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Tired of Aboriginal women being used as punchlines for cheap laughs from talentless hacks. Leila Gurruwiwi alielmg88) July 22, 2018.

Elmfield, the original school building on Kings Road
which was demolished when the one-way system was constructed.
© The Royal Windsor Website

Pat Larkin - 19 May 2008

Hooray, you were in the same house as me - Elm. Beech was always 'top dog' in my day, I don't know about yours. School motto: 'Hold On, Hold Fast, Hold Out'. That must have always been the motto I suppose. Yes, I had Miss Meech for English and music, well singing, choir and school concerts. She would tell us to 'project our voices - let the sound hit the hard palate in the roof of the mouth, not the soft'. We would go through a particular piece of music so many times and sing, re-sing and then, do it again. She did like perfection - great teacher. I appreciate the school more now than perhaps I did in the time spent there. Did you 'Beat the Bounds' on Foundation Day? I think the younger girls amongst us couldn't understand why we 'walked round the school perimeter', when we did that every day anyway. Lady Mary Crichton was always invited on that special day. She'd say a few words and then Miss Shawcross, The Headmistress, would stand and tell us about how the school came to be. School uniform, well, yes, it did cost so much and my mother held down several jobs to pay for it all, one of them at the castle. Caleys sold quite a lot of the outfit. I wore a green skirt, 'dayella' (sp), blouse, green tie, with tiepin and house badge, green cardigan or v-neck jumper. Brown or black shoes with beige, knee-hi socks in winter term, brown sandals with white ankle socks in summer. The first summer term, the dresses were green and white checks, the next summer term, much to my mother's dismay, it was changed to green and white candy-stripe. Hockey boots and stick, tennis racquet, (given to me as I've explained in another contribution on the forum), green, knee-length shorts-cum-skirt, (probably like yours). Gym bag, plimsolls, yellow Aertex gym blouse. Any ribbons had to be dark green and I had plaits then, so bought some green ribbon in Woolworths. No ball pens, only fountain, pencil case, oh it goes on and on... I can't even think what it all would cost today. I had Miss Williams for maths too. She terrified me, but, I can still remember simultaneous and quadratic equations, simple and compound interest. How I'd work them out now though, is another matter. She was very strict and I remember the days when I cycled into the Kings Road double gates, I'd put my bike in the racks, then walk past the few cars parked there, just to see if her car was there. I still remember the number plate, it was 'CAP 20'. [Ed: I thought it was CBL 62] I won't ever forget Miss Williams. Miss Lerrigo taught French but I had Miss Riddle. She was so lovely. I loved learning French from her because of her gentle nature, I suppose. I still 'have a go' and try to keep up with the language. The art mistress over in Carfax, and right at the very top of the house - phew - was Miss Barnet. She was the most kind-natured person I think I've ever met in my life. Needless-to-say, come the exams at the end of term, I loved it... (the only one I loved!) I always expected to be first and if not, second. Any lower and I was very disappointed, probably more with Miss Barnet than myself...terrible thing to have an ego at such a young age...

Pat Larkin - 20 May 2008

The double gates weren't in King's Road, they were in Osborne Road!

Anne Hill - 27 May 2008

When King George's death occurred we were summoned to assembly at the Grammar School and told the news and I remember the stunned silence.

It's some time since I've been to Windsor but I always used to look out for my old school and changes had been made the last time I was there. I used to go to Carfax for art and our form room was based there in about 4th year. I loved art and took O-level. I didn't do anything much with it until I retired when I joined an art club. It has been the source of much pleasure and a very active social life in my retirement and I'm busy organising our 125th anniversary in 3 weeks time. Miss Meech was my favourite teacher (probably because English lit was my favourite subject) and I was pleased to see an article about her in the Radio Times,when Geraldine McEwan sang her praises and her picture was on the cover. I am 71 now and have lived 35 years in Scotland, but I remember my school days clearer than yesterday. Happy days!

Pat Larkin - 27 May 2008

Do you remember the Grammar School play '1066 And All That'? I think you might have still been there. Well, I played the part of 'The Spider', the one who convinced the prince in the cave that he shouldn't give in and he should keep fighting. The girl who played the prince was Fiona McGregor. I've never forgotten her name, perhaps you knew her. She was a prefect, so she was 5 or 6 years my senior. The play was a big success and sold out for three nights. I remember going home on the bus, still wearing the stage makeup...

Anne Hill - 5 Jun 2008

I don't think I was involved in the 1066 and all that play, although I remember it so my sister might have been in it. I was in Miss Meech's "Special Choir" and took part in an Elizabethan Fair at the Boys' School, when we sang madrigals and dressed in clothes of the period. I think that was in celebration of Elizabeth's succession to the throne. We also sang at Eton College for some festival or other. Our big occasion was for the Festival of Britain when the two grammar schools hired a train and we went to London on it. I was in the first form then, I think, and I know we were all very giggly because our carriage was next to the sixth form boys. It's possible that Fiona McGregor was in my class if she had straight sandy coloured hair, but I might be thinking of someone else, I left at sixteen and a half, after O-levels, as my mother thought it was time I got a job, so I was never a prefect.

Lesleyelmes - 5 Jun 2008

My name was Lesley Elmes when I attended the Windsor High School for Girls in Imperial Road from 1965 - 69, when I left after completing my O-levels.

I remember with affection Mrs Scott who was my French teacher, as that was my favourite subject and of course who could ever forget Mrs Francis the maths teacher who I always thought was slightly off her rocker. There are so many others I remember and can still remember their faces but I just can't remember their names. I spent my first few months at the old school in Osborne Road, and my year was the first to move to the new school. I still hate to wear that awful dark green even after all these years after having to wear it every day of my life for five years. It was a good school though and I received a good education that has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.

Pat Larkin - 6 Jun 2008

Anne, your path and mine probably crossed at some point in our younger days, it really is possible... I might have known your sister if she was younger than you... Speech Day at the school was always a busy time. We were given small plays to re-enact on the stage. I remember 'Pyramus & Thisbe'... ... I thought it was one of the only 'bits' of Shakespeare that I really enjoyed and understood. Reciting poems wasn't too traumatic, but acting right at the front of the stage with the whole school sitting there just waiting and praying for someone to make a mistake or forget lines - tooooo much stress for a lot of us. We were mostly glad that Speech Day was over and done with! I played too in the school orchestra. 2nd violin, for my sins... . I'm just grateful Miss Meech didn't make me 1st violin, at least being 2nd, I could hide behind the piano, which was always on the left-hand-side of the stage as you sat in the audience... ... Miss Shawcross always wore her black gown for assembly. She was such a good head mistress in that she loved the school and the pupils alike. Very gentle, caring lady too for someone so young. I think she lived further down Osborne Road, because I can remember cycling along there one morning, on my way to the school, and I can see her now, coming down the big, stone steps leading to her house. Did you have First Aid? Suddenly we were told that we were to be taught the 'basics' of First-Aid... this took place in one of the dining rooms, Room II, I think. We had this 'dummy' which was placed on one of the dining tables. We all took it in turns to give resuscitation to the dummy. Not something any of us really cared for. I suppose the idea was good and could have proved useful in later life maybe. It was a bit nicer than blowing into sheep's lungs! We had to do this in biology/science. We had Dr. Patrick and Miss. Blankley for these lessons. Although, Miss. Blankley, who we all loved, left to get married, and I can't remember the name of her replacement. We young 1st formers thought it was the end of the world when Miss. Blankley left us - who could replace her, she was our favourite!

Pat Larkin - 6 Jun 2008

Hi Lesley, welcome to the forum and, although I don't know a single thing about the 'new school', it's great to have someone from the U.S. to chat to... we do have our 'old' school in common though, even if you were there only briefly... I can't begin to imagine what you went through when changing schools... how did the teachers cope? Elmfield and Carfax were reasonably 'old' buildings, so to suddenly change to a modern school must have been great... having said that, I expect all the old traditions passed down through the years, were carried on to the new school. We do agree about one thing - that horrible, dark green uniform colour... I'm exactly the same as you, I can't bear anything resembling that shade of green. Actually, I just don't look at green, full stop! When some of us 1st formers asked a teacher why that particular colour was chosen, we were told that it was because of Windsor Forest, and oak trees. Well, I suppose it could've been worse, we could have been dressed in blue or red, maybe, so we were in a way lucky... still an awful colour to be dressed in... We wore green berets all the year round. My cousin, who, like you, lives in America, went to the school some nine years after me. She wore a green beret in autumn/winter and a straw boater with green/white ribbon in the summer term. I really did envy her that boater. When I married my husband, I moved in with his parents for a while in Albert Street. Living next door was Barbara Taylor who eventually went to the County School. She saw me in the garden one Saturday and said she'd had a test that week at her new school, and all the pupils were given strips of 'old exam papers from years ago' to write their answers on, and my maiden name was on the back of her strip of paper. Well, what a surprise that was. I hadn't a clue that schools, all those years ago, were re-cycling paper - and what a coincidence too that Barbara got my old test paper... .

Pat Larkin - 10 Jun 2008

I've just had a look at The Windsor Girls' School website... really good site it is too. I noticed on the Staff list that there are 'male' teachers', well, I suppose I hadn't really thought about that before... The only man at our old County Girls' school was 'Austin', (Mr Austin). He was caretaker, odd-jobman, mender, fixer, you name it... if there was a problem anywhere in the school, 'Austin' would fix it. Perhaps it might have been better for us, or more beneficial, if we'd had a few male teachers, after all, nearly all junior schools had male and female teachers. I noticed too, in the photographs of the present pupils, that their blazers don't have school badges, I wonder why? No school tie either, which is a good thing. The times I couldn't find my tie on a Monday morning! That would be a 'minor offence' then, written in the book and two more minor offences added to that would result in a detention... oh dear. Does the present school have all these punishments? What happens now if the girls do something wrong? The photos of the girls show how happy they are at the school, which is a good thing. One subject we definitely didn't have back then was rowing... ... lucky girls being at the Windsor Girls' School today.

Lesleyelmes - 3 Jul 2008

I spent my first few months of high school at the old Windsor Grammar School for Girls in Osborne Road. We were housed in what were temporary, prefabricated classrooms, which I believer were referred to as "the terrapins" for some odd reason, as there was no room for us in the "real school". Consequently I don't remember much about the old school itself. I do remember there was a tuck shop and also "houses" were very big with the older girls. I was in "Oak". We had very little interaction with the older girls and were strongly cautioned to stay away from the main school. No sightseeing was permitted and so alas, I never got to see much of the old school. When we went up to the new High School for Girls in Imperial Road, it seemed massive and took us weeks to find our way around. With the move, it seems most of the old customs were lost. No more was ever said about "Oak" or any of the other "houses" and no further participation was ever forthcoming. If I remember correctly, we in the first form were there all by ourselves for a short time and then the rest of the forms joined us. We heard a lot of talk in the hallways about it not being the same and it would never be as good as the "old school". The older girls seemed to look down their noses at us first formers and I must admit to being a bit afraid of them and avoided them at all costs. The new school had a wonderful science wing, with rooms for the biology, physics and chemistry labs and above it was a large kitchen that was used for cookery classes and also an art room. It all seemed very impressive to me and there was also a very large hall where we held daily morning assembly, and a kitchen and cafeteria area where we ate lunch. The outside grounds were lovely too with tennis courts, called the "Red Gra" which doubled as a hockey pitch in the winter, and grassed areas where we played rounders and of course a netball court. On sunny days it was wonderful to be able to sit outside and enjoy our lunchbreak on the grass. There was also a very large gym, equipped with all sorts of gymnastic paraphernalia. I'm sure the contrast between the old school and the new one was striking what with everything being so new and modern with state of the art equipment but we took it all for granted unfortunately as we had nothing to compare it with. In the months that we had spent at the old school, we never once had gym or played any type of sports so I don't know what the old school had to offer. All we ever did while we were there was sit in our classrooms, even to eat lunch, so I must admit that it was really nice to get up to the new school and actually be able to participate in sports and go outside every day.

Unfortunately, most if not all of the old school customs were seemingly abandoned when we went up to the new school. As I said in my last post, I had been assigned to "Oak" house but once we got to the new school, no further mention was ever made of the "houses". I have no idea what traditions were lost as we were made to feel very much like prisoners at the old school during our time there and had rare, if any, contact with the older girls. Actually I hated my time there as we were never allowed outside other than to go to the tuck shop. We never had a tuck shop at the new school so that was lost too. I really don't remember any teachers saying anything about the move. I heard a lot of talk about it not being the same, etc. and I think it did take everyone quite a while to settle in at the new school but to us first formers it was wonderful and we couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. I refused to wear a boater in the summer and fortunately you could get away with that as long as you wore your beret. In the summer we wore a hideous green and white dress with a belt and full billowing skirt. In the winter we had to wear a green pleated skirt, white blouse and either a fawn or green V-neck sweater. Our heads had to be covered at all times when we were outside the school and anyone found not wearing a hat or beret got detention. We also had a green blazer in the summer and a green raincoat in the winter. We could only wear either brown or black shoes and I believe up until the fifth form, we had to wear knee-length socks. Once we got into the fifth form we were allowed to wear stockings. In the first form we were made to wear these little leather purses on a strap that went across the body from shoulder to waist and the purse was lime green with a little metal poodle on the front. I hated that purse - it made me feel about five years old. We were allowed to ditch the darn thing when we got into the second form. I'm not sure how many of the old teachers actually went up to the high school. I know Miss Meech was there and also Mrs Scott the French teacher and Mrs. Francis the maths teacher, but I believe that a lot of the teachers were new and had never been to the old school from what I remember. Our headmistress was I believe Miss McKay or McKie - I can't remember now - but I do remember we were all scared to death of her. She was Scottish and apparently had a terrible temper but I never witnessed it personally.

Pat Larkin - 4 Jul 2008

Sometimes, 'til I get thinking back, I can't remember much, then a girl's name or an event, brings it all back... this forum is so good in that it encourages a bit of deep thinking and mind searching, if that's grammar!!! You know what I'm getting at. I can't understand why you weren't encouraged to mix with the older girls at the 'old' school. I wonder what the thinking behind that idea was? Why were the 'house names' not carried forward, as personally, I think a little bit of competition between houses was good. New building, new teachers, so I suppose, new ideas.

As for a 'tuck shop', well, I don't even know what that is - I mean from my time at the old school... can't even imagine any single mistress allowing one on the school grounds... tut, tut, I can just hear Miss Williams, who was a very, very strict, old school-type, maths mistress, no-way would she even contemplate such a frivolous idea. A tuck shop - whatever next? I only have to hear or see John Humphreys on Radio 4, and straight away, I'm in front of Miss. Williams... his face and voice transport me back, maybe they were related? Miss Meech, yes, as I've said before, she was a teacher in my day. Again, her face is etched on my brain. Small lady, glasses, distinctive voice and totally dedicated to her mission in life, which was improving the lives and minds of her girls. I didn't know Mrs Scott or Mrs Francis, well, I'm probably decades older than you and our head mistress was Kate, (we called her that), Shawcross. We really couldn't have had a better head than Miss Shawcross, very approachable and quietly spoken too. She listened when we girls spoke to her, which when I think back, lots of other teachers didn't do. (if she's 'up there' reading this, she'll gasp at my grammar!). We were very privileged I think to go to the Grammar School. Talking to women of my generation about my 'old school' and the facilities we had, even in those days, which included labs, gym and the equipment, tennis courts, hockey pitches down near the Long Walk, lots of space, with classrooms, (on both sides of the road), beautiful lawned garden to sit in or walk around, I realise that we were fortunate to have had that experience of going to such a good school. I loved to sit, in the summer term, on the grass at 'Elmfield' with all my form mates. We'd drink school milk and eat our sandwiches, chatting and laughing about what had happened in the lesson before and what we thought might happen in the next lesson... sometimes boys from Windsor County Boys would turn up on their bikes to have lessons in the labs. We were not encouraged to speak or interact with these boys. We'd give a sideways look and have a giggle, but not if a teacher or prefect was present... haven't times changed, and how???

