With the death of Peter Fabian at the age of 95 at the beginning of March, we have lost one of the few remaining links to the start of ARELS – now English UK. As owner and director of The London School of English, Peter was one of the founders of ARELS in 1960 and an early chairman of the association.
Born in Germany, Peter finished his education in England where he embraced life in Oxford. Then, although delayed by the Second World War in which Peter fought for the liberation of Europe, went on to receive a First in German and French at Cambridge.
His experience at Cambridge shaped his later career; he rebelled against approaching a language through its literature and would come to introduce methodology radical at the time but now utterly commonplace, such as an emphasis on oral skills, the natural use of the language and situations of the street.
Peter taught at and then took over the The London School of English in 1960, a language centre he came to shape downsizing in 1969 to become smaller, more intimate, learner-centred and experimental in approach.
From the early 1980s onwards the school was run jointly by Peter and Timothy Blake, and Peter formally bowed out in the mid-1990s, although he remained an effective and popular lecturer until he was well into his 80s.
He exemplified the origins of our industry in creative – at times eccentric – individuals, running their schools for love. He was a very generous employer, who inspired loyalty and great affection.
Peter's life partner was Sydney Cruickshank, and they were together for nearly 70 years, having met shortly after the war. Until quite recently they were living independently but after Sydney died in November 2014 Peter struggled, and after a couple of months in a retirement home, and a short illness, he died of pneumonia. previous entry << >> next entry