Richard (‘Dick’) Walker (1911–1992), UK teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training.
Richard Walker read philosophy at Oxford and was especially interested in Eastern spiritual thought. He was a keen and successful amateur golf player. He had won the Northen Open twice and had been highly placed in the German Open when he read UoS in 1936 and consequently went to F. M. Alexander for lessons. He met Elisabeth, in 1937, and she also started having lessons. They both started on Alexander’s teachers training course in 1938 and married the same year. Their training was interrupted by WWII and Richard Walker served in the R.N.V.R. (and helped in the evacuation of the British Forces at Dunkirk in 1941). After qualifying in 1946 he worked at Ashley Place as one of Alexander’s assistants.
Richard and Elisabeth decided to live and teach in South Africa and in 1949 drove all the way in a 3-ton truck through Europe and Africa to Johannesburg. They took over Irene Tasker’s house and her teaching practice. In South Africa they met Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid advocates like Vernon Berrangé and Bram Fischer. (Berrangé and Fischer were lawyers who, acting on behalf of F. M. Alexander, won the famous Libel Case in which Alexander had been libelled by a South African government magazine.)
They returned to England in 1960, and Richard worked for some time on the Barlow’s teacher training course and at the New College of Speech and Drama (in the late 1960s and early 1970s).
Richard was Chair of STAT in 1970, and gave the F. M. Alexander Memorial Lecture in 1971.
Richard and Elisabeth Walker moved to Oxford in 1970 and ran a teachers training course in Oxford 1985-2000. Elisabeth and Richard gave lessons to Nikolaas Tinbergen and his family. (Tinbergen subsequently devoted half of his Nobel Prize Speech in 1973 to a praising description of the Alexander Technique.)
Elisabeth and Richard were keen on the outdoor life (mountaineering among their hobbies) and on travelling. They had six children, of which five survived. Two of their children, Lucia and Julia, also became teachers of the Technique.
Elisabeth Walker’s Forward and Away, her memoirs, covers also her life with Richard Walker.
Obituaries and remembrances
‘Richard Walker’ by Roz Lewis.
‘Obituary: Richard Sutherland Walker’ by Adam Nott.
‘Dick Walker remembered’ by Lucia Walker, Bridget Belgrave.
See also Elisabeth Walker.
Richard Sutherland Walker *8 April 1911 – †16 January 1992.