COMPANION

Biography

Charles Alexander Neil (1916–58), British teacher of the Technique, who developed his own version of the Alexander Technique and started the Isobel Cripps Centre (1948-1958). Life Charles Neil suffered from severe asthmatic attacks which the Technique alleviated to a great extent. He trained 1933–36 and left Ashley Place in 1937 to teach on his own.[1] [2] Re-Education Centre, Dame Isobel Cripps Centre After the war, in which he served in India, he set up the Re-Education Centre in Holland Park (c. 1947) together with Eric de Peyer, who had also trained with Alexander...
Christopher Stevens (1943-2003), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Chris Stevens was a yoga teacher, and was the British Wheel of Yoga’s first National Organiser in October 1971. He was instrumental in introducing other yoga teachers – such as Ken Thompson and Ray Evans – to the Alexander Technique.[1] Stevens and his then wife, Trish Hemingway, trained at the Constructive Teaching Centre 1976–79.[2] He became Assistant Director to Karen Wentworth’s teachers training course in Aalborg, Denmark, 1984–87, and took over the training...
This section only covers criticisms of Alexander’s character, his personality traits. For other criticisms see below. Criticism of Personality Leonard Wolff wrote in his diary that ‘he [Alexander] was a quack but an honest and inspired quack.’[1] Ludovici in his Religions for Infidels (1961) reported on his first impression of Alexander: Altogether, I thought him too reminiscent of a showman, and there and then decided to have nothing to do with him.[2] Neal Katz asserted that Alexander was a compulsive gambler: ‘F. M. Alexander was a brilliant genius...
David Alexander (1943–2010), US magician, publisher, author and editor. He ran Centerline Press which published US editions of F. M. Alexander’s books as well as the periodical, The Alexander Review. Life David Alexander (no relation to F. M. Alexander) was for forty years a professional stage, close-up and pickpocket magician, performing internationally in several languages, working on cruise ships, nightclubs, television, theatres and private parties. In the 1970s he became a private investigator. In 1983, David started his own publishing company, Centerline Press,...
Dr David Garlick (1933–2002), Australian scientist and teacher of the Alexander Technique. Dr David Garlick was a physiologist and medical research scientist at the University of New South Wales. He trained as a teacher of the Technique with Kri (Christine) Ackers and he later attended her course once a week. Garlick was instrumental in organising a symposium, Proprioception, Posture and Emotion, held at the University of New South Wales 16–17 February 1981, at which both Dr Wilfred Barlow and T. D. M. Roberts presented papers. Garlick edited the papers for publication the...
Deborah Caplan (†2000), US physical therapist and teacher of the Alexander Technique who pioneered the Alexander Technique specifically for back problems. Life Deborah Caplan was the daughter of the novelist and essayist Waldo Frank and of Alexander Technique teacher Alma Frank, who trained with F. M. Alexander. Around the age of 9 or 10 Deborah joined Alexander’s Little School for children in the US. Deborah was a dancer with the Pearl Primus and Jean Erdman companies. She obtained a M.A. from Hunter College and a master’s degree in physical therapy from New York...
Several first-generation teachers wrote and spoke about F. M. Alexander, in particular Lulie Westfeldt, Erika Whittaker, Marjory Barlow,[1] [2] Walter Carrington, F. P. Jones and Elisabeth Walker. See individual biography for details of their writings. Descriptions of F. M. Alexander frequently contain a mixture of descriptions of Alexander’s character and his teaching. Descriptions of Alexander – Books F. Matthias Alexander: The Man and His Work by Lulie Westfeldt contains descriptions of lessons and the teachers training course.[3] The Expanding Self by Goddard...
Dilys M. G. Carrington (1915–2009), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Dilys Carrington was the Co-Director of the Constructive Teaching Centre and made important contributions to the development of the teacher training programme. Life Dilys Jones was born in 1915 in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, she was educated at Kings’ High School for Girls, Warwick, and Bedford College, University of London, where she gained a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Psychology. In 1938 she started having lessons with F. M. Alexander and later in the same year she became his secretary at...
Don Burton (1943–1996), UK teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training. Life Don Burton trained as physiotherapist and then as a teacher of the Technique around 1970–73 at the Constructive Teaching Centre (CTC). Don Burton and other teachers started a group for pupils who wanted intensive work in the Alexander Technique without joining a training course in the basement of CTC around 1978 or 1979. Many of these people went on to train as teachers, and the group can be seen as a forerunner for the ‘morning class’ at CTC. Don Burton went to start...
Dorando Pietri (1885–1942), Italian marathon runner, whose running style in the 1908 London Olympic Games was commented upon by F. M. Alexander. Life and 1908 London Olympic Games Dorando Pietri first participated in cycling competitions in 1903 but soon turned to running. He became famous by winning the Paris Amateur Marathon (30 km) in 1905, and from then on participated in numerous marathons. After winning an important race in Rome in 1906, he went to the 1908 London Olympic Games as one of the favourites. The Marathon Race in London made headlines at the time and secured...
