The headmaster of Acton County School, from 1926 to 1956, was Mr.G.C.T.Giles, an old Etonian and a committed Communist Party member. He was expelled by the Labour Party for attempting to drag its policy too far to the left. He became a member of the Executive of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and eventually its national President.

Giles was regularly accused of introducing Communist indoctrination in the school. In October 1950, the Middlesex County Council Tory dominated Education Committee imposed a blanket ban on the appointment of Communist Headships in the County, which was not lifted until 1958 when Labour won control of the Council.

Interesting background is provided by Brian J.L.Berry (b.1934), who joined the school in 1947 and who attributed his interest in geography to his geography teacher Mr.Urch, also his housemaster. Berry was the author of Clara Voce Cognito, one of the Fourteen Autobiographical Essays in Geographical Voices. (Syracuse University Press, 2002) It contains essays by influential geographers that provide examples of practical geographical scholarship and a useful antidote to ivory tower theories.

Brian Berry authored over 550 books and articles, and among his honours he was elected a member the National Academy of Sciences in 1975 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976. He was awarded the Victoria Medal, an award presented by the Royal Geographical Society "for conspicuous merit in research in geography" and has been given since 1902, in honour of Queen Victoria.

For more fascinating facts about G.C.T.Giles read Graham Stevenson's Encyclopedia of Communist Biographies.

Giles' book The New School Tie (1946) was influential in the campaign for comprehensive education.

Salley Vickers writes about her relationship with the Giles' as 'godparents'


Rekoor Software