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This project has been supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In association with:

This publication accompanies the film Henry Morris – The Life & Legacy organised by stART Sawston and Linton Area, endorsed by Sawston Village College, Š Copyright Sawston Village College, published by Sawston Village College.

Introduction Jonathan Culpin Principal Sawston Village College

It gives me great pleasure to be introducing this publication, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Sawston Village College, and celebrating the vision and ambition of the founder of the Village College movement, Henry Morris. Henry Morris was Chief Education Officer for Cambridgeshire between 1922 and 1954. On appointment, he discovered that the quality of schools in the county were some of the worst in England, where the provision for secondary schooling was virtually non-existent and with classrooms so cold in winter that one inspector noted that, ‘the ice on the aquarium did not melt for five days’. In response, Morris initiated a debate about the role of schools, especially

those serving rural communities, in developing aspiration in their pupils, providing fitness for life and work and a hunger for learning that would mean there would be no school leaving age. Furthermore, his Memorandum on The Village College also specified that the school buildings should act as the ‘silent teacher’, drawing upon the inspiration of ‘philosophers, artists, scientists, prophets and scholars, operating in freedom’. In 1930, Sawston Village College became the first school to realise his ambition, and this was soon followed by the opening of the other village colleges throughout Cambridgeshire, and which, in turn, have influenced the development of education and community schools in this country and beyond. As the

birthplace of the Village College movement, we are proud of our place in the history of education, and the philosophy of Henry Morris is still at the heart of our core aims, values and ethos, providing direction and continuity in a rapidly changing educational landscape. This project recognises and celebrates those aims and values that underpin this school and the other village colleges. Drawing upon the experiences of pupils, staff and the wider community, past and present, it reminds us why Morris’s legacy is so important 80 years later. Furthermore, the whole project has been led, managed and organised by a team of pupils from the Senate and wider school in a way that I am sure Morris would have approved of.

The creativity and talent of our young people never ceases to amaze me, and I would like to thank all those pupils who have been involved in the project. I would also like to thank the many other individuals and institutions that have given so generously of their time and resources in helping this project come to fruition and, in so doing, have helped expand our awareness and understanding of Henry Morris and the Village College movement. We also give our warmest thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their financial support.

the logistical support and energy for the project. Not only are we fortunate to have such a talented member of staff working with the College, but Lesley’s role as Arts Development Manager also embodies the important link between a school and its community. This is a link which Sawston Village College values highly and upon which Henry Morris based his vision of education. Jonathan Culpin Principal, Sawston Village College July 2011

Finally, I am indebted to Lesley Morgan, our Arts Development Manager, who formulated the original idea to celebrate the College’s anniversary and who has been tireless in providing 

From the Arts Development Manager Lesley Morgan Arts Development Manager

The start of 2010 seemed a good time to begin thinking about how Sawston Village College might mark its approaching 80th anniversary. As the first Village College in the country and founded by ‘Educator Extraordinary’ Henry Morris, the anniversary year offered an appropriate juncture to look back to the school’s beginnings and, in particular, to provide young people with the opportunity to explore in detail the life and legacy of Henry Morris, the originator of the Village College concept. With Henry Morris very much in focus then, our project idea was developed: ‘Henry Morris – 80 years after the first Village College’, and funding was awarded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our project choice seemed

vindicated when we read in Harry Rée’s biography of Henry Morris that he always ‘retained a special feeling for Sawston as his firstborn’. Young people from the school supported the funding application process, seeing roles for themselves in project management and envisioning the kinds of activities which would support their research into Henry Morris. This initial group then linked up with the Pupil Senate and, once funding was fully approved, the Project Steering Committee was born, and planning meetings began in earnest. There was a lot to be done. Sawston Village College had archive film footage of the original opening, when the then Prince of Wales planted

a tree. To coincide with the school’s actual anniversary on 30 October 2010, it was decided to recreate this opening by planting another tree, and to invite students from other village colleges to come along and join us. We decided to film our modern-day recreation and to incorporate this footage into a film which would showcase our findings on Henry Morris. Our research started with a literature search which was quickly followed with a visit to the Cambridgeshire Collection in Central Library, where Chris Jakes showed us around and introduced us to all the Henry Morris-related materials in the collection. In our research we were strongly supported by David Farnell from the Henry Morris Memorial Trust,

who was a constant source of advice and wisdom. We were also lucky to have Bryan Howe, Sawston Village History Society archivist and author of a history of Sawston Village College, as another willing adviser. As we began to seek out and interview people we thought could help us get to the essence of Henry Morris, we had professional filmmaker Peter Harmer from Stories – Projects in Film and his team with us in every session, supporting and developing young people’s camera and interviewing skills. With a picture of Henry Morris emerging, our film script also began to take shape. It would combine documentary and drama, we decided, and so, as interviews continued, we also began to hold the auditions for

