Gabbitas has offered educational expertise for almost 140 years. During this time, many famous faces have been employed by us or have used our services, including renowned people who went on to become key figures in British history and members of royalty. We have framed original record cards explaining the historical involvement of some key figures at our London office. Below is just a small selection of familiar names who are part of our long and distinguished history.
Known as one of the most visionary authors of his time, Herbert George Wells’ love of science started after studying biology, physics and zoology at school and university. Gabbitas placed him at Henley House School in 1890, where his love for A.A. Milne’s work made him pursue a career in literature. Wells was a writer who was way ahead of anyone else at the time, and some of his early work correctly predicted the dispersion of population from cities to suburbs through transport and a single European community. He went on to write The War of the Worlds, arguably the greatest work of science-fiction in history, as well as numerous educational books.
Wystan Hugh Auden was a prolific writer, regarded as one of the greatest of the 20th century. After studying at Oxford, Auden left Britain for Berlin, partly to rebel against ‘English repressiveness’. On his return, he was then placed as a tutor by Gabbitas for a short time in 1929, before flourishing in a publishing career, which featured over 70 pieces of work including poetry, literati, novels and film scripts. Auden’s popularity never dimmed, despite some controversial viewpoints, and arguably his most famous work of poetry, Funeral Blues, was read aloud in the hit film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, gaining him a brand new audience in the process.
Amy Johnson, one of the biggest female role models in British history, was a famous aviator known for her courageous solo cross-country flights. Born in Hull in 1903, Amy moved to London after studying economics in Sheffield. She registered for tutoring work at Gabbitas in 1926, stating she was interested in travel, before starting to fly recreationally and gaining her ‘A’ licence in 1929. She achieved worldwide fame in 1930 when she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia, returning home to receive a CBE. She also broke records for the fastest individual flight from both London – Tokyo and London – Cape Town before joining the Air Transport Auxiliary. She died at the tender age of 37 after the plane she was delivering crashed in the Thames Estuary.
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an internationally-renowned author. As a teenager, Gabbitas placed him at Arnold House prep school in Wales in 1925 as a schoolmaster, where he worked on his first novel, The Temple at Thatch, during his free time. He eventually turned his hand to writing full time, with his first critically-acclaimed success being Decline and Fall in 1928. Two years later, he represented several newspapers to cover the coronation of Haile Selassie in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) before joining the army and deciding to travel. During his peak, Waugh wrote the powerful WWII series, Sword of Honour, while his most famous work, Brideshead Revisited, was made into a film in 1981 to great acclaim.
Sir Edward William Elgar was, and still is regarded as one of the most influential composers to ever hail from Britain. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral classics including Enigma Variations and The Pomp and Circumstance Marches – which has become world famous due to its regular performances at Last Night of the Proms. Gabbitas placed him as a private music teacher in 1891 just before he took up orchestrating full time.
King George V
George Frederick Ernest Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, more familiarly known as King George V, was the reigning monarch throughout the Great War, preceding Edward VII to the throne. As a keen devotee of the British Commonwealth, King George V changed his surname to Windsor in 1917 after anti-German public sentiment. Historically, in 1922, he oversaw the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty – a move where Ireland was partitioned and the Irish Free State was established. In 1924, he used Gabbitas to provide tutoring for two of his six children. His health diminished slowly and he died in 1936, to be succeeded by his son, Edward VIII.