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I will be very sad when the Mary Ward finally moves out of Holborn

29 November, 2018

Mary Ward Adult Education Centre

• I READ with great sadness that the Mary Ward Adult Centre is to move to east London, (Mary Ward Adult Education Centre to quit Holborn after more than 100 years, November 17).

I was a student at the centre in the 1980s. It was there I took classes in life drawing and sculpture under the wing of the great teachers Ingar Bassingthwaighte and Paul Badger; and it was at Mary Ward that I did an access course into university.

The teachers were not just encouraging but their words have stayed with me, not only in my art but also in my writing. While it is easy to say that Camden has the City Lit and the Working Men’s College, the ethos of these institutions are very different.

The Mary Ward was never just an adult education college, it was not just a place that taught me and others the basics of writing and drawing; it was a place that brought people out of themselves, inspiring hope and confidence, available for all ages – including the elderly who were as welcomed and welcoming there as I was in my early 20s. The staff and students cared for each other.

I have no doubt that it will thrive in Stratford. But those who live in central London will have witnessed a great loss; no longer having access to what was known as the Mary Ward community.

I will feel very sad when it finally closes it doors in Queen Square. And even sadder for those who will no longer benefit from having such a community on the doorstep.

DR ECCY DE JONGE
WC1

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