film parts, to search for film locations and to collect props. As a further strand to the documentary element in the film, we then visited the three village colleges established by Henry Morris after Sawston: Bottisham, Linton and Impington. We were warmly welcomed into each school and were hosted by young people who took their Sawston visitors around the original school buildings and showed all the photographs and books in their school archives. The early Punishment Book at Bottisham Village College proved of particular interest to all. For Henry Morris, the village college was the instrument through which he would apply his ideas for ‘the extension of education’. Education would become a source of liberation

and grace for the whole adult and adolescent population, extending into ‘all those activities which go to make a full life: art, literature, music, festivals, local government, politics’. We asked many of our interviewees what Henry Morris would make of Sawston Village College if he visited today, and the overwhelming response was that he would be proud. That pride, I think, would also be extended to all the village colleges involved in this project.

who embarked on this journey feel their efforts have been rewarded. They share their reflections with you in this book, which documents our project and accompanies the film Henry Morris – The Life & Legacy. Lesley Morgan Arts Development Manager

This has been an ambitious project and, at times, trying to create a sense of the complex character that was Henry Morris, as well as do justice to his achievements in education, seemed a somewhat daunting task. However, it is pleasing to see that the young people

From the Pupil Senate As the Pupil Senate of 2010-11, we have, between us, been involved in many projects over the year, from charity fundraisers to hosting students from Russia. This project focused on Henry Morris, in this our 80th anniversary year, however, has been, by far, the most rewarding project we have embarked upon. We started by meeting together to decide how to research Henry Morris and the outstanding work he did in founding our school, the first village college. Initially, we began delivering assemblies to make the whole school aware of our special anniversary and our intention to take a closer look at Henry Morris. As well as talking to people in our school, we also contacted other village

colleges in the area, as they too were founded by Henry Morris. Following a recreation of the opening ceremony of Sawston Village College, we had a conference with Comberton and Cottenham Village Colleges, and we talked about other ways in which we could come together to work to realise Henry Morris’s vision of having the school exist for the whole community. We all felt very passionate about this. We are also proud that Sawston Village College already has a significant presence in its community and that the community adult education programme is strong. Again, this is in keeping with Henry Morris’s belief that the village college would provide opportunities for learning from ‘cradle to grave’.

The work for this project was daunting at first. However, over the months, we came together as a team and undertook different roles. Between us, we wrote the press releases and we met some of the community members who had been in the first intake of pupils when the school opened in 1930. We helped with the work on the film and we also kept Sawston Village College pupils up to date on our progress and engaged in activities by launching competitions and delivering assemblies. Two of us attended the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History conference and gave a presentation on our project. We were pleased when this, and the work we had been doing, resulted in

our project being awarded the 2011 Cambridgeshire Young People’s History Award. As we entered our final year at Sawston Village College, we all wanted to make a difference to our school, its pupils and the wider community. This project has allowed us to achieve all of this. In addition to this, we have also developed skills we would have been unlikely to learn in the classroom. We think that this is definitely something Henry Morris would have supported.

James Jackson Head Boy

Hannah Long Head Girl

Robbie Moss Deputy Head Boy

Suzie Curran Deputy Head Girl

Emmeline Carr International Forum

Sarah Hill Environment Forum

Jonathan Morrow Ethos Forum

Hannah Ritchie Learning Forum

The Pupil Senate 2010-11

From our Project Partners Stories – Projects in Film

Peter Harmer Stories – Projects in Film

I first heard about Henry Morris when working with the Sawston Cinema Club on ‘Projecting The Past’ in 2009, a film about the history of cinema in Sawston. However, I was unaware of how revolutionary his ideas were and, in particular, of the historical significance of Sawston Village College. As a partner in this project, it has been rewarding to work with students at Sawston and an honour to explore this inspirational character through the art form that I love. As a filmmaker, my challenge on this project was to find an approach to the story of Henry Morris that was original, engaging for an audience, and fun for the young cast and crew to work on. We were blessed from the outset that David Farnell of the Henry Morris


Memorial Trust was keen to be involved and shared with us a wealth of information, providing a great starting point for the script writing team to develop ideas. It wasn’t easy to come up with a way of telling this story beyond the traditional documentary approach, but the more we learned about Henry Morris and his vision, the more our own vision for the film took shape. Developing the story of Sarah, the student teacher who stumbles across the obituary of Morris at the end of 1961, allowed us to create a multi-layered film that combined period drama with documentary techniques. In this way, the film is a wonderful example of the potential for filmmaking to explore history in an engaging way; setting the heart of the story in the

