Shrewsbury School

Alan Laurie (1921-2019)

Thursday 26 September 2019

We were saddened to hear that Alan Laurie, who taught at Shrewsbury for 20 years and was Housemaster of Severn Hill, died on 21st September, aged 98 years.

Alan Laurie graduated from Selwyn College Cambridge, where he was Captain of the University Boat Club and rowed in the Boat Race of 1940. After war service, first in the Mediterranean and subsequently in Normandy, he came to Shrewsbury in 1950 to teach History, English and French. He also played a major part on the river.

Between 1960 and 1968 he was Housemaster of Severn Hill, where his liberal and humane regime challenged the hierarchical, disciplinary structures of the traditional Public School and required the establishment by the Housemaster of a direct personal understanding of and with each of the boys. This approach became the hallmark of modern Shrewsbury and his was one of the principal influences in establishing it. His presence, with his wife, Rosemary, at the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the formation of Severn Hill, which took place in May this year (pcitured below), was the highlight of that occasion.

Alan went on, in 1970, to be Principal of the Royal National College of the Blind, returning to the town of Shrewsbury after six years. He made a huge contribution to civic affairs, serving as a local councillor and, in 1979, standing as a parliamentary candidate. He founded a Home Start scheme, and was deeply involved both in the foundation of community and youth centres and also in marriage counselling.

In his retirement in Ludlow, he retained a keen interest in political and social issues to the very end of his life. He was wonderfully supported in all his activities by Rosemary, with whom he shared a long and happy marriage. She survives him with their four children, (their three sons all came to the School as Day Boys), by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Alan had an exemplary life, characterised throughout by high principle, warm humanity and service to others.

Dr David Gee

It is intended to publish a full obituary notice in the next edition of The Salopian.

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