Dr Anthony Seldon Brighton College Head Master 1997-2005 has been awarded a knighthood.
TAG: Dr. Anthony Seldon (Headmaster 1997)
The recent great successes enjoyed by the College – surely a source of joy to all of us who love the place – have caused the Press to suggest that it was previously a ‘backwater’. So it seems right to refer to the work done in the last fifty years, that work itself laid on earlier foundations. After all, the decade before then produced Lord Alexander, Lord Skidelsky and Bishop Bavin (to say nothing of Sir John Chilcot) among others! And these last fifty years began with a visit from the Queen. Backwater...?!?
Simon Smith has decided to retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years of outstanding service to the college, for the past eleven as Second Master. He has been a wonderful support to me in my five years as Head Master, providing wise counsel, good humour and kindly reassurance throughout. My predecessors, Bill Blackshaw, John Leach and Anthony Seldon, also owe him a terrific debt of gratitude. He has served each of them with great loyalty. Above all, Simon has served this community. He has made time for colleagues and pupils in equal measure, supporting them when times are tough and admonishing them only when necessary.
For my report on this year’s Commemoration day, I had resolved not to begin by mentioning the weather - as it seems I so often do. It would, however, be ungracious not to acknowledge the surprising and un-forecast sunshine that bathed Brighton College on 22nd June 2008. Whilst the rest of the UK was apparently awash with the accurately predicted wind and rain, Brighton was beautifully sunny and warm - so there... I’ve mentioned it.
If anyone thought the departure of Dr Seldon would also signal the departure of the camera crews and hacks we’ve grown used to seeing around the College they were wrong. After what seemed like only a few minutes in the job, Richard Cairns marked the Chinese New Year by making Mandarin Chinese (Puotonghuà as it is called in Chinese) compulsory for all new pupils at the College and instantly he was the lead item on national news broadcasts across Asia – and CNN, the BBC, most of Europe... Hits to the College website reached their monthly average in one day, calls from diplomats and government departments, not to mention prospective parents, from across the world flooded the College switchboard.
My daughter Lillie-Louise was christened at Brighton College on the 11th December 2005, after which we all had a few drinks in Cafe de Paris.
Twenty five years is a long time but what about the 1949 PE team? They were there too and so were quite a few of those who were only yesterday (as it were) walking across the quad without a (real) care in the world. For those of us celebrating a silver anniversary of leaving the College it was for most the first time we had returned for a great many years.
The Service of Remembrance at the College is essentially based around music and readings, including personal accounts of those whose lives were affected by war on and off the fighting fields. It is a demanding occasion for the College and Prep School Choirs and other musicians, but it is also an opportunity for deep reflection for the congregation which, as always, was made up of current pupils, parents, current and former staff and Old Brightonians. This year, the Chapel was bursting at the seams and it was fitting in this, the 60th anniversary of Armistice Day but also the 160th anniversary of the founding of Brighton College and Dr Seldon’s final term.
This is proving to be a tremendous year for the Old Brightonians. As reported elsewhere on this website our social events have been proving more popular than ever and reunions are taking place across the generations. It is especially pleasing to see so many young members getting involved, though our sports teams still need players, so please contact John Aiken if you’re interested (talented or not!).
The Annual Dinner in November has sold out but we have made additional space by booking the Blackshaw Room as well as the Dining Hall, so some tickets are still available. There are a number of reunions taking place that evening including a 1980 Silver Reunion, and a gathering of the 1949 PT Team, while the OB Lodge will be hosting two tables. We are also offering all post-1997 leavers discounted tickets as this will be Dr Seldon’s last formal engagement with the OBA as Headmaster. There are already over 120 guests confirmed, and many more who have reserved tickets, so if you would like to join us, please contact us without delay.
“Where are you going? Samosa?”
“Ah, sorry: Somalia. That’s in Africa, right?”
Having finished my Masters Degree in the Politics and Economics of Development at the University of Bologna in northern Italy last year, I toddled off to Fiji to undertake an internship with a small environmental NGO. I will pass lightly over my time in Fiji, primarily due to the fact that, at the time, I found it hard to believe that I was actually there and my memories of the place are the dregs of a beautiful but evanescent* dream, so to speak. The office I worked in consisted of mainly very dread-locked, unwashed, tree-hugging hippy-types (presumably Lancing College old boys) who were fond of quoting nonsensical phrases such as: “many people never stop to realize that a tree is a living thing, not that different from a tall, leafy dog that has roots and is very quiet.” My time there was a little odd though thoroughly enjoyable, and I have to say Fiji is an extraordinarily beautiful country and well worth a visit.
This year we are celebrating the 160th anniversary of Brighton College’s foundation, and both the Headmaster and the Old Brightonian Association are very keen to celebrate this occasion fittingly. Hence there will be a number of events arranged at the school to mark the achievements of Brighton College, events which we hope will enable Old Brightonians of all ages to renew past associations and friendships.
150 not out and still with plenty of gas in the tank would be the best way to present Brighton College Cricket today. We as a school have had an enviable record in cricket since the early 1980’s and it is great to see that this still the case in 2005.
As Brighton College celebrates its 160th anniversary, in spite of several near misses, it is good to see the place continuing to evolve, experiment, and adapt. I am sure that just as Anthony Seldon will be missed when he leaves us at the end of December, so the newly appointed Headmaster, Richard Cairns, will make his own mark and make his own changes. Sometimes we will approve of those changes, other times not, but he will be aware that to retain the College’s position as a school of excellence, standing still is not an option.
“I have been young, and now I am old.” (Psalms XXXVII; 25)
posted - 28th January 2005
In the last issue of the Pelican I wrote about the Remembrance Service in November 2004 and the changes since my first in 1954. I had been appointed in January of that year to help with the four members of the Sixth Form who were taking Latin at A Level. Norman Frith, a Classical Exhibitioner at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, had started the course but found it too much of a commitment in addition to his duties as Head of the History Department.
The association’s dinner this year was a select affair. As if consciously to complement last year’s, when 30 years of coeducation was celebrated, an overwhelmingly male party gathered together in the Dining Hall on a cold November night. It was a most convivial evening of good wines, an excellent dinner, and of course one in which nostalgic reminiscences hung in the air like cigar smoke.
As with all accounts of such gatherings, I must open my report with a pathetically grateful nod to whoever arranged for the promised rain to hold off (which meant that Joey Appleton’s (D.1979-84) hair stayed fabulous all day!).
The inaugural Vice-Presidents’ Luncheon was held on Thursday 14 July at the Army & Navy Club, courtesy of Peter Miller (C. 1945-49). In spite of the chaos caused to the London transport system by the events of the previous week, all fourteen guests made it in time, many observing the 2 minute silent tribute to the victims of the London terrorist outrage en route.
Hello Old Brightonians wherever you may be in the world. I would like to get more of you involved on an international basis - maybe a representative from each country or continent? Please could you email Fiona Aiken in the OB office (address below) if you are interested in sending in news from say the USA, Australiasia, Asia or a mainland European country and we will arrange a page on our website for you. I was working in Pakistan a few years back and whilst waiting in the Mott MacDonald office in Karachi I bumped into Andrew Gubbin, who had been there for sometime. It was lovely to see him and to catch up - it also proved what a small world it is out there. When I was in New Zealand 18months ago I wrote to all the recorded OBs there - they all got together for an evening and are hopefully still in touch. It is a great resource if you do happen to go travelling or working overseas, particularly for the school leavers/gap year students, to know that there is an emergency contact available. So please use the resource it is there for us all to use.