1960s and moving between the present-day and the past, as we learn of Henry Morris’s personal journey in establishing the village colleges which are so important to us today. I’m thrilled with the end result, which owes a great deal to the team of students and professionals who contributed in a variety of ways. Friend and colleague, Tom Martin, supported us from the start, and captured the look and feel of Sarah’s quest beautifully through his cinematography. Christian Lapidge and Sven Mattes helped with technical elements, and we were fortunate to have make-up artist Lexi Selin help with creating the 1960’s look. It was also a great bonus to have former Sawston Village College student Tom

Curran compose the original music score for the film. When leading filmmaking projects, it is especially fulfilling to see talent in younger generations emerge. In this project,Year 9 Sawston Village College student Peter Noble deserves a special mention for his contribution towards the film. He is, and has been, a reliable and motivated student, with a hunger for filmmaking, who already has such a comprehensive technical knowledge that I have no doubt he will go on to create masterpieces in the years to come. I’m also very pleased that the project has provided a platform for Year 11 Sawston Village College student Phoebe Gilderdale to showcase a natural

talent to act for the screen. She brings an honest and emotional dimension to her character that demonstrates perfectly Morris’s ability to captivate and inspire. As always, it was a delight to work with Arts Development Manager, Lesley Morgan, who drove forward the project with real passion, offered a huge amount of creative input and a shared desire to make something of real worth that did justice to the brilliance of the man. I am confident Henry Morris would have approved of our hard work and our determination to make something of true quality. All in all, this has been a project which brought together a community of different generations in the name of art and education. Peter Harmer


Henry Morris Memorial Trust

David Farnell Henry Morris Memorial Trust

I was steeped in the Village College for over thirty years. Nevertheless, when I retired, I filed Henry Morris away to the back of my mind. The work of the Henry Morris Memorial Trust (interviewing young people with a view to awarding grants for “expeditions with purpose”) served to trigger just occasional bouts of fervour. One such bout was witnessed by Lesley Morgan when I called at Sawston Village College to hire the film equipment and discovered that the young film-makers of Sawston planned to make a film of Henry Morris. I agreed to be a partner in the project. This drove me back to the books and to my original research into this shadowy figure. The effect on me was unexpected. I experienced


again the excitement of Henry Morris’s vision for public education, his energy and drive, and his capacity to inspire. I was struck afresh by his relevance to today. “It (education) is not the task of administrators …. The proper architects of education are philosophers, artists, scientists, prophets, and scholars, operating in freedom.” If only! So I went back to school – a venture not undertaken lightly by a retired teacher. I expected to be asked to sit at the back and watch. Not a bit of it. I sat in the circle with the children, caught the banter, saw the signs of fraying patience, and tuned in to their excitement. These techno-savvy kids soon had me

in the hot seat fielding questions and expounding my views. This was the first of several meetings. I was in on their early grapplings with the sixties and then the twenties and thirties. I saw them poring over the Cambridgeshire Collection’s Morrisiana. I sweated in front of their cameras. I saw the growth in their appreciation of Henry Morris and the part he was playing in their own school experience. This was turning into a significant and potentially life-changing experience for everyone involved. How the village colleges transformed village life! What magical places they must have been in those early years. Times change, of course. These young people - today’s - have made this film as a mark of respect for

their own village college and the man who devised it and fought for it. It is conceivable that the film might itself trigger another imaginative and visionary idea that will re-arm Education for the challenges of the twenty-first century. I would be surprised if such an idea did not echo something of Henry Morris. It was refreshing to take another look at the impact of Henry Morris. It was equally refreshing to see young people, fired by enthusiasm for this inspiring project, working together thoughtfully, creatively, and effectively. It was a privilege to be involved. David Farnell


Sawston Village History Society: A Historian’s View

Bryan Howe Sawston Village History Society

Before the Village College arrived, Sawston had achieved some successes in education. John Falkner, the most respected head of the village school, had the knack of weeding out his most talented scholars, guiding, helping with their applications, even persuading parents that their little geniuses could gain entry to a grammar school and beyond, though circumstances dictated that only one or two could benefit. Traviss Teversham was one such, winning a scholarship to the Perse School, a small university degree and a life dedicated to teaching before returning to his birthplace and becoming the village’s most noted, and quoted, local historian. In a sense, Henry Morris created a ‘cultural conveyor belt’ whereby many more aspiring


