Margaret Goldie

Ellen Avery Margaret Goldie was born on 14th December, 1905 in Bridge of Weir, a small town on the River Gryffe in the county of Renfrewshire, noted historically for its salmon weir, three tanneries and five golf courses.

She came to London in 1924 to study at the Froebel Institute, where she came to the notice of one of FM Alexander’s strongest supporters, Esther Lawrence. Miss Lawrence was concerned about the evident frailty of Goldie and sent her off to have lessons with FM. Given her interest in both the ideas of Friedrich Froebel (who developed interactional educational processes resulting in the establishment of kindergartens) and those of Alexander, it was only natural that she should later help Irene Tasker in running the Little School, firstly at Ashley Place and later at Penhill when it moved there. Margaret Goldie and Erika Whittaker became firmly established in Ashley place and the Little School in the late 1920’s, and joined the first teacher-training course when it began in 1931.

Goldie was highly independent and cared little for convention. When the “Ashley Place people” went together to the theatre and the national anthem was played, she would refuse to stand up; and when, after dinner, FM would smoke a cigar, Goldie would sometimes have one too – something ‘not done’ in polite society in those days.

She loved the Arts, especially Shakespeare, and when FM put on his student productions at the Old Vic, she played Portia in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and Ophelia in ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’.

She travelled to the US with FM on several of his teaching visits and in later years they became very close, cohabiting when he was in London. The nature of their relationship is unknown.

After FM’s death and the fall-out over who should teach at Ashley Place, Goldie shared premises with Irene Stewart, John Skinner and Walter Carrington. At the time I knew her she was firstly in Soho Square and then, from 1990, at the Bloomsbury Alexander Centre in Southampton Row. When it became too much for her to travel into Central London she continued to teach at her home in Richmond until shortly before her death on 25th January 1997.

© 2015 John S Hunter


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