The Rt Hon Jack Straw returned to Brentwood School yesterday to give a lecture to student members of the Sir Antony Browne Society, as well as students from local schools.
A former student himself from 1957 – 1964, Mr Straw gave an enlightening lecture on Iran & Iraq, and a wider explanation of the origins of the Gulf conflict. He talked at length about the current disagreements in the region, both economic and religious, with a particular focus on Iran and Saudi Arabia, bringing a valuable personal account of his meetings with contemporaries during his time as Foreign Secretary.
At the end he happily answered some difficult questions from students relating to the talk and in particular the decision to go to war in 2003. As usual he stayed behind afterwards to chat to students informally and enjoy supper in the Dining Halls.
Prior to the lecture, the Headmaster, Ian Davies, was delighted to show Mr Straw around the stunning new Bean Academic Centre, and he remarked how his old ground floor classroom had been transformed as part of the development.
The original library with its characteristic curved oak ceiling, which has been kept in its original state, was a particular highlight as he recalled old teachers and an unexpectedly large collection of trade union literature.
Mr Davies commented: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome Jack back to the School and we’re very grateful for the valuable time he offers our students. I’m glad he had an opportunity to see our new development, and that his visit brought back happy memories for him.”