Lord Andrew Adonis

D.Phil. BA.
Durham House

A personal recollection of KHS


Lord Adonis DPhil, BA Secretary of State in the Department of Transport

I arrived at Plymouth in April 1974 after an extremely unsettled few years in a children's home. It was one of the first times I had seen the English countryside, and the first time in England I had been so far from London. It was also mid-way through the school year. So all in all, it was a shock to the system, and to begin with an unhappy experience.

But Plymouth and KHS soon came to supply all I lacked in life outside: stability, friends, values and a sense of self-worth and self-belief. My housemaster, Mr Woolliams, and his then house tutor, Mr Rees, played a big part in this, as did Mr Cooper from a benign distance.


Plymouth House 1974. James Woolliams (House Master, centre) and Mrs Woolliams to his right.


I was no good at sport - a major handicap throughout my school days - but compensated in other areas, including music, debating and journalism, establishing a house newspaper and campaigning for great causes such as being allowed to receive our letters before the daily trek through the planny to top school. I even led a delegation to lobby Mr Cooper on that one, to Mr Woolliam's displeasure. I suppose I was a budding politician, but I doubt I would have come properly out of my shell but for Kingham Hill.

In 1976 I went on to Durham, then under Mr Batchelor, and came under the guidance of Mr Shepherd for English GCSE and A-level - and the school debating team - which led me to apply to his old Oxford college, Keble, and to gain a place in 1981, the year he became Warden in succession to the short and troubled term of Mr Mash (who taught me A-level politics). I could write so much more of these seven years, but suffice it to say that they pretty well made me what I am today. I am deeply grateful to all those I have mentioned and so many more.

This article was contributed by Lord Adonis in May 2007

Note added July 2008: Lord Adonis of Camden - has been created an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford


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