Pat Larkin - 4 Jul 2008

I can only think of a handful of teachers' names from my days at The County Girls'... Miss Shawcross, head mistress; she also took 1st formers for English and taught scripture too. Miss Williams, maths. Miss Lerrigo, French. Miss Riddle, French. Miss Meech, English and music/choir. Miss Barnet, art. Mrs Quinton, games (hockey, netball, swimming, (in private baths, gymnastics, rounders, tennis etc.) Miss Hewitt, took over from Mrs Quinton. Miss Burrow, domestic science. (we took this class behind the main stage/curtain where all the cookers, sinks and long tables were). Miss Barnes, geography. (THE greatest teacher, in my opinion, at the school). Miss Griffin, history. Miss Blankley, science, (can't think who took her place). Dr Patrick, biology. Mrs Colenso, maths. (there were two groups for maths, English and French). Mr Austin, caretaker, fixer, mender, you name it! If I can find my old school reports, - groan - I'll see if I've missed anyone off the list.

Lesleyelmes - 10 Jul 2008

Unfortunately the only name on your list of teachers that I remember is Miss Meech and I never had her for any subjects. Somehow or other she seemed to know me and would always speak to me as though I were her favourite pupil. I ran into her one day, after I had left school in the fifth form, and she greeted me like a long lost friend. If she treated all her pupils that way I can understand why so many people liked her. I really think that most of the teachers up at the new school were new and had never been to the "old school". I think Mrs. Francis and Mrs. Scott may have made the move but they were probably after your time. What years were you there? In regards to why we were kept virtual prisoners at the old school, the only reason we were ever given was that we had no business roaming the grounds as we had no lessons in the old buildings. I just think they didn't want us making a nuisance of ourselves and getting lost. The intention had never been for us to be there in the first place. We were supposed to have gone straight up to the new school on the first day of the new term but the building was behind schedule so I think it was all a case of "hurry up and get some prefab buildings in here" to house us. I forgot too that I used to have to wear a green tie at all times. How could I have ever forgotten that? People don't believe me now when I tell them girls had to wear ties - especially here in America - but I wore one every day for five years. I can still tie a pretty good knot!!!!

Pat Larkin - 10 Jul 2008

Well, Miss. Meech was a favourite with every girl I think. My cousin, (not sister), who lives in the U.S. really was one of her favourite pupils. When talking about 'the old days' at the Osborne Road school, Frances said she felt she could do 'no wrong' in Miss Meech's eyes. She always found Miss Meech interested in whatever she had to say and could ask her anything about anything really.

On one visit, we both wanted to see if Windsor Bus Station, (that was), still had the high 'window sills' where we County Girls would sit with our satchels and homework, desperately trying to figure out that night's questions before getting on our particular bus. Some girls came from Maidenhead and Holyport, so they had more time than me to get cracking on the homework set for that night. If I caught the 'Brown Bus' at the top, by Woods of Windsor, I wouldn't have anyone to 'compare' homework subjects with, as I was the only one living on Hilltop who went to the County Girls' School. My cousin is 9 years younger than me, and lived along Dedworth Road near Kenton's Lane. I don't know the names of any of her teachers from way back then except for Miss Meech. What an amazing lady she was, and she taught at both schools for many years, with thousands of girls passing through her hands. What an accomplishment. I 'passed' my Scholarship, (as it was called back then), in 1952. Early on, in an English lesson with Miss Shawcross, the Head Mistress, we talked about 'passing' the Scholarship, only to be told by her that we had 'gained' a scholarship, not 'passed' it... I think that stunned the whole class, because we had all said the same thing, only to be told we were wrong, but, it's one of the many things that have stuck in my memory. During an early cookery lesson, (behind the stage curtains in the hall), Miss Burrow, told us that 'when an egg comes to a certain temperature in boiling water or fat, the liquid co-agulates', well, again, there was a distinct hush in the cookery lesson... not one girl knew what this meant, and Miss. Burrow couldn't quite believe it. Well, how would 11 year-olds know about 'coagulation', we just thought that eggs were boiled, fried or poached, and sometimes, maybe scrambled. Another word never to be forgotten by all of us! When we started in the labs, along the covered way, we had to wear dark green, wrap-around overalls. That was one piece of uniform supplied by the school and not bought by our parents. I remember Miss Blankley saying not 'to put our fingers in the mercury as it was poisonous'... I, naturally, forgot this piece of info, and halfway through the experiment, dipped my index finger into the solution, then licked it. My 'best friend' just stared and said 'you're not supposed to do that, it's deadly'... that was it, I thought I was going to die on-the-spot... Miss Blankley, bless her, said 'not to worry, it would take more than that to kill me'... I think I wished then that I was back at Clewer Green, where I wanted to stay forever... no big words to learn, no homework, no uniform and no detentions... but that soon passed and we new girls soon settled into our 'new, big school'... what a difference in our lives, but, what an advantage.

How could you forget 'the school tie' Lesley????? Uggh, I won't ever forget it, or the horrid green beret, made by 'Kangol', you see, it's imprinted on my brain... . green gloves, green scarf, green mac with hood, green blazer, green cardigan. Even my gym bag was green. I can only think that the school colour was chosen by someone whose favourite colour, or name, was GREEN!!

Lesleyelmes - 11 Jul 2008

I lived off Dedworth Road near Kenton's Lane in Hanover Way!! What a coincidence. I used to catch the brown bus all the time. Sadly it no longer runs.

We also, used to wear that awful green wrap-around overall for chemistry and I can still remember vividly our gym attire: dark green divided skirt with yellow Aertex short-sleeved shirt for hockey and netball; whites for tennis; green knickers for gym with the same yellow Aertex shirt. And yes, we wore a green and white striped scarf in the winter!!! My poor mother - I don't know how she afforded it all - you could only buy the uniform at Caley's, but one good thing, I never grew even an inch from my first form to my fifth form - I was from the age of 10 to now only five feet tall. That meant that my one uniform lasted me five years so I guess I didn't do too badly. I think I went through two or three skirts and a few blouses and shoes of course but everything else lasted me my whole time there. I used to take off my uniform as soon as I got home from school, hang it up or launder it, etc. and it always looked nice, even after five years of wear.

Pat Larkin - 12 Jul 2008

I left school at 15, yes, I know, far too early, BUT, I had this 'thing' in my head about being a 'secretary' and when Miss Shawcross discussed my 'future' in her little office in Elmfield, she stressed in no uncertain phrases, that Grammar School didn't cover 'shorthand, typing and commercial subjects'... . well, that deflated my sails a bit. I went home so 'down' and my Dad said, 'well, you could leave and go to a commercial college, or something'... that was it... I left, with two other friends of my age, and we all phoned 'Horlicks', which was then in Slough. Each of us said we were leaving Windsor Grammar and the chap on the other end of the 'phone said, 'could you come on Monday for an interview', the rest, as they say, is history.

You and I are both 'short' then Lesley. I was 4'4" when I joined the Grammar School, and, when I left I'd grown 9-and-a-half inches, reaching the lofty height of 5'1-and-a-half inches!!- I think that was the main reason for Miss. Meech's choice of me for the spider in the school play '1066 And All That'. It did come in handy some times!!!! I've got one black and white photo of me in my school blazer, at the zoo with my young cousin.

Did you ever go on school trips? Our first one, by bus, was to Reading to the cinema there. We watched 'Richard III', which a few of us found a bit boring and none of us, I don't think, cared much for 'Richard', not realising he was Sir Laurence Olivier... in the next English lesson, we had to write an essay about the character of Richard... well, I couldn't even remember half of what I'd seen apart from the fact that he said 'A horse, a horse' etc. etc. and his arm was withered... we went on another excursion, by train this time, to Stratford-upon-Avon. That was an amazing day out... Grammar School Boys everywhere!!!!! I took a few photos and still have them, they remind me of how windy it was that day and what a good a time we had. I can't remember which play we saw at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, it's gone out of my head completely... . it could've been 'Twelfth Night', on-the-other-hand, it could have been any one of his plays!! Obviously, our English teacher had a 'thing' about Shakespeare, we seemed to be forever learning bits and pieces from his plays. I did prefer art to any other subject. Geography was another favourite, mainly because the teacher, Miss. Barnes, was an exceptional lady. She lived and breathed geography and anything she taught us about the Industrial North or the chalky deposits of Beachy Head, (which is just a mile up the road from here), made us want to draw maps and learn about limestone, chalk and 'Granite Aberdeen'... she was a great teacher.

Lesley Elmes - 15 Jul 2008

No unfortunately we never went on any trips with the school. I only remember ever having one play. It was Earth, Wind and Fire and I got one of the leads and played "Fire". It was because I was short and slim I think. I had to wear a bright orange bathing suit and had a large head band that made it look like flames were shooting out of my head and I had all these red and orange scarves on my arms that floated around as I danced. I really enjoyed the part as I love to dance.

Yes, I agree, it was quite a school and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Even though the teachers were much stricter than they are today, I think it was a good thing. We had to show respect for the teachers and in return, we received a good quality education. There was no talking unless you were spoken to and the second the teacher walked through the door, there was instant silence. You wouldn't get that today. You were expected to do well, and even though there were some teachers who didn't appear to have your well-being at heart, for the most part, most teachers wanted to help you succeed. On both sides of the coin, I remember Mrs Francis the maths teacher. How I hated her. Unless you were very bright, she didn't have time for you which is sad because it's the ones who don't understand who need the attention not the girls who were already getting As in geometry and algebra. Mrs Scott, our French teacher on the other hand was wonderful. I excelled in French - it was my favourite subject and she practically pleaded with me to stay on and get my A-levels as she was trying to persuade me to become a French teacher. I wouldn't though - I was madly in love - with my husband - as a matter of fact and all I could think about was getting a job so we could save up to get married. How I regret that decision. You have no idea how often I have wished that I had stayed on and got my A-levels and gone to university. I went back to college when I was in my late 20's and got a degree and I work in the business world now but I have often thought how wonderful it would have been to be a teacher and had all the summer vacations off so I could have been home with my children. I still remember some French but for the most part I have forgotten it which is a shame as I was practically fluent in it back then. I got straight As on all my exams and gained an A on my O-level with distinction. It was the only subject I was ever really good at.

Pat Larkin - 16 Jul 2008

In the second form, 2L, (Miss Lerrigo was our form mistress), we were in 'Carfax' on the corner of Osborne Road, where there's now a roundabout and flats I believe... I was door monitor for one term and can remember standing at the top of the staircase on the first floor landing, leaning back on the door to keep it open, (as there was very little room to move). As soon as I heard the big door bang and the footfalls on the stairs, I shouted 'she's coming, shhhh', but, til the very last second, there would still be noise and chatter... as soon as the teacher walked into the room, absolute silence!!! Everyone of us knew that if a word was uttered, we'd all be on 'detention'... that in turn meant house points lost and an explanation to each Head of House... strict, like a prison really, but we all survived. I looked at the Windsor Girls' website and it looks so good with all the girls appearing to be quite happy and relaxed too.

Pat Larkin - 29 Jul 2008

When at the County Girls', we had one pudding that nobody liked - ever, it was chocolate squares, (like bricks), and these were served with junket, which none of us had ever seen let alone tasted, it really was awful and inedible... . now, being older and a bit wiser, that pudding was probably very nutritious and thinking about it, I'd love to have some now... but it's too late... We always seemed to have peas as a vegetable most days, and these peas would somehow get flicked around the table by one or two of us not so serious girls, until we got a 'nudge' and looked at the 'Head of table', (usually a prefect). Grated beetroot was another salad veg. that didn't go down too well. We ate beetroot at home but in slices or 'whole', and how on earth did they grate beetroot back then? Thinking back to school meals, or 'dinners' as we called them, we did have good food but didn't appreciate it. At least at Grammar School, we weren't expected to eat every morsel, which I really appreciated. The girls on each table took it in turn to march from the dining room, down to the kitchen, scrape the leftovers into a big metal dish, put the plate into the sink, put knives in one bucket, forks in another and spoons in yet another. We then walked round the big table, smiled at the kitchen ladies and walked straight out of the kitchen with no dawdling. We had a water jug and glasses on each table, and a green and white check tablecloth so really, we were quite lucky I suppose. I can't remember what we did with the jug and glasses, I suppose they were left on the table and cleared by one of the dinner-ladies. Perhaps Anne or Lesley, you can remember.

Lesleyelmes - 29 Jul 2008

I remember our school dinners being very good at the Girl's School but we didn't have tablecloths on the tables. We used to take our own dirty dishes and glasses to the kitchen area, where we would scrape off the waste and put everything in crates. I loved the school's stews, roasts and cottage pie, also tapioca pudding or "frog spawn" as we used to call it. We had a lot of peas too!!! The last two years at school I used to walk to my grandparents for lunch as it was only a ten minute walk to Manor Farm Close off Clewer Hill Road. My grandmother wasn't much of a cook and we used to have beef burgers, fish fingers or fish cakes most of the time or Spam sandwiches so I actually thought the school dinners were better but my grandparents dearly loved me to visit every day and I hated to disappoint them as my Grandad was an invalid and couldn't get out of the house.

Pat Larkin - 30 Jul 2008

I think school dinners then were good and nutritious too, it's just that my mother was a really good cook and could cobble anything out of anything and get a good result, so, when eating at either school, I tended to be 'picky'. When at the County Girls', did you ever have art lessons outside? I realise you were at the 'new' school, but I wondered whether you did as we did on a hot day? Miss Barnet would say that it was far too hot to stay in and we'd gather all our boards, brushes, paint tins, (cake tins x 6), with the usual powder paints, charcoal, jam-jars with water and our art overalls and walk across Osborne Road, into Elmfield's front doors and turn left onto the big lawn. This was really done only on exceptionally hot days, the trouble was, once the double lesson was over, we would have the long trek back through Elmfield, through the front doors, across the road, up three flights of stairs and into the art classrooms... we then had to wash out the cake tins, wash and dry any brushes we'd used, put our boards back - 'neatly please' - put our names and form number on the back of our painting, hang up our overalls and finally, when this was all carried out to Miss Barnet's satisfaction, we could go... fortunately, in year 4, our form room was right opposite the art room - that was where we all collapsed after the lesson, but then, realising it was 'home time', and hearing the bell,... somehow and from somewhere, we'd all re-gain our energy and gather homework and exercise books, stuff them into satchels, shout 'goodbye' and race back down three flights of stairs. If you forgot anything, you had to re-climb those dreaded stairs, it really was tiresome, but, good training to make us girls self-reliant and organised. Our school time-table was written on the blackboard on the first day of each new term. This we copied onto a sheet of paper. I always Sellotaped mine onto the underside of my desk lid. That way, I could check where I should be and what lesson I'd be having next... the homework timetable was printed underneath each day's lessons... that was one thing we all had to get used to... three homeworks a night, and five at weekends... during Summer months, our satchels would be very heavy and, we'd have tennis racquets, plimsoles and gym bags to carry to the bus station... being in Carfax was awkward in the summertime because after tennis in the Long Walk courts, we wouldn't have time to run back to Carfax to put our gym bags etc. away, so, we'd have to take them home... we were always hot, tired and worn out I think... I couldn't understand why the girls from either Princess Margaret Rose School or The Modern School, (later Trevelyan school), weren't laden down with all the paraphernalia that we had... we didn't carry bottles of water around in those days and perhaps we should have... we don't go anywhere now without either water or a fruit drink... ...

