Date Posted... Feb 9th 2021




Ken Holland CO67

Ken tells us about his journey since leaving Truro School and his career combining teaching and photography.

Ken Holland attended the school from 1960 to 1967 along with his brother  Chris CO70, who now lives in Queensland, Australia and their cousins John Holland CO54,  Edwin Bennett CO62,  Paul Robinson CO61 and  Brian Robinson CO57.

Ken had always wanted to go to Truro School, mainly because it had a swimming pool! He has fond memories of playing sports including swimming, football and cricket (breaking his thumb during a cricket match whilst taking a catch in the slips) and describes himself as “one of the few who enjoyed cross-country runs!”.  He also recollects getting caught by  Mr Burrell  (Headmaster 1959-1986) for bunking off school early one Saturday morning with fellow classmate  Roger Taylor CO67 .

Generally, I enjoyed my years at Truro.  Teenage years can be full of uncertainty and occasional confusion and Truro School helped me through that time. It wasn’t always due to the facts I learned in class, but more about the life skills that are so essential.” 

Ken describes many of his Truro School teachers as inspirational and influential, with  Mr Shrimpton  and  Mr Jackson  inspiring him to study Natural Science at college and  Mr Penna  behind his choice of Geography as his main subject.  “Years later I was reminded of Mr Penna when awarded my Fellowship from the Royal Geographical Society for my book Little Poland: a photo essay of the Polish Camp near Newton Abbot.” This book featured on BBC Spotlight a few years ago and is now at the Polish Cultural Institute in London.  

From an early age Ken wanted to become a teacher, stemming from his love of learning and desire to pass on the joy of discovery and understanding to others. “I studied Education at Southlands College, Wimbledon, gaining my Teachers Certificate. It was a Methodist College, part of London University, and was also where I met my wife.” 

Ken went on to teach in various schools in St Austell and Hereford, before becoming a Headteacher in East Devon and Torquay, and was awarded an honorary degree from Roehampton University for services to education.  

Ken is a passionate photographer. For many years, he combined teaching with working part-time in photography, before going on to work in design and print at Exeter University during his mid-forties.  He also worked in photography, with students and lecturing staff, as well as doing portrait and commercial work .  This move was unplanned, and in Ken’s words: “a great adventure in many ways“.  

As well as publishing a variety of books Ken has received many awards in connection with his photography, including two distinctions from the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and representing England at a photography exhibition (he was awarded a gold medal for best print).  Although now officially retired, Ken enjoys passing on his photography skills and recently ran photography workshops as well as volunteering at the Royal Photographic Society. “I am often invited to lecture and judge and was honoured to be invited to be a member of the panel that awards RPS Distinctions worldwide. This also involves giving individual advice and tutorials to prospective applicants.”   

Asked if he has any advice about career choices, Ken says “I don’t think it matters which career you choose, just make sure you enjoy your work, and always be prepared to take on a new challenge if it presents itself.” In that spirit he also made an appearance on ITV’s Krypton factor!  

Ken and wife Rosy have been married for 49 years and nowadays live in Devon. “South Devon is beautiful, with a sea view from our house and Dartmoor only a 20-minute drive away. Our house name is Lowenna which Cornish for joy, peace and happiness“.  They have two children:  Andrew, who is an estates manager in Bristol, and Clare who followed in her parents’ educational footsteps and became a headteacher in Hertfordshire. They also have two lovely grandsons.  

Ken stays active, swimming at his local leisure centre as well as in the sea “when it’s warm” and he completed the Sport Relief Swimathon at the age of 69! He loves walking in his local area and travels when he can both within the UK and abroad, including visits to his brother Chris in Australia. He also plays guitar, occasionally performing with his friends at his local Jazz Festival, and raises money for Shelterbox. A keen supporter of Exeter Chiefs rugby, Ken is also a member of his local Methodist Church.  

Ken still visits Cornwall when he can. “It’s where I grew up and I have relations still living there, I always feel a buzz when I cross the Tamar“. He also visited the school a few years ago to attend the class of 1967 reunion.  Ken tells us “My future lies in my children and grandchildren. I hope that I can still pass on to them some of the wisdom that I have picked up on life’s journey.”  

Ken would love to get back in touch with former classmates, so please email:  [email protected]   

Ken and his Family

Red Fox Drinking‘ taken by Ken

Reflections of Innocence‘ taken by Ken

‘Way Out from Little Poland‘ series-Gold Medal Winner

‘Beware of Zombies’ from Ken’s ‘Photography as Therapy series’

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