Martin Drury, SCR 1982-2016

Martin Drury, photographed in the Inner Quad

We are sad to announce that Martin Drury, Classics Master and former Head of White House, died on 4th January. Martin was a hugely gifted classicist who inspired many boys over 34 years at the school. He was highly respected in the field of Classics; after undertaking graduate work at Cambridge on Ovid, he contributed an impressive Appendix of Authors and Works and a splendidly concise and elegant Metrical Appendix to the Cambridge History of Classical Literature (1982), with his contributions gratefully acknowledged by the authors in their preface.

While Martin was always at ease teaching the most challenging of texts in Latin or Greek, he was also keen to make both subjects accessible to those pupils yet to master them. Indeed, his Greek textbook for beginners, Ganymedes, served as a superb introduction for a generation of MTS Hellenists, and is remembered with fondness by those who in this way first encountered the language. Martin was a popular and active figure in the Senior Common Room and during his time as President he also became the first representative of the SCR on the Governing Body. Martin will be sorely missed; he is survived by his partner Jill and children Izzy and Xander.

Please send your tributes to: and we will publish them here.

Monic Chotai (2009-2014)
He was a great teacher, very knowledgeable and passionate. I would always look forward to my Latin classes just to be taught by him. May he rest in peace.

Neil Whithear (1983-1990)
I had my first introduction to Latin in the third form in 1983 under Martin’s tutelage. He provided an engaging and entertaining way of teaching a totally alien subject. Latterly as a form master in the upper third he was a great mentor and I remained a pupil of his until the sixth form studying both Latin and Classics to A level and then heading on to a classics degree at UCL. His fervour and passion for both the subjects and his pupils inspired many young minds to a fabulous future of cracking cryptic crosswords. I served as Head of White House under his guidance in my final year at MTS where he was a great mentor and encourager of house competition. Recently some fellow alumni of our year got together from around the world to send a card on his retirement and we were reminded of a poem constructed by none other than myself, Garreth Hayes, Adrian Boehler, Donal Sheridan and Jeremy Mash.

Druribus was sittingus on the deskinorum,
Deskimus collapsticus and Drury on the floorum.

Aditiya Chopra (1986-1991)
RIP Martin
I never studied under Mr Drury but he appointed me head of house and guided me through that year with a grace and civility that makes this news so sad to hear. I’d appreciate it if the school were to pass on my condolences to his family. I’m sure many of old boys will remember him as I do, a kind, understated and thoroughly decent man.

Dave Lamb (2003-2008)
As an extremely untalented Latin student Mr Drury always took the time to try and explain his subject in a way that made it easier to understand and I still have a poster of the painting of “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco Goya he gave me as a prize for a homework project I did.

My thoughts and condolences go out to all his friends and family at this tough time.

Mark Weinman (1998-2005)
Mr Drury was a huge part of my time and experience at Taylor’s. As a proud ‘White house’ student myself, I was lucky enough to have Mr Drury as my personal tutor all of the way through seven years at the school. He was no doubt a huge influence on my journey. Someone who witnessed my highs and lows of school life through my end of term teachers reports and educational assessments. (Not to mention a few work parties and detentions!)

I have fond memories of Thursday morning tutor sessions in his classroom. My older brother Richard was also in these sessions and I always loved that we were both part of that group together. Mr Drury always created a very calm environment and was always very aware and in tune with each of his tutee’s personal situations. He would take a great interest in my sporting achievements; congratulating me on hockey goals scored that weekend, or rugby tries I had managed to get over the line. More importantly he always pushed and pushed for me to become a leader for White house. This helped to give me great confidence and I went on to captain the house at many events. These skills are no doubt a huge part of who I am and how I work today. I have Mr Drury to thank for that.

But the thing I hold most dear from Mr Drury’s quality of teaching and advice was the interest he showed in my acting. As a fan of the performing arts himself, he would attend every one of my performances; plays, house drama, duologue competitions. He offered me so much praise and made me believe that a career in the arts was possible - that I had found my greatest talent and that I should not waste it. He made me believe in myself and championed my potential.
Today, 15 years on from leaving the school, I am still an actor, enjoying a career on stage and screen. I sincerely recognise the importance Mr Drury had on my development through education and I’m saddened that I didn’t get the chance to thank him properly for the time and support he offered me through my time at Taylors’. It is with great sadness that I learn of his passing. I met his family many times at house picnics and my deepest sympathies and thoughts are with them all at this difficult time. I will be raising a toast to Martin tonight and will always remember him with huge admiration and great appreciation. Here’s to you, my tutor, Mr Drury. Thank you. May you rest in peace.

Jackie Weinman (mother of Richard and Mark Weinman)
We were so very sorry to hear the sad news that Mr Drury had recently passed away.
He was form tutor to both our sons - Richard & Mark Weinman and would sincerely like to say how much we appreciated his support, advice, guidance & friendship not only to them - recognising them as brothers and individuals but also to us as a family.

