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Life at St Paul's school

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Study either art or architecture
Ken Adam Artist
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Through my aunt, Tante Connie, and my mother, we were accepted by St Paul's School, and... I went to that school. And that's strange, because St Paul's had a very high standard of education which was very similar to the Französisches Gymnasium, the French school, which is still in existence, which all the three boys went to in Berlin. And so it was easy for me to… I had to first learn English, and then I had a very good art teacher, and... I think when I was 17 years old, and I passed my London Matric [London Matriculation Examination] I think it was at that time – he said, 'You're to study more art, either art or architecture', and he pushed me all the time. And... that's how I studied as an external student at the... Bartlett School University College for about two years, something like that, and at the same time was... working for an architectural firm called CW Glover and Partners.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: St Paul's School, Französisches Gymnasium, Berlin, London Matriculation Examination, Bartlett School University College, CW Glover and Partners, Tante Connie

Duration: 1 minute, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 15 August 2011