the mcmillan sisters and steiner’s visit to deptford

read this fine blog post on the McMillan sisters’ nursery in Deptford in the London area, and how Steiner came to visit it during a trip to the UK. This is how Steiner was described (and it is always so interesting to see how his contemporaries described him, then and there, not long afterward) by McMillan in a letter to a friend:

‘He came here and everything seemed new and wonderful as he entered the room… The whole world is a whispering gallery to him, and vibrations reach him for which we have no name’. She later recalled ‘how in walking with her round the school he kept telling her, very concretely, of the spiritual presence of her sister Rachel with whom she had begun this work – whose death not long before had been a very heavy blow for her’ (according to George Adams, cited in ‘A man before others: Rudolf Steiner remembered’, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993).

And this is Steiner’s description of the nursery:

‘Today I was able to accept her invitation to visit the nursery and school established by her at Deptford, London. Three hundred of the very poorest population, from the ages of two to twelve, are wonderfully cared for there by her… one sees at work in the various classes youngsters who are spiritually active, happy in soul, well-behaved and growing healthy in body. It is an equal pleasure to see these children at play, to see them learning, eating and resting after meals’.

Source for the latter quote appears to be ‘Rudolf Steiner speaks to the British: lectures and addresses in England and Wales’, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998.