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Outlook December 2018/ January 2019


From Outlook Reporter, Marion Woodbridge …

Marion Woodbridge
Marion Woodbridge

Liz Stock
Liz Stock

I talked with Liz Stock (née Woodbridge) this month and spent time remembering!

Liz was born in Hitchin to the sound of Hitchin Town Band, which I think gave her her love of music. Liz went to York Road Nursery and then to St Andrew's school in the old Victorian building in the town centre which later moved to Benslow Rise. Liz really liked the new St Andrews because of the care of good teachers (also the new swimming pool). Liz then went to Highfield School and said on the first day that it was the worst day of her life, but later in the sixth form it was much better with lots of friends. After A-levels she did a secretarial course at Hitchin College, and then on to London to work for Thames and Hudson, an art book publisher. She also studied book production part-time. at the London College of Printing. After two and a half years Liz went to Jonathan Cape Publishers to work for the Production Director. This meant travelling up to London on the train meeting up with fellow travellers including Geoff Norman, Chair of the Magistrates Association at the time.

Liz decided she wanted to study for a degree so she went to Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes) to study English and History of Art. After the first year it was a joy to go to Italy to look at the Renaissance art. After the second year Liz went to Israel to work on a kibbutz in the Golan Heights called Malkiya, picking plums, working in the kitchen and in a toy packing factory (checking the English translations for the instructions). Liz really enjoyed her time there visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Galilee, Jericho and Nazareth. It was brave because there was fighting going on across the boarder with Lebanon. Liz couldn't tell those at home that she was OK no mobile phones. While studying her degree Liz, with the help of friends, took maths O-level and passed. When I told her maths teacher from St Andrews, Mrs Drury, she nearly fainted with surprise that Liz had passed!

After her degree Liz first worked temporarily at British Leyland car company in Oxford, and then in London working for Century Hutchinson, (now part of Random House publishers). Liz did a training course to teach English as a Foreign Language then spent eighteen months in Cordoba and San Sebastian in Spain, both very good experiences. Not knowing any Spanish when she went, she certainly had to learn the language very quickly. (David and I had a lovely holiday with Liz in Spain). Returning from Spain she worked in Covent Garden at Chancerel where she worked on English language books for foreign students.

Having met Julian at Oxford, they married in 1992 at Christ Church in Highbury (the same church where Ken and Margaret Granger were married), and have two children, Naomi and Oliver. In 1999 Liz started working at Canonbury School as a learning mentor and went to London University part time to get a qualification in teaching children with Dyslexia. Liz's has a great love for books and she has been running the school library at Canonbury for more than ten years, encouraging the children to read and enjoy books. Having spent time with Miss Harris at Tilehouse Street in the Youth Choir, Liz now sings with the Islington Choral Society. The next concert is at Guildford Cathedral for Remembrance Day. When she was at school, Liz also had piano lessons with Mrs Sampson (another THS member).

A member of the Girls' Brigade and coming to Tilehouse Street from birth, Liz wanted, at eleven years old, to take communion, asking the Rev. Tebbutt who said 'of course'. Liz was baptised when she was nineteen. Because of living in London she is on the Associate Roll, but whenever in Hitchin she comes to THS and came for the last harvest lunch. She enjoys Jane's interactive services and conversations with old friends. It's so good that she meets people who knew her as a baby.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

I asked Liz, Who would you like to have tea with?

The last American President, Barack Obama.

What would you talk to him about?

His experiences growing up as a black man in America and about what he is doing now.

What is your earliest memory?

Riding on the front seat of my mum's bike going to York Road Nursery and the picture of an umbrella on my coat peg.

Who influenced you as a teenager?

A teacher at St Andrew's and her husband, Aileen and Roger Burford Mason who were also friends and neighbours in West Hill. They gave me a love and knowledge of books and printing.

What makes you laugh?

Children at school.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

Cornet player
Cornet player

Tom Maschler, Publisher. An autobiography. He records his life in publishing and of his early life, how three of his grandparents were killed in the holocaust and how he came to England in 1938 from Berlin.

What do you do when you are at home?

Jobs, gardening, reading and practising playing the cornet.

Where would you like to go on holiday?

I've only been to Sydney in Australia briefly, but I would like to travel in Australia more widely.

The Archers
The Archers

What do you like on TV or listen to on the Radio?

I don't watch TV much. I have listened to the Archers on Radio 4 for as long as I can remember and still do.

What makes you cross?

People not caring about the environment and blaming other people for things that go wrong in the world.

Can you do anything about it?

Campaign for change and influence people around me and children at school.

Is their a phrase or saying you try to live by?

Try to be kind to yourself, the environment and other people.

Thank you Lizzy, I've had a really lovely session remembering so many events.

Marion Woodbridge