pupils could achieve success, with its emphasis on practical as well as theoretical training. There is no doubt that the early pupils felt they were part of history - a college important enough to interest His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales must have been a revolutionary concept. In general, apart from the disruption of WWII, the teachers had been hand-picked by Morris and they were educators who cared, in the tradition of John Falkner. The ‘University of Life’ sounds like a haven for non-achievers, but might be considered a worthy culture for those who have to face the practicalities, and the first steps were amply provided by the Village College. I am proud to have been one of Morris’s ‘children’ though not entering the hallowed walls

until 1943-46. The second Warden, JG Milner, was still at the helm and keeping things together despite his best male staff being away during the war. One of them, George Ewart Evans, was destined to become a nationally acclaimed author and originator of the idea that oral history is equal in importance to the written kind. His book The Strength of the Hills devotes a few pages to his time at the College, and on his return to Sawston I was one of those in his English class. I like to think that our quaint South Cambridgeshire dialect might have been the seed corn for his later work before he gleaned a richer harvest in rural Suffolk. My interest then was engineering, and the Village College paved the way to entry at Cambridge

Technical College and a satisfactory career in many branches of the trade. Following retirement and return to my roots I was thrust (not unwillingly) into the role of archivist of Sawston Village History Society. I was delighted to be asked to take part in this celebration of Henry Morris’s work, and enthralled to see at first hand the dedication,

enthusiasm and talent that many pupils have brought to the project. The available cinematic facilities in the school are an obvious attraction, but have become an outstanding example of modern technology promoting the old traditions, and as the servant, not the master, of what we need to keep alive. Bryan Howe


Youth Services

Sharon Punchard Lead Youth Worker

The young people at Sawston Village College always seem to rise to any challenge with great enthusiasm and passion, and this was certainly true of the group of young people who formed the Project Steering Committee. At each meeting they demonstrated incredible dedication and motivation towards the project, as they contemplated how they would go about organising the events and activities. Their first task was to recruit more young people to the project, and they did this through dedicated assemblies, eventually bringing together a determined group of project participants to work on all the different elements of the project. The young people have worked really well together in all aspects of the project. They have


developed strong team-working and leadership skills, particularly when forming part of a film crew.Young people have also grown in confidence through some of the experiences they have had, such as interviewing members of the community and visiting other schools founded by Henry Morris. Those involved in the project have also become much more aware of the history of Sawston Village College and the influence of Henry Morris on the surroundings they are familiar with from their everyday experience of school. This project has enabled young people to complete the Arts Award, and many have successfully passed the Bronze level. Their work on the Henry Morris project will also be recognised through

their completion of the Cambridgeshire Youth Award. Sharon Punchard

From some Project Participants Although I have been quite heavily involved in script writing and research, my main focus has been on the technical side of this project about Henry Morris. All the aspects of this project have been interesting. I had looked at Henry Morris before but I hadn’t studied him in much detail. One thing, for me, that has been very exciting about this project is that we have been able to get far better equipment for filming and recording sound. This has given us the opportunity to use equipment that we wouldn’t have been able to use normally. I always look forward to the next shoot on the Henry Morris project and I can’t wait until the film is ready. Peter Noble My main role for the production of this film was interviewing some of the people who were knowledgeable about Henry Morris. Although at first I did not anticipate this being the most entertaining job, it ultimately turned out to be very interesting. The people I spoke to had some very inspirational stories, which were perfect for our film, and they were able to deliver completely the history and character of Henry Morris and why it was that he made such a difference to the field of education. I, personally, have benefited greatly from this project and I hope that the school will do more projects like this in the future so we can continue to share our findings with people. Edred Whittingham 17

In the Henry Morris project I have done lots of filming and have also been in front of camera a few times. We went to Linton, Impington and Bottisham Village Colleges to find out more about how those schools started and to speak to the students there. We also went to the Cambridgeshire Collection in the Central Library in Cambridge and looked at the Henry Morris archive materials collected there. We also did a lot of our filming in Sawston Village College, where we invited people to come for interviews. All in all, taking part in this project has been an enjoyable experience, and I now know a lot more about our school’s founder, Henry Morris. Oliver Martin


When this project started we began our research into Henry Morris by looking for books and papers about him. From this, we developed our ideas into a script for our film. David Farnell from the Henry Morris Memorial Trust was very helpful at this stage. We decided to have contrasts between drama and documentary. We then started filming interviews and then later did the drama parts. For me, this project was very useful in finding out about Henry Morris, his life and legacy. Overall it was also really fun. Lars Mattes

Before I joined this project I only knew that Henry Morris was the man who started our school. As the work on our film progressed, I started to learn more and more about the man. I interviewed one of the people who knew a lot about Henry Morris. In the interview he told me how difficult it was back then and that life was very different. This is something that I will never forget. Matthew Hill