Lesleyelmes - 30 Jul 2008

Pat, funny that you should mention art classes as it was the only class I ever took when I was actually told it would be better if I left as I had not one iota of talent. I did try very hard but nothing ever looked like it was supposed to and my teacher, out of frustration I think, finally told me one day that art and me just weren't suited to each other. It was suggested that I take cookery instead and that's where I believe I got my life-long love of cooking. To answer your question, no we were never allowed to go outside but they did have a lovely, huge room for art with plenty of light and room for 30 easels. We were luckier than you obviously as although we were loaded down with homework and books to have to carry home and lug back again the next day, we didn't have to carry our tennis racquets, hockey sticks, etc. We each had our own locker in the gym and we were allowed to keep our racquets etc in the lockers so luckily that was one thing we didn't have to lug around with us. My satchel was always bulging every day and my back hurt by the time I'd walked the three miles home. My younger sister, who attended the secondary modern at Dedworth Green, never had any homework yet there was I, every night, with at least two hours of homework - even at weekends! I never thought that was fair but then as I've said before, I believe I received a very good education at the Girls' School - so good in fact that when I went to college when I was 28 and both my children were in school, I was able to opt out of several classes because my grades in school had been so good.

Pat Larkin - 7 Aug 2008

I've remembered another teacher's name from The County Girls' School. 'Miss. Sloman'. [Ed: Sluman] Her name literally popped into my head yesterday during a picnic on the seafront - maybe not the ideal place to remember this sort of thing, but I was so pleased that I spoke her name out loud. There happened to be some flyers on the seafront advertising the local operatic and dramatic society's play 'The Rivals' by Sheridan. Miss Sloman used this play in one of her English lessons, and somehow, I must have filed this information away in my memory... I'm still amazed at how something like the name of a play, or a certain phrase, can nudge the memory into life. Perhaps it's word association? Anyway, Miss Sloman was a very pleasant, easy-going mistress, making English lessons something to look forward to and enjoy. Lesley and Anne, did you have the boring job of sewing name tags into every item of clothing and sports gear, plus putting names on pencil boxes/cases/rulers/personal dictionaries etc. As soon as the ink wore off my tapes, I'd have to write them on again. (with Biro). I didn't have the posh name-tags that lots of the girls had, so it was good old white tape, which was cut, sewn over at the ends, sewn into the uniform, then laid flat and written on... I remember my Mother saying 'how do you put name-tags on socks then?'. We stitched the tags for the ankle socks on the soles in the instep, and on the Winter knee-hi's, just under the elastic tops, so when they were turned down, the tags wouldn't show. I also wore 'garters' with my socks as sometimes, due to constant washing, they would sag a little bit, and this was very embarrassing. There was nothing worse than socks hanging down around the ankles!!!

At Grammar School, we were instructed, straight away, to 'cover all books'... well my Dad, being at that time, not only an engineer but a weekend decorator, had lots of wallpaper. So, I scrounged offcuts of different patterned and plain wallpaper from him and covered my books with it. I was very proud of my efforts and at school, we would compare our book covers with one another. Seems trivial now, but then it was seen as important to take care of all the books issued to us. Every text book was accounted for at the end of term with no excuses for lost or lent books. I once tore a page out of my science exercise book because I'd made a mess of a diagram, but, it hadn't occurred to me to take out the adjoining page further along in the book... oh dear... I was called out to the front of the lesson in the lab. and my face burned like mad when Miss Blankley told me off. Another hard lesson I learned then was not to touch any equipment belonging to the school, i.e. compasses, (a pair of)... they were the big blackboard compasses with the chalk fixed in at the end. One of the girls picked them up, (as we'd never seen anything like them before), and she tried to draw a complete circle on the board. She couldn't do it, so I said I could... I put the pointed end into the blackboard and put the chalk end on the board, trying to swivel it round in an arc. The metal chalk-holder just snapped off... well, we all just stood and froze - what could I do? at that very minute, Miss. Williams, (who terrified all of us, especially me), walked, well, strode, in - and, she was wearing her back suit, with flat black, lace-up shoes, not a good omen... THE very worst moment of my life... I told her straight away what I'd done as there was nothing else I could do... she asked me what I was going to do about mending them... I said my Dad could mend them, she said 'very well', so I had to carry them home, along with all the other paraphernalia of school life, and my Dad took them to Specto, where he worked, and fixed them... when I took them in several days later, she was quite nice actually... she said my father was talented in mending the compasses and said what else does he do? Well, to cut a long story short, he drove round to her bungalow and for several weekends, painted and re-wallpapered the whole place

Lesley Elmes - 7 Aug 2008

No, I was never subjected to sewing name tags in my clothes or writing them on equipment, etc. That must have been one thing that never followed through when we went to the new school thank goodness. We also had to keep our shoes polished and heaven forbid that you would wear a pair of shoes that were dirty!We also used to have to cover our books as they were used by students from year to year but we were only allowed to use plain brown paper. It did keep them from getting all torn up and scuffed so it was a good idea. As you said, every text book was accounted for at the end of the year, when you turned them back in.

I remember my mother selling practically all my equipment, etc. when I left school. I had hockey boots, hockey stick, my bible, any good clothing that I had but I refused to allow her to sell my tennis racquet.

I also had been given, as a "well-done" gift, a Parker fountain pen from a good friend of my mother's when I passed the "11+" and I kept that all the time I was at the Girls' School. I practically wore it out as I used it so much. They were sticklers for fountain pens - you weren't allowed to use a biro and only pencils for certain things. Any reports or homework had to be handed in in fountain pen. Tests could be submitted in pencil and I can remember when I sat for my GCEs they had to be filled out in pencil which they handed out to us. We weren't allowed to take anything into the room with us. Everything back then seemed to be so much stricter than it is nowadays. I can remember the teachers walking up and down the aisles when we were taking the GCEs - they were obviously trying to catch you cheating or looking over at someone else's paper. When you were finished you had to sit there quietly looking straight ahead until the bell rang, indicating time was up then we had to quietly, and in an orderly fashion, march out of the room in single file. We used the gym as it was the only room large enough for everyone that had a door that could be locked from the outside. No one, no one, was allowed in that door while we were taking the exam. You weren't even allowed to use the toilet and no drinks were allowed inside. Some of those exams were over three hours long but that was the way it was. You made sure you used the toilet right before you went in and again as soon as you came out!

Pat Larkin - 8 Aug 2008

Hi Lesley, and, by-the-way, you wrote 'Anne', on your posting. 'Lesley you must pay more attention!' I had words to that effect written on my homework several, (but not too many), times, also one teacher told me to 'stop daydreaming'. I was most likely thinking about the end-of-the-day bell, and how much longer I'd have to wait for it to ring, and trying to remember too whether I'd ridden my bike into school that morning or caught the bus... I did leave my bike in the Osborne Road racks one night, having completely forgotten that I'd ridden it to school... well, there was so much to think about then. My 'best friend' and I walked to the station to catch a Thames Valley bus. We were always together during school hours and as we didn't ever have time to talk about all the things that happen outside school hours, we'd talk non-stop all along Kings Road, the High Street, and eventually, the bus station. So, we got to the station, jumped up on the window sills to wait for the bus, then I looked for my bus fare, I didn't have any... my friend from Holyport 'borrowed' me, (as we said then!), enough to get me to The Wolf/All Saints' Church bus stop, and I walked up Wolf Lane, then Hilltop... how on earth I forgot my bike, I don't know. It wasn't until my Dad came home from work and asked where my bike was, that I realised I'd left it at school. It didn't happen again... another lesson in being self-reliant and organised. I worried about my 'Triumph Hercules' bike until the next morning when I went straight to the bike racks... I was lucky, it was still there, and, I felt relieved but guilty, not that the bike seemed to care!!!! It taught me a lesson because I had to get off the bus that morning at Cross's Corner and walk all the way to school to the Osborne Road gates. I think this may have been the day that James Dean, the American heart-throb of that time, crashed his Porsche and died... I know we were all so upset and couldn't believe it. I had a picture of him, from a film magazine stuck, to the underside of my desk lid, next to my term time-table... it was a case of school-girl hysteria I think... . we all told 'Miss' when she came in and she told us that 'these things happen in life'... well, that wasn't of any use to us, we were all dazed I think.

Lesleyelmes - 28 Aug 2008

I did think of a few more things to recall: The first was when I was in biology class and we had to dissect a sheep's lung. It was so gross it really put me off.

The other was when I first went to the Girls' School and we had a terrible chemistry teacher. I can't remember her name but she made everything so boring - I received terrible grades. Then miraculously we were given a new teacher in my fourth and fifth years and she was absolutely great. She made everything so very interesting and I really loved her classes. I came away from the school with O-levels in chemistry and physics and I'm sure it was only because of her that I passed my chemistry O-level. She really made you think about things and explained things in such a simple way that you couldn't fail to understand. If you had questions, you only had to ask. She was so enthusiastic about her teaching that it rubbed off on her students. I really wish I could remember her name but it eludes me. It just goes to show though that the teacher does make all the difference in the world. A good one will inspire you to achieve and a bad one leaves nothing but bad memories.

Pat Larkin - 5 Sep 2008

I'm pleased to read that you liked netball Lesley. I loved it too. I, like you was/am lacking in height, but, I could still shoot a goal quite well. Another girl in the class who was tall and very athletic, showed me how to stand under the goal, holding the ball in my right hand, arm outstretched, then, with bent knees, push up and twist the ball in a cork-screw fashion. Sounds awkward, but it worked for me. I was mostly centre-defence and I think being small and quick, I could dodge around quickly. Great game and good to watch too. Hockey, mmmmm, okay-ish, but too energetic for my liking, plus, on a freezing-cold, Winter's morning, down at the Long Walk pitches, it was, I thought, unreasonable, to expect girls to run around in shorts, gym shirt and hockey boots. Mrs Quinton was good with us, I must admit. (She who was well-wrapped up in a sheepskin coat with scarf and sheepskin gloves and high boots)... but, we were jollied along by her and she always managed to get a game of sorts out of us. I think the people walking along The Long Walk must have thought we were all bonkers. The worm casts on those pitches were lethal too. One trip and your knees scraped over these tiny, curly, very unfriendly little worm casts, plus a whack on the ankle, even wearing hockey boots, was excruciatingly painful. Add purple legs and knees to this cocktail and it all made for two very long lessons of chasing a hard ball up and down a field... which most of us weren't that keen on doing. My friend and I always volunteered to 'paint hockey balls' in our lunch-break. We'd eat, then gallop as quickly as we could, down to the pavilion on The Long Walk. Yellow and white paint was all ready for us and we'd get stuck in. We both liked doing this as it broke up the day a bit. In the gym. in Osborne Road, we had a great set of equipment. There was nothing lacking there at all. 'Sheep through the gap' was the most dreadful discipline ever invented in my opinion. The big bars attached to the wall in the gym were swung out to the centre of the hall, locked into the floor then a ceiling bar was lowered down to the floor. This bar was turned over to make a flat surface. This was then hitched into the big centre bars, and another ceiling bar lowered to make a 'gap'... ... I don't think I ever 'jumped through' the gap in my whole time at school... it wasn't only me, it was quite a few girls. We couldn't get the momentum going to run towards this 'gap', grab the top bar, swing our legs through it, let go, roll forward onto a coconut mat, then stand upright. I admired the girls who actually could do this routine, and when some of us asked how they did it, they said, 'run fast, go up the springboard, grab the top bar, and it just happens' well, it didn't 'happen' for me. We also had a bean-bag routine. Two lines of girls each side of the hall, holding bean bags, the 'victim' had to run-the-gauntlet between these rows of girls, while they hurled bean bags at your body, head, legs, anything really to prevent you from filling the basket with your team's bean bags. Another silly, made-up game in my opinion. I took a direct hit one day and travelled horizontally across the gym floor for a few feet. Not my cuppa tea at all. We didn't get a choice either, we had to take part. It was great though, being the ones throwing (or chucking), the bean bags at the 'victim'. Well, I suppose in a way it was meant to keep us fit on a wet, rainy day. I did though like the horse, as long as the legs were lowered a bit... I could spring onto that quite easily, grab the handles and jump to the other side... still amazes me, that. I didn't like hanging, upside down from the bars on the gym walls. Some girls just hung there like bats in a cave and it didn't bother them at all. I did though, like climbing the ropes to the gym ceiling. We'd have to swing these white ropes, with leather ends, across the ceiling and fix the last rope into a lock on the ceiling. I didn't ever reach the ceiling, but I did get about half-way, which I thought was an achievement in itself. We also had rings to hang onto. I liked the feeling of just swinging to and fro on these rings. Our partner would just give a little 'shove' and off we'd go. Yes, I liked that routine. All those disciplines we did back then, and I suppose the girls at the 'new school', (your school), do even more intricate routines than we could ever imagine. We called plimsoles 'gym shoes' at the County Girls, but they were the same thing really.

Lesley Elmes - 10 Sep 2008

Yes I remember our gym at the Girls' School. It was fantastic and had everything imaginable. I was pretty good at the horse and I didn't mind climbing up the rope but never made it to the top. I wasn't so good at the swinging bars. Just dangling up there like that didn't do much for me I'm afraid. We had a lot of "running" games. We would run from one wall to the other and see who had the quickest time, etc. I don't ever remember throwing anything at people coming our way although it does sound like fun. We also had a gym teacher called Mrs Quinton although I'm fairly sure it can't have been the same one. She was in her forties I believe unless your Mr. Quinton was very young at the time. She had red hair - could this possibly be the same lady?I will always remember the showers at school. It was the first time in my life that I had to be naked in front of anyone and I was so embarrassed the first few times. I can remember everyone being the same. You would avert your eyes so as not to stare at anyone and hope that no one was looking at you. We actually used our hands to cover our private parts and we showered very quickly and it was only after the first year that I really didn't mind it. I never got used to it but it didn't embarrass me as much as it had before. It just didn't seem natural to just stroll around in the nude in front of other people.

We were very lucky in that we didn't have to travel anywhere to do any of our sporting activities at school. We had our own tennis courts - which by the way was my favourite sport too and I used to rush home to watch Wimbledon. That also served as the hockey pitch in the winter and yes I too can remember getting wacked around the ankles with a hockey stick on many occasions. We used to wear thick boots that went all the way up past our ankles but it still hurt! I can remember being black and blue on many occasions and hockey was not one of my favourite sports because of that. We thought nothing of playing in our divided skirts and short-sleeved yellow aertex blouses in the winter but then we had no choice so perhaps we just didn't like to complain. Running around chasing that little ball probably kept us warm!

We had our own netball court too and also a large field where we played rounders. We also used to use it at lunchtime. We'd sit on the grass and talk or do homework or revise for a test - in the summer of course. In the winter we were permitted to stay in our homeroom in inclement weather. I don't ever remember the weather being that bad though. I used to ride my bike to school in the first year and part of the second year and I remember one time there was perhaps an inch of snow on the ground and I kept hitting great clods of frozen snow which made it very difficult to ride a bike. I almost fell off a couple of times so never rode my bike on snowy roads after that!I'm sure that at that tender age, we quickly adapted to the cold weather and when you are given no choice you tend to put up with it! They didn't make us play in the rain so we would go into the gym if it was available. If not, we'd get a free period and we were permitted to do homework, etc.

