Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Walworth/Mina Road writing topics: Harvey and Rosen

I've been wondering if there was such a contrast as I’ve thought between the English teaching of Arthur Harvey and Harold Rosen (and successors at Walworth/Mina Road School in the 1940s and 50s).

The impression I've had is that Harvey set titles for writing that were either wild imagings or literary/purple prosish. Examples of the first that we’ve collected are ‘My Wild White Cat’ and ‘The Red-Headed Man with a Glass Eye’ and of the second ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’ or ‘Observing the weather through the front room window’. Rosen on the other hand would be after writing about your real life in family and street -- grandparents, uncles, weddings, an adult who frightened you.

But looking more carefully at the information people have told us or sent us I note that Harvey also set the following, which seem exactly Rosen’s sort of topic:

Conversation at the fish and chip shop
At the barber’s
Waiting outside the pub

The last in particular taps into the vivid local experience of kids living in Walworth, Bermondsey or Peckham.

Readers who were there, can you recall more subjects set by Walworth teachers in the period (1949-64) of Harvey, Rosen, John Dixon and their colleagues? Share them by a comment on here, if you can work out how to do it (a pain) or, much easier, by an email to walworthresearch@me.com or a comment on our website, http://remakingenglish.org/. Whichever, we’ll be grateful and you’ll be contributing to history!

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