Shrewsbury School

Sixty Years On...

Friday 26 January 2018

... And still going strong! Andrew Dalton, Head of Philosophy and Theology, describes the occasion last weekend when staff and pupils gathered together to pay tribute to Dr David Gee on the 60th anniversary of the first lesson he ever taught at Shrewsbury School.

“I wonder,” Dr David Gee asked me one lunchtime, with a slightly mysterious and twinkly look in his eye, “if I might be allowed to teach a lesson in the Philosophy and Theology Faculty on the morning of 20th January? I won’t tell you the reason why, but it would mean a great deal to me if I could.”

There was never any question of denying such a request. We agreed on a class – a Fifth Form GCSE group – and discussed the lesson that he had in mind.

It wasn’t difficult to work out the reason for his desire to teach some pupils on that day. “I don’t want any sort of fuss,” he added. That was the request I denied.

And so it was, just before Break that morning, that I interrupted David in his characteristic full flow about the ending of John’s Gospel (helping the fascinated pupils to draw out the possible layers of meaning within a biblical text), and asked him to step outside onto the spacious landing of Hodgson Hall.

It wasn’t easy to get him to leave the classroom; it’s his natural environment… A small crowd of staff and pupils had gathered. I explained to them that on this very day, 60 years ago, a young man had taught his very first lesson at Shrewsbury School – oddly enough, a Fifth Form German class – and here he was, still firing on all cylinders, weaving his spells, captivating his young audience, as he had been doing for decade after decade at The Schools.

We presented him with a suitable certificate, beautifully crafted by Sara Luzny, the School's Print & Design Administrator, with its list of some other significant events that had happened on that day in History (plenty of US Presidential Inaugurations), concluding with a mention of his 2018 lesson, and the remark that, “the general consensus was that it was even better than the 1958 one.

Our sincerest congratulations to David on such a remarkable milestone, and our very best wishes to an extraordinary schoolmaster; not only has he written about the School’s history ['City on a Hill', published in 2015], he is personally very much still making it.

During the last 60 years as schoolmaster, tutor and housemaster, Dr Gee has had a deep influence on thousands of Salopians.   By sheer coincidence, a few days after his 60th anniversary celebration, an example of this was captured on film when one of his former pupils, Nick Owen (R 1961-66), paid his own tribute to David in an interview recorded by Shrewsbury’s Film Fellow for the Careers Department about his work as a journalist and television presenter.  Please click on the image below to enjoy watching it:


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