Michael Henry Wilson

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Michael Wilson (1 July 1901 in Birmingham, United Kingdom 22 December 1985 in Stourbridge, United Kingdom), was a musician, curative educator, scientist, translator and General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain [1]

Birmingham Major city in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is the second-largest city and metropolitan area in England and the United Kingdom, with roughly 1.1 million inhabitants within the city area and 3.8 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area as of their most recent estimates, which also makes Birmingham the 17th largest city and 8th largest metropolitan area in the European Union. Although there has been noticeable attention towards the status of Manchester as a potentially more significant major city than Birmingham due to its growth and development in recent years, as well as Manchester having a larger urban area, Birmingham is still commonly referred to as the nation's "second city".

Stourbridge town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England

Stourbridge is a market town in the West Midlands county of England. Situated on the River Stour, it was the centre of British glass making during the Industrial Revolution. The 2011 UK census recorded the town's population as 63,298.

Anthroposophical Society

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.

Contents

Biography

Michael Henry Wilson was born into a Quaker family in 1901. His mother Theodora Wilson, had met Rudolf Steiner and visited the first Goetheanum. For some years he was a professional violinist and conductor. He studied at the Goetheanum and became fluent in German. Later he was a founder and director of the first curative home in the UK. He translated a number of Rudolf Steiner’s works and researched and lectured on Goethe's Theory of Colours.

Rudolf Steiner Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian clairvoyant, 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.

Goetheanum world center for the anthroposophical movement, including performance halls, in Dornach, Switzerland

The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 18th/19th-century German writer, artist, and politician

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include: four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him have survived.

Although at school Michael had specialized in Physics and Chemistry, with a view to taking over the successful chemical plant his father owned and ran, he decided to study Violin and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. He later (1929) became second conductor of the British National Opera Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli, played as Concert Master under Sir Thomas Beecham and was a close friend of Sir Adrian Boult.

A meeting with the German curative educator, Fried Geuter, in 1929 caused him to break off a successful musical career. Lady Cynthia Chance has described this in her memoirs. She was invited to a lecture by a Mrs Lloyd Wilson (Michael Wilson’s mother) who ran an Anthroposophical study group in the area, to be held by Fried Geuter: [2]

Carl Friedrich Wilhelm "Fried" Geuter, was a pioneer of anthroposophical Special Needs education, the co-founder of Sunfield Children's Home and teacher at the Ravenswood Village Settlement near Crowthorne in Berkshire.

“Michael Wilson did not take seriously this side of his mother’s life and did not come to the lecture. But afterwards he began to talk to this lecturer, who seemed rather different from those who usually came to speak or attended the meetings. Michael, a professional musician, studied at the Royal College of Music, at that time under Sir Adrian Boult. He found that not only did Fried Geuter know a great deal about music and musicians, but was able to enlarge upon Michael’s own knowledge and experience. Fried also told Michael something of his work and its inspiration from Rudolf Steiner. Michael decided to go straight away to join Fried in his effort.”

Fried Geuter’s vision and intention of establishing a centre for Special Needs education based on Anthroposophy in Birmingham inspired Michael Wilson to start the Sunfield Children's Home for severely disabled children together with him. In 1932 this moved to the village of Clent by Stourbridge, where it continues its work to this day.

Special education is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and in their community which may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th-century by 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.

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.

It was there that 30 years later, in 1962, Michael Wilson and David Clement, both co-workers of Sunfield Homes, offered space and support to Francis Edmunds in founding Emerson College, and together with him, became its first trustees. Michael Wilson continued to lecture at the college many years after it had moved to Forest Row remaining connected with it until his death. [3]

Francis Edmunds was an educator and Anthroposophist and the founder of Emerson College, Forest Row.

Forest Row village in East Sussex, United Kingdom

Forest Row is a village and relatively large civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England. The village is located three miles (5 km) south-east of East Grinstead.

The great outdoors was a lifelong passion for him. He was an experienced mountaineer and active member of the Alpine Society, having scaled many of the highest peaks of Europe. His interest in the elements, particularly the sound and experience of the wind led him to flying gliders. This he learnt from his friend, the pilot Ralph Brocklebank, who later became his colleague at Sunfield Homes.

Mountaineering Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering or alpinism is the set of activities that involves traversing mountainous terrain. This terrain, constituting both natural and man-made landscapes, contains steep slopes that may be rocky or covered with ice and snow. The classic mountaineering activity is ascending summits; this is often referred to as peak bagging. Today, the sport encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and endeavors, each requiring various degrees of experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge. Recreational climbing, skiing, and snow travel are the disciplines most intricately linked to mountaineering. Hiking, camping, and navigation are also a major part of the sport. At its highest level, it is one of the extreme sports, among which it is sometimes cited as an archetypal example.

Glider (aircraft) broad type of heavier-than-air aircraft designed for operation without an engine

A glider is a fixed-wing aircraft that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its lifting surfaces, and whose free flight does not depend on an engine. Most gliders do not have an engine, although motor-gliders have small engines for extending their flight when necessary by sustaining the altitude with some being powerful enough to take off self-launch.

His continued interest in physics and chemistry caused him to experiment mainly in the sphere of optics, being particularly interested in theatre lighting and in the colour theory of Goethe. During his time with the British National Opera, he had designed a new lighting system for their stage. [1] These experiences he carried further in working with the staff and children of Sunfield Children’s Home in plays, but particularly in developing a specific kind of colour therapy. [4]

This experimentation with physics and Goethe’s colour theory brought him in touch with many of the competent experts and businessmen of the time such as with Kodak, television networks and the developers of the Polaroid camera. He regularly attended the conferences of the Physical Society and wrote books and many articles on the subject of our perception of colour and the phenomenon of coloured shadows.

He was a devoted family man with his wife, Betty and their three children, Diana, Robin and Christopher. [1]

He translated the central philosophical work of Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom as well as other works.

Published work

Translations

Related Research Articles

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