Margaret Cross (22 December 1866 in Preston, United Kingdom – 14 March 1962 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK) was a British educator and school principal, a pioneer of Co-education and of Steiner Waldorf education in Britain as well as of Biodynamic agriculture . Together with Hannah Clark she founded the Kings Langley Priory School, today the Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley
Preston is a city and the administrative centre of Lancashire, England, on the north bank of the River Ribble.
Hemel Hempstead is a historic town, later developed as a new town, in Hertfordshire, England. Located 24 miles (39 km) northwest of London, it is part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population according to the 2001 Census was 81,143, and at the 2011 census was 94,932. Developed after the Second World War as a new town, it has existed as a settlement since the 8th century and was granted its town charter by King Henry VIII in 1539. It is part of the district of Dacorum and the Hemel Hempstead constituency.
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 Frances Cross was born on 22 December 1866 in Preston, Lancashire. Her mother died when she was two years old and she was raised by her maternal grandmother until she, in her turn, died. She then moved to her father’s family who were farming in Cambridgeshire, completed her schooling and studied at the University of Cambridge. While at the university, she met Miss Hannah Clark, one of the pioneers of co-educational boarding schools in Britain and began to work at her school as assistant teacher. The two became partners until Hannah Clark’s death in 1934, though at some point she left England to further her studies in Vienna.
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
With Hannah Clark, Margaret Cross moved first of all to Overstrand in Norfolk as teacher of music and mathematics, then in 1899 to Coombe Hill House, East Grinstead in Sussex, where apparently, her father, now retired from farming, lived as a border. Here the two women developed their educational methods and values of mixed-sex education close to nature, with the practical tasks farming and animal husbandry, cooking, cleaning and washing forming an integral part of the lessons.
Overstrand is a village on the north coast of Norfolk in England, two miles east of Cromer. It was once a modest fishing station, with all or part of the fishing station being known as Beck Hythe. In the latter part of the 19th century it was catapulted into prominence, and became known as “the village of millionaires”.
In 1909 the Priory in Kings Langley, London was acquired, with Margaret Cross listed as co-principal and responsible for much of the development work. The intention was to integrate into the education the principles of Maria Montessori, as particularly Margaret Cross was interested in modern methods of education and made it her business to attend conferences and keep abreast of developments. Then Margaret Cross was invited by Prof Millicent Mackenzie to join her with a group of other teachers from Britain, in attending a course of lectures on education by Rudolf Steiner in Dornach, Switzerland in December 1921. This was followed in April 1922 by a further course of lectures Steiner held, this time in England, during which period he visited the school in Kings Langley. It was this visit that prompted the two women to offer their school as the first to implement the ideas of Steiner’s education in Britain, a conversion that was to take place over many years.
Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. At an early age, Montessori broke gender barriers and expectations when she enrolled in classes at an all-boys technical school, with hopes of becoming an engineer. She soon had a change of heart and began medical school at the University of Rome, where she graduated – with honors – in 1896. Her educational method is still in use today in many public and private schools throughout the world.
Millicent Hughes Mackenzie was a British professor of education at University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, the first female professor in Wales and the first appointed to a fully chartered university in the United Kingdom. She wrote on the philosophy of education, founded the Cardiff Suffragette branch, became the only woman Parliamentary Candidate in Wales for 1918, and was a key initiator of Steiner-Waldorf education in the United Kingdom.
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.
Margaret Cross began to concern herself with Anthroposophy and was present at the Christmas Foundation Meeting of the re-constituted Anthroposophical Society in 1923. It is not clear when she began to study and practice Biodynamic agriculture but in 1929 she joined the Agricultural Research circle of the Anthroposophical Society. Her initiative and research together with Ehrenfried Pfeiffer led to the founding of the Biodynamic Agricultural Foundation of Great Britain, today called the Biodynamic Agriculture Association. She was the editor of Stars and Furrows, the newsletter of the Biodynamic Foundation from 1935 until 1951.
Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded by the 19th century esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world.
The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.
Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.
Her friend and lifelong co-worker, Hannah Clark, died in 1934, and tombstone is in the churchyard of the parish church of All Saints'. Miss Cross continued to run the school management together with a Miss Burton, who had joined them in 1915. Vera Compton-Burnett and her sister Juliet, sisters of the writer Ivy Compton-Burnett and daughters of the well-known homeopathic physician Dr James Compton-Burnett, were amongst the teachers at the school. The full conversion to Steiner education achieved its final step when the Rudolf Steiner New School moved into the Priory House site next door, gradually incorporating the old Priory and becoming the Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley. Margaret Cross died in 1962 under the care of her friend and colleague Miss Burton.
Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, was an English novelist, published in the original editions as I. Compton-Burnett. She was awarded the 1955 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her novel Mother and Son. Her works consist mainly of dialogue and focus on family life among the late Victorian or Edwardian upper middle class. Manservant and Maidservant (1947) is considered one of her best.
Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley was a Steiner School located in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, England, formed in 1949.
Traditional farming was the original type of agriculture, and has been practiced for thousands of years. All traditional farming is now considered to be "organic farming" although at the time there were no known inorganic methods. For example, forest gardening, a fully organic food production system which dates from prehistoric times, is thought to be the world's oldest and most resilient agroecosystem. After the industrial revolution had introduced inorganic methods, most of which were not well developed and had serious side effects. An organic movement began in the 1940s as a reaction to agriculture's growing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The history of this modern revival of organic farming dates back to the first half of the 20th century at a time when there was a growing reliance on these new synthetic, non-organic methods.
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a German scientist, soil scientist, leading advocate of biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophist and student of Rudolf Steiner.
This article on the History of Waldorf schools includes descriptions of the schools' historical foundations, geographical distribution and internal governance structures.
Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and Anthroposophist.
Marjorie Spock was an environmentalist, author and poet, best known for her influence on Rachel Carson when the latter was writing Silent Spring. Spock was also a noted Waldorf teacher, eurythmist, biodynamic gardener and anthroposophist.
Emerson College was founded in 1962 by Francis Edmunds. It is now situated on Pixton Hill, Forest Row in East Sussex, UK. It was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and transcendentalist. For the past 50 years there has been an international community of students, teachers, and researchers living and studying on the site inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Rudolf Steiner - which he called Anthroposophy. A new book on the history of Emerson College has also been recently published.
Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.
Francis Edmunds was an educator and Anthroposophist and the founder of Emerson College, Forest Row.
Wilhelm Ernst Barkhoff was a German solicitor, founder of anthroposophically oriented alternative banking, the GLS Bank, reformer of the German welfare system and inspirer of the movement for Ethical banking.
John Davy was a British journalist and science editor for The Observer, lecturer, vice-principal of Emerson College and Anthroposophist.
Eileen Morley Hutchins, born 28 June 1902 in Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire and died 9 October 1987 in Stourbridge was a Steiner school teacher, author and founder of the Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School in Stourbridge.
Hawkwood College is a registered charity 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.
Eleanor Merry, was an English poet, artist, musician and anthroposophist with a strong Celtic impulse and interest in esoteric wisdom. She studied in Vienna and met Rudolf Steiner in 1922 after becoming interested in his teachings. She went on to organize Summer Schools at which Steiner gave important lectures, and was secretary for the World Conference on Spiritual Science in London in 1928.
Violetta Elsa Plincke was a Waldorf teacher and lecturer on education who contributed much to the establishment of Steiner education in Britain.
Sunfield is an Independent special school, Children’s Home and charity on the border of Worcestershire and the West Midlands in England. It was founded in 1930 and now supports boys and girls, aged 6 – 19 years, with complex learning needs, including autism.
Anne Macky (1887-1964) was an Australian composer and pianist.