They enjoyed their time at Merchant Taylor’s enormously - making life time friends along the way. But Mr Drury influence, as a caring and approachable tutor and a very kind & respected man, will also be a good role model for them throughout their lives.

We send our love and best wishes to his wife and family at this very hard & sad time but hope knowing how much he was appreciated might help a little.

Chrishan Raja (2002-2007)
I was very sorry to learn about Mr. Drury’s death this afternoon. He was a wonderful teacher; whose great intellect came across so clearly even when teaching us A-level Latin. Peter Belden and I used to fondly refer to him – including once or twice in his presence (to his mild bemusement / amusement, I was never quite sure) – as “The Great Man”.

Arif Mawany (1991-1998)
As a former pupil of Mr Martin Drury, I am saddened to hear of his recent passing. He was an outstanding teacher and possessed knowledge of the classics that put him among the very best.

I had the pleasure of being taught by him upto GCSE latin and various sports.

My deepest condolences go to his family. May he rest in peace.

The following tributes are taken from the OMT Facebook group:

Victor Campbell (1993-1998)
Oh my word. This is such awful news.
Martin was a fantastic and inspirational teacher. And a lovely, caring, and witty man.
He taught me both Greek and Latin during my 5 yrs at MTs ('93-'98), and thanks to him (and the other excellent Classics teachers) helped me gain a place at university to study Classics.
I am so glad I was able to attend Martin's retirement celebration at a special event at the School in June 2016. Some school teachers leave such a lasting impression, that even 18 years after leaving a school, you do whatever you can to attend an event in their honour.
My deepest condolences go to all his family and friends. What a truly lovely and great man he was.
As the ancient Geeks would say:
ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος
"He whom the gods love dies young"

Dean Cresswell (1991-1998)
Sad news indeed. Martin was my tutor throughout my time at school. Thoughts are very much with his family at this time.

Oliver Campbell (1990-1995)
Very sad news. A lovely man with a fine intellect. I don't think you could receive a better classical education than with Mssrs. Woolley, Drury, Critchley, and Pye.

Sam Haberman (2002-2009)
So sorry to hear. He was a great teacher and that quote about his blend of gravity, levity and all-round love of learning sums him up brilliantly. Wishing condolences, good health and long life to the rest of the Drury family.

Jamie Patel (2005-2010)
Condolences to his family and all who were in his classes. He was not a teacher of mine at Taylors' but the initials MFD were always known to be legendary.

Greshan Rasiah (2007-2012)
Such a dedicated and humble teacher, I owe so much to him as do, no doubt, generations of OMTs.

Ben Parker (1989-1996)
What sad news. I remember him as as a great and kind form master, and very much enjoyed his Latin lessons. Very interesting to read the Taylorian piece and realise how talented he really was. A great loss.

Kevin O'Sullivan (1987-1994)
A real loss. Fondly remembered as a kind form master, engaging Classics teacher and Taylorian co-Editor.

Robin Horn (1982-1987)
Very sad news indeed. An outstanding teacher. My thoughts are with his family. RIP

Thomas Nelson (2002-2009)
Very sad news. Martin was an excellent teacher, and I have many fond memories: besides 'Ganymedes', there was his TTP ('Trips, Traps and Pitfalls'), his love of Latin jokes, and his insistence that we all learn *that* speech from Gladiator by heart ('My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius ...'). I felt very privileged to give a talk at his retirement event in 2016, the last time I saw him. RIP

Benjamin Levy (2005-2010)
Very sad to hear this. His erudition was formidable - went way beyond simply teaching the syllabus or the basics.
Personal memories are his constant refrain, when talking of modifying Latin declensions or conjunctions, of how “You just CHOP OFF the “I” - chop it!”
Also, hearing Mozart’s Horn Concerto booming through the corridors of the school if you arrived there in the early morning.
He was of the old guard; a generation of teachers who really could have gone on to achieve anything for themselves in harnessing their compendious knowledge, but rather nobly chose to pass it on to an emerging generation of young classicists.
A real loss.

Jonny Brick (2001-2006)
Condolences to Izzy and Xander. Without Ganymedes I might well have not ended up with an MA in Classics

Jonathan Flood (1985-1991)
Very sad news indeed. I saw him the last time I was at the school, which was obviously not long before he retired.
He taught me for one term of Greek, in the fourth form and was an excellent teacher.

Marc Blank-Settle (1981-1988)
I’m another with fond memories of Mr Drury (if you’d asked me to give his first name, I’d have struggled - but then it was a LONG time ago)
He taught me Latin and possibly Ancient Greek too (although that might have been Mr Woolley). I also have vague memories that he led a trip to Rome to see the Latin sites in 1985 or 1986 where we partnered up with a girls’ school from Aberdeen which was eye-opening in many ways. I’m now passing on my classical education to my young son, so Mr Drury’s excellent tuition will live on.

