Bernard Hartley 1940-2002
OUP Newsletter Obituary 2002 (by Peter Viney)
Bernie Hartley is known throughout the world of ELT as the co-author of the Streamline English and American Streamline series.
Bernie was born in Blackpool, went to Manchester University, and started his teaching career at secondary level in Liverpool, before moving on to teach EFL in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. He moved to Bournemouth to work first at the Eurocentre, then via a further spell in Saudi Arabia, at the Anglo-Continental School of English in Bournemouth, where he started writing Streamline with Peter Viney.
Bernie Hartley, Switzerland 1962, teacher, school magazine
After Streamline was published by Oxford University Press, Bernie toured extensively in Europe and Latin America, where he became known as a dynamic presenter. Neil Butterfield from OUP said:
“Bernie Hartley was hugely creative, driven and determined that nothing short of brilliant would do. At its best, the Hartley-Viney chemistry was the sort of thing that publishers fantasize about and it gave OUP, the ELT profession, and the world one of the classics of the eighties.”
Streamline is still popular in various editions (2002). His other work included co-editing the Storylines series of fiction graded readers, and books for teaching reading and handwriting.
Bernie was an inspirational classroom teacher, and a dynamic teacher-trainer. His detailed and thought-provoking analysis of classroom skills was second to none. Streamline is remembered for its innovative design and use of colour, its careful grading and for its contexts. Few people comment on its close attention to formulas and fixed expressions, which Bernie had a great interest in years before they became known as ‘lexical chunks’.
Bernie retreated from active involvement in ELT in the 1990s, though most of his friends were ELT teachers, and he played cricket for the local ELT teachers team into his late fifties. He was a private and independent person, and loved walking the Dorset coastal path alone. Everyone who worked with Bernie will remember the twinkle in his eye. Bernie had that twinkle when he was teaching, Bernie had that twinkle whenever he was speaking.
When people remarked on Streamline’s success, Bernie would always say that he had been very lucky. Not true. Bernie had invested years of classroom experience, skilful analysis and above all talent into his craft. Bernie died of cancer in October 2002, but his personality will live on in the memories of every one who met him, especially in the memories of so many learners and teacher-trainees.
John and Viv Forster, Spain.
We remember Bernie during the field testing days of the creation of Streamline Departures, and the fun we had with it in the classroom. Drills have never been the same since. There are memories too of drama evenings, one in particular when Viv parodied a song from “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” with words to say farewell to both Peter and Bernie as they left Anglo Continental School of English to follow their adventures. That brought tears to a few eyes. Bernie was a very keen cricket player, and displayed a deceptive medium pace delivery which caused the downfall of many an unwary batsman. No doubt further details of his exploits on the field will be recounted elsewhere by previous captains and colleagues of the Summer game; one in which I was closely involved was when I was Hon Sec of our team, and had occasion to purchase very smart maroon caps for players. They were received with mixed receptions, but Bernie was delighted with his: he wore it everywhere, in the classroom, staffroom, pub and in bed. We profoundly echo sentiments expressed all around as to our great sadness at his death.
Roy Gilbert, then head of OUP New York
Very sad news about Bernie. I only met him once, when we met to discuss the second edition of Streamline. Streamline has been part of my ELT life for many years. First as a teacher and DOS at ILC in Japan, then promoting and selling it in Japan and the US and then publishing the second edition.
Alison MacGowan, OUP Brazil manager 1979-1984
I have just heard via Ken Wilson about the untimely death of Bernie Hartley. It’s strange really, as I have just moved myself and my business back to Brasil, where I was Manager of OUP from 1979 to 1984 and it was Streamline which started the whole ELT business moving for OUP in Brasil. Bernie came over as you probably remember on many occasions. He always gave good workshops and he was extremely popular here.
In more recent times I lost contact- and I of course moved out of publishing completely in 1993 so there was less word on the grapevine, but I will always remember Bernie as a kind and considerate person (particularly when in the beginning I had no idea what I was doing!) and as an excellent teacher. Please do pass on my condolences to his family, and thanks again for letting me know.
Simon Greenall, author, President of IATEFL
Ken Wilson has passed on the sad news about Bernie. I never met him, so this message is more of a way sending you my condolences. All textbook writers working today owe you and and Bernie a great debt for showing us the way.
Richard Morris, Designer Streamline series
Just got back from holiday and I’m plowing through a zillion e-mails and hit on yours. Sad news indeed about Bernard. I have a very fond memory of sitting in the garden of the Victoria Arms (before it was all done up!) next to the Cherwell with you and Bernie and Keith Rose (Streamline editor). We must have been having a meeting about Streamline, anyway it was a jolly time. I wish we could go back to those days of relaxed publishing lunches.
NORMAN WHITNEY, OUP author
Just to say how sorry I am to hear of Bernie’s death, especially at such an early age.
NICK DAWSON, Longman, promotions executive & author
Bernie’s death must be particularly sad for you, bringing back memories of so many hours spent in the struggle and humour of creation. Streamline, like Louis Alexander’s early work, was a tremendous support to young teachers and a joy forlearners. The anarchic humour of so many lessons gave so many learners their first experience of humour in a foreign language. The late Susan Halliwell used to say that undertsanding a joke in a foreign language was the first step to mastery.As teachers or teacher-trainers, we secretly hope that our work will give us a degree of immortality. Only the truly great teachers can actually expect to be remembered.
Martin Eayres, Editor IATEFL ISSUES
Although I never knew Bernie, like many teachers I cut my teeth on Streamline Departures, which was a milestone in ELT.