In this project I helped with the film script and gave ideas on how it could be improved. I was also in the scene where we went through some of the ideas presented by Henry Morris in his Memorandum on The Village College. That was really interesting because we discussed his ideas and we interpreted what they mean for today’s modern world. It is interesting to see that Henry Morris’s ideas are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them in 1924. John Grant

My role in the Henry Morris project involved an interview with Geoffrey Morris who was formerly the Chief Education Officer for Cambridgeshire, the same post that Henry Morris once had. It was very interesting to get his perspective on that position, and it helped to increase my understanding of Henry Morris. I have enjoyed taking part in this project, which has coincided with the school’s 80th anniversary year. Frank Dobbs


Before this project started I never really knew very much about Henry Morris. I knew he had started Sawston Village College, and the school’s 80th anniversary seemed a good time to find out more about him. In the project, I was involved in looking at the Memorandum which Henry Morris wrote. We looked at different passages from this and discussed what they mean to us today. This project has helped me to understand more about Henry Morris and his achievements. Alex Lee

Through this project I have found out about Henry Morris. I didn’t really know anything about him when the project started. I knew there was a Henry Morris Hall in school but I didn’t really know why. Now I understand that Henry Morris was a very important person in education, and that our school exists today because of him. Sawston Village College was the first village college in the country. In the project, I interviewed Mrs Cannie, a former Principal of the school, and I enjoyed speaking to her very much. Birte Mattes


How I contributed to the Henry Morris project was interesting and informative for me. I was involved in interviewing people who had knowledge of Henry Morris. I had a list of questions and took it in turns with another interviewer to ask questions. We both listened intently to the answers. I am really looking forward to screening the finished film. This project has given me more of an insight into what Henry Morris was really like. Christopher Jeffery

I helped in scrutinising Henry Morris’s Memorandum and I read parts of it in the film. For me it was a really good opportunity to find out more about Henry Morris. I was aware of him when I started this school but I did not really appreciate the extent to which he had contributed to developments in education generally. Taking part in the project has allowed me to find out more. James O’Dell

I have participated in the Henry Morris film project by doing some script reviewing, some interviewing and some of the voice-overs on the film. I really enjoyed doing these things as this involvement helped build up my confidence, and I think it’s really important that we remember Henry Morris as, without him, we wouldn’t have this Community College. Before this project, I didn’t know much about Henry Morris or the history of our school but now I feel I know quite a lot. Shannon Diss


Since coming to Sawston Village College, I’ve always wanted to find out about the history of the school. Although I knew some things about the school, I wasn’t really able to appreciate its history fully until I got involved in this project. As I learned more, I discovered just how extraordinary Henry Morris was; in his principles, ideas and intentions. From this project, I’ve also been motivated to start my own project to look at the school over the past 80 years. I’ve been researching about the school by looking at archive material and have discovered lots of information, including early plans for the school buildings. As for the Henry Morris project, I got involved in interviewing. Being there on Library Court interviewing Mrs Cannie, a former Principal, really made me feel that Henry Morris would have approved of our project. Sam Ross 22

‘The building that will form the village college will be so new in English architecture, and its significance so great, that the design and construction of the first village colleges should be very carefully provided for. For we are in measurable sight, if we use imagination and have administrative courage, of giving to the English countryside a number of fine and worthy public buildings.The schools of rural England are nearly always bad and seldom beautiful – never a form of art, as they might and ought to be.’ Henry Morris, Memorandum, 1924.

I knew that Henry Morris was the founder of our school but that was the full extent of my knowledge of him. What I didn’t know was how hard he had worked to ensure his vision became a reality. This project has given me the opportunity not only to expand my knowledge and understanding of Henry Morris but also to develop my skills in film-making. I feel I owe a lot to Henry Morris – especially for allowing me to experience education as I do today. Mitchel Harland

I enjoyed being part of this project because I found out a lot about Henry Morris, which is nice because I didn’t really know much about him before. I think it’s important that we learn about Henry Morris because he founded our school and he revolutionised education. He made a really good school here at Sawston, and I enjoy my time at the Village College. In the project I’ve been involved in interviewing, working on the script and doing some of the voice-overs on the film. Being part of all of these has improved my self-confidence. Emily Dee


As I reach the end of my days at Sawston Village College it has been a privilege to play the part of Sarah in the film about Henry Morris. Through the project I have learnt more about the life and legacy of the man who influenced, and continues to influence, education in Cambridgeshire today. Henry Morris was passionate about the transforming power of education and challenged accepted views of what could be achieved; he was ambitious and inspiring, radical in his commitment to involving and uniting all members of the community in education. He was convinced by the value of the arts and strove to make them accessible to all; he promoted stimulating environments that supported imaginative and creative ways of learning. I have benefited from this cultural outlook while at Sawston Village College, so it is clear that his legacy lives on. I am planning to continue studying Music and Drama and working on this film has offered me the chance to experience another of the creative arts. I have been challenged and stimulated, learnt from the professionalism of the team and appreciated their support and enthusiasm. I will take away many happy memories of our work together. Phoebe Gilderdale


