The Stratford Herald celebrated Stratford-upon-Avon College’s 50th anniversary at the Willows campus with a two-page feature on the college’s history and alumni success.
The article gives an intriguing insight into the College’s past. Pointing out that its origins in Stratford date back to 1877, it includes the revealing and somewhat amusing fact that “there were classes held weekly at the Town Hall and a curriculum including a Private Morning Class for ladies; a Private Afternoon Class for gentlemen and Evening Classes for teachers in public schools, artisans and others.”
However “the seminal moment in the college’s history came in 1968 with its move to the purpose-built campus at the Willows, where it opened its doors to 115 full-time students.” How times have changed!
Yet despite these relatively humble beginnings, some of the biggest names in today’s popular culture set out on their road to stardom at the College. Describing the success of some of our illustrious former students, the feature tells us that “Among an extensive and impressive list of famous alumni is Ben Elton, who credited the epiphany on Shakespeare that proved the foundation of his career to inspiring drama teacher Gordon Vallins, who now has one of the college’s two theatres named after him.”
The Herald also sought out the views of other alumni. David Hill, who, as one of the catering class of 1968 – the first ever at the brand new Willows campus – organised a class reunion, reminisced: ‘They were just fabulous years, which I look back on fondly as some of the best years of my life. I have wonderful memories of both the college, the course and my classmates and of lovely Stratford itself.’”