Pat Larkin - 10 Sep 2008

I've been re-living a term in the first form, when in art lessons, we were told that we were to make 'papier-mache'. None of us knew what this 'French-sounding-thing' was... even when Miss Barnet asked us to bring in old newspapers and some flour to make paste, we still didn't have a clue. Anyway, we mixed flour with water, tore up endless sheets of newspaper, in my case, The Daily Mirror, into strips. We were each given a length of soft wire. We had to decide quite quickly what we were going to make and for some 'unknown-to-this-day-reason', I chose to make a camel. I don't particularly like camels, but perhaps it was a negative re-action kind of thing. we bent the wire into the shape of our chosen subject, then filled-in the shape with papier-mache. Well, we laughed so much during this double lesson, that even Miss. Barnet had a good time. She was usually very quiet in her instruction and teaching ways, so this for her, was a new experience. We had to leave our 'shape' to dry, on a shelf, with all the other 'shapes'... well, by the time the next art lesson came round, our shapes had taken on a whole new look. My camel didn't look too bad, but some of the shapes were unbelievable. We started laughing all over again because some girls didn't even recognise their own efforts. After painting my camel, I was quite pleased with the results. After the paint dried, it had to be varnished. Well, I was quite happy with the end result, and although one leg was slightly off-true, my Mother did recognise it for what it was... She put 'him' on the piano in the sitting room, and years later, when I moved to Polegate, to our first home, he came with us... it was only when I had children that my camel kind of disintegrated. I think he just crumbled and the hard, old papier-mache fell to pieces. I kept a painting too from those art lessons with Miss. Barnet. The last few lessons before one particular Christmas, we were asked to paint something 'in keeping' with the season. I chose to paint a Nativity scene. I still remember being very disappointed with my picture. I put my name and form number on the back, once it was dry, and handed it in. I was dreading the next art lesson when we were to be given our marks. I dreaded Miss Barnet getting to my picture as I absolutely knew it was going to be given a poor mark. I was so surprised and baffled when she told me my painting was exciting, descriptive and expressed the true meaning of Christmas. I still remember the feeling of total surprise and bewilderment at her remarks. I still can't think what she saw in that painting. I kept it until very recently but it gradually crumbled and I was left with the Star of Bethlehem and the top of Mary and Joseph's heads. So that's gone now. I should have framed it years ago. All I'm left with now, from Grammar School that is, is the black and white photo of me in my school blazer when I was 11... never mind, I can remember most of my school days, and that's far more important to me.

Pat Larkin - 13 Sep 2008

At Grammar School, sewing lessons were in the cookery room, behind the stage. We alternated with cooking one week, sewing the next. My skirt, made from a piece of material bought at Joslin Smith's emporium, wasn't a huge success. I didn't wear it ever. I wanted to make something else, but was told by Miss. Burrow, that I made what she told me to make. That went down like a lead balloon and I 'hated' sewing lessons from then on... The sewing machines were state-of-the-art at the school. Mostly electric but some treadle and hand models too. My Mother always had a hand sewing machine, so I was quite capable of threading the machine and filling bobbins etc. But, we still had to wait to be told what to do, we couldn't use our initiative, which frustrated lots of us. It was a different method of teaching back then and I think frustration crept in quiet often, especially when we girls 'knew' what we were doing... well, we thought we did!

Pat Larkin - 17 Sep 2008

Mrs Quinton. Yes, I'm sure she's the same lady... thinking back, I suppose she did look a lot older to us 11+ year-olds. Well, anyone older than 20 was 'really' old to us then. I think we had Miss. Hewitt for one year, then Mrs. Q. appeared... she was quite a larger-than-life lady, in that she'd chat and have a laugh with us, which, when I think about most of the other teachers we had, was unusual in itself. I can't remember having pottery lessons though. That's one lesson I'm sure I would have liked a lot.

Caz - 16 Feb 2009

The reason why the girls look so happy is that they were told to; or it is because they know that they don't have to stay on into the 6th form. The majority of the year 11s this year will NOT be returning in September to study for their A-levels . WGS have in the past 12 months shown that they have completely brushed under the carpet their duty of care to their pupils. Most Windsor residents will be unaware of an incident that happened on 1 Feb 2008 when a pupil at WGS was attacked outside the school by at least 3 other pupils of Windsor Girls School with at least 150 other girls chanting that they should kill this child and taking photos on their mobile phones. This poor child spent 2 days in hospital (having been knocked unconscious during the attack); she suffered 2 black eyes, a fractured nose,a fractured eye socket and a fracture to just below the temple (the police and hospital both said that if she had been hit about 1cm higher she would have been killed). She has now been diagnosed with PTSD. This was a GCSE A pupil who may now at her best get Cs in her GCSEs (the school made her take her mocks sitting beside and behind her attackers). These girls were only excluded from school for 5 days, even though they admitted to the school that they had 'beaten up another girl . WGS have a duty of care for all their pupils. I know that this child was attacked because she is 'different'. she like Rock Music and isn't into sports or looking like a 'chav' The police charging sergeant decided not to prosecute as it was not in the public interest (even though various police officers wanted him to) but having said that the family were assured that the girls' names would stay on the police national computer The school along with RBWM should have permanently excluded these animals. If it wasn't for the quick thinking of the school caretaker and a passing motorist, the girl in question may not be here today to try and pass her GCSEs and go on to study for her chosen career as a teacher.

Hazel Austin - 18 Feb 2009

When I passed the 11+ and went to the girls' grammar school (1954) I was lucky I also had parents willing to work several jobs to afford to keep me there. Not everyone who passed, including my best friend, was that lucky. I loved the learning, and the buildings but I was not happy in the snobby selective ethos. Everyone's perspective is different, but what do I remember? Katy Shawcross muttering to herself under her breath as she strode by, gown flapping behind her; the annual daunting inter-house Impromptu Speaking Competition ; Geraldine McEwan having been at the school a couple of years above me; the one male visitor - the music teacher coming weekly; boys walking up from the boys' grammar school for dancing lessons (!); the sickly smell of what must have been lime trees when you were sitting on the Elmfield lawns; a painting of a jungle scene on the window wall in the right hand dining room; the beautifully glazed and tiled if draughty entrance hall of Elmfield, with the sundial on the wall outside (can anyone remember what it said? ); the beautiful wide wooden staircase up to the staff landing with a handrail like a shiny conker; the cold, damp cloakrooms in Carfax basement in comparison; Miss Chaplin who took English, who was a breath of fresh air, inspired me, had a baby then sadly left; Mrs Quinton the sports teacher (and the smell of the timber changing rooms, and the never to be forgotten walk down from school to the playing field in our thick green knickers); Mrs Colenso who taught algebra, had no patience, and who, (I realised later when a teacher myself) was a poor teacher rather than me being a poor student: Mrs Longfield-Jones who taught Latin but without much love for the subject, or indeed for me - failing to recognise that I probably had more passion for the Romans and their language (still do) than anyone else she had ever taught even if my endings were sometimes amiss; Miss Meech who horribly was the first to discover a man hanging from a tree on the playing field opposite her lodgings; and Miss Barnes, a darling, old geography teacher for whom I learned a whole chapter word for word in a text book about the Amazon for an exam once - and I still remember the facts should they come up in Mastermind, which they did once! Being dragged regardless of the weather across from the school to wave dutifully to the Queen in her coach going to the Ascot races each summer; washing brushes in a bath in the Art Room; the Hungarian revolution in 1957 and making a collection box for the refugees - a problem which seemed totally alien to the priorities in a fifties single-sex grammar school; doing prep in the attic library and giggling a lot; being paranoid about the angle of our berets (Miss Williams was very sharp about that) because the Brigidine Convent girls (round the corner) wore boaters and looked so much nicer, we were told. (The inference seemed to be that we had got there on merit, their parents had had to pay for their schooling, but there was always an undercurrent of competition)... I note that earlier posters talk about wearing boaters to the grammar school, but that's not my recollection from the fifties(?); the gilded rolls of honour boards in the hall - you either taught or went to university, I don't know how Geraldine McEwan got through, although she was supposed to be in the Old Vic or something - because no other jobs could be contemplated... and so on. The memories come tumbling in, and although I wasn't happy there, and certainly learned for the first time in my previously untroubled life some of the pains of class differences that came with educational selection, I do remember with fondness wonderful Elmfield - and how to parse sentences. Oh yes, and I was in Beech, though now I would prefer Griffindor...

Pat Larkin - 18 Feb 2009

Hello Hazel, I've just read your posting and enjoyed it very much. Just a point though, Miss. Meech didn't discover the poor chap hanging in the hockey field along King's Road, my friend and I found him after we'd finished painting hockey balls in the school pavilion. We had volunteered to do this, after lunch, as it 'got us out of school for half-an-hour'. We saw Miss. Meech heading back towards school and ran across the road. We gabbled to her what we'd just seen. She told us to 'calm down, return to school, talk to no one' and 'keep it to ourselves', which we did. We were subsequently taken to Miss. Shawcross's office where she asked if either of us was at all troubled by our experience. She told us she would visit our parents if we were troubled. A sad experience for both of us but for this poor man, it was even worse. Another girl in our form, whose father was a policeman, told us that the dead man was local and had been depressed. 'Elmfield' was a beautiful building, I agree with you there, but poor old 'Carfax', well, when I saw Thamesweb's photos of the house being demolished, I didn't really feel much. Those stairs up to the art room, the 'basement' where we drank milk, it was mixed emotions I suppose, but years ago there must have been a family living there who really loved the house, surely?? Miss. Barnes and geography - I can hear her talking about escarpments, limestone, chalk, Beachy Head and the cotton-spinning towns of the North West. I now live right near Beachy Head and think of her when I'm walking right up on the headland. We all loved her and I can't think of anyone who didn't. She was a great teacher and we all respected her.

Hazel Austin - 18 Feb 2009

I'm sorry it was you who found the suicide; they must have discreetly kept your names out of it to protect you, because the word was always that it was Miss Meech. These days you'd be deluged with counselling and it would be on the web in minutes... I was probably a bit unkind about Carfax! Actually as you say, it must have been loved by the family who once lived there.

Pat Larkin - 19 Feb 2009

Hello Hazel, yes I agree about counselling and the media, now, that is. It didn't occur and we, neither of us, mentioned it again, not to this day I suppose. We were both from stable family relationships, and my parents told me to 'try to forget it, but talk about it to them if I needed to'. Elmfield and Carfax were both used by the army during WWII. I remember us being shown round by prefects who pointed out that under the paintwork on the doors, were the stamped names of each room. We clearly saw 'ROOM II', 'DINING ROOM' and 'MESS'. It fascinated me and I used to look at every door after that, just to see if there were any 'marks' on them. Well, I was only 11, so it's understandable.

I'm sure the Latin mistress married when I first joined Grammar School. She hyphenated her names and I'd be interested to hear from anyone else if my memory serves me correctly. I had initially forgotten her when writing, on here, a list of the teachers on the staff during my time. Seeing your posting, with her name there, jogged the grey cells a bit. Mrs. Longfield-Jones, now I remember her. Miss. Griffin, (history), introduced herself to us first formers. She told us that we would be learning about Ancient Egyptian History. At the end of her introductory speech, she asked if any of us had a question. I asked why we couldn't learn about 'The War', (WWII), she replied that 'World War Two was too recent history', and we never touched on the subject again. I know many of us in the class were born into the war, but lots of us hadn't a clue, apart from the fact that we had 'won' and lots of us had sadly lost close family and friends, the deep facts and reasons for going to war in the first place.

I wrote earlier that we wore green berets and mentioned the fact that my cousin wore a boater. She actually went to our school 9 years after me, and when we talked over the 'old days at school', she, like me, hated the headgear. I told her that I'd walked through the gates in Osborne Road on my last day with my close friend, we took our berets off and jumped on them. Knowing that no one ever again could tell us off, give us a 'minor offence', a detention or report us to our Head of House, we had a feeling of complete freedom. I savoured that moment and still remember it quite clearly. I can see now how silly it was and I do regret it, so conveniently push it to the back wall of my memories. My cousin spent most of her days at the 'old school' and then moved for her last couple of terms to the 'Windsor Girls' School' - She said she didn't care for it very much but I suppose it's whatever you get used to. I think the new school was too 'new' and 'modern'.

Pat Larkin - 24 Feb 2009

I agree with your thoughts re. school reports. Most subjects have 'Pat must try harder', or 'Pat has shown some encouraging signs in her work this term', so we really never knew exactly where we stood with some teachers. Miss Barnet, (art), always, without fail, gave me glowing remarks, I suppose that's why I liked her so much... !!! Miss. Riddle too was another great teacher in my view. Miss Barnes being the absolute tops, well, at that school.

Miss Williams did write to my parents, she also visited us at Hilltop to discuss my staying on. The only good thing to come out of that particular meeting was for my Dad, (as I've posted before), he was asked by Miss. Williams to decorate her's and Miss. Lerrigo's bungalow, which he did to their great satisfaction. Out of school, Miss. Williams was a very different lady. More relaxed and approachable and my Dad and she got on well.

Hazel Austin - 24 Feb 2009

I wouldn't go so far as to say Miss Williams was a sweetie, but I suppose, in her defence, as Deputy Head she had to uphold the dignity of the school, which in those days was considerable, and looking back Katie Shawcross was a bit too gentle to command the same respect. A sort of good cop, bad cop scenario, with Miss Williams playing the baddie? (Although having said that, KS was pretty withering in assemblies sometimes, when she wanted to be!)

Franw - 26 Feb 2009

I am Pat Larkins cousin, living in USA. I was at WCGS from 1951 - 1956. I moved from the old school to the new venue, but only spent a short time there. I wore a boater in the summer & a velour in the winter (hated the beret ). Still hate olive green, when I started at the school olive was the colour, but when Miss Shawcross left us and Miss McKay arrived she changed the uniform to bottle green, which thrilled my parents, as they now had to buy new clothing including sports attire. Miss Meech was wonderful, had her for English lang. & lit. also for elocution. (not sure that's spelled right ) Still don't talk like the queen !!!! I do remember there being a feeble attempt at providing a tuck shop, but that didn't last long. There was an area called the red quadrangle reserved for 6th formers , so they tried to keep the underlings in their place, taught us resentment & humility.

Hazel Austin - 26 Feb 2009

Hi there, Fran! Lovely to see a new face - or should I say old face, because we must have overlapped at the grammar school at the same time, like Pat! I was there 1954 to 59. My maths never was my strong point (sorry, Miss Williams!) but you must have left before me, though I don't remember a Miss McKay at all - I thought it was Miss Shawcross when I went. Mind you, I wasn't particularly happy there so they might have changed the Head without me noticing I suppose! I thought we had olive green because I remember the horrid thick knickers with a pocket, and I never minded the berets, you could throw them like a frisbee (and often did) unless Miss W was around. I remember wearing it on the slant, like they did in the services, because it was so unflattering flat on top like a pancake. I don't suppose you kept one of those loooong school photos, I dumped mine ages ago - wish I hadn't. I'm a real clutterholic, so I tend to keep everything, but inevitably throw away the one thing I later wish I hadn't.

Pat Larkin - 26 Feb 2009

Hello cuzn, I think you may have ever-so-slightly got your dates at the Grammar school mixed up... How about 1961 - 1966????????

Pat Larkin - 26 Feb 2009

I spoke to my cuzn last night and I finally remembered to ask her about the portrait of our late Head Girl and whether or not she remembered seeing it hung in Elmfield. She said she couldn't remember seeing it anywhere and always felt slightly intimidated when climbing the stairs in Elmfield, (as it was the 6th Form's domain). I couldn't even imagine how she must have felt because that part of the building was used by 'us' in the third year. Going up the big staircase and reaching the landing, there was the staff room, Miss. Shawcross's office, then a sick room, (with 2 iron beds and jug and bowl), next to that was the huge cupboard where our homework was placed every morning, then another third year classroom where I was taught. If anyone's seen the film 'The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie', her classroom is our third form classroom to a 't'... it overlooked the Long Walk, except that with the windows being so high, you would have had to stand on your desk-seat to have seen the view.

Hazel Austin - 26 Feb 2009

Glad the painting of the Head Girl couldn't be recalled, I thought I'd missed something. Remember her being mentioned, don't know why they didn't put the painting up.

