Art – Rosemary -Helena -Stephen


One of Fr. Henry’s most important innovations was the development of art in the JH.  He divided the big cinema room into an artroom and a lecture theatre.  Mrs. Rosemary Roberts  set up the department and after a year or so handed over to  Helena Hill Wilson   who was on her first teaching course, she married her sister’s German brother in law and went to Germany. Her successor was Stephen Bird.  Stephen was a rather quiet person when he came to be interviewed but was a Christian which the others were not and soon proved to be an excellent teacher.  He gained control in the classes – always a problem with art in JH, and his own ability and enthusiasm brought the boys to drawing, painting, pottery, sculpture.  He married Elaine Williams who was a freelance journalist for the Guardian specialising in Education.  They lived in York where the contact with St. Bedes led her to become a Catholic.  Later they moved to Ampleforth village and at the amalgamation with Gilling, Stephen moved to the Sunley Centre where he was involved in pottery to great effect.  One of the outstanding changes I noticed in JH was the possibility by the middle of Fr. Henry’s period of having works of art displayed around the house without them being broken or defaced.  In the early years the vigorous and rough nature of the house meant that these things could not be done.