Letters & Memories

Dear David,

Thank you very much for your letter which was a surprise and most welcome. As I lay in bed the day of it's arrival Dartington was churning over in my mind way past midnight. Thank goodness we retain most of our long term memory so most of those very happy years came back vividly, but there are some missing pieces. We were blessed and I believe privileged to have spent our formative years at Dartington. My father went through the British public school system and hated it, which was why my brother Julian and I were put into Dartington. Julian was born in 1936 and started in the Junior School, which I could not find on my visit, and I was born in 1933. My calculations indicate that I am two years older than you David, but we must have all been at the school through the same period 1940 to 1947. Julian and I left in 1947 when our parents moved from London to Surrey and went to a day high school at Epsom. As you know David attending classes at school was optional so most of what I remember at Foxhole was doing things away from the classroom, like building tree houses in the forest at the back of the gym, working on the school farm, visiting U.S. Army camps that were in the area, swimming nude in the coed pool which seemed very natural. Also I was very active in sports cricket and soccer. The playing field I noticed is still there down a little walkway from the front enterance to the building. Like an old home I could go back tomorrow and find my own way around. Do not remember any student or teachers names, except Mr. Curry the headmaster, my best friend Giles, and a Peter S who was a bit of a bully. On my return visit I walked up the hill to Dartington Hall and walked around the beautiful gardens, and had lunch at a tent set up next to the hall. just as I remembered it 50 yrs back. Will give you a summary on what I have done since leaving school. Yes I am in good health and enjoying a pleasant life, thank you. Hope your quest to find other Dartonians is successful.

Very Best wishes, Sean Foley Sean Maurice Foley


Sean Maurice Foley, Dartington Hall School , 1940 - 1947

The war years was a good time to be at Dartington, living in London I remember traveling from Paddington to Totnes each term on the old GWR steam trains. My father was the Foreign Editor on the Daily Express so we had to live near Fleet Street. My brother Julian and I spent seven very happy years at Dartington, and now would like to with David Elliotts help--communicate with any Dartington alumni. In 1947 I left Dartington at the age of 14 and attended Sherwood School in Epsom, Surrey. Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do after graduating from high school I next found myself called up to do my national service. The next two years 1951-53 were spent in Germany in the Queens Royal West Regiment.
Leaving the Army in 1953 I went to Wesminster Hotel School for two years to get my City & Guilds diplomas in cooking and hotel management. By 1955 my father had left Fleet Street and a good pension to start his own newspaper in Cyprus, my mother, brother and sister went with him. I decided to go off on another tack and travel around the world while I was young and single. For three years I worked on the P&O, Cunard, Union Castle, Royal Mail passenger shipping lines as a chef. In 1958 having decided to get my land legs back I had a summer job at a hotel in Bournemouth and met my wife Marilyn. We married that year and our daughter Penelope Anne was born in 1959.

Returning to London in 1960 I worked in the Savoy Group Hotels in various capacities as an assistant manager. Very interesting catering to the rich and famous.

I962 was the year I came to America to seek fame and fortune. Knowing New York from the time I had worked on the Queen Mary it made a logical starting point. Luck was on my side and I got hired at the prestigious Jacks 21 Club as a sous chef; with the reputation that British cooking has I was surprised to be chosen by a French chef. In fact we became great friends, in the year that I was with him he became my mentor, and even got me an interview to work in the White House Kitchen. I did go to Washinton for the interview and also talked to Marriott Corp. who has their headquarters in D.C. In 1963 Marriott was just starting to expand into the hotel business, they only had six then. The future was there so I,joined them, and moved the family to Maryland. After a six week training period, worked opening new hotels all over the U.S. From 1975-95 I worked for United Airlines in their Food Service Division as a Catering Manager, and was based in Los Angeles. Now that I am retired Marilyn & I travel a lot, and my hobby is painting watercolours. Our son Kevin is an airline pilot who hopes one day to be flying for United as a captain.