Franw - 26 Feb 2009

Thanks for the correction, dates are 1961-1965. Sorry for the mistake, I guess it's me who has the alzheimers !!!! Miss McKay arrived a few months after I joined the school, she was a really scary woman, we butted heads on more than one occasion.

Franw - 7 Mar 2009

As for Miss McKay she caught me one day wearing a "jumper" my Mum had knitted in the lovely olive green, but it was past the deadline for the change to bottle green, she gave me a lecture, and 3 detentions. What a soft & cuddly creature she was !!!!

Hazel Austin - 7 Mar 2009

I'm so glad I never met Miss McKay, she sounds awful. Three detentions, that's ridiculous, silly woman. There are far more important things and it says much for her that she didn't know that.

I'm not so hot on dates (no dig intended, it's the truth) so were you at the old school or the new one - did you say you were there 1961? I left in 1959 so there wasn't much of a gap. What was the reason given for the change to bottle green? I was never mad about the olive green, and have never worn it much, particularly the thick knickers, although it had more "class" than horrid bottle green would have; I suppose they wanted to be a new broom sweeping clean. Or Miss McKay did, presumably. The motto must have changed too, because I see from their site it's not Hold on, Hold fast, Hold out, etched on my brain still.

Franw - 16 Mar 2009

The only reason for the change from olive to bottle green was Miss McKay's ego. She had to make it HER school. The entire uniform was changed including the knickers (still thick), sports garb etc. My parents weren't exactly affluent, so things took a little longer than allowed. My Mum would make me go to lost property to buy items that were never mine, but I would have to say they were, and pay a fine to reclaim them. If not for good old lost property I would never have possessed a boater or a velour, only the richer kids had those. My tennis racquet and hockey stick were also obtained in this way. I don't know if you knew Miss Aldridge, she was my 1st form teacher (form room in The Gables), also had her for English. She and I really didn't get on, had many a detention from her, she reminded me of a dried up, sour old prune ! My 3rd year form room was in Carfax, loved it there, we would lock the classroom door, climb out the window before the teacher arrived, and spent the period in the basement with a ouija board --- more detentions. My other least favourite teacher was Mrs Turner - chemistry - I loved the subject, but when given the choice between studying science or languages I chose the latter just to escape her clutches. Loved Mrs Quinton, Miss Meech, and Miss Belton. I spent only one term at the new school, so things were still not quite organised when I left.

Pat Larkin - 16 Mar 2009

Reading your posting, cuzn, I laughed out loud and could just see you and your classmates bolting the door in the Carfax form room, clambering out of the big window, bombing down into 'the basement' and consulting 'the powers that be'... tut, tut. All those detentions, what did your 'head of house' think of that and how were you punished in those days???? Whatever they meted out to you, I don't think it worked... or am I wrong? I was told, many years ago, that my school blazer was kept, then given to you to wear, but I didn't know whether or not that was true??????? After all, there's 9 years in age difference, although, back then, we were the same size, (don't mention the present!).

Hazel Austin - 7 Apr 2009

Earlier, doing the chores, I found myself singing Nymphs and Shepherds. As you do. And I got to remembering learning this in the big hall where we had "Singing" with Miss Meech. This is Flora's holiday, and all that... I can remember we also learned Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Sheep May Safely Graze (tho not the words to that one) but got stuck on any more.

And what was your favourite assembly hymn from those little dog eared hymnbooks with dark blue covers? Mine was Jerusalem.

Pat Larkin - 8 Apr 2009

Fav. hymn - 'Jerusalem', that's if it counts itself as a hymn?? I love it to this day, and can only feel a sense of great pride when I join in... (hoping no one can hear me). Fav. song - a tune that had something to do with 'a smoke black chimney stack' which was on a boat, delivering different things to different people, I can remember 'Brandy for the Parson'... maybe, Hazel you remember this one? We had 'records' in Room II. We'd sit and mostly gaze out over The Long Walk, with me thinking what my Mum was maybe cooking for 'tea', or maybe thinking of Elvis or something else, totally unconnected with what was going on in the room... mostly played to us was concert music or Brahms or Beethoven. Never though, my fav. composer, Rachmaninov. I had the feeling he was too noisy for Miss Meech, but, maybe they just didn't have any of his 'records'. In the hall, I'd love to sing - again - 'Jerusalem'. I think every one of us loved it and we really belted it out... great music, great words. At the end of each term we'd sing a hymn that had something to do with blessing us all. It was quite a sentimental tune too. Always brought a lump to my throat, well, it might have been the fact that in 20 mins' time, I'd be on my bike, riding as fast as I could - and homeward bound... yippee, no school for 6-7 weeks. Heaven. Likewise, at the beginning of each term, we'd sing the 'opposite', welcoming us back to school, and blessing us all with the hopes we'd all do well, (I think).

Hazel Austin - 8 Apr 2009

Dirty little coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack ... through the channel in the mad March days With a cargo of ..., ... and ... and ... and ... ... Ah, yes, I remember it well. Well, not exactly well as you can see. I think pig iron was in there somewhere? For some reason Masefield comes to mind. There was also one about Give to me the life I love, let the lave(?) go by me... bed in the bush with stars to see, bread I dip in the river, there's a life for a man like me, there's a life for ever. Something about a vagabond? He wouldn't dip his bread in the Thames these days! I remember watch the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen go by... but as poetry, not singing? Earlier on, there was a quiz - when they quoted Now is the winter of our discontent... like an automaton I shouted Richard III and quoted the rest of the soliloquy. I remember learning it in the cold Carfax basement, practising for something or the other (I was Richard, reversal of boys taking girls parts!) and have never forgotten it. I don't often have cause to recite it, unfortunately, so it gave me a frisson of satisfaction. Sad. National Anthem - except for sport, no. Land of Hope and Glory, yes. Now that really, really is Empire with knobs on, but it never fails to hit the spot in a wicked world. Me too on Rachmaninov. I think probably he was too yearning/heaving bosom (Brief Encounter) for Miss Meech, bless her. Wonder if schoolboys remember these little things? No, prob not...

Pat Larkin - 9 Apr 2009

In my initial posting, (the one now floating blissfully in the far-flung regions of the Cosmos), I had put 'Away in a Manger', so, we agree on that one. I'd also written a couple of other carols, 'Hark The Herald Angels' being one, the other, now, I've totally forgotten - so much for being my 'favourite'... I love the 'we will rock you' one. I had forgotten that too, so you see, it's happening - age is creeping, slowly upon me, drying out my once highly-active brain cells... at least it happens to everyone, although, that's no comfort to me... aha, just remembered, it's 'Ding-dong Merrily on High'... my brother taught me this one. He learned to sing it at the County Boys. A truly Christmassy tune and great words too. Another was/is 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'.

I didn't ever like learning poems, bible verses or anything we had to stand up and 'recite'... I can't remember whether or not we did this at C.G., again, maybe Pauline might. At C.G's we were always learning something or other for either Miss Meech or Miss Shawcross, (she took us for English and Religion in the first form)... then we separated into two groups. I had Miss Sluman for English and Miss Shawcross for Religion. I always liked lessons with both these teachers and usually did quite well with tests and exams too. Any reciting of verse, in the hall, was a nightmare for most of us and everyone tried 'not' to be in the front row. My friend, Ann, and I somehow managed to gradually worm our way through the lines of girls, to the back row. Not always easy when everyone was trying to do the same thing!!

Hazel Austin - 9 Apr 2009

I read your post, Pat, then sat thinking about the odd things we remember from school - especially the grand and glorious WCGS. I was trying to sort out what was important and what wasn't. I don't think for example I've ever needed to use Pythagoras' theorem although I did once recall needing to know the counties of Northern Ireland - viz. the acronym FAT LAD. I also remember a chapter on the Amazon Forest in geography for Miss Barnes because I liked her. Latin I've had more luck with since leaving Mrs Longfield-Jones, but they needn't have invented algebra for my sake based on its frequency of use in my grown up life. Shakespeare? Yes, yes and yes again. Probably it was the English teaching I value the most. What did I miss out on by going to grammar school? In those days the encouragement to think for yourself and question everything.

Pat Larkin - 10 Apr 2009

In maths, to remember 'Pythagoras' Theorem', I only had to remember Danny Kaye singing the exact words, explaining the theorem, which were ... that 'in a right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two adjacent sides...' well, words to that effect. It was a great privilege to be at 'our' school, or don't you go along with that? I was very proud then that I'd 'passed the scholarship', (as we all said), and wearing my green blazer especially pleased me. I loved that little jacket to death. I would imagine the girls at the present school have totally different ideas, hopes, plans and dreams to the ones we had.

Beryl Mann - 5 Oct 2009

Oak was yellow! Elm was dark blue! Larch - green? and Beech - brown! Howzzattt! Not bad for a girl who really couldn't take any credit for helping her house to win 'brownie points'!

Beryl Mann - 6 Oct 2009

Did you still have the school magazine which we used to have I wonder? The cover was in green print on a cream background. I can't recall its issue regularity - possibly quarterly rather than monthly and I think it may well have been produced by the more senior girls. I'm ashamed to admit, but as with many things in life, we take these things for granted at the time and discard them but I am now wondering if any of the 'old' girls out there may have one or more stashed away in a loft. Wouldn't that be marvellous? I'm sure I for one would find it or them a lot more interesting than I did at the time.

Pat Larkin - 6 Oct 2009

I do remember the school magazine, but had forgotten about it til reading your posting. Amazing, I can even remember reading it and looking at the girls' names who'd contributed poems and such-like and thinking how clever they must be... (I think it was annually printed Beryl). I can't remember there being too many of them around either. Did we have to pay for them or were they free? If they were free, I'd certainly have brought one home, if we had to buy them, I almost certainly wouldn't have had the money.

Hazel Austin - 12 Jan 2010

This is Miss Riddle's form (half of the year) in either 1957 or 58. Because the grammar obviously took from feeder primary schools over a large distance, some of these girls are not from Windsor, but Maidenhead, Bray, Langley but I'll identify most of them if someone wants to know. Miss Riddle took French by the way, a very pleasant teacher, as I recall. The Windsor girls are: Top row from the left: third me, fourth Susan Roper (whose parents hosted the Sebastopol in Dedworth; Middle row: first girl is Marianne Street (need to check the road name) whose mother ran guides or something like it, 6th girl is Sandra Royall who parents managed Currys electrical shop in Peascod Street; and 7th on the end is Angela ?Wheeldon who lived in the house right next to the Horse Hall Bottom row first girl is Ruth Beehag who used to go to the Methodist Youth Club on the corner of Alma/Clarence Road. Deidre Overton (don't think she was a Windsor girl, but her father was a Wingco in the RAF I think) who's sitting next to Ruth went on to be Head Girl. The picture was taken at the further end of the Elmfield grounds with the main gate to the left, in front of the gym block, with the tennis courts behind. In the background was a house taken over for classrooms - I think the name's posted on here somewhere, but I've forgotten it.

Pat Larkin - 12 Jan 2010

I don't know any girls here Hazel, but, Miss Riddle... I loved her from the minute she walked into 'The Hut', on the 'Carfax' side of the road... she used to always wear two-piece suits and almost always in a pale shade of blue... lovely lady, terrific teacher and gave us little 'first-formers' the courage to pronounce these strange French words... she had a piece of hair, near the crown of her head, that used to 'swish' each time she turned her head either 'to' or 'from' the big and long blackboards we had then... All those French verbs to learn, yet we all did... At the start of her very first lesson with us, she said 'Now girls, I want you all to choose a French name for yourself, and, each time I ask you to answer a question, I will call you by that name'... well, I chose 'Marie'... my Mother's older sister was 'Doris-Mary', so I pinched the 'Mary' and turned it into the French form... I couldn't get home fast enough that day to tell my Mother my new French name, and she was, as I thought she'd be, over-the-moon that I'd chosen Aunty Doris's name... well, half of it... I didn't have to look at Miss Riddle's shoes in the photo Hazel, because I knew she'd be wearing brown flatties... she looks a lot healthier in the photo because I recall she was very slim and tall with it... she had this habit of holding a small piece of chalk in her hand and just 'tossing' it when she waited patiently for one of us bright sparks to answer a certain question she had posed... she always gave this broad grin if someone got the answer 'right'.......

Hazel Austin - 17 Jan 2010

In fact I'd forgotten that there were A and B grades for passing the 11 plus. I know a mother who "pulled strings" to get her child in, but otherwise I thought you just passed or didn't . What I do remember was that - in theory anyway - they could reassess you two years later for movement either way. Though I never never heard of anyone being moved across to the grammar, only traffic the other way. You'd never have caught up with the curriculum of two years anyway, Latin, Physics, etc., they were chalk and cheese in those days - bit like moving sets in comprehensives, although the theory's all very well. Anyway, I was very miserable for those first two years and apart from a few things didn't prosper... I can recall that Katie Shawcross and my dad were at loggerheads as I learned afterwards about it; I don't know what the conversations were but from there on I prospered (though still not very happy there), got prizes for "outstanding improvement" and every O-level I took. Couldn't wait to get out at 16 - took my As elsewhere and went on for a degree and to teach.

Jane Lindsay - 17 Jan 2010

At least one person from my year was transferred to PMR at the end of 2nd year, and I did know one boy who went from Royal Free Seniors to the boys' school in about 4th year. I don't know how he managed to catch up, but he went on to university. We also had someone transfer to us in 3rd year from Slough Technical School; she too went on to university.

Yes, I had problems with Mrs Colenso too. She confused me totally, and I failed maths in my first year at WCGS. My mother asked them to put me in Miss Williams' class in 2nd year, regardless of whether she took the upper or lower group. Fortunately for me it was the upper group, and I went on to do A-level maths. I also had a miserable time for the first two years there, with the 2nd year being worse than the 1st. Miss Williams (maths) and Miss Riddle (French) kept me going, but I hated all other subjects. I often "forgot" to do my homework in the hated subjects. On one of my reports (which I still have) Miss Shawcross wrote "Jane persists in her laziness." How true! She saw through my "forgetfulness". But would any teacher these days dare to be so outspoken?Things improved in 3rd year when I dropped science, we did geography and no history, and a new young teacher, Miss Morgan, was my form mistress, and also taught me English and scripture. Suddenly it was no effort at all to memorise a passage from the Bible and write it out in the next lesson, punctuation 'n all, and I was getting 8 or 9 out of 10 instead of 2. English homework wasn't so onerous either, except for literature. I loved reading (still do), but I was not interested in all those stuffy women in "Pride and Prejudice" (apologies to all Jane Austen fans). I scraped through O-level English Lit because I enjoyed "Great Expectations" and some of the poetry. The best years were the last two when I did A-level pure maths, applied maths and physics, all at the boys' school. I liked the subjects, and I had good teachers for all of them - Mr Blow (pure maths), Mr Riddles (applied maths) and Mr Proctor (physics).

Hazel Austin - 18 Jan 2010

After reading your latest memory, I have one word to say to you... R E S P E C T! Anyone who can go that far with maths has got it, so far as I'm concerned. (And what does that tell us about Mrs. Colenso?) I now know that the answer wasn't that I couldn't do it (because I could do it when I was older) - I just didn't want to do it - that and the wrong teachers of course. Certainly there are children who really haven't got the reasoning skills to grasp the more abstract maths (I was always fine with Geometry!) but that's fine, there'll be other things they can do. One of the things I never forgot when I became a teacher was how I felt when Mrs. Colenso said (one afternoon in the classroom overlooking Carfax playground) that she couldn't waste any more time on me - having just had a couple of goes at some finer point of algebra

It was always "English" that I loved. Miss Morgan rings a bell but I can't put a face to the name. I have a picture of some of the staff and she may be on there, I need to check the copyright first. Good to know I wasn't the only girl who was so unhappy at the Grammar, I was beginning to think it was me!

