Alick Wolfenden

Alick Woffenden (1905-1994)

In the 1911 census [RG14PN26619 RG78PN1533 RD497 SD4 ED13 SN177] at Old Dolphin Inn North Bierley Yorkshire there resided:

Alick Woffenden (1905-1994) was born on 1st Nov 1905 [1905Q4 Bradford Vol: 9b, Page 50]. On his birth certificate his father's occupation is given as a "Barber". Alick left school, and had a number of jobs before he went back to school, this time at the Bradford School of Art. He did really well there, and was talent spotted by agents of the Royal College of Art in London. He arrived there around September 1926 just about the time that William Staite Murray took charge of ceramics. Alick got a scholarship which covered all his tuition and some maintenance while a student in London. He may have stayed for a very short time with the Murgatroyd family (Uncle Arthur Haley and Aunt Alice Emma) when he first went to London and may have found their very large family overpowering.

Alick specialised in pottery and stained glass and won the overall design prize at the Royal College of Art in 1930. He was Staite Murray's first student demonstrator. In 1929/30 he was already selling a few pots at Heals. He met his future wife at the Royal College of Art.
She specialised in Lettering and Illumination, with a distinction in her teaching diploma. Her work is quite exquisite but has unfortunately not been published. Professor Tristram who was in charge of archictectural studies at the RCA wanted Alick to go on with stained glass and possibly even architecture - so he had considerable talent and was much in demand.

Alick Wolfenden's prizewinning pot Alick Wolfenden's stained glass

A prize winning pot and an example of Alick's stained glass.

By this time Alick was 25 and engaged to Elsie Alberta Webber and thought it was time to stop studying and get a job.
His first job was in the School of Art at High Wycombe in Berkshire. He stayed there for at most a couple of years, and then moved to Edinburgh College of Art where he founded their ceramics department, designing and building their first kilns. By 1932 he was settled in Edinburgh His future wife meanwhile taught half the week in Cheltenham Ladies College and the other half in an East End Working Mens Settlement in London. Alick married Elsie Alberta Webber-Woffenden (1908-1994) in 1933.

Elsie Alberta Webber wedding

They settled into "The Hutt" a bungalow in Spyelaw Bank Road, Colinton, Edinburgh 13. Alick was in charge of ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art until he went belatedly into the army in 1941 into the 51st Highland Division. During those years from 1932 to 1941 he was exhibiting regularly at the Scottish Gallery and had begun to make a modest name for himself. His wife was on the staff at Moray House, which was then a teacher training establisment, until their daughter Cynthea was born on April 22nd 1937.
Three things all happened at once in 1941. Alick joined the 51st Highland Division, his wife Elsie went back into full time teaching, and on the same day that their daughter started school. Elsie ran the art department at George Watsons Boys college from 1941 till 1946. Alick was in the RASC in the Allied crossing of the Rhine, transporting ammunition, and was amongst the first British troops to enter Bergen Belsen but never spoke of it until after his wife died. He had bottled it up for years and then the most horrific descriptions began to come out. Noone really understood how much it affected him. He remained in the army for 18 months after the war in Europe was over. He took charge of a platoon of Germans repatriating ex concentration camp victims.

Alick Woffenden RASC

When he was finally demobilised in 1946 the family moved south to Lancashire, and he took over the Headship of a small School of Art which was part of the old Wigan and District Mining and Technical College. He stayed in this post until he retired in 1970, building the school up until it had Higher National Diploma courses in two or three different branches of art and design. His wife Elsie ran the art department in the old Wigan Girls' High School from 1947 until she retired likewise building a reputation for herself as one of the best art teachers in the north west of England. The family lived in the village of Parbold, half way between Wigan and Southport.
Alick and Elsie acquired a small property in the Lake District in 1969 in Troutbeck, half way between Penrith and Keswick with views of Blencathra the Saddleback mountain. Alick and Elsie spent most of their retirement there. They had a long and happy marriage, celebrating their 60th anniversary there in 1993. She died in February 1994 and he followed her at the end of September the same year. He was nearly 89.

His parents were James Woffenden (1869-before 1930) and Emily Parker Murgatroyd-Woffenden (1869-??).
Her parents were Her parents were William Webber (1881-1976) and Alberta Taylor(??-c1952).

Alick Woffenden was my Mother's first cousin.