For the last nine years I have acted on the local stage, but never ventured in front of a camera or even considered acting for a film. This project has given me the opportunity to try something new, and opened my eyes to how a film is made. Additionally, though I was a pupil at Sawston Village College myself, I knew very little about Henry Morris and his vision for education. Through playing my part in the film and reading the script I’ve learned of his firm belief in education stretching beyond the classroom, a concept that I feel still holds true today. Thanks to the work of people like Henry Morris, projects like this have the chance to enrich people’s lives, and I’m sure he would have loved the idea of a community coming together, just as I have loved being a part of it.

The name Henry Morris was always one that was familiar to me, but mostly because of the portrait of him hanging at the back of the hall in school. I played the part of Fiona, Sarah’s friend, in the film, and the transition between performing on the stage and acting for film has been a great challenge for me but I feel also that it has given me a great opportunity to develop my own personal skills. Alongside this, I have learned a great deal about how the College and community that I am so proud to be a part of were started by Henry Morris. The film has been extremely insightful and fascinating to be part of and is an experience that has helped me to understand and develop my own skills, as well as my knowledge. Emmeline Carr

Gareth Furbank


What the project has involved Collecting Resources


‘The village college would change the whole face of the problem of rural education. As the community centre of the neighbourhood it would provide for the whole man, and abolish the duality of education and ordinary life. It would not only be the training ground for the art of living, but the place in which life is lived, the environment of a genuine corporate life. ...There would be no ‘leaving school’! – the child would enter at three and leave the college only in extreme old age.’ Henry Morris, Memorandum, 1924.


Launching the project: Planting another tree



Research: Visiting the Cambridgeshire Collection



Research: Interviewing the experts


‘We worked in awe and fear of him. He was unpredictable, hawk-like in his visitations and merciless in his wrath if his eye was offended. The word would go round: ‘Henry’s on his way out.’The fountain would be turned on and the bronze animals that stood sentinel at the ornamental front doors would be brushed and oiled.’ John Watts, who started his teaching career at Sawston after the war, quoted in ‘Educator Extraordinary’. 33

‘The Senior School at the College is going well. All the children of the nine villages turn up daily without a hitch.The children cheer as they board their omnibuses in the early morning.Those who are unwell refuse to stay away, or cry if they are compelled to do so. For the children of nine villages, school has become an adventure. Every day you can see 150 children taking a midday meal of two courses for 2½d ...’ Henry Morris in a letter about Sawston to Leonard Elmhirst, a philanthropist, in November 1930.





Research: Visiting other schools – Bottisham Village College


I have really enjoyed being part of the Henry Morris project. It has been interesting to learn more about Morris and what he did. As part of the project, I have been involved in interviewing, filming and been part of a trip to the other village colleges. It was really interesting to see all the other schools and how they were similar to Sawston. Bottisham Village College was particularly memorable for me. It was very beautiful, and the pupils who did the tour were very informative. Sigrid Corry


Research: Visiting other schools – Linton Village College


For the Henry Morris project I was involved in the technical side of filming, including operating cameras and recording sound. As part of the project we visited three other village colleges set up by Henry Morris. These were Linton, Bottisham and Impington. At Linton Village College it was interesting to see that the original tiles from when the college first opened in 1937 were still there. Through participating in this project I have learned about how Henry Morris envisioned schools to support the community and to provide education for everyone, including in the evenings. Nick Drew


Research: Visiting other schools – Impington Village College


We visited some of the other village colleges founded by Henry Morris, including Impington, where their students showed us around, telling us about their school. We learned about the lockers in their foyer, which have been there since the start of the school. They are listed now, so they cannot be changed or amended in any way. The pupils still use the lockers now. We were also shown the Billiard Room, which is for use by members of the community. Finding out about Henry Morris and his beliefs on education has been a wonderful experience and has definitely made me appreciate my school more. Annalise Peters


Getting the film script ready HENRY MORRIS – THE LIFE AND LEGACY Synopsis This is a documentary film about a group of students at Sawston Village College who are exploring the life of the pioneer of the Community College, Henry Morris. Through the students, we find out about the character, his achievements and his legacy. The group visits archives and talks to experts who have studied his life. They talk to past and present students about how Morris’s commitment to his cause greatly affected/affects their education today. Interspersed with the students’ research are dramatised elements: The year is 1962, trainee teacher, Sarah, is in her final year studying at Teacher Training College. After having read about Henry Morris’s achievements in his obituary in the newspaper (Morris died 10 December 1961), she is intrigued to find out more about him and has decided to make him the subject of her final dissertation. To learn more about Morris, she visits past friends and colleagues of the man to piece together his extraordinary life.