Beryl Mann - 18 Jan 2010

It really is so good to read all this exciting chat between you and Jane, Hazel. It was great to see Pat's little offering there too - reminding me of the netball games I so enjoyed. I played a - what would you call it - 'striker'? Anyway I really used to score a lot of goals which gave me confidence as I never was a sporty type of girl, before or since then. I used to be told off for being at the 'empty' end of the hockey field and remember saying "What's the point - they will all be back here soon!"... and a tennis ball would never land on the centre of my racket (racquet?) so 'enthusiasm' was never in my vocabulary! I believe I enjoyed that school for all the wrong reasons, if you could call it that! I just enjoyed being with all the girls and looking back the learning came second but I got on reasonably well even with some of that because I was happy and confident. I left at fifteen because I knew there wasn't a hope of my obtaining the School Certificate which had to be passed in at least five subjects. I went on to enjoy most of my working life as a Comptometer Operator and then later too when I worked as a book keeper wages clerk. Now... I'll say this only once! Sorry if it shocks you Pat and Hazel. We had a new teacher for history called Miss Griffin, and a certain number of us decided we weren't going to be there for the test she warned she was setting for us for the next day. I hate to say this but she did seem rather ineffectual at first and we needed authority I think! Well we hatched up our little scheme on the playing field the previous afternoon. There were going to be three of us but as it turned out there were just two! I can't mention any names because one girl who was quite near to home in those days did happen to be genuinely unwell, and the other girl who lived in or near Ascot was going to be there to meet me when I cycled to Ascot. We had arranged to meet by the Double Gates. For this I had to cycle past the school which as it happened was no problem because there was a very thick fog! We were wondering what to do after a while and decided to go back to Windsor... trouble was we had to get back past the school and the fog had disappeared and it became a lovely warm sunny day, so we had to keep our heads down and pedal as quickly as we could. Then we went to the cricket field (Stovell's rec.) where we sat on one of the seats at the back and decided to call on the other girl where we were welcomed by her and her lovely mother. We didn't know of her plight until then! We wrote our own notes for school - at least I did because my mother wouldn't! Do you know, I must have had a serious talking to by Miss Shawcross in her office, but I cannot remember her being angry. It was never mentioned in my school report either. I can only think my Mum had possibly spoken to her separately about it straight after the event but knowing her, she wouldn't have spoken in my favour knowing it was wrong! It could have been almost a joke, writing my own letter too as it must have been so obvious but I would have had a fit if either of my girls had done such a thing and I don't know to this day how I got away with it so lightly - at school or at home!

Hazel Austin - 18 Jan 2010

An old WCGS Prize Day programme I've got shows there were 40 girls in my year but I can only recall about three for certain who came from the Royal Free: Valerie Clarke, Sylvia Hobbs and Sandra Royall. Life moved on and I haven't seen anyone from either since. Mum of course, would keep me up to date with any news by seeing their mums in Windsor, but to be honest I was so desperate to be out at 16 that was all I thought of. I certainly met some lovely girls at Grammar, and like you enjoyed the social life too, because I'd always wanted sisters, but the social class gremlin somehow reared its head for the first time while I was there. For example, I had a Saturday job in the Surplices record department for "pocket money" and the fun of it, and Katie Shawcross made a point of showing her disapproval of the girls "she had heard" were working on Saturdays. I was mortified. Teachers would go for tea to some girls homes but (not that I would have wanted them to even the nice ones!) not to mine. I shan't mention the girls' names but one of the teachers was the Miss Griffin you mentioned. There was always an unspoken but noticed difference between uniforms bought at Caleys, or Daniels - or worse still, home-knitted cardigans (which these days would be a premium!) or party dresses, which would be hung up in that cloakroom across from the kitchen so that everyone could look at them. Small things but they made me unhappy. By then my family were in private housing in College Crescent, and I know I did well with O levels so the class/council housing thing shouldn't have mattered, but it did. If it hadn't been for my mum and dad I'd have left at 15 like you, and dad would only let me leave at 16 if I went to "college" to get my A's. Rarely have I wondered about how that decision changed my life, because it's done. The education was for the most part good. And life, I've found, is full of second chances if you want them. I've held on, held fast and I'm still holding out! What more could you ask?? And Jane - last question. I don't suppose you can remember the words (if there were any) that were written on/over the sundial that was on the wall as you came out from the Elmfield hallway into the garden? I may die not knowing at this rate...

Jane Lindsay - 18 Jan 2010

Hazel, don't be overawed by my maths. I couldn't do what you did in English! I believe there are "maths brains" and "English brains" and all sorts of "other brains", and the world needs all of them. I think that's what you are saying anyway. What a dull place it would be if we were all the same!I don't remember any wording on the sundial, but there was a plaque somewhere near it that read "HD 1867". Or was that written on the sundial? "HD" was Henry Darvill, the man for whom Elmfield was built. I do remember an end-of-term prank that involved dropping gym knickers out of the 6th form window on the top floor, trying to hang them on the sundial, but it was not successful, even after 3 attempts, and of course there was the problem of retrieving the knickers from the garden without getting caught. Another thing we did one lunch hour was stand on chairs then all jump off together; the staff room was immediately below (which was why we did it, of course), and one of the younger staff members came racing up the stairs to see what disaster had occurred. We were not very popular. Oh, yes - Miss Shawcross's views on girls having jobs. How well I remember them! I had a paper round as soon as I was old enough, and so did my sister - my brothers too, for that matter. There were constant run-ins between Miss Shawcross and my parents, and with me too sometimes. I remember my dad writing to the Windsor Express once, listing the achievements of some of the paper boys and girls we knew, and pointing out that not only had these young people achieved good academic results (i.e. their school work was not adversely affected by having a job), a number of them would have had to leave school early if they hadn't been earning their own pocket money. One final note. Another memory has just popped into my mind. When I was so miserable in my 2nd year at WCGS, I used to say to my parents that I was going to leave school at 15 and work at Mars and eat Mars Bars all day (knowing full well that I wouldn't be allowed to leave at 15). When I did eventually leave school, where was my first job? Yes, it was in the office at Mars, but, no, I didn't eat Mars Bars all day!

Beryl Mann - 19 Jan 2010

I always said when my girls had their Saturday jobs that I wish we could have done that in my day as it would have boosted my confidence. The idea hadn't started then unless you count a girl in our class - who has recently contacted me again - who had a job as a paper girl. She used to deliver papers to the guard room at the castle. She said "Do you want to come up there with me?" So I did one day! I was easily led! I tell you, if my Mum had ever found out I would have been mincemeat!

Beryl Mann - 19 Jan 2010

I'm afraid I didn't know of Olive Woolford,but from another part of your post I remember Ann(e) Darville who I am sure was of the grocer family. I think she was in our year going through St Stephen's and certainly in the first form A where and when I started at WCGS. Don't ask me why I should remember but her second name was Tessa! I must have taken a lot more into my head in those days than ever I can now! I also remember that she used to go to dancing classes. I can't remember however if she remained at WCGS or may have left to continue at a private school. I can't think she would have been 'relegated' dare I say it to PMR! It was easy to lose track of other girls when, like myself, I was very happily relegated to the next Form 2... not referred to as B... just Form 2! - so why, I wonder, and where did that snobbishness all start?

Jane Lindsay - 19 Jan 2010

Yes, I remember Ann Darville. She was still at WCGS when I went there. I think we overlapped for a few years, so she certainly wasn't transferred to PMR. By the time I went there they no longer had A and B classes as such. Classes were named after the form mistress, so I was in 1b (Miss Blankley), 2m (Miss Mitchell), 3m (Miss Morgan) and so on. From 2nd year we were grouped into "upper" and "lower" for maths, English, French.

Yes, I do have a copy of Girls in Green. I wrote part of the chapter on going to the boys' school. I tried contacting "the other side" to get some of their views on having girls there, but the only positive response I had was from Tom Riddles, who had taught me applied maths. I also tried to do a chapter on the history of the school buildings, but that was too hard to do from the other side of the world. It would have needed a lot of time in the Windsor library.

Jane Lindsay - 19 Jan 2010

I did say the date on the plaque near the sun dial was 1867, but apparently it was rather worn, and some people thought it was 1863. We'll never know now. If anyone has the time to delve into the history and look for planning permission etc, we might be able to find out when Elmfield was built, and that would be the date on the plaque. Any keen historians out there?

Pat Larkin - 19 Jan 2010

Jane, you've written 'Miss Blankley', she was the science teacher, (in the labs along the covered way and through the door), who left after teaching our year for a very short time. We were all so sad at her leaving to get married and I often wondered what happened to her... Miss Griffin, history - well, my everlasting memory of her was teaching us 'dates'... She seemed to be in love with 'dates'... I can't recall a single one of them, except perhaps 1066, so why-oh-why was is so important to reel off these dates in our country's history? Yes, the dates are important, I know, but not to be chanted, parrot-fashion then completely forgotten... another name you've mentioned, Miss Mitchell - now, did she have lots of very tight, naturally curly hair? I'd completely forgotten her til reading your piece..... Beryl, I've just read your little tale of missing Miss Griffin's test to Tony. He is amazed and thinks, perhaps, you were a little naughtier than he ever realised... this forum thread is a bit like a confessional... not that I've ever been to one!!! Miss Shawcross was to me a 'lovely lady', but on the day I had to go to her office about my leaving 'early' at 15, she was a bit 'different' towards me... She told me, looking straight into my eyes, 'you have wasted what time you have spent in the school, not only that, you took the place of another girl who might possibly have gone on to greater things'... weeeeellll, that told me... but, I had to leave then, as did two other girls, one in my form and the other in the parallel form... no question of me staying on at all... its still something I look back on with great feelings of regret, but its gone, its happened and my life took the path it did... Our forms were named using the first letter of the form mistress's surname.....1B - Miss Barnes, my favourite teacher at WCGS. 2L - Miss Lerrigo, 3G - Miss Griffin and finally for me, 4Q - Mrs. Quinton, games mistress. I began my first year in The Hut, at the rear of 'Carfax', the next form for my second year was in 'Carfax' on the first floor, first door on the right going in. The third year was again 'Carfax', first floor, first door on the left going in... my final year was 'Carfax', second floor and opposite the art rooms, I think... the floors of 'Carfax' still get muddled up in my memory banks......

Hazel Austin - 19 Jan 2010

Windsor Girls' Grammar School (the old one) must have been pretty near the top in the "Playing Fields with the Best View" list. The school itself was at the junction with Osborne Road, but their playing fields were quite a walk down Kings Road in the direction of Windsor - an interminable walk if (as happened occasionally) you'd forgotten your shorts and had to walk down for hockey or tennis in your thick green regulation knickers. The very nice Georgian terrace on the left of Kings Road leaving the town backed onto the playing field and a few of the housedwellers would talk to us - especially if our balls went into their back gardens!

Jane Lindsay - 19 Jan 2010

Yes, Miss Blankley taught science. She married a Mr Dodd or Dodds. Don't know what happened to her after that. And yes again, Miss Mitchell was the one with the tight curly hair. She taught science too, and she was involved with Guides. Miss Griffin and her dates - I don't remember many of them, only 1066-1087 and 1087-1100. There was a rhyme too for remembering the kings and queens of England. It started off Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three

Pat Larkin - 20 Jan 2010

Do any of you 'girls' ever dream about being back at the school, because I do... strangely though, I'm usually in that cloakroom opposite the kitchen, do you remember it? I can see the clothes or coat hooks on the walls and the bench underneath. I always see those gym-bags we all had to have, (with 2" lettering in my day). My own reason for this particular dream is that I was quite often late and if I'd either missed a bus at the top of the street, or had a flat tyre so had to walk, pushing my bike to school, I would always dash into that cloakroom, check that I had dinner-money for those wooden, oblong dinner-tickets with numbers on them, and pray the secretary sitting there taking dinner-money, hadn't gone and I was too late to buy a 'ticket'... I tell myself that's the reason for this dream... it's a stress thing I think. I did miss buying a ticket on one occasion, but was told by our form mistress that I could go to the kitchen and let them know there was one extra for 'dinner'... Miss Williams comes into my dreams now and then, but the older I grow, the less she bothers me, which is a good thing... she was though, an excellent maths teacher.

Hazel Austin - 20 Jan 2010

No, can't say I can remember dreaming about WCGS - although I may have and forgotten. What is interesting, is that on here a group of girls who had very similar experiences - and yes, we all remember a few things without fail - obviously registered different things about those experiences. Is that personality? Family values? Thinking skills? Some things you remember in great detail and yet something as obvious as you mentioned once - the painted over numbers on the Carfax interior doors - totally passed me by. Shows how subjective memories can be for eye-witnesses. If you picture yourself instantly time-travelled back to the grammar school, where do you find yourself? Don't do a memory walkabout, just what's the place/moment you immediately think of? For me, it's Elmfield, in that tiled entrance, looking out to the lovely long garden with trees around. Goodness knows why - though like your dreams, Freud undoubtedly would!

Pat Larkin - 20 Jan 2010

I've remembered while reading the postings today that my final form room wasn't in Carfax, it was at the top of the staircase in Elmfield and opposite the Staff Room and Miss Shawcross's office... I don't know why I thought I'd spent my last year 'over the road', so I apologise for that. The parallel fourth form's classroom was on that floor too.

Hazel Austin - 20 Jan 2010

Funny thinking of Carfax (a lovely building in its own right really) as being "over the road" because I have more memories of Carfax classrooms than I do of Elmfield's. And although I can picture it of course, I have almost no nice memories of those classrooms in the "extension" except for accidents in the lab and a very brief session on Human Reproduction in the Biology Lab next door. I was reading a newspaper clipping my mum had kept about the WCGS acorn-burying ceremony tradition and although I could recall it, I can't think where we buried all the acorns. They can't all have grown and flourished in one space because they'd have crowded each other out? It occurs to me that if there were elms in that garden at Elmfield - and I think some of the elms along the Long Walk hadn't flourished in the soil so some oaks were planted instead - perhaps the school was trying to replenish trees that had been lost? Although it's probably just because we had (or at least I think we did) an acorn on our badge? I was "beech" anyway...

Beryl Mann - 2 Jan 2010

I so remember that very cloakroom for the smell of the rich dark brown very glossy paint which permeated over all else when I started in the Autumn term of 1946! Yet the first form I was in, 1A, was on the left hand side of Carfax, 1st floor, or should I say the first floor after the outside steps to the front door. so perhaps it was a later year. That didn't mean to say I didn't use that Elmfield cloakroom at lunchtime or whenever but I'm sure Carfax had their own. I can't remember those at all! I really wish I could remember which rooms we were based in for each of our forms - I must really phone a friend - or two! The last (4th) was definitely the one in the Wing nearest the hall and the second or third was on the ground floor of Elmfield which I am fairly certain was the nearest room to the corner by the roundabout and looking over the Long Walk. Perhaps we were in that one twice - or the Wing twice. I loved the smell of the school dinners too... do you remember that lovely brown stew with macaroni in it?... as for my favourite pud. the chocolate pastry-like rectangles with white junket... simply yummy, eh Pat? I know, I know!!! To answer your question Hazel - that is where I would like to be - back in that Elmfield class room if all my classmates could be there too. I'm sure that is where we were when we had the Australian teacher as our form mistress, Miss (or Mrs.) Short as I can picture her telling the girls that she had seen us (Edna and me) in Fleet Streets on our bikes. As that must have been in the Summer holidays I can only think that would have been the start of our third year. Tell me though as I may be confused in my old age - whereabouts were the dining rooms? I seem to recall dark wood panelled walls. I can't think they would have been upstairs would they and why was our form room where I described. Were there really that many rooms along there going towards the kitchen?

