Just a note…….
John Lavender was Headmaster of RWS throughout my 12 years at the school and, of course was the school’s last Headmaster. He came to see the school as his life’s work and therefore was more upset than almost anyone else when the school was forced to close. He was a kind, thoughtful, intelligent man who would have been an outstanding Headmaster of almost any school. But RWS was not almost any school. For most of John Lavender’s time at RWS, the school was embroiled in a growing financial crisis punctuated by inevitable boardroom rows over how to solve them. As he himself later admitted to me, he certainly was not trained to operate in such conditions and found himself allied first to one chairman then another as he struggled to keep the pressures of the Boardroom away from the staff and teachers. That was a fight that he could not win. The result was some governors (and even a few teachers) openly criticising John Lavender for being too soft. If you substitute the word kind, you inevitably form a totally positive view of the man who understood what many of us had gone through prior to joining RWS. The fact that RWS closed in a sense does not do justice to John Lavender’s achievements. It’s as if there is no monument left to an impressive man. There should be.
That is why the Guest book is dedicated to John Lavender, in the hope that it will be a lasting tribute to a remarkable man. Also remembering his Daughter Gillian, My friend, when I needed one….. Anthony Finch