‘But if rural England is to have the education it needs and the social and recreational life it deserves, more is required than the reorganisation of the elementary school system; and that which is required is possible. There must be a grouping and co-ordination of all the educational and social agencies which now exist in isolation in the countryside: an amalgamation which, while preserving the individuality and function of each, will assemble them into a whole and make possible their expression for the first time in a new institution, single but many-sided, for the countryside.’ Henry Morris, Memorandum, 1924


Auditioning for parts



Shooting the dramatic elements


DINNER LADY 1 From the off, we had strict orders about food and portions, generous hearty portions. Not like before, and everything tasted good. DINNER LADY 2 Morris wanted food that was fresh and good quality. Healthy hearts, healthy minds - that was his philosophy. SARAH Did you ever meet him?


DAVID Morris wasn’t just interested in the students as individuals. He cared about the student’s family and neighbours – the whole community, in fact. His vision was wide, and all encompassing, how to help an entire population economically, culturally and educationally.



ARNOLD I remember the walks. We would take the most wonderful walks. I knew Henry from our time at Cambridge you see, but I was a Londoner myself and I loved coming back for those walks. Henry would give these great lectures and we would all listen on attentively. Almost everything I know about art, politics and education, I learned on those wonderful summer walks. MISS HARRIS He wasn’t easy to keep up with mind you, big confident strides Henry took. I should think I took about three to every one of his. ARNOLD He’d swing his walking stick about with great exuberance, and then all of a sudden stop to praise something, or condemn it entirely. Oh, and quote - Henry was one for quotes. MISS HARRIS Like a prophet he was, just recalling at whim the most poignant quotes from literature. He was a joy to listen to.


MRS ROSE When he entered the office you could see all the backs straighten. Footsteps would quicken along the corridor. People wanted to look lively around him. He didn’t have time for slackers and you certainly didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. He was a man on a mission. He wanted to make changes and that he did.



Mrs Rose takes a copy of the Memorandum from where she’s put it on the tea tray that she used to carry out the tea things. She passes her copy of the Memorandum to Sarah. MRS ROSE You’ll be needing this, I think. A seminal work, twentyfour pages of complete reform. You can’t make Henry Morris the focus of your studies without referring to this.


… ‘Sawston was the first county school of its size to have separate hall, the first to have an adult wing, specially built and furnished suitably and attractively for adults, the first to have a library for shared use by the school and by the community. The first where the Youth Employment Office was housed in the school, and a mechanics workshop was provided, specially biased towards agricultural engineering (the latter paid for by Mr and Mrs Elmhirst).There were playing fields for use by both village and school, a medical services room and a Warden’s house. Many of these features are commonplace today. In 1930 they were revolutionary. They would never have been included without the generosity of individual or collective donors; a generosity evoked only by the repeated and grinding exertions of Henry Morris: ‘I have given my blood for Sawston – not my sweat, my blood.’ That was how in later years he recalled the fight. But at the time there was no sign of loss of blood. After the second war, a newcomer to the office staff remarked that Mr Morris was a fine looking man, and an old hand had replied: ‘You should have seen him in the old days. You should have seen him at the opening of Sawston.’ Harry Rée, ‘Educator Extraordinary, The Life and Achievement of Henry Morris’, Longman, 1973.



With research concluded, Sarah, the trainee teacher, can finish her dissertation:



Cambridgeshire Young People’s History Award 2011 Picture caption

Sawston Village College was delighted to be awarded the 2011 Young People’s History Award by the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History (CALH) at a presentation at the Fenland Museum, Denny Abbey, Waterbeach on 4 June 2011. This award was made in recognition of the work done on the Henry Morris project, which is documented here in this book. Young people from the school attended the CALH annual conference on 9 April 2011, which was on the theme of ‘Educating the People’ to give a presentation on their findings on Henry Morris at that point and to show a trailer made about Henry Morris for the initial project launch.


South Cambridgeshire Decorative and Fine Arts Society David Farnell

To commemorate the school’s anniversary, students worked with art teacher Helen Lanzrein to make an artwork. The project ran after school and was funded by the South Cambridgeshire Decorative and Fine Arts Society as part of their ‘Young Art’ scheme. The finished work formed the centrepiece at the SawstonVC@80 exhibition in Michaelhouse, Trinity Street, Cambridge in July 2011.