Beryl Mann - 21 Jan 2010

Elmfield! It was a lovely garden with the lawn and the tree /s I remember most of all were the sweet chestnut tree over near the road side, and the apple tree outside the French windows of our fourth year in the Wing - the one I wrote a composition about when I came top in French , or somewhere near. Yes, I'm sure it was top because I got 60% and Miss Lerrigo was not happy! No one could have been more surprised than me! How far can you stretch a few words about an apple tree?... especially as my French translation was somewhat 'below par'. It was so good to see a photo of it in the Girls in Green book! I remember that we were told in very strong terms when having the rule book read out to us as new girls that under no circumstances were we ever to walk across the lawn to take a short cut and believe me that stuck with me and I have hardly ever done such a thing since and I feel very guilty if I occasionally do it with my own lawn!

Pat Larkin - 21 Jan 2010

We too were all 'told' in no uncertain terms that 'on no account, no matter whether you are late, or you see a friend, or you just want a 'short-cut', do you cut across the lawn'... had we done this, of course, an instant detention would have been the resulting punishment... that meant, going to Miss. Shawcross's office to sign the book, to be give a short 'talking to' by our Head Mistress. 'Head of House', Miss Williams, would want all the details of when? and why?.......'why?' being the question you most dreaded....'well, because I........', and you just knew whatever explanation you gave to Miss. Williams, it wouldn't be enough of a reason or excuse to justify your actions. In the Summer, as I've already said, we were 'allowed' to sit on the lawn, mostly in groups to talk and discuss things, but even then, we never played about or damaged the grass... wouldn't have dared... Anyway, after having 'confessed' to Head of House, we'd have to find our House Prefect... she would listen, then calmly dish out the punishment she thought suitable and adequate for whatever is was we had 'done'... my worst punishment, (and I can't recall what for but maybe I'd 'earned' three minor offences = one detention), was dished out to me by this very tall and quite nicely-spoken prefect. She told me I must learn and be able to recite to her, a number of verses from The Bible. She told me which verses, and I wrote them down very nervously in my 'Rough Book'. Also, she told me that I must find her during lunch-break tomorrow and recite these verses... which, of course, I did... no escape I'm afraid... I think Hazel, I would choose going back to the art room/s and Miss Barnet if I could 'go back'... either to that very lovely lady, or my 'most favouritest', (Delboy!), Miss Barnes. I really looked forward to geography every week... our best times with this amazing teacher, were up in the roof of Elmfield, in the VI form studies, I think they were... very small, very squeezed in to say the least, and Miss Barnes, more-often-than-not, finished our double geography lesson, sitting on the top of one of the spare desks at the front... she would tell us so many stories about her life as she grew up and how she decided she wanted to teach... we could get her to go 'off-thread', (a bit like on here really), as quick as a flash... she would teach us about the cotton spinning towns of the North West, then someone would ask a question, completely off-topic, and that was that - we 'had' her... I never minded geography exams either because I revised till all hours when that time came round... I was top once, but usually second or third... art and geography I loved... English came a close third, I'd say... I used the Brown Bus or Thames Valley to bus to school Beryl. Then, when my friend couldn't get on a bus at Vale Road, (to join me and continue on to Windsor), we both cycled from that time on... Only rarely did I go back to the bus... perhaps if I'd had a puncture and my Dad hadn't any 'solution' or 'patches' to fix it, I'd revert to the bus journeys....

Beryl Mann - 21 Jan 2010

When I first started I used to cycle with two girls who were friends and in the next year or so up. One lived in Albert and the other in Bexley Streets. You were never allowed to cycle more than two abreast and I used always to ride back a bit in the centre, feeling rather like a spare part, but as I got older I soon went my own way, catching up with girls of my own year and even managing to stop and chat with the boys going in the opposite direction to the County Boys' School. These weren't just 'any boys' though. One was my heart throb from the ABC Minors and other times it was another girl's boy friend. Sometimes she would already be talking to him and we would just ride on by. By then I was wearing my velour hat 'pork pie' dented and on the back of my head with elastic under my chin! Oh! How I remember the gorgeous heady smell of the Panama hats! If I see any now I just long to breath it in - nearest I would ever get to glue-sniffing! I had a lovely one so why can't I ever remember wearing it?

Riding back to school after some lunch times I used to cycle the rest of the way with a lovely girl called Donna if she was coming out of her home as I just happened to be passing. She must have been in the sixth or upper sixth form. She had an Italian sounding surname and lived in one of the tall houses on the bend by Trinity Church as the road lead round into St. Leonards Road... a different route for me to take. Donna was a prefect. Pat - now that is strange after reading one of your last posts... I never once had a run-in with a prefect or I am sure any of the teachers but I vaguely recall sitting in a classroom once having to write something with perhaps only one or two others there. Now could that have been a detention I wonder? Of course it was. but they say the memory only registers the good times! I wonder if that was for my day's 'absence'? As I said, I can't believe I could ever have got off so lightly!

Hazel Austin - 21 Jan 2010

I don't think I could recall either which were my "form" rooms, only the rooms themselves and some of the incidents that happened in them, sometimes in specific detail. That includes the downstairs cloakrooms in Carfax - being partly basement I suppose made them colder than normal, because I can remember them as being distinctly chilly all year round. I remember groups of us practising for the inter-house Drama Competition (or whatever it was called) down there with our coats on doing a scene from She Stoops to Conquer (forgotten the words now) and learning the Richard III speech - Now is the winter of our discontent - in the left hand downstairs Carfax classroom (which I can still recall word for word and have surprisingly had occasion to recall and quote several times in my life. ) The dining rooms were on the right as you went through Elmfield's hallway; I remember the wall pictures of somewhere jungly and sitting there on those uncomfortable benches with folding legs admiring all the plasterwork and the lovely light from the double aspect. My favourite room though was the one to the left opposite the staircase, much smaller but with shelving so it was probably the library. Despite memories of horrid school food in there, I thought the room was lovely, looking out over the garden. I can now imagine Henry Darvill's little granddaughters playing out on that lawn - I bet they were allowed to go on the grass. What a waste of a lovely Victorian house. Ah, well...

Jane Lindsay - 22 Jan 2010

I found a WGS Jubilee (1980) publication today, which has all sorts of snippets compiled into a brief history of the school. It mentioned a rumour that the school birthday acorns were dug up some time after planting, to ensure that they didn't develop into a forest. Apparently the one planted on Miss Shawcross's first school birthday did grow to a good size. How could they be so sure which acorn it was? Well, perhaps the rumour was true. Someone asked recently where the acorn-planting took place. From memory I think it was in a garden bed near the science lab.

Pat Larkin - 23 Jan 2010

My bike... had a basket. Well,that didn't last long once at the 'big' school, because after a couple of weeks, I noticed hardly any other bikes had baskets. You know, I thought it a bit 'naff' having one, so it was given to an aunt probably... I most-likely kept it for half a term, but not longer... my satchel did me proud though. I wrote my name under the big flap in 'real ink'... we didn't have ballpoints then, and the school discouraged anyone owning one from using them... they were frowned upon back then... I wrote using a Parker Pen, and when we young girlies compared pens, I was so proud of mine.

We had a rough book issued almost the first day we started at the school... again, we were told, 'use it wisely and don't waste any pages'... well, for a start the paper was so thin and shiny with it... I tried rubbing something out when I first made a mistake, and the paper disintegrated... taught me a lesson to be more accurate... also, if I used a fountain pen in the book, the written words just 'spread' over the paper... not good books at all, but, we all had to have one... by the end of the year these rough books were more than 'rough'... but an important part of our everyday tools at school... we had no reasons for lateness, lost books, forgotten dates etc. because, it all had to be noted in the rough book... we were given our daily lessons' timetable at the beginning of each year... we drew the framework for this on the inside cover of the book... the timetable was so very important and had to be adhered to at all times - without exception...

Pat Larkin - 1 Feb 2010

The haymaking song I learned at the Grammar School.....'Jackie boy!' (answer) 'Master?' 'sing ye well?' (answer) 'very well'......'hey down, ho down, derry, derry down, among the leaves so green-oh... to my hey down down, to my ho down down, hey down, ho down, derry derry down, among the leaves so green - o'... this haymaking, country song goes on for a few more verses, but I can't recall the words... I loved Christmas term above all the others... we girls could really let go in the hall, and sing to our hearts' content... I think Miss Meech's hands and arms must have been worn out by the time we had finished our school carols concert... she really got us all going and after so much rehearsing through the term, our efforts proved successful. I don't think there was any girl there who couldn't admit to having had a good time. I remember Miss Meech's cheeks would get redder and redder the more we sang... she put such a lot of energy into teaching us these songs and I think it gave her a certain amount of pride when we tried drowning her out as we did. She didn't give praise often, but when she did, we knew she really meant it.....

Pat Larkin - 9 Feb 2010

Days at Grammar weren't as carefree or happy as those at Clewer Green I'd say, but, there again, we were there to learn, and learn, we did. Thankfully, it seems most of us spent many happy days at our respective junior schools and do at least have many good memories of those days... As for Hazel's green knickers, well, yes, not a topic I like to discuss, but, weren't they just awful... I recall my friend Ann from Holyport... she always wore neater, nicer and more-modern knickers than me, and, like yours Hazel, hers had a little pocket on the right-hand-side, just under the elastic, I did ask where her Mother bought them and she told me 'a shop in Ma.......d',... I never did get a pair and my mother would laugh many years later when telling my daughters about my 'County Girls' knickers'... ughhh.

Pat Larkin - 10 Feb 2010

The four houses of the Grammar School were, Beech, Elm, Larch and Oak. Oak, in my day, usually beat the rest of the houses, 'hands down'... for some reason, the girls of Oak House were usually very intelligent, very tall, very healthy, very dedicated, very sport-orientated and any other 'very' you can think of., probably the best-looking girls too... Elm, on-the-other-hand, usually, well mostly, came a poor 'fourth'... never mind, we each of us tried our best in all things to gain points for our house, (I think)... Miss Williams really upset me by not adding one tiny mark to my 49, so making me 'fail' that term's math's exam... I have never forgiven her and to make matters worse, my brother told me that at the boys', a 'pass' was 45... he may have just told me that to really upset me, which back then, didn't take much.

Lesleyelmes - 10 Feb 2010

I was in Oak house at the old Girls' school - they must have noted my high intelligence and beauty even then!!!!!!!!! I was short though so that didn't quite fit but I was good at sports - playing tennis, hockey and was the vice captain of the netball team. So I guess all in all, I must have been a pretty good Oak. Whenever I read the Harry Potter books and saw the movies, it always reminded me of the houses at the Girls' School.

Jane Lindsay - 11 Feb 2010

Yes, Oak was always good at everything, but Elm did start to improve after about 1956, especially in the "active" areas such as sport and country dancing. We actually won the country dancing shield one year, and I was so pleased, especially as the team I was in came first in its group. I was hopeless at any sort of sport/games (although I enjoyed them), but I could dance - and I mean dance as in country dancing, not shuffling around the floor clinging onto a partner. No offence intended here. I have a high respect for real ballroom dancers, but what we did at WCGS was not "dancing" in my book. For a start we had virtually no instruction. When it was too wet for outdoor activities, ballroom dancing in the hall was the substitute, and we were expected to just know how to do it. As I said, I did enjoy sport and games, but I wasn't much good, and I don't remember getting much encouragement. I do hope things have changed since then.

Jane Lindsay - 11 Feb 2010

My sister was in the hockey 2nd XI (she was more "sporty" than I was). She was goalkeeper, so she was able to wear a jumper. One year she knitted herself a yellow jumper for hockey from some new yarn - Orlon maybe - and in the first wash it stretched. It was so long that it covered her shorts completely, and almost kept her knees warm.

Pat Larkin - 11 Feb 2010

Miss Riddle, ah, I always got on with her, and she at least gave me 50 for my exam, which meant 'a pass'. I'm wondering what Miss Williams's initials stood for - anyone know.....''M.E.W'... mmmm, now, let me have a guess, 'Muriel Eliza Williams' perhaps, or, 'Myfanwy Elizabeth', or 'Margaret Ethel'. I assumed then, and I think, now, she was from Welsh descent , (John Humphrys look-alike). Miss. Griffin, or 'Mrs. Go-to-bed' from 'Carry's War'... I swear she played that part in the childrens' series on BBC television years ago. Dark eye-brows, dark hair, pale complexion and a Mrs. Go-to-bed voice. She had a penchant for 'dates', and I don't mean the kind that grow on trees and we eat out of boxes at Christmas.....'dates are very important, you must learn your dates....'. I believed then that she was Welsh. Miss Kathleen Shawcross, well, she was, as I've written before, 'a lady' in the true sense of the word, to me that is. I liked her from day one when all we tiny tots, (even tinier in my case), marched into the hall, were told 'please sit down on the floor', and this 'lady' swept in through those double, wooden, swing-doors and, after taking four, maybe five, steps up to the stage, stopped, looked at the array of 'little, smiling angels' in front of her, then smiled this wide, beautiful smile... she spoke beautifully too and I remember thinking then, 'she's nice'... I liked the fact she wore a 'proper' headmistress's gown too, a bit like the headmistresses in the 'Girl', or 'School Friend' comics... she didn't wear her mortar-board though until Speech Days or on other special school occasions... When she talked on a one-to-one basis, as she did when I had to go to her office to sign for the 'excellent' you see on the report, she almost apologised for keeping me waiting... so polite and never raised her voice. I really believed her when she told me, at 15 years-of-age, she was sorry I was leaving, although, she pointed out in no uncertain terms, I had taken the place of someone else when I started at the school, someone who 'might have gone on to university'... that stung a bit. I felt I had let her down as opposed to the school... I left because it was expected that I 'got a job' and help support our family. We were 'allowed' to start each new term at a later than normal time... that was one of the best things about our school, we started late on the first day back after the holidays!!!... whoooopeeeeee.

By the time I finished at the school, I had reached the lofty height of 5ft 1-and-a-half inches... that half inch is really important to the shorter among us, believe me. So, all that tennis, hockey, gymnastics, and netball must have done something to get my system moving upwards.

Pat Larkin - 11 Feb 2010

Jane, your sister's hockey jumper should've been patented because on those freezing-cold, solid-as-ice hockey pitches at the Long Walk, she would have sold loads of them. brrr, makes me shiver just to think about it... all those worm casts, they froze solid, then, if you fell on a few of them, your knees bled and Mrs Quinton would smile 'that smile' and just blow her whistle for the game to carry on... she always wore her thick, luxurious, sheep-skin coat, furry boots and thick scarf wrapped round her neck, so she was alright Jack.

