A School in Africa: Peterhouse and Education in Rhodesia and by Alan Megahey

By Alan Megahey

While Peterhouse opened in 1955, the British Empire in Africa used to be nonetheless intact and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland - with its excessive hopes and fears - had simply come into being. It was once a boarding university based at the British version, yet making sure that it is going to 'adapt all that's top within the Public tuition culture to African conditions'.For 50 years, in Rhodesia after which in Zimbabwe, its governors and employees have tried to do this, and feature visible it develop from a boys' university of 350 to a bunch of colleges instructing over 1000 boys and girls.But the tale of Peterhouse is not just approximately paintings and activity, tune and drama, chapel, construction advancements and syllabus alterations. it really is set within the context of academic improvement and political switch in a Southern African country.This background of the varsity indicates the way it turned a pioneering multi-racial establishment in 'white Rhodesia'; shared the sufferings of the rustic in the course of the 'bush war'; elevated vastly within the new Zimbabwe, survived the contradictions of a black 'Marxist' govt, and has stored its company dedication to being a 'Church School'.

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He went under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society to teach in India, at St John's College, Agra. His father, the Revd Charles Dashwood Snell, who had been afflicted by deafness, had given up his parish and had become Secretary to the Church Missionary Society. He had written a pamphlet about the Society's work among the hill tribes of India. So it is not surprising that Fred moved in that direction. In 1928 he married a clergyman's daughter. Margaret Sidebottom's family was more 'gentry' while the Snells were more sons of the soil, Fred liked to claim.

The first printed prospectus, published in April 1953, contained no references whatever to these 'contentious' issues, except for a short description of the site and a comment that there was 'ample room for playing fields and scope for farming and forestry'. Hodgkinson's grand philosophical themes were touched upon briefly:'... the founders of Peterhouse believe that the dominant problems of the second half of this century will be human not technical. ' There was no mention of Gordonstoun, though Fred had in fact met its founder, Kurt Hahn, when they had both spoken at a Toe H conference in 1937.

For Oxford in the 1920s was not merely the Oxford of Brideshead Revisited; it was also the Oxford of Fred's radical Winchester contemporaries Dick Crossman and Hugh Gaitskell; the Oxford of the General Strike and political activism. Reaction to the First World War sometimes expressed itself in the indulgent hedonism of cocktails, the Charleston, the world of Bertie Wooster; but it also took the form of great social and political causes or, as in the case of Birley and Snell, a firm commitment to the education of the young.

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