Walter H. M. Carrington (1915–2005), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Walter Carrington was an inspirational teacher, founder of the Constructive Teaching Centre, and an influential writer on the Alexander Technique.
Walter Hadrian Marshall Carrington was born in Selby, Yorkshire, in 1915, the only child of the Rev Walter Marshall Carrington. In 1917 the family moved to London where he spent the rest of his life. He attended St Paul’s School. He had intended to join the Society of Jesus but he was so impressed by the lessons which his mother had taken in the Alexander Technique that he started taking lessons himself. In 1936, he joined Alexander’s teacher training course and he qualified in 1939.
He married Dilys Jones in 1940 and, the following year, qualified as an RAF pilot, serving in the Pathfinders. He and his crew survived being shot down over Hungary in 1944, but were taken prisoner. Carrington had broken several bones, including his pelvis, and was sent to a military hospital from which, however, he eventually escaped.
On demobilisation with the rank of flight lieutenant in 1946 he rejoined Alexander’s practice in London where he gave lessons and taught on Alexander’s teacher training course. In those early days Carrington also taught regularly in Cardiff, Guernsey, Oxford and Nottingham. After Alexander’s death in 1955 Carrington and three other teachers carried on the training course in Bainbridge Street.
In 1960 the course moved to Holland Park, London, and was renamed the Constructive Teaching Centre, with Walter Carrington and his wife as its directors. The training course grew with the upsurge of interest in the technique in the 1970s and it became the largest operation of its kind in the world, with up to 45 students during the 1980s and 1990s.
Walter and Dilys Carrington’s style of teaching has been followed by many of their students. Their training course model which instituted a daily schedule involving talks, games, and groups are used by many training courses today. The talks included reading from Alexander’s books and anatomy. Walter Carrington took a keen interest in scientific developments of relevance to the Alexander Technique and encouraged a scientific attitude.
Walter Carrington’s collection of books, papers and articles on the Alexander Technique is one of the largest in the world, and is now part of the charity The Walter Carrington Educational Trust.
Walter Carrington Educational Trust
The Walter Carrington Educational Trust was set up in 2010 for the puporse of continuing the work of the Constructive Teaching Centre on a charitable basis, as well as looking after the archive collection.
Walter Carrington’s writings include a number of articles, and five books: one diary, two indepth interviews, and two with a selection of his talks to his training course. In addition he wrote a number of book reviews, letters in journals, and prefaces to books. His archives contain unfinished and unpublished material. Remembering Walter Carrington is a collection of people’s memories of Walter Carrington. A collection of Walter and Dilys Carrington’s writings were published as An Evolution of the Alexander Technique.
‘Beyond words’ by Walter Carrington, a short article on the meaning of some of the words used in the Technique.
‘F. Matthias Alexander Technique’ (1963), an introduction to the Technique.
‘Man’s Future as an individual’ (1969).
‘Balance as a function of intelligence’ (1970).
‘F. Matthias Alexander 1869-1955’ (1979), a short biography of Alexander.
‘The foundations of human well-being’ (1994), two articles on Magnus and Coghill.
Personally Speaking, an interview by Seán Carey on the Alexander Technique.
Explaining the Alexander Technique, an interview by Seán Carey on Alexander’s books.
Thinking Aloud, a collection of 25 lectures edited by Jerry Sontag.
A Time to Remember, a diary of teaching at Ashley Place in 1946.
The Act of Living, a collection of 29 lectures edited by Jerry Sontag.
An Evolution of the Alexander Technique is a selection of articles, lectures, and notes by Walter Carrington and Dilys Carrington.
Walter & Dilys Carrington Demonstrate the Alexander Technique DVD filmed by Jørgen Haahr in 1986.
A Workshop with Walter Carrington DVD, a workshop given to teachers and students at the Constructive Teaching Centre.
Walter Carrington Manchester 1998, a workshop given at a STAT conference.
Walter Carrington on Breathing + Revealing his larynx, Walter Carrington talks about breathing and a laryngoscope film made in 1989 shows the internal movements of his larynx during ordinary speech and during a whispered ‘ah’.
Walter Carrington – An interview, an interview by Glynn Macdonald.
Alexander and Emotion DVD, Michael Frederick reading Walter Carrington’s short article on Alexander and emotion.
Spring Term 2003 at Lansdowne Road DVD, edited hightlights from a postgraduate term Hella Linkmeyer did at the Constructive Teaching Centre.
Interview with Walter Carrington London 2004, an interview by Hella Linkmeyer.
A collection of interviews on teacher training methods, Taking Time, contain substantial interviews with Walter and Dilys Carrington.
An interview on the Technique by John Nicholls was published in Direction.
‘The use of the eye’, an interview by Brigitte Cavadias and Marjory Fern in Direction.
‘Two interviews with Walter Carrington’ by Hidemi Hatada, interviews on the Technique and some history, were published in Conscious Control.
‘Alexander Teacher Training Course Notes 1955–59’ by Kirk Rengstorff are contemporary notes of training with Walter Carrington.
Mary Holland wrote a portrait of Walter Carrington for Direction.
Remembering Walter Carrington (2006) contains stories and memories of Walter Carrington.
Obituaries and remembrances
‘Walter Carrington’ in The Times (London), (also was reprinted in AmSAT News).
‘Memories of Walter Carrington’ by Michael Frederick, Alex Murray, John Nicholls, Ted Dimon, Michael J. Gelb, Jerry Sontag, Nanette Walsh, Beret Arcaya, Pearl Ausubel, Neil Schapera, George I. Lister, Judith Youett Muir, Frances Marsden, Susan Cohen, Phyllis G. Richmond, Ruth Rootberg in AmSAT News.
‘Walter Carrington’ by Malcolm Williamson in The Alexander Journal.
‘Walter Carrington 1915-2005’ by Kate Kelly in STATNews.
Memories of Walter Carrington by Elisabeth Walker, Ken Thompson, Jill Payne, Miriam Wohl, Chariclia Gounaris, Glynn Macdonald, John Nicholls, Susan Cohen, Michael Frederick, in STATNews.
Walter Hadrian Marshall Carrington *4 May 1915 – †7 August 2005.