Celebrating the life of Professor Harold Silver

Harold’s memorable funeral took place at 2pm on Friday 27th August 2021 at St John’s Chapel in Oxford, With the reception continuing outside his house in Old Headington. His daughters Claire & Vicki organised the programme wonderfully well with Kieran giving an outstanding introduction and eulogy supported by Josef, Alf and Vicki & Claire

Harold Silver wrote and researched extensively on educational history and policy. He and his wife, Pamela, collaborated on research projects and co-authored articles, reports and books. Between 1980 and 1983 Harold Silver, then Principal of Bulmershe College of HE in Reading, and Pamela Silver undertook a research project funded by the Social Science Research Council entitled, ‘British and American educational strategies against poverty in the 1960s and 1970s’. This work was expanded in subsequent years and the results were eventually published as An Educational War on Poverty: American and British Policy-making, 1960-1980 (Cambridge University Press, 1991). This book analysed the role of education in the American ‘war on poverty’ from 1964, and in Britain from the appointment of the Plowden Committee on primary schools. It examined attempts in the two countries to use education to break the ‘cycle of disadvantage’.

During the course of their research, the Silvers not only drew on a large number of written sources, but also conducted taped interviews with a wide range of individuals, such as educationists and policy-makers, in both the United States and Britain.

In 1982, Professor Harold Silver invited Ken Carter to become a Senior Research Fellow to a Berkshire College’s Consortium and to address the issues of FHE (Further, Higher and Continuing Education) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. Three years later in 1985, Professor Silver helped and encouraged him to set up Deafax as a registered charity, but to be based on the Bulmershe campus, which would have a remit to address and challenge the issues of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), language, literacy, communication and inclusion for deaf and hearing children, young people and adults locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

When Bulmershe merged with the University, Deafax continued to offer its many innovative projects and support services to deaf and hearing personnel and students throughout the University. After a period of being the Berkshire Advisory Lecturer on Special Needs, Ken later took charge of Deafax and helped the organization at one point to generate an income of £1million. It has continued to make considerable progress under the leadership of Helen Lansdown who attended Bulmershe as an English Graduate in the areas of innovation and research.

Helen, Ken and all at Deafax owe a great deal to Harold Silver for his outstanding & selfless support. He will long be remembered by his daughters Claire & Vicki as a loving father and a multi-talented individual.

Photo of Ken Carter, Helen Lansdown & Professor Harold Silver