It's hard to fully appreciate Marlborough College Summer School until you've experienced it for yourself. Here, in their own words, some of our guests share their first-hand experiences, explain what Summer School means to them and hopefully whet your appetite for joining them next time!
"When we first moved to Pewsey, we made enquiries into local activities and came across information about the Summer School. Because I was interested in learning Yoga I booked a course. This was in 1998. My most recent experience, last summer, was a course on Bridge.
Both courses were inspirational and so I have attended various courses over the intervening years! My life has been greatly benefitted as I have learned so many new skills and acquired much more knowledge on various subjects. I have also made a number of friends who, like me, have returned year after year.
I can thoroughly recommend Summer School to anyone who wishes to be part of a friendly learning environment. Why do I keep coming back? You are never too old to learn something new!!”
Marilyn McGee - Wadswick Green, Corsham
"I discovered Summer School while I was looking for ukulele lessons on the internet and the course and other events during the week looked very interesting. When I arrived, it was a completely new experience for me and I loved it. I attended the Michael Palin talk, the 5.15pm lectures and the Thursday quiz. The food was good too!
Summer School has not only helped to fill some of the gaps I missed at school, but it is an excellent experience. My advice to prospective attendees is to get involved, talk to people, come with an open mind, learn and be prepared to have a good time.
As someone travelling alone, you are rarely without company. There's always someone to talk to and, if in doubt, I find asking, "what course are you on” always works to start up a conversation with a complete stranger!
Finally, what does Summer School mean to me? A very happy time.”
Richard Ellison - Little Haywood
"I took my first life drawing class while on holiday with 3 generations of the family at Marlborough College Summer School. I had never drawn from a life model before and was very nervous about every aspect. I quickly discovered that the life drawing community is supportive and encouraging and by the end of the week I was hooked, returning for many courses of concentrated life drawing. Marlborough College also introduced me to printmaking and I now combine it with my life drawing practice.
Moreover, Summer School gave me the opportunity to enjoy time focused on developing my practice while the rest of the family were off exploring their interests. Eventually I enrolled at art school and graduated with a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Sussex. Now I manage and teach at Ochre Print Studio, Guildford, including a class in "dynamic printmaking from the life model.”
Sarah Cliff - Petersfield
"Clémentine and I came to Summer School in 2019.
Clémy was invited to come with a group of six women from coastal West Sussex to celebrate a milestone birthday of one of the group.
I came on my own from North Worcestershire on the recommendation of a friend.
We both chose Beginners Ballroom Dancing, Clémy because an injury forced her to make a late change from Tennis, and myself because I wanted an afternoon class that would be something different from the intellectually challenging course I was doing in the mornings.
We had both been widowed some years previously and were definitely not expecting to make friends with anyone on the course.
Nervously we followed the tutor into the beautiful ballroom at Marlborough and nervously sat on the chairs under the beautiful sash windows.
The tutor said, "Right, I have to partner up the people who are here on their own. Robert come and stand here.” Then, glancing along the row of unaccompanied women he said, "Clémentine, would you be prepared to dance with Robert for the week?”
In 2022, we are back at Summer School celebrating 3 years of a beautiful partnership, doing Samba Drumming together!"
Rob and Clémy - Worcestershire
"Aged just after 70, I wafted into an airy room, full of lever harps. It was 'love at first sight' between me and these instruments. On being told to select one, I collected the largest honey coloured one with amazing woodwork patterns on its head. As we settled, the tutor - Janet Harbison - with laughing eyes, informed us all what good taste I had, having chosen her personal harp, but insisted I stayed put with it.
By the end of that amazing week, I was so motivated that I hired a harp. After several weeks, I realised this wasn't a passing whim. With the help of my postwoman, I found a local teacher and during lockdowns, lessons began on Skype. The harp kept my sanity and I was now practicing almost 2 hours a day.
This perseverance and love affair with my now fully owned lever harp, has me playing in the local Stand Sure Orchestra, where the conductor writes parts for me that I struggle through with gusto. Also my teacher guides me confidently through music ABRSM grades, that I did suggest.
What a shock for the examiners to see a participant of 'a certain vintage' instead of an inspiring youngster of the day! Oh well! I am having fun and over excited about Janet Harbison's next Summer School harp course!"
Judith Daniel - Marlborough
"My parents and I attended one of the earliest sessions of the Summer School, during a trip to Europe in 1977 when I was 13. The only other young person there was a girl the same age as me, so of course we were assigned to the same dormitory and joined the same classes.
I remember us taking tennis lessons, and we played squash too-my first exposure to the sport. We stayed on campus while our parents went off on day trips to boring places like Stonehenge(!). It was much more fun to learn with the "dishy” Scottish tennis instructor. And Debby's recollection is that rather than actually playing squash, we shut the door and sat on the court and just didn't stop talking! And we haven't stopped talking since, despite the miles.
We ended up doing a Canada-UK exchange three summers later and then saw each other periodically over our adult years. Mostly, we wrote 20-page letters (later emails) back and forth across the pond. She is still one of my best friends, and having moved here for 3 years, I've been able to renew and deepen my friendship with her. And…we did end up going to Stonehenge after all.
Of course, taking photos was much rarer back then, so we don't have any pics from that time, but this is us 45 years later. If it weren't for Marlborough College's Summer School, we'd never have met!"
Vanessa Wells and Deborah Pheasant (née Butler)
All courses run for 5 days
WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul
WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul
WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul
WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug
9.15AM to 12.15PM
1.45PM to 4.30PM
All Day Courses
9.15AM to 4.30PM