COMPANION

Margaret Goldie

Ellen Avery Margaret Goldie (1905-1997), British teacher of the Technique and assistant to F. M. Alexander

Margaret Goldie qualified as a teacher of the Technique in 1934 and worked for Alexander until his death in 1955.

Life

Goldie first started having lessons in 1927 due to poor health (‘insomnia, spinal curvature, a bad digestion, a permanent feeling of nerviness [sic] and exhaustion, and great susceptibility to any form of epidemic infection’).[1] She was at that time training in the Froebel Teachers’ Training College, and was taken to see F. M. Alexander by the Principal of the College, Miss Esther Lawrence who was a pupil of Alexander. After Goldie finished the training she worked as a teacher in an orthodox school before she went to Alexander in order to assist Miss Irene Tasker with the Little School. She assisted on the Little School while training to be a teacher on Alexander’s first training course and continued afterwards, taking over the running of the Little School in 1934 when Irene Tasker moved to South Africa.

When Alexander died she continued the teachers' training course together with Walter Carrington, John Skinner and Irene Stewart.

Although Alexander won the South African Libel Case in 1948 the costs involved left him short of money, and Goldie lent him all her takings from her private lessons unto his death. The loan was only settled as part of a general settlement with Alexander’s Estate around 1956-57.[2]

Goldie was co-executor and trustee of Alexander’s will together with the younger brother of Alexander, Beaumont Alexander. However, she relinquished the executorship and trusteeship in 1957 after a long period of harassment from Beaumont Alexander.[3]

When the training course moved to Holland Park in 1960, Margaret Goldie went to teach privately full-time, for many years in Soho Square, London, and in the last years of her life at the Bloomsbury Centre, London. She also gave a few lessons in her home in Richmond.

Goldie was intensely private and refused having her picture taken, to be interviewed, or recorded. When Jean Fischer approached her for the purpose of writing a short biography of her for Goddard Binkley’s The Expanding Self, she not only refused emphatically over the telephone, but also sent a letter expressly forbidding any biographical information on her to appear in the book.[4] Most photographs of her are from the 1930s and 1940s.

Writings

Goldie wrote two letters in the monthly journal Health for All, the first in response to an article about the Alexander Technique in 1957, and the second in response to a letter by Eric de Peyer about children’s education in 1958.[5]

Descriptions

Fiona Robb’s Not To Do is a diary of lessons with Margaret Goldie and the most comprehensive description in existence of her teaching.[6] A shorter description of lessons is Penelope Easten’s ‘Lessons with Miss Goldie’.[7] Penelope Easten also presented a workshop on Goldie’s teaching: ‘What did Miss Goldie understand?’[8] and ‘Miss Goldie’s understanding’ (on key principles of Miss Goldie’s teaching; inhibition, presence, vision; ‘come to quiet; give consent, and the right thing will do itself.’).[9] Goldie is mentioned in Goddard Binkley’s The Expanding Self,[10] and in an interview with Vera Cavling of her time in London in 1948. Rivka Cohen has written an account of a single lesson with Margaret Goldie.[11] A report of a talk by Bryan Niblett contains his memories of having lessons with Margaret Goldie.[12]

Some further reports of her teaching exists in various letters and reports of workshops in STATNews and AUSTATNews.

Obituary

Walter Carrington wrote an obituary of Goldie in The Alexander Journal,[13] and the Direction journal.[14]

Video

Margaret Goldie appears in the 1949-50 film footage of F. M. Alexander teaching; the brief footage shows Alexander taking Goldie in and out of a chair.[15]

Ellen Avery Margaret Goldie *14 December 1905 – †25 January 1997.

See also Beaumont Alexander vs. Margaret Goldie.

References

[1] Margaret Goldie’ statement in the court case Beaumont Alexander and others vs. Margaret Goldie and others. Private collection.
[2] Margaret Goldie’ statement in the court case Beaumont Alexander and others vs. Margaret Goldie and others. Private collection.
[3] Margaret Goldie’ statement in the court case Beaumont Alexander and others vs. Margaret Goldie and others. Private collection.
[4] J. Fischer, personal correspondence.
[5] Margaret Goldie, Letter in Health for All, September 1957. Letter in Health for All, February 1958. An online PDF version is available in the Library section of the Mouritz website (https://mouritz.org/library/articles/index).
[6] Not to ‘Do’ by Fiona Mackenzie Robb (Camon Press, 1999).
[7] ‘Lessons with Miss Goldie’ by Penelope Easten. Booklet (Penelope Easten, 2004).
[8] ‘What did Miss Goldie understand?’ by Penelope Easten in The Congress Papers - 7th international congress edited by Anne Oppenheimer (STATBooks, 2004), pp. 105-14.
[9] ‘Miss Goldie’s understanding’ by Penelope Easten in The Congress Papers 2015, Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science edited by Rachel Gering-Hasthorpe (STAT Books, 2016), pp. 41–46.
[10] The Expanding Self by Goddard Binkley (STATBooks, 1993).
[11] The Up Within the Curve by Rivka Cohen (Author, 2008), pp. 85–86.
[12] ‘Talk by Bryan Niblett’ by Jean Clark in STATNews vol. 6, no. 22 edited by Ann James (STAT, May 2002), pp. 23–24.
[13] ‘Orbituary: Margaret Goldie 1905-1997’ by Walter Carrington in The Alexander Journal no. 16 (STAT, 1999), pp. 44-45.
[14] ‘Margaret Goldie’ by Walter Carrington, in Direction vol. 2 no. 5 (Fyncot Pty, 1997), insert p. 14.
[15] F. M. Alexander 1949-50 DVD narrated by Walter Carrington (Mouritz, 2010).