Harold Moore Luncheon 2011 - Report
Harold Moore Luncheon - Mon 24th October 2011
This luncheon provides a splendid opportunity for Old Owenians to get together with former classmates, at what few would deny is a very convivial gathering. This year the event attracted 101 bookings and was held as usual at the Imperial Hotel, Russell Square. The luncheon is now publicized on both the School and the Old Owen’s Association web sites, which no doubt accounts for the attendance this year of a significant number of first timers. However, we believe that many are still unaware of this event and so are missing out on a very enjoyable occasion, so we ask all of you who attended to spread the word around.
Aldon Williamson (Head, 1994-2005) chaired the proceedings, and in her address recounted the remarkable changes she had witnessed in her own lifetime. Many of these had made our lives better, particularly so for women whose former domestic drudgery had been so much reduced by modern appliances. Women have also been able to share more equally in the wider opportunities for higher education. However, Aldon did not feel the need, as many seem to these days, to share their very personal thoughts with all and sundry over the internet.
We are very grateful to the Head, Alan Davison, for his continuing support of this event, and for bringing with him, as has become a very pleasant tradition, the Head Boy and Head Girl - this year Jim Tilby-Jones and Nikki Zhao. Both Jim and Nikki spoke to us enthusiastically about the wide experience and opportunities which their attendance at Dame Alice Owen’s School had provided for them. Alan outlined the ambitious plans being made to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Schools foundation. These include a memorial service at St Paul’s, a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, matches against an Arsenal and MCC teams and a summer ball. Alan also drew attention to a collection of School memorabilia which is being assembled, and said that the loan of any good quality photographs would be particularly appreciated. We were also told of the continuing excellent academic achievements at the School, which included the best ever A* results and the winning of no fewer than 20 Oxbridge places.
We are also grateful to former and present staff for their support. These included David Bolton (Head 1982-94), John Sparrow (1956-84), Graham Dove (1988-2004) and Richard Morley (current staff). School Governors present included Peter Martin, and Tim Raynor (the photographs he took at the luncheon can be seen on School’s web site). We also thank Tom Morkill for representing The Worshipful Company of Brewers.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Girl’s School in Islington, so it was appropriate for Brenda Ainsley (nee Savoff, 1945-52) to describe what life was like at the school in the immediate post World War II years. Those who have attended the School since it became co-educational may find it amusing to learn that the girls at that time were forbidden to talk to their immediate neighbors in the Boy’s School. A full account of her talk will appear on the School’s web site.
The toast to the Pious Memory of Dame Alice Owen was given by Revd. Gareth Randall, who took the opportunity to remind us of the meaning of the word piety when recounting the kind deeds of a very fine lady to whom so many Old Owenians owe so much.
Once again, Alan Locke took on the sad but inevitable task of reading out the names of those who have recently passed away. We thank him for his diligence in researching interesting facts about their lives and recounting them to us, not without some humour thrown in. Thanks are also due to Barry Hyman (1952-59) for the masterful manner in which fulfilled his role as MC.
To round off the proceedings, the Islington girls joined forces to sing two verses of the Girls’ School song. This was followed by the singing of the current School song, which was also restricted this year to two verses. Given the customary volume and gusto with which it is sung, this may have been interpreted as an act of kindness by the Imperial Hotel waiting staff.
You may keep in touch with School events by logging on to: http://www.damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk.
You may keep in touch with the Old Owen’s Association by logging on to: http://www.oldowens.com.
If you do not have access to the Internet, please nominate a nearby relative or friend to receive information from us. That way the luncheon organizers will do their best to keep you in touch with news and events.
Finally we would like to thank all those who attended this year’s Harold Moor Luncheon for their support, and to stress that this luncheon is open to all Old Owenians and School staff.
Michael Harold, Stan Gould