Dr Dorothy S. R. (neé Drew) Morrison (1908-88) was a British surgeon and gynaecologist, teacher of the Technique and practitioner of alternative medicine. Life Morrison gained her MD in 1934 and was later awarded a Gold Medal in Gynaecology. In 1935 she married Leonard David Morrison, an architect. She was a friend of Anthony Mario Ludovici, who had known Dorothy’s father, Guy Drew since 1900. In the late 1930s and early 1940s she lived in Upper Norwood where also Ludovici lived. It was Ludovici who recommended Morrison to see Alexander. Morrison had met Alexander at a...
Dr Andrew Murdoch (1862?–1943), Scottish doctor and pupil and supporter of F. M. Alexander. Life Dr Andrew Murdoch gained his MD in Glasgow in 1884 but settled soon afterwards in Bexhill-on-Sea where he remained in private practice until his retirement. In 1936 his practice was one of the first in the area to build group premises, and it became a flourishing partnership. He was an active member of the BMA for many years, serving both as chairman and president to local divisions. A colleague contributing to the obituary in the BMJ describes Murdoch as humble, yet enthusiastic and...
Edith Alexander, née Page (1865–1938), actress and wife of F. M. Alexander. Edith Page was an actress and singer, with the stage name of Tasca–Page. She was born in Tasmania, at Lemon Springs, and was the daughter of John James, who had a large estate.[1] She married Robert Young in 1883. Robert Young, an amateur entertainer who turned professional in 1899, was a friend of Alexander, and Edith, Robert and Alexander performed together several times in Australia in the late 1890s. Edith’s sister, Maud Page, was also a performer who sometimes joined them. Edith...
Edward Maisel (1917–2008), US journalist and author, and editor of The Resurrection of the Body (1969). Life Edward Maisel graduated from Harvard University. He became a New York based journalist and author. Maisel’s article, ‘Should veterans have legs?’ (1945), influenced the US Senate to conduct an investigation into the health needs of veterans. Maisel went on to serve as Director of Research at the International Centre of the Disabled, as Director of the American Physical Fitness Research Institute, and as Director of Ka Lima O Maui (a sheltered workshop...
Edward H. Owen (1919 – 2000), UK journalist, pupil of F. M. Alexander, and first editor of the Alexander Journal. Edward Owen was a journalist who lived for many years in Guernsey. In 1965 he formed an agency specialising in travel and financial matters in Guernsey, and was the Financial Times offical correspondent for the Channel Isles. Edward Owen was a pupil of F. M. Alexander who encouraged Anthony Spawforth to have lessons and later to train as a teacher. Owen wrote two articles on F. M. Alexander and his work.[1] [2] Shortly after Alexander’s death Edward Owen...
Elisabeth Walker (1914-2013), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life She trained as a radiographer in 1935 at Middlesex Hospital and became assistant to Graham Hodgson. His practice in Upper Brook Street, London, served many royalty and celebrities of the day (Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Mrs Simpson (the Duchess of Windsor) and Vivien Leigh). Elisabeth started having lessons with Alexander in 1937, and in 1938 she and her husband, Dick, started training as teachers of the Technique with F. M. Alexander. They married in 1938 and had six children of which five...
Elizabeth (‘Liz’, ‘Lizzie’) Atkinson (†2011), British teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training. Life Elizabeth Atkinson trained as an actor and had lessons with Elisabeth and Dick Walker at the New College of Speech and Drama. She went on to train at the Constructive Teaching Centre with the Carringtons, 1972–75. She lived and taught for some time in the Hague, Holland. She joined the Alexander Technique Associates which at that time ran a teachers training course in Old Street, London. Upon the departure of Don Burton and other...
Elizabeth (‘Betty’) Langford (1929–2009), UK teacher of the Alexander Technique, author of several books on the Technique, and Head of Training. Life Elizabeth Langford was born in London. In 1952 she married the Hungarian musician Tamas Rajna. She studied violin with Max Rostal. She became the second concertmaster of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. She qualified from the Carringtons at the Constructive Teaching Centre in December 1969. In 1972 she was part of the team of teachers who taught the Technique at John G. Bennett’s (1897–1974)...
Eric de Peyer (1906–90), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life After graduating in English from Oxford he studied archaeology for a short time before joining Alexander’s training course (1936-39). He married Jean in 1938 and they had four sons. He worked with Charles Neil at the Re-Education Centre (of which de Peyer was vice-principal), which became the Isobel Cripps Centre in December 1948. In 1953 de Peyer left to set up his own private practice at Wellington Square, Chelsea. From 1979 he also practised in West Wittering until increasing incapacity from...
Erika Whittaker, née Schumann (1911-2004), German-born British teacher of the Technique. Life Erika was the daughter of Elsie Webb (of the Mappin & Webb silversmith company) and Hans Schumann. Whittaker started having lessons at the age of eight from her aunt, Ethel Webb, and started having lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1929. Between 1929 and 1931 she occasionally assisted Irene Tasker with the Little School. She trained with Alexander 1931–34 and taught the Technique briefly in London, at Ashley Place, and Birmingham. After her marriage to Duncan Whittaker, a...

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