Sir George Trevelyan: Attingham Park

3. Daily realities at Attingham

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Miss Case-Morris, secretary, and Mrs Orgill, housekeeper - on whom much depended in the 1950s
A corner of the Music Room
Rooms with a view
Looking into the Library

Spiritual education at Attingham

Extracted from Sir George's 'Something of an Autobiography', and shortened.

At Attingham I was free to experiment with any themes for courses that would arouse enthusiasm and vision and sense of meaning to life. In an age when so many values were slithering, we needed to do all we could to restore sense of meaning. This seemed to me the real task of adult education. We were not so much concerned with current affairs, sociology and economics. These had been the major themes in the great days of the Workers' Educational Association.

Now our form of the new adult education was open to all classes and was clearly concerned to tap interests which added significance to our lives and gave the lead for development of the self through cultivating new skills and wider capacities. For me personally the spiritual world-view gave sense of meaning to life. Therefore from the first I began to experiment. In the very first programme I included a weekend called 'What can we believe?' in which we touched on spiritual knowledge. Warnings came to me that I must not risk criticism from rate-payers about what was happening at Attingham. Obviously I had to find ways of presenting these new ideas in a generally acceptable English idiom. I learned to be very diplomatic and play down these courses. The Extra-Mural Department expressed grave doubts as to whether they were valid for adult education!

Yet the governors had given me full freedom, so I continued my experiments in the fifties. At this time we knew little about a 'New Age Movement'. Yet by the early sixties I found that if I laid on a course on 'Frontiers of Reality' or 'The Quest for the Grail in our Time' or 'Spiritual Awakening', the house was packed. The news was getting around that here was a country house running spiritual courses, and people flooded in from all over the country. On one occasion the seventy beds were filled by return of post when our programme was sent out. Though my governors were doubtful about these courses, they at least brought in the funds! And to their credit, they never interfered or came to see what happened. And wonderful things did happen, but I learned to play my cards carefully.

  A work-party arriving to prepare the college for its opening
Restoration work
Early 1950s press coverage
The newspapermen visit
News coverage, early days, 1949
Discussions with a geologist about stonework
Sandwiches in the rain, on a field trip
GLT serving dinner - seasoned with aplomb
Pitching in to the work
Christmas preparations
Emerging from serious meetings!
Tour guiding
Meeting of the Coal Board - one of the many conferences held at Attingham
Attingham in the snow
GLT welcoming the Allegri String Quartet before a performance - on a suitably chilly day!

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