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Nicholas Wilde

Common Room 1972-2000

Nicholas Wilde died on 29 June 2022 after a short illness. He read Languages at King’s College, Cambridge and, after a short spell at Dauntsey’s, joined The Leys in 1972 to teach German, eventually retiring in 2000. He quickly established a reputation as an outstanding teacher, amongst the finest in this period. During his time the results in the German Department were second to none. He was in turn Assistant Housemaster in School and then North A. Many members of those houses had their first enthusiasm for classical music kindled in his study, or took part in play-readings there. Drama was always central to his extra-curricular life, directing school and house plays, designing sets, and even choreographing a pantomime. He took over the Lit (in the days when it was a debating society) and ran it with his customary style. Although never a sportif, he ran the Third XI Cricket for many years, his regime noted for the wearing of ties on the field of play, the spoof nineteenth-century team photographs and the village matches on Sundays. The sporting professionals were predictably contemptuous and it was a particular satisfaction for him the year the Third XI had an invicti season. For the last twelve years of his full-time career he was President of The Fortnightly, setting new standards for quality of writing and accuracy of presentation. Over the years, the magazine became a repository of his inimitable cartoons. There was no aspect of the intellectual and artistic life of the School which he did not influence. However, his focus started to move away from the School to his own writing and illustrating and he became increasingly part-time. He published two books for younger children with his own illustrations, Sir Bertie and the Wyvern and Huffle, and two novels for teenagers, Into The Dark and And Down Came a Blackbird.

In retirement he lived quietly in Applecourt in Newton Road, carrying on with illustrations.  His retirement passion became marionette puppets. These were immaculately made and dressed with his usual attention to detail and meticulous handiwork.  The flat became filled with his new family.

Words by John and Jean Harding