Michael Holmstock (2002-2009)
This was very sad news to wake to this morning.
As others have written already MFD was a fantastic and inspirational teacher. I was fortunate enough to have him as my Latin teacher at various times in my school career, where he instilled a real appreciation for Latin poetry and ancient history. I also have fond memories of his love of the chariot race scene in Ben Hur which I recall watching on an almost annual basis.
However, I feel especially fortunate to have had him as my tutor throughout my time at MTS and it is in this role that I will primarily remember him. He was kind, compassionate and incredibly supportive when I needed it most and he was constantly encouraging me to reach my full potential. I will always remember how enthusiastic he was when Ben Rosen and I established the Cortex society.
My thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.

Ishaan Tugnait (2010-2017)
RIP, really sad news to hear. He was my tutor from year 7 all the way till lower sixth, as well as my Latin teacher for GCSE. A really kind and knowledgeable man, I’m sure he’ll be missed by many.

Charlie Merriman (2006-2011)
Will miss Mr Drury very much

Peter Belden (2002-2007)
The legend, so sad.

David Mark Smith (1983-1990)
Very sad to hear this - MFD was one of the nicest fellows and taught me classics from 3rd form up until Michael Pye in the 4th form. A nice story I will always remember.
Martin took great pleasure in challenging the class to spell difficult words, and going around the class until someone failed. He upped the ante one year by betting 10 pence, then a pound, to spell "accommodation". The double M was a bugger. Of course he got around the entire class and Smith was the only one to get it wrong, and lose everyone a pound, and got the requisite shouting at from my class mates.
So a week later, MFD tries it again, betting instead 5 pounds EACH. Every single one of us got the word right, and I've never seen a teacher look so foxed. Come end of term, he said he'd be good for it - 30 x 5 pound was probably a lot for a teacher in 1984. So he says he's been researching, and found that the value of a Scottish pound (before devolution) is approximately 3 pence, so he owed us only 15 pence each, for which he'd bought us all a cream egg instead for end of term.
Come to find out when I got home that was completely bogus, as Scottish pounds were one to one with the English pound.
Nice one MFD, you were a great educator and a great man, hope that one makes you chuckle in spirit. Remember you fondly, rest easy.

Paul Nockels (1998-2003)
Very sad to hear this. He was my Latin teacher for a large part of my time at MTS and form teacher too! The classics department had some big stalwarts alongside this man (Mr Woolley, Mr Critchley and Mr Husband's). Condolences to the Drury family!

Fari Tadayon (1989-1996)
Very Sad to hear this. I do remember his Latin lessons very well and have good memories of him. Condolences to all the family

Dan Sen (1981-1988)
So sad. Condolences for his family. He was form teacher for myself and Marc Blank-Settle (first U3 form Room 16) and taught us Greek/ Latin (A level).
I think my interest in Classical Civilisation (Ancient History) came from him.

Ravee R. Boolchand Nandwani (1987-1994)
Sad news! Taught us Latin and u11 cricket!

Gavin Birrell (1983-1990)
Very sad news. My Latin teacher for 3 years and my form master (U3D). David Mark Smith ‘s story about his Scotch pound wriggle was only recounted last month! The cream egg was delicious.
David Mark Smith
Gavin Birrell yes it was. I remember him chucking them at us one by one, like it was yesterday. I’d forgotten MFD was our form master too.

Tony Noble (1998-2003)
Mr Drury taught me Latin. I did not appreciate it then but I now realise just how much he taught me about the skill of learning. RIP

Peter Lawson (SCR 1982-1989)
Martin was the from the top drawer. Eight of us began in 1982: he, I, Peter Suddaby (Maths), Richard Buckner (Chaplain), Simon Williams (Music), Paul Overton (Chemistry), Tim Luscombe (Geography) and Philip Duckworth (Physics). Martin was a natural as a schoolmaster, this owing not only to his erudition but to his emotional intelligence (a term not yet coined back then) and his loyalty to his colleagues and pupils alike. He was magnetic as a personality and led by example, this being unfailingly one of selflessness. A great man

Michael Loveday (1986-1991)
Condolences to his family. Wonderful man - kind, clever, and wise. Good to reminisce through these stories of him. Fond memories of Latin and Greek lessons and being in White House under his leadership and guidance. He was also my personal tutor and I remember him advising me about subject choices in a very open-minded way, a way that stayed with me. My lasting impression of his teaching is his rare combination of gentleness, good humour and firm will.

Paul Rdnst
Just seen this. How sad. My sincerest condolences to his family. Like others above, I have many fond memories of Mr Drury's teaching, which combined intellectual brilliance and rigour with a total lack of stuffiness and ostentation. A fundamental part of a fantastic Classics department which inspired me to study the subject at university - for which I will always be grateful

Chris Driver (2011-2016)
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr Drury. 
He was a wonderful and effective teacher to whom I attribute my love of classics.
It is a very rare thing to have been fortunate enough to meet, and be taught by, such an eccentric and fascinating character, his passion for classics and teaching was apparent every single day.
He was always one of my favourite teachers during my time at the school, I'm sure he will be dearly missed by many.


Return to Obituaries