Margaret Bennell

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Margaret Bennell (24 December 1893 in London 23 July 1966 in Curry Mallet, Somerset) was a Steiner school teacher, co-founder of Wynstones School in Gloucestershire and founder of Hawkwood College in Stroud. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Curry Mallet village in the United Kingdom

Curry Mallet is a village and parish in Somerset, England. It is on the Fivehead River, 7 miles (11.3 km) east of Taunton in the South Somerset district. The village has a population of 306.

Somerset County of England

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

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Biography

Bennell entered the boarding school for girls at Crouch End, London at an early age, for her mother died when she was still a child. The headmistress of the school, Charlotte Cowdroy, a well-known reformer of education for girls, became a substitute for her mother. She studied English Literature in London, obtained her B.A. and began to teach at Charlotte Cowdroy’s school, which in time, she took over. With a heart for social engagement, she taught young factory workers in London’s East End besides her work at the school.

Crouch End area of north London

Crouch End is an area of North London, approximately 5 miles from the City of London in the western half of the borough of Haringey.

She encountered Waldorf education, most probably through her friend Margaret McMillan, [2] attending the later conferences following the founding of the “New School” in Streatham, London in January 1925, that was to become Michael Hall. In the middle of a Eurythmy lesson, Margaret left the room together with her colleague Cora Nokes. “Cora, we’ve got to found a school!” - “Have we really?” “Yes. Indeed!”

Waldorf education

Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy. Its pedagogy strives to develop pupils' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner. The cultivation of pupils' imagination and creativity is a central focus.

Margaret McMillan British activist

Margaret McMillan was a nursery school pioneer and lobbied for the 1906 Provision of School Meals Act. Working in deprived districts of London, notably Deptford, and Bradford, she agitated for reforms to improve the health of young children, wrote several books on nursery education and pioneered a play-centred approach that has only latterly found wide acceptance.

Streatham district in South London, England

Streatham is a district in south London, England, mostly in the London Borough of Lambeth but with some areas to the west stretching out into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth, and some areas to the south stretching out into the neighbouring London Borough of Croydon. It is centred 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

Wynstones

They set about putting the plan into action and in 1935 began looking for colleagues and for a suitable location. They managed to find a large manor house in Brookthorpe, Gloucestershire to begin with. Some pupils from Crouch End decided to go along with their two teachers and soon after the founding in 1937 a number more followed. Bettina Mellinger of the original Waldorf School in Stuttgart, which had just been closed by the Nazi government, joined them for a year as consultant. Norbert and Maria Glas, both doctors, also joined the College of Teachers and they were regularly visited by Walter Johannes Stein and Violetta Plincke. Lily Kolisko moved into the region as well after the death of her husband Eugen Kolisko in November 1939. Amongst a number of other committed pioneers, Rudi Lissau took over the Greek and Latin classes and was later to build up the high school. As the bomb attacks during the war mounted, student numbers rose rapidly in their secluded rural setting, amongst them many immigrant children who had fled Germany.

Brookthorpe village in United Kingdom

Brookthorpe is a village in Gloucestershire, England.

Walter Johannes Stein Austrian philosopher

Walter Johannes Stein was an Austrian philosopher, Waldorf school teacher, Grail researcher, and one of the pioneers of anthroposophy.

Violetta Elsa Plincke was a Waldorf teacher and lecturer on education who contributed much to the establishment of Steiner education in Britain.

Hawkwood College

As a result of her increasing deafness, teaching children became difficult, leading her to step out of the school and join a friend, Lily Whincop, who owned an old Manor, Hawkwood House in nearby Stroud. Here they founded Hawkwood College as a kind of youth training centre. Maria Röschl and Ernst Lehrs joined their collegial work from time to time and the College became a venue for summer courses in languages for students and teachers. It went through many transformations but remains a centre of anthroposophical work in England.

Stroud market town in the county of Gloucestershire, England

Stroud is a market town and civil parish in the centre of Gloucestershire, England. It is the main town in Stroud District.

Hawkwood College grade II listed building in the United kingdom

Hawkwood College is a registered charity (311767) and independent centre for education in a 19th-century Grade II listed building on 42 acres of grounds, including gardens, pastures, woodland and a natural spring overlooking the Stroud Valley.

Ernst Lehrs was a German anthroposophist, Waldorf teacher, lecturer and writer.

Margaret Bennel was described as tall, of distinguished appearance with an athletic figure. In her younger years she had represented her country in fencing tournaments, later instructing keen pupils in the art. Both her voice and exceptional command of the English language were a delight to listen to and she was highly respected by both students and colleagues. Yet if the need arose, she might be found on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. [3]

Her cooperation with Isabel Wyatt led to the publication of her two books, one of which appeared posthumously. She was already very ill by this time and had retired to Curry Mallet in Somerset. Here she composed music to Shakespeare’s lines:

Fear no more the heat o' the sun, Nor the furious winter's rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

It was the sung as a requiem at her funeral after she died on 23 July 1966 at her home in Curry Mallet.

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