Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and his wife Eleanor had already been climbing for years. As a student, Geoffrey had been one of the pioneers of roof-climbing at Trinity College, Cambridge. He had also explored and found new hikes and climbing routes in the Alps, in the Lake District and in mountains around Pen-y-Pass in Wales. In Pen-y-Pass Geoffrey had organized climbing parties with other prominent climbers like his friend George Mallory.
Eleanor had first been climbing at Pen-y-Pass in 1911 with her father William Cecil Slingsby, who is probably best known for his climbing in Norway. She was also co-founder of the Women's Pinnacle Club in Wales.
So, naturally JWY and his sister Marcia go to
Pen-y-Pass with their parents during their family holidays.
Kurt Hahn (1886-1974) was a friend of JWY's parents. Hahn was the founder of Salem and later of Gordonstoun, Outward Bound, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and co-founder of the Atlantic College - the first United World College. He is considered one of the most prominent figures in experiential education.
When JWY becomes Kurt Hahn's pupil in Salem, Germany, it is the beginning of a 44-year-long mentorship and friendship.
1933 - 1938
In 1933, Geoffrey and Eleanor Winthrop-Young are amongst those who help Kurt Hahn flee from Germany to the UK. Hahn begins to plan a new Salem school in Scotland. While searching for a suitable place, Hahn first rents Rothiemurchus (September to November 1933) and then Duffus House (November 1933 to March 1934). He then finally sets up a school at Gordonstoun and Geoffrey becomes his first Chairman of the Board.
As for JWY, he and his friend Mark Arnold-Forster follow Hahn from Salem to Scotland. The families Winthrop-Young and
Arnold-Forster had been friends in England before the boys went to Salem. JWY and Mark remain friends until Mark's death in 1981.
At Gordonstoun, JWY is Hockey captain, Scottish junior champion in high jump, house-helper and vice-guardian.
JWY is present when the Coast Guards start in Gordonstoun and is member of the crew on the “Henrietta” that sails to Norway.
This experience triggers his lifelong love for sailing and the sea and later leads him to volunteer for service in the Royal Navy at the beginning of WWII.
1938 - 1939
After graduating from Gordonstoun, JWY goes to Geneva to learn French and study playing the flute with Marcel Moyse (1889-1984), Professor at the Geneva Conservatoire.
1939 - 1946
Having volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, JWY serves throughout WWII and rises to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.
He follows convoy duty until 1943 and then serves on MGBs in the Channel. His boat is in the leading frontline of D-Day.
JWY then leaves to serve in the Far East.
He returns home in 1946.
1946 - 1947
JWY decides against university studies out of consideration for his father’s health and age. Instead, he takes on work at Imperial Chemical Industries, Birmingham.
During this time King Paul of Greece and Queen Frederike - whose brother Prince George of Hanover is alumni of Salem and its Headmaster at the time - contact Kurt Hahn with the wish that a school following the ideas of Salem be set up in Greece where the Crown Prince could be educated.
When JWY phones Kurt Hahn in search of a new position, Hahn suggests he moves to Greece, becomes private tutor to
Crown Prince Constantine and starts planning the new school.
Together with the King and Queen of Greece, JWY co-founds Anavryta near Athens that he sets up following the ideals and guidelines of Salem and Gordonstoun.
He is Headmaster until 1959.
Marriage in Athens to
Ghislaine de la Gardie (1927- 1987).
They have 3 children:
Mark (1952), Sophie (1954) and Geoffrey (1960).
In August 1953, multiple devastating earthquakes strike the southern Ionian Islands, Greece.
The following year, JWY and the Head of Gordonstoun, Robert Chew, help the Head of Salem, Prince George of Hanover, organise a multiple-school reconstruction effort involving students from various European schools, to help rebuild a retirement home in Argostoli, the capital of the island Kefalonia.
This experience inspires JWY to found an association of Kurt Hahn schools, in order to organise these kinds of aid projects on a regular basis. Over the course of the next 12 years he approaches former colleagues and students of Kurt Hahn in their schools and discusses the possibility of forming such an association.
This work culminates in the founding of Round Square, in 1966.
1959 - 1963
JWY returns to England with his family to work for the News Department of the Foreign Office first in London and then at Wilton Park, Wiston House, Steyning, West Sussex.
For his work at Anavryta School, JWY is awarded with the OBE.
1964 - 1972
JWY becomes Headmaster of the Salem campus, one of the - at the time - four campuses of Salem, Germany.
He founds and sets up the Kurt Hahn Archive in Salem that is taken over by his daughter Sophie from 1990 to 2010. It then becomes a school’s depositum in the district’s public archive, located in Salem.
Inspired by the multiple-school reconstruction effort in Argostoli, Greece, following a devastating earthquake in 1953, and after 12 years of planning and organising, JWY initiates a meeting of the Heads and Governors of Kurt Hahn schools. On the occasion of Kurt Hahn's 80th birthday celebrations at Salem, JWY's idea of an association of Kurt Hahn schools is finally realised.
JWY runs the association Round Square as Honorary Secretary and later as Director until he retires in 1992.
Divorce from Ghislaine and marriage to
Sibylle von der Schulenburg (1927-1998).
JWY is honorary member and Warden of the Board of the Head’s of Salem. He is also Head of Security and coordinator of the Emergency Services.
After retiring, JWY remains a very much asked for interview partner on Kurt Hahn and continues to introduce new members of Salem’s staff to Hahn’s educational ideas.
JWY speaks at the „Reconnections and New Directions Conference“ at the Lester Pearson UWC, Vancouver, on the four organisations that had been either inspired by Hahn or followed his educational ideas: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Outward Bound, United World Colleges and Round Square.
He had been present at the beginnings of all of them.
Last major trip to Vancouver to the Round Square Conference.
On occasion of the 60 years celebration of Anavryta, JWY is presented with an award by the Association of Anavryta Old Boys in appreciation and recognition of his work at Anavryta.
JWY dies in Heiligenberg, near Salem, Germany.
THE BLESSING OF THE SEPARATE
WE ask not aught that ordered life hath given,
That wisdom may ensue
Or vision bequeath:
For us the precious things of heaven,
And the dew,
And the deep that coucheth beneath.
We ask no blessing of wealth, nor any boon
Save one-and one-
The heart of the boy, and health
With freedom to enjoy
The precious things brought forth by the sun,
And the precious things thrust forth by the moon ;
Earth's fullness, and the chill of snow-fed fountains,
The rustling of wings,
And our men's wills,
The chief things of the ancient mountains,
And the precious things of the lasting hills.
Poem written by his father Geoffrey Winthrop-Young when JWY was born. Recited by his nephew, Thomas Newbolt, at his memorial service. Ω
Family, friends, and colleagues come together for a memorial service held at the Salem Betsaal. Addresses were given by King Constantine of Greece, Apostolos Kallios, President of Anavryta Old Boys Association, Dieter Plate, member of the Board of Salem and former colleague, and Thomas Newbolt, Jocelin's nephew. His son Geoffrey was Master of Ceremony.
Box Hill names a new building in JWY's honour.
Round Square celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Top row photos, left to right:
Source of reference :
* Family collection
º Kurt Hahn Archive
† Gordonstoun Archive
Ω Winthrop-Young, G. (1936). Collective Poems. Wind And Hill. London: Methuen and Co. Ltd.