Harold Preiskel (OH 52) - Endeavour
‘Captain of the School and a highly respected and competent one. Able to talk in many languages and unable to spell any one of them. Lectures fluently and lucidly on jet engines’
So reads the Valete entry in The Hall Magazine for Harold Preiskel and much of it remains true to this day.
Harold has very clear memories of his time at The Hall and many of the staff who taught him. One of the distinctive things about Mr Wathen (the Headmaster) was the real freedom he gave the boys and the responsibility he expected them to show. It was a very sound preparation for life at larger institutions.
The academic education was remarkable also. Pupils were encouraged to interact and help each other thereby raising the standards for all. Harold went on the St Pauls where he became a Senior Foundation Scholar. He found that in several subjects he only reached the level of teaching at The Hall in his A’ level years. He remembers Mr Bathurst in particular who inspired him and gave him a love of history which has lasted all his life.
There are some amusing memories too. The current senior school staff room was used in Harold’s time as a dining room and food and china was transported from the kitchen below by means of a dumb waiter. The top year boys had an ongoing challenge as to who could lower the dumb waiter in the fastest time, using the manual brake. Harold had sneakily marked the rope to indicate when to apply the brake and was the record holder, but one afternoon an attempt was made on this record. The dumb waiter was loaded both inside and on the top with the dirty china from lunch to increase the speed of descent. Unfortunately, the challenger misjudged the brake and everything crashed to the floor in the kitchen below showering the unsuspecting chef with broken china and the remnants of lunch!
After St Pauls, Harold went on to study dentistry and after graduating from Guy’s hospital he won a scholarship in 1963 to study under the legendry Carl Boucher. He obtained his Master’s Degree at Ohio State University before returning to the UK teach, research and practice.
Harold is now the Emeritus Professor of Prosthodontics at King’s College Dental Institute where he founded the dental implant programme. He was very first President of the International College of Prosthodontists and the first non-American President of the American Prosthodontic Society. He has also written and edited a number of books and published some 100 scientific articles. Several of his textbooks are now standard works.
He continues to ‘lecture fluently ‘around the world and claims that he now relies on spell check! He has received numerous awards for his teaching including the appointment as ‘Distinguished Lecturer of the Year 2008 by the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics. The American Prosthodontic Society awarded him their Golden Medallion in 2016, their highest accolade for achievement and the British Society of Prosthodontics awarded him their triennial Gold Medal in April 2017 making him the only clinician to hold both coveted awards.
In between lecturing and writing, Harold now continues to practice from his Wimpole street surgery yet still finds time to pursue the love of jet engines first nurtured at The Hall. He learnt to fly at St Pauls, holds an Airline Transport Licence and flies a range of aircraft from business jets to his beloved ex RAF Chipmunk. He also continues with his love of classical music enjoying his irregular piano lessons.
Harold’s brother Anthony, nephew David, cousin Alan Wick together with Harold’s three sons, Daniel (OH 79) Ronald (OH 82) and Alon (OH 89) all attended The Hall. His grandson Alexander has just joined the school, so he is well placed to give some advice to our current pupils. He suggests they look no further than the school motto ‘Hinc in Altoria’.
‘Take advantage of the foundation in education you are given at The Hall and make sure you fly on to higher places’