Tuesday, 24 June 2008

My Dean

The former Dean of Christ Church, The Very Rev Prof Henry Chadwick has died. He was Dean in the 70s when my brother Nick and I were reading PPE ( politics , philosophy and economics )
He was noted for the way he seemed to glide into Evensong in the College Chapel, eyes closed as if in deep contemplation. He had a huge brain, a collection of over 20,000 books, and his sermons were to the point, short but thoroughly memorable.

I had a very good piece of advice from The Dean at the end of my second year. It was "Collections", the annual review of your work. This took place in Hall and the Dean and tutors sat at High Table (if you have seen the Harry Potter films you will know that Christ Church Hall is very large and tremendously grand as it was used in those films). You had to walk the entire length of the Hall when your name was called, thus intimidating the hell out of you. You arrived in front of the Dean, peering ominously over the top of a large register in which in those pre computer days your triumphs and misdemeanours were written. On this occasion I had spent most of my year at the Oxford Union or politicking or simply enjoying the delights of a Brideshead type life in Oxford's premier College.

The Dean had a few choice words for me:

" Ah Bubb,

The lights are at amber; whether they turn green or they turn red is a matter for you.

Thank you."

It was somewhat effective. And they turned green. And beats the usual wordy guff you get at most annual appraisals. I have used this myself for errant staff. It is most useful.

And in case you are wondering who the dreamy, romantic youth is at the top of the blog it is indeed me, in 1975 , with my BA .

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