Sir William Gladstone, Head Master 1961-1969 (March 2018)

Sir William Gladstone

It is with a deep sadness that the College has to announce the loss of one of its most loyal and devoted figures over this Easter weekend. Sir William Gladstone died on Maundy Thursday, 29 March 2018.

Willie, as he preferred to be known, was Lancing’s 13th Head Master from 1961-1969. He came to Lancing from Eton following wartime service in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He led the College through a memorable decade of challenges and opportunities with a style that will be remembered with great affection. Five years ago, Willie spoke to a record number of OLs at one of our Over 60s lunches when he reflected on his time at the College in his own distinctive way.

“Eton was a liberal school and could remain so provided that those who steered its course were reformers, willing to adjust its institutions from time to time. And I felt the same about Lancing, and that’s why I wanted to come there. You can’t create that kind of school in a decade, or in a single Head Master’s regime. It’s an organic kind of thing, and it has to grow at its own pace. But you can encourage it - provided that you are brave enough to stand back and let people think for themselves and make their own decisions, and suffer the consequences. This, to me, was the most important, and the most difficult, thing to do.”

Reflecting on the impact of Willie’s time as Head Master, Dominic Oliver current Head Master said, “A school leader absolutely in the liberal tradition, Sir William’s time at Lancing is fondly recollected by the pupils in his care and by the colleagues he inspired. He was thoroughly committed to the wellbeing of young people, something manifest too in his subsequent leadership of the Scout Association. All of us at Lancing offer our condolences to the Gladstone family.”

Sir William Gladstone Obituary                   Read the Times obituary