Joan Newey – a true stalwart of ARLT

Joan Newey 1924 – 2014

We were very sad to hear of the death on December 21 of Joan, a longstanding and valued friend of the ARLT for over 66 years. She was one of the last of that amazing band of teachers who did so much to promote the cause  of  classics in the second half of the 20th century.

Joan’s life had had links with the Association, directly or indirectly, from a young age.

Joan at Charterhouse, Centenery Summer School 2011

As a schoolgirl in Manchester she first heard, from her brother’s friends at Manchester Grammar School, of William Eagling , a respected member of staff there , eventually to become the last surviving pupil of the Perse School to have been taught by Dr Rouse, our founder. After her degree at UCL, she trained at the London Institute of Education where she and Charles Craddock, a fellow student, were much influenced by Francis Kinchin Smith’s infectious enthusiasm for the latest teaching methods , which brought both of them into contact with the ARLT.

By 1948 Joan was attending  Summer Schools , soon becoming Secretary and later Vice President and President , roles which she fulfilled conscientiously and with distinction. In the early 1950s comment was made in Latin Teaching  on her excellent demonstration lesson at a Weekend Course . To  have undertaken  such a successful demonstration before the august ( and critical!) Arelates  of that era indicates the high calibre of Joan’s  teaching  and her own  confidence.

Unexpected circumstances left the ARLT without a Director for Chichester in 1978. Although teaching full-time, Joan, typically gracious,  stepped in at the last moment and directed an excellent Summer School. She even enjoyed the banter from the floor — in Latin, of course –  from her old friend, Charles Craddock during her Oratio Valedictoria!

Joan was one of the earliest pioneers of the CLC – no mean feat after teaching Latin traditionally for over two decades. She taught the course so  vividly, however, that when Stage 12 was reached she would take a box of tissues into the lesson because her pupils were moved to tears by the poignant destruction of Pompeii. Throughout her retirement she remained eager to familiarise herself with the many innovations in education -A/S  exams , coursework, online  Latin inter alia.  When pleasing comments were made about her continuing presence at Summer Schools, she used to say, “ I come to encourage you young people”.  And how true that was.

Joan was  delighted to achieve her ambition – often  mentioned  by  her in preceding years –  to be well enough to attend the 2011 Summer School at Charterhouse where, at the Centenary Dinner, she delivered an eloquent and amusing speech , reminiscing on ARLT history.

Joan and Peter also managed to make the 2013 Summer School at Roehampton.  Three points  are memorable : Joan’s presence on the expedition to the British Museum to se the Pompeii exhibition ; her public expression of heartfelt thanks for the care given to them by course participants: the fact that she and Peter were among the last to leave the Entertainment!

Warmth, wit, kindness , a zest for life and interest in the concerns of other people  were among Joan’s characteristics.  A few examples illustrate one or more of these. In her first teaching post at  Bromley High School, Joan gave much help, including an introduction to the ARLT, to Margaret Drury, then a student teacher at the school, thus forging a lifelong friendship which Margaret greatly appreciated . Asked to introduce a guest speaker in the more formal days of 1985 when  one almost required the rhetorical skill of Cicero to do so, as I stood in front of the audience, within the sea of faces, I spotted Joan’s radiant smile of encouragement instantly dispelling any nervousness. After the funeral of Arthur Munday at which Joan had read  an Ode of Horace, Charles Peckett thanked her, adding, “Well done, Joan – and not a wrong quantity to be heard “.  “I should think not, “she quipped, “  after all the years  I’ve sat  at your feet. “

Joan’s funeral was very well  attended and included a good representation from the ARLT. One highlight was the reading by Roger Davies of  Horace : Odes 1.24.

Tribute must also be paid to Peter for his unfailing support in attending  numerous  Summer Schools with Joan , where his own erudition, wit and friendliness were hugely appreciated. We offer our sympathy to him and to Alison and James and their families.

Lynda Goss

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