The Arts

W. H. Auden

(1907 – 1973). Attended Gresham’s from 1920 to 1925 (Farfield).

Today, the School’s theatre is named after him. He is most famous for his poems, Funeral Blues and September 1st, 1939. The Russian poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky called him ‘the greatest mind of the twentieth Century’.

Richard Wasey Chopping

(1917 – 2008). Attended Gresham’s from 1928 to 1935 (Old School House & Kenwyn).

Richard Chopping is best known for illustrating the cover jackets of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. A contemporary of another OG, Benjamin Britten, the two men were also friends. He first became established as an author and illustrator of Natural History books and childrens’ books, and later taught Creative Writing at the Royal College of Art in London.

Photo Courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions

Sir Philip Dowson CBE PRA

(1924 – 2014). Attended Gresham’s from 1938 to 1942 (Woodlands)

Sir Philip Dowson co-founded Arup Associates, one of the most influential architectural practices of the twentieth century. His firm’s special gift was to combine artistic and engineering design. The concert hall at Snape Maltings where he collaborated with Benjamin Britten, and the Thomas White Building at St. John’s College, Cambridge are two memorable examples of his work. He became a Royal Academician in 1979 and was awarded the Gold Medal for Architecture in 1981.

John Hayward CBE

(1905 – 1965). Attended Gresham’s from 1918 to 1922 (Woodlands).

A one-time friend and housemate of T S Eliot, Hayward was an English editor, critic, anthologist and bibliophile.  He is the subject of the recently-published Tarantula’s Web, a study of Hayward, Eliot and their circle by John Smart, former Head of English at Gresham’s.

John Lanchester

Attended Gresham’s from 1972 to 1980 (Crossways & Howson’s).

John Lanchester is a writer and journalist. He won the Whitbread Award for his first novel The Debt to Pleasure. His two most recent works Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No one Can Pay and Capital have been brilliant examinations of the financial crises of the past five years and the way we live now.

Benjamin Nicholson OM

(1894 – 1982). Attended Gresham’s in 1909 (Woodlands).

Ben Nicholson was one of the leading abstract painters of the 20th century.

William Osborne

Attended Gresham’s from 1973 to 1978 (Old School House).

William trained as a barrister after leaving Cambridge, but then became a novelist and Hollywood scriptwriter.  He has worked on over 60 films, including TwinsGoldeneye and The Mummy.

John Pudney

(1909 – 1977). Attended Gresham’s in 1923 to 1925 (Howson’s).

Pudney was a journalist, writer and, as an RAF officer, one of the best-known poets of the Second World War.  He later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate.

Sir Stephen Spender CBE

(1909 – 1995). Attended Gresham’s from 1918 to 1919 (Old School House).

Sir Stephen Harold Spender (1909–1995), English poet, translator, literary critic and editor who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. Spender was born in London and educated at the University of Oxford, where he associated with another OG W. H. Auden. He was appointed the seventeenth  Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States library of Congress in 1965.