COMPANION

Gurney MacInnes

Gurney MacInnes, teacher of the Technique, who trained on Alexander’s first training course.

Life

MacInnes came into contact with Alexander in 1927 through A. G. Pite who shortly afterwards became Headmaster of Weymouth College, a boys’ preparatory school. MacInnes taught at the Junior School at Weymouth for two terms before joining Alexander’s training course (1931–34), quite possibly with the purpose of teaching the Technique in schools and encouraged by Pite as Pite was anxious to introduce the Technique into the school. MacInnes worked in Weymouth College giving both individual lessons and working with individuals during various activities during the years 1936–39. This is the first known example of the Alexander Technique being taught at a school apart from Alexander’s own ‘the Little School’. MacInnes wrote three reports of his experiences teaching at Weymouth College. After serving in the Army during the war, MacInnes moved to Ullswater, Penrith, Cumberland. He taught at a school and apparently did some Alexander Technique teaching. He kept in touch with Irene Tasker and wrote to her that he was attempted to incorporate the Technique into ‘our life and work here’.[1]

Gurney’s sister, Jean MacInnes, trained at the same time, but it has not been possible to obtain information about her life.

Writings

Gurney MacInnes wrote three reports on his experience of teaching the Technique at Weymouth College of which copies exist in Walter Carrington’s archives. The experimental project was to investigate to what extent the Technique could be introduced into the life and work of a school. MacInnes mostly gave private lessons, starting with the Junior School, ages 8 to 10. His account covers the structure and development of the project, and the progress pupils made, including individual case histories. He sums up his experiences (conditions) for making the Technique part of school education. Apart from the first report which was published in the Bulletin (No. 1, 1937) of the Alexander Society they appear to be drafts. All three reports were published as ‘Teaching F. M. Alexander’s Technique in a Boys’ Preparatory Boarding School 1936-39’ in Conscious Control.[2]

References

[1] Gurney MacInnes letter to Irene Tasker 18 December 1961 (Walter Carrington Archives no. 1585).
[2] Conscious Control Vol. 1 No. 2, 2007, pp. 5-44.