Sunday, 6 June 2010

John Tasker, distinguished former Walworth teacher

An editor of the Australian National Biography hit on this blog when searching for someone who had taught at Walworth / Mina Road School. His name was John Howard Tasker and the draft entry, which the editor has kindly allowed me to draw on, mentions that in the 1950s he ‘taught secondary English at Walworth Secondary School, London’.

The reason John Tasker rates an entry in the prestigious National Biography is that he became a distinguished, and controversial, theatre and opera director. He was born in Australia in 1933, came to England in about 1951 and returned home about nine years later. From his studies at the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art he gained a teaching qualification. He died in 1988.

The draft entry says no more about his teaching in Walworth but a staff list that’s survived says:

'19.11.58 [start date] Mr J Tasker (English from Australia) S [supply teacher] To Australia 19.12.58'

But he was evidently in the school before that, doubtless also as a supply teacher, because in the weekly staff bulletins we find:

Number 9 weeks commencing 4th & 11th November 1955


Mr Tasker and 12 boys from 4C/H to the Daily Herald

Number 11 week commencing 25th November 1955


  • Mr Tasker and some of 4H to the Book Exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall and subsequently to a local public library

Number 36 week ending 19th July 1957


Staff allocated to English stock-taking: Mr Rosen, Mr Grealy, Mr McLeod, Mr Tasker, Mr Wilmot

Does anyone remember this Mr Tasker, the sort of man he was and how he taught English?

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