mc Gregor lived in a modern bungalow built alonside his empty but looked after Stately home. He gave us the key and we explored it from cellars to attics. There was a magnificent stone fireplace carved with all the animals and birds of the highlands. He owned from there to Ben Nevis and we expolored a lot of it. We found a river with smoooth red granite bed and boulders and we went there to bathe when the sun shone. We oput our outboard on his boat and explored the loch and the sound landing on islets covered in seals.
WEA classes in Yorkshire 1967 -73
I did two WEA art classes, one in Ravenscar and the other in stainton/snaiton. Ravenscar was in the village hall on the top of the cliffs north of Scarborough, a very scattered thinly populated area. It was every Wednesday afternoon. We painted stills, plants , portraits and landscapes. The people were mainly retired and housewifes. I did not drive at the time and took a bus to Cloughton and then a lift with one of the women in the class, a retired civil servant. She had a cosy bungalow in the village. I had a retired latin teacher who lived in a cottage at the edge of the sea . She still had red hair and was well travelled and a talented artist. I took the children with me at half term . They were models for the class. Eventually we got a different model, the man who had a fish van. For a few weeks he found no one at home when calling on the remote cottages and farmhouses but saw the parked cars and found us all at the village hall so it was easy for him to sell his fish at one place which meant he could sit for the class to as a model. Tom when he was modelling also drew those drawing him and the lady who gave me a lift was drawn by Tom with a very soft black pencil and he drew every wrinkle as strongly as the out line of her face. We were surprised sat the careful, honest but unflattering childs drawing.It was a good likeness.
On Tuesday evenings, once again by bus, I did another class in the village surrounded by forestry on the road to York. This was in the primary school. House wifes retired people again. There were a few forestry workers in this class and these large men were sat on minute wooden primary school chairs at small desks designed for five year olds They painted the landscape they knew so well with great talent and love. I painted a portrait of the children of Clem Beere who lived in a cottage in the next village. He was the art teacher at Scarborough College. He went to live in London at Greenwich. He had happenings to celebrate the birth of his children, very alternative.
Ladies of Mary Convent
I taught for two mornings a week at this private girls school, part boarding. It was near the harbour in a building with a central our door area tennis games play ground. I used to cycle down on my moulton bike with silly small wheels. It was the era of mini skirts. There was only one entrance and after clearing up I got locked in by the caretaker. There were two art rooms a large one and a smaller one. They were purpose built with north light big windows everyting neccesary to teach art. I taught the fourth and fifth forms. I was still an infant teacher. My pay was ludicrious and Mrs Taylor the older teacher was quite snobby about my lack of qualifications. She was a widow. Her husband Fred Taylor had taught art at Penistone grammar school and also done some of the railway and underground posters I had long admired She used to take half a dozen six formers mostly in the large room and I had 30-40 in the smaller room. The pupil were not impressed with this meanness. Later when I was teaching in her room the the large room I found a tin of what I thought was white powder paint in a Bisodal tin. I gave it out to the girls and when they mixed it up it fissed. This was very funny! I realised she suffered from acid indigestion which probably accounted for her meaness and bad temper.
There was one black girl in the school. She had been adopted by a local hotelier and his wife. She was the only black person I saw in Scarborough which I think made her very isolated. This was before the days of political correctness. She always usecd a lot of black in her paintings saying I like black. I spent little time in the staff room preferring the company of the pupils. The black girl loved to stay and talk, As did the others.
There was a great deal of giggling about the priest, the girls went to see one at a time., in those days no talk of abuse but I was concerned. They were only allowed white under wear. Anything coloured was packed up and sent out to Africa for the missionaries to give to the blacks.
I painted a portrait of three children of a local consultant who saw my drawings at an exhibition we had at Scarborough Art Gallery.
Ian's memories of the Blitz in Coventry © 2010
The plane Ian's grandfather shot down in Wales © 2010
Sinbad on Pembroke Beach
Ian's memories of playing Sinbad on the beach at Pembroke with a paper palm tree
in a Haggar film.
Ian went to school with Roy Haggar
See link for information on the Haggar family and film making ....
Sister Lesley in her Sinbad costume
Haggars Cinema Pembroke
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