While a student at Liverpool College of Art in the late 1950s I was invited by Nicholas Horsfield to join the Sandon Studios Society as a student member. There was a drive to involve young people from the various branches of the arts. In June 1957, while a member of the Students Union, we arranged an exhibition of students’ work at the Bluecoat. In 1960, I won a Bluecoat Gulbenkian award that took me to Zürich for two months working in the graphic design studio of Josef Müller Brockmann.
The Sandon dining room was a most democratic place: you sat wherever there was a spare seat. On one occasion in 1965, I found myself having lunch at the same table as Jennie Lee, the first Minister of the Arts.
At a Sandon party, I welcomed Laurence Olivier after a National Theatre Shakespeare at the Royal Court - the famous all-male As You Like It. As chairman of Bluecoat Society of Arts, I hosted HRH Princess Margaret when she visited the building in 1987 for a tour and lunch - she overstayed, seeming to enjoy the visit.
When the Society of Arts was in dire financial difficulties the same year we called an unheard-of Trustees meeting and people like Lord Leverhulme, Sir Leslie Young and others all attended - I think we had a full turn-out. I had half hoped they would get out their cheque books and write substantial cheques, but they simply said it was our problem, and we did resolve it with vital help from the City Council.
Many very happy memories and very proud to have been on the various Sandon and Bluecoat committees.