Acknowledgements Sawston Village College would like to thank: The Young Roots Programme of the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding this project and making it possible. All the young people from the school who played a part in this project. Among the many involved in different aspects of the project were: Faye Armitage, Khara Burch, Emmeline Carr, Sigrid Corry, Suzie Curran, Emily Dee, Shannon Diss, Frank Dobbs, Nick Drew, Phoebe Gilderdale, John Grant, Mitchel Harland, Matthew Hill, Sarah Hill, Natalie Holmes, James Jackson, Christopher Jeffery, Hannah Jones, Alexander Lee, Hannah Long, Oliver Martin, Birte Mattes, Lars Mattes, Sammy Meikle, Jonathan Morrow, Robbie Moss, Peter Noble, Emma Northfield, James


O’Dell, Isabelle Perry, Jonah Perry, Annalise Peters, Hannah Ritchie, Abigail Rose, Sophie Rose, Samuel Ross, Zoe Rowe and Jack Sawcer. The Project Partners: Stories – Projects in Film The success of this project owes a great deal to the exceptional talent, commitment, enthusiasm and passion of professional filmmaker, Peter Harmer. He directed project sessions, supported young people in their learning and brought about the successful completion of the film. In this, he was supported by assistant filmmaker Tom Martin and volunteer filmmakers Christian Lapidge and Sven Mattes. The Henry Morris Memorial Trust David Farnell supported

sessions and was a reassuring presence, advising on research and documentation. Sawston Village History Society Archivist Bryan Howe was ever ready to support project sessions. Youth Services Sharon Punchard, lead youth worker for the Sawston and Linton Locality team, supported project sessions. The Interviewees: We spoke to various people to support our research and gather information for our project. These included members of the Henry Morris Memorial Trust, former Principals, and one Warden, of Sawston Village College, current and former Sawston Village college staff involved in developing and

supporting community activities and former Sawston Village College pupils and community members. We are grateful to: • David Farnell, former Village College teacher and Henry Morris Memorial Trust member • Geoffrey Morris, former Cambridgeshire Chief Education Officer and Henry Morris Memorial Trust member • June Cannie, former Sawston Village College Principal and Henry Morris Memorial Trust member • John Marven, former Sawston Village College Warden • Kevin McMullen, former Sawston Village College Principal • Gerry Holloway, former assistant youth and community tutor and current Sawston Village College teacher

• Derek Cupit, former youth tutor, teacher and senior community education tutor at Sawston Village College • Bryan Howe, former Sawston Village College pupil • Pearl Mann, former Sawston Village College pupil • Douglas Page, former Sawston Village College pupil and in the first intake of students at the school • Bernard Wakefield, who was present in the guard of honour when the school was opened on 30 October 1930 by the Prince of Wales. The Cast of the Film Drama: Emmeline Carr, Peter Carr, Sue Evans, Dawn Furbank, Gareth Furbank, Phoebe Gilderdale, Jackie Green, Stephen Harmer,

Margaret Jacobs, Mark Long, Shirley Mintkewitz, Marshall Patten and Monica Tripe The Village Colleges This project could not have taken place without the support of the other village colleges. Our thanks go to the staff and students of Bottisham, Linton and Impington Village Colleges for their help in organising our visits to their schools and the very warm welcome they extended to Sawston Village College students when they were there. In particular, we are grateful to: • Bottisham Village College staff member, Jenny Rankine, and students, Grace Newton-Livens, Jake Mair and John Doak. • Linton Village College staff member, Vivien Corrie, and

students, Katie Fenn, Evangeline Overall and Andrew Forbes. • Impington Village College staff members, Sharon Sanderson and Philip Arkinstall and students, Martha Hutchinson, Jessamy Headicar and Mael Jullien. We are also grateful to the staff and students of Comberton and Cottenham Village Colleges for their joining Sawston Village College at the launch of this project. Thanks are due also to: • South Cambridgeshire District Council. • Chris Jakes at the Cambridgeshire Collection for supporting our visit there and assisting us with Henry Morris archive materials.

• Mark Long and Alan Stewart for helping at the opening day recreation and project launch. • Sawston Youth Drama for supplying some of the costumes worn in the film. • Faith Raven for allowing us to film on location at Docwra’s Manor in Shepreth. • Gary Jobson, Graphic Designer, for the hard work that went into producing this publication. • Lexi Selin, Make-up Artist, for preparing the cast for some of the scenes in the film. • Susan Smart, Photographer, for documenting filming on location. • Tom Curran, Composer, for writing the original music score for the film.


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Henry Morris Book  

Book about visionary educator Henry Morris who founded the Village College concept

Henry Morris Book  

Book about visionary educator Henry Morris who founded the Village College concept

Profile for startarts