Howard Gordon-Martin V62
1957 -1962 were 5 years which came close to being ‘the best years of my life’. They fell short of this old adage because subsequent years as a husband and father have been even more rewarding!
My 5 years at Charterhouse had many highs and a few lows, but 1962 is the year I must select as ‘my top memory’. As Head of School and House, and Captain of Football, it was a year of some achievement and much responsibility for me. The distinguished Old Verite, Lord ‘Pug’ Ismay, summarised this year appropriately when he wrote in his Memoirs the following dedication - “For Howard Martin who has brought much honour to my old House by being Head of School and Captain of Football - from Ismay, (Verites 1900 – 04) - August ‘62 , with every good wish”. Once a Verite always a Verite!
The first years after leaving Charterhouse were in stark contrast to the triumphs of ’57 to ‘62. First came 9 months in the U.S. as an English Speaking Union exchange scholar. I travelled extensively, was spoiled outrageously and rapidly developed a taste for ‘Hollywood and Acapulco’! I returned to the UK to go up to Oxford and found that the lack of any structure or routine coinciding with the developing ‘Swinging Sixties’ all combined to make me totally unprepared for university life.
Kipling’s words, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same,” come to mind! I was sent down from Oxford after one year after being too idle to sit my Law Mods.
I got a job in the City which I hated. I struggled to “look in the mirror” and confront this massive change in my fortunes.
However, after some good, but tough and uncompromising advice from my former Headmaster, Brian Young, an unlikely career in the textile industry started to emerge in ’65. Following a brief training period in Scotland, I was sent as an export salesman to the U.S. and, with rapid promotion up the executive ladder during the ‘60’s, I took advantage of this chance to turn things round.
Over the next 25 years I was fortunate to manage distinguished International British brand names, (including Dunhill, Pringle and Gieves and Hawkes) around the world. During this period I was blessed with a very happy private life and with my long suffering wife, Clemancy, I have helped to bring up and educate three sons, two daughters (four of whom are OCs!) and a stepson and a stepdaughter. With six grandchildren (so far!) life continues to be extremely happy and very busy.
I retired earlier this year having established myself as a Consultant to the Textile Industry 20 years ago. Before Covid 19 any time remaining after family activities was totally consumed by 1) watching most sports around the world; 2) theatre, concert, museum and gallery visits and 3) travel at home and abroad.
At Charterhouse I was fortunate to benefit from having outstanding Head and House Masters in Brian Young and Antony Rowan-Robinson and a number of inspiring 'Beaks', including 'Freddie' Ives, 'Tony' Wreford Brown, 'Dick' Crawford and 'A.S.' White. They all taught me that Ambition and Team Spirit were worthy values and respect for Tradition and Deference was OK.
My parents and Charterhouse helped me understand that my responsibilities are more important than my rights. Privileges create opportunities which generate responsibilities for which we are accountable. A SENSE OF HUMOUR HELPS TOO!