Jane Lindsay - 12 Feb 2010

Miss Williams was Mary Evelyn. She signed my autograph book "Mary E. Williams", and when I visited Miss Shawcross about 10-12 years ago, she referred to Miss Williams as Evelyn. Now that visit to Miss Shawcross was something else! Sue Mercer (nee Merrills) always kept in touch with KMS, and she (Sue) arranged for the two of us to go for afternoon tea. KMS told us so many stories that day, and she talked quite frankly about some of the staff. She had us in stitches. I'll try to remember some of the stories and post them here. Edit: Just done some genealogical sleuthing. Death registered Windsor and Maidenhead District November 1984: Mary Evelyn Williams born 4 August 1901. Also September 1986: Ellen Winifred Lerrigo born 27 December 1899

Pat Larkin - 12 Feb 2010

We had bus-prefects I do remember that much, and, I'd sit sometimes on the T.V. Maid... bus, watching 'those girls from 'there', all messing about and giggling, and I'd think, 'now what's going to happen 'if' there's a bus-prefect on here and that 'lot' don't realise the school rules'...... As I've written before on this thread, the day my friend and I walked through those Elmfield double gates, (the ones along Osborne Rd), I took off my green beret, threw it on the ground and jumped on it. Well, now, I really think I oughtn't to have done that and I wish I'd kept it as a keepsake... my late cousin, 9 years my junior, wore a beret in the Winter and Autumn terms but a boater in the Summer... she told me she hated wearing 'that' boater and took it off as soon as she got home... I remember too being told as I joined the school, that, although at weekends we were out of school and out of school uniform, we had to remember to behave as befits a pupil of our school. If any pupil was seen to be misbehaving in the town, or anywhere else, her name would be reported to Miss. Shawcross and she would be given a detention... crumbs, all those rules and regs... its a wonder we didn't 'come out the other end' as nervous wrecks... I suppose it did though, stand us in good stead for later on in life, and a little of that discipline wouldn't go amiss today, well, that's what I think....!Thanks too for the names of Miss. Lerrigo and Miss Williams. Fancy that, born in 1899, what a surprise that is... my Dad, (again reported earlier on this thread), decorated their bungalow while I was still a pupil at the school... Miss Williams seemed to be quite fond of him too. She told me he was 'a very industrious man and knew what he was doing'. They were both very pleased with my Dad's efforts. I was very glad to know too he hadn't 'blotted his copybook so-to-speak' and I think a feeling of 'relief' springs to mind when he came home to say he'd finally finished the job... I truly believe it was the only time Miss Williams smiled when she spoke to me and for that, I was eternally grateful to my Dad. The blackboard compasses business was truly laid-to-rest.....

Pat Larkin - 12 Feb 2010

Aspirin in lemonade... after sipping this concoction, jump up, then right down to the ground then up again, three times. The result of carrying out this magical procedure, or whatever it was called, 'should' give you that 'whoozy-lightheaded' feeling. Some of we little girls believed this and tried it out. Being me, and coming from a family who discussed and talked about everything and anything, my Dad said that it was 'rubbish'... he said the light-headedness came from stooping down so low, then forcing yourself up too quickly, and the only thing you'd get from doing this silly thing was - wind, and perhaps a headache... well some girls did try it at the bus stop after school. This bus stop was across the road from Carfax and on the road that came from Old Windsor. They had a whole, big bottle of lemonade, put one aspirin into the fizzy pop, waited for a while, then started sipping it in turn. Once the drink had gone, they each began the 1, 2, 3, of jumping up, squatting down... we other girls laughed so much because it looked so comical... and Jane, reading your post where you said Miss Shawcross and Mr Fairhurst were 'out scouting for naughty pupils', (my words), had they driven along at that minute, they might have called for a man in a white coat to cart these girls off....there was also at that time, discussion about 'Purple Hearts' many girls had read in newspapers about this magical pill and it sounded quite frightening to some of us young girls....again, my Dad told me never, ever to try anything like that.

Lesley Elmes - 12 Feb 2010

Oh I remember well having to wear a beret - we had the choice of a beret or hard trilby-like hat ( can't remember now what we called them!) in the winter and a beret or boater in the summer. Well, I must admit as much as I hated wearing the beret I would have felt like a real plank wearing the trilby or boater. Miss McKay was the headmistress at that time and she put the fear of God into us and told us we were never to be seen outside the school, when in uniform, without our hats. Detention was the punishment. We were also told in no uncertain terms that even when we were not dressed in our uniform that we were to behave like young ladies and punishment would be forthcoming if someone reported bad behaviour, in uniform or not. We were led to believe that being a Windsor High School Girl was a privilege and not one to be taken lightly. The school's reputation was on the line and since we represented the school we had to behave well at all times. They were very strict about it and believe me when I say I was scared to death to get in to any trouble. It was a very healthy fear and definitely instilled in you a respect for your elders and superiors which stood me in good stead when I left school and went to work in a bank.

Pat Larkin - 13 Feb 2010

Does anyone remember the very last day at the Windsor County Girls' School? My late cousin did make the 'change-over', but sadly didn't tell me anything about fault, I should have asked!! She wrote on an earlier posting of hers that she and Miss McKay(sp), clashed and locked horns over a few things. She also thought the new headmistress may have instigated the change from the special shade of green, worn by most of us using the forum today, to the brighter green. I can't comment on that but perhaps Lesley can, as I believe she did the reverse of my cousin in that she spent the first half-term at Osborne Road, then swapped to the new-improved version in Imperial Road... It must have been a huge job, moving technical and laboratory items from Osborne Road to the new school....did they take the old desks I wonder, or did the new building have everything brand-new as befits a new school? I wonder too how the older members of the teaching staff felt when they drove, in a new direction, to the school. What feelings did they leave behind in Elmfield or Carfax? Lesley mentioned that houses and house-names were abolished. Is this still the fact, or perhaps, to encourage competition among the pupils now, some kind of points system has been brought in... Talking of ghosts, I don't suppose the poor things had enough time to 'get a-haunting' did they? How long after the move was Elmfield demolished, along with Carfax? Thamesweb kindly posted two photos of these once-illustrious houses, further back on this thread... poor Carfax, gamely standing up to the demolition man's crushing blows....all those little girls who drank their third-of-a-pint of milk down in the basement, what would they have thought, or think, even?? I know I was quite sad to see this picture.

Beryl Mann - 13 Feb 2010

It will stay with me for the rest of my life - how Hazel portrayed our old teachers as ghostly figures on the lawn at Elmfield and I will smile every time I remember them!

Pat Larkin - 13 Feb 2010

I still can't get over Miss Lerrigo being born in 1899.....she certainly didn't look her age and was a striking lady in both dress and the way she carried herself. Very upright and genteel, always smiling at us children and her voice was very distinct....quite deep, but very easy on the ear....

Jane Lindsay - 14 Feb 2010

Yes, she was a very nice lady, but sometimes her voice was a bit too easy on my ear. I used to fall asleep . . well, almost. Fortunately I had Miss Riddle for French all the way up to O-level, so I did quite well at it, but then I did one year of A-level French with Miss Lerrigo. Oh dear. What a disaster.

Pat Larkin - 14 Feb 2010

I had always imagined or thought of Miss Lerrigo as being the best-of-the-best, or in her case the 'creme-de-la-creme', Jane... I suppose as a young girl you think the grass is always greener, s.t.s., Now I've realised what an excellent teacher Miss Riddle was, and I should never have doubted her. I should have trusted my first impressions of her....sorry you didn't get the results you expected. Did that upset you, or your parents, and did you need, or were you relying on this result for your future at all? With Miss Riddle, we learned a few French songs. I can recall 'Sous les Ponts.......' and another old French song which ended with '.................petit ron, ron, ron', or something similar. Nice melody, but have forgotten the words. We had exercise books with four squares on a plain ground and on the facing page there were lines to write on and describe our pictures. This taught us French in a more simple way I think.......we labelled our drawings 1 to 4, then wrote, in French, a description of each one... I remember drawing French cafe scenes, well, how they 'probably' were in my imagination......very enjoyable and fun to learn. I recall too, drawing a French policeman. He always ended up though with a pointed nose... Hazel will tell me this was a Freudian moment during my childhood, and she's probably right too.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Feb 2010

My year of A-level French was a waste of time, and there were all sorts of complications caused by an experiment with early O-levels in my year, and possibly later years too. Those of us in the top group for French and/or English and/or Maths took O-levels in those subjects at the end of 4th year. This meant that I took O-level French and Maths, but not English, at the end of 4th form. The following year I took English, English Lit, and Latin. German was an extra subject which I think started every second year in 5th form, and we did the whole O-level syllabus in two years. That was with Miss Riddle. I have since been complimented on my German accent (by Germans), and it's all thanks to Miss Riddle! To go back to my messy education . . . At some stage someone realised that I needed O-level physics if I was to go to university for maths, and I had dropped science earlier on as I was hopeless at it (i.e. not interested!), so in lower 6th I went to physics lessons with 3rd, 4th and 5th forms, ie the whole O-level syllabus in one year. Hazel, were you in those 3rd form physics lessons, where we did things with reflections in mirrors? I felt so sorry for the 3rd year girls in that class, as they probably hadn't covered enough in maths to make the geometry of mirrors easy. Oh, what a mess, but I did eventually get three A-levels thanks to Messrs Proctor, Blow and Riddles in Mai......d Road.

Lesley Elmes - 15 Feb 2020

Yes indeed I did spend the first few months at the Old Girls' School as we called it back then. When we moved to the new school, the name was changed to Windsor High School for Girls. We moved sometime before the winter set in that's all I remember and I remember being at the old school from September to probably end of October-time I believe. Yes it must have been quite a chore to get everything accomplished but to my knowledge not much of what was at the old school was transferred to the new. We had new desks, chairs and of course all the equipment in the chemistry, biology and physics labs was brand new as was all the stoves, etc. in the kitchen lab used for cookery classes. Some of the teachers also didn't make the move - perhaps some of them retired, preferring not to have to go through the move as I recall being told that several of our teachers were new. Miss Meech was still there of course as was Mrs Francis, the math teacher and Mrs Scott the French teacher (my favourite teacher of all time!). Miss McKay the headmistress made the move also as did the gym teacher who for the life of me can't remember her name although I know several of you have mentioned her in previous threads. She was the one most recently written about while all of you were shivering in the winter cold was wrapped up in a sheepskin coat and hat. Very nice lady. They did make the move in stages - the youngest ones (us) moved first and then over the course of several months I believe everyone else was transferred over. I remember the talk at the time and most of it was very negative - no one liked the new school but then it was heaven to me after being cooped up in a little temporary building at the old school and being told not to venture any further. We all felt like we were in prison!!!

Pat Larkin - 15 Feb 2010

Mrs. Quinton = Sheepskin, furry boots, scarf, red lipstick and dare I say, a cigarette, I think......(and I stress the word 'think' here). She clicked with the girls straight away and some of the things she said made us laugh, which sometimes, we needed.......before Mrs Q. there was Miss Hewitt. Shortish, sturdy in build, good hockey legs, so right for being a sports mistress. She trained, I believe, down here in Eastbourne at the ladies' college, Chelsea College I think.......we did associate with Miss. Hewitt more easily as 11 year-olds because she was much closer to our age-group. M. Blow, the County Boys' maths master had a daughter, Jennifer who was in my form at the Grammar...she was quiet, very nice, polite and never 'loud' like a few were, even then. Mr. Blow taught my brother maths back in the late 40's, so I'm assuming he was a long-term teacher at the school.

Lesleyelmes - 15 Feb 2010

Pat, I forgot to mention the year that the old school moved to the new school - it was September of 1964. I also forgot to address your question of the new uniform. I'm really not sure what new uniform you are referring to as from 1964 - 1969 when I was there our uniform was the dark, bottle green. Perhaps the lighter green came after I left?? Not sure - anyone know?And yes it was Mrs. Quinton - one of my favourite teachers of all time!!!

Jane Lindsay - 16 Feb 2010

Pat, Miss Hewitt was at WCGS just for one year while Mrs Quinton was on maternity leave. I think Beryl knew Mrs Q as Miss Turner. I think you are right about the cigarette.

Jane Lindsay - 16 Feb 2010

Lesley, I'm fairly sure that your Mrs Scott was my Miss Riddle. Excellent teacher.

Pat Larkin - 16 Feb 2010

Jane, I and probably the rest of our first year form, had no idea Mrs Quinton had 'come back' wasn't something you knew or dared even ask about was it? That figures then, because we younger girls did 'love' Miss Hewitt and were very surprised to learn that she wasn't coming back... Instead, Mrs Quinton appeared suddenly, and being completely different in age, attitude, looks and teaching skills, it took the younger girls quite a while to get used to her little ways, and the ciggie....

Lesleyelmes - 16 Feb 2010

While I was at school, 1964 - 1969, Mrs Quinton's daughter was in my year. She wasn't in my form, as she was one of the "brainy" kids and was in the "A" class but she was my age. Not sure if this girl was the one she was pregnant with while you were in school or may have been one of her older children. I didn't know anything about her daughter to know if she had any brothers or sisters. I do remember I used to think it would be strange to have your mother as a teacher!!Mrs Scott, the French teacher, was an older lady - looked to me (back then!) to be close to 60 but then back then everyone older than 35 looked old so in reality she may not have been that old. Could this have been the Miss Riddle you are talking about Jane? She also had a bit of a "tick" - her head would nod a little when she spoke but I adored her. French was my favourite subject and she took a special interest in me I suppose because I was so good at it. She did her best to try to persuade me to go to university to study French as at that time I wanted to be an interpreter, but then I met my husband and all thought of university went out the window unfortunately.

Pat Larkin - 16 Feb 2010

Lesley, that 'tick' description has to be Miss Riddle, as we knew her then......her little flick of hair flipped across whenever she suddenly whipped her head back to look at the French sentences she had written.....she also had a habit of holding a small piece of blackboard chalk in her right hand and just gently tossing it up and down again when talking to us on the 'stage' in The Hut. (back of Carfax). She was lovely. I always imagined, as a very young schoolgirl, she'd stay a 'Miss' and dedicate her whole life to teaching French at our school... I am glad though she was married and to a teacher too....what brainy children they must have produced!!! Mrs Quinton's daughter probably was 'the baby' she left school to have the year I joined the school. It works out I think. Whenever I see or hear the actress Rula Lenska, I think of Mrs Quinton. They have very similar voices and colouring too if my memory serves me. The 'green' shade of the school uniform changed I think I remember my late cousin saying, (here on the forum), when Miss. McKay first became your Headmistress. Frances, my cousin, like the rest of us, never cared much for our 'forest green', but when the next green was chosen she said she would have preferred our original shade. As you've mentioned 'bottle green' Lesley, that must have been the shade the school changed to when my cousin was about to leave. She didn't get on with the new Head either, and again, she had written on here about that....perhaps if you go back a few pages, you might find her comments. Apart from my very old and discoloured school report, I don't have a single thing left to remind me of my days at WCGS. Does anyone on here have anything of sentimental value, which they've kept and taken care of, to remind them of the school.....(the old or the new). I do posses a photo of myself with my cousin Ron, and a photo of my friend Ann, taken by me in Stratford-upon-Avon, on the Grammar Schools' outing

lesley Elmes - 16 Feb 2010

Yes Pat, Mrs. Scott used to throw the chalk up and down in her hand while she was talking and she'd walk about while doing it. I used to find myself watching that piece of chalk, waiting for it to fall on the floor and not paying attention to what she was saying but it never did - fall on the floor that is. Can anyone remember the chemistry teacher who was at the new school from about 1966 - 69 when I left? She was wonderful and always wore a white lab coat. She had short hair and glasses and I believe red hair. I had been doing dismally in chemistry until she became our teacher. She was wonderful and would make it so interesting and easy to understand. I owe my O-level in chemistry to her - I wouldn't have done it without her. I think we had Mrs Francis for chemistry until we changed to this teacher and Mrs Francis also taught math. I do believe that Mrs Francis had to have been the very worst teacher I've ever had in my life - and that includes my college days. She only paid attention to her "pets" and if you weren't one of her pets, then you didn't stand a chance. Her pets were all very maths-oriented and didn't need any help; whereas people like me who were having trouble with algebra, etc. didn't get a look in. All you got was derision and were made fun of. I saw her slap a girl in the face one time because the girl talked back to her. No doubt she shouldn't have done it but none the less, a slap on the face was definitely not warranted. I almost grew to hate maths class. I can still see her now - she was a little short woman - even shorter than me - and was fairly heavy. She always wore short-sleeved drab dresses, even in the winter, and what we referred to as her "monk" open sandals. I don't think I ever saw her wear a proper pair of shoes. She had something wrong with her arm and it didn't work - she would hold it up under her breasts, bent at the elbow. Sometimes she would hold something in her hand, like a paper, but for the most part, she never used it. Horrible woman. I feel sorry for her now all these years later. She was obviously very intelligent but had absolutely no people skills at all. She could have been much-loved had she been kinder and gentler and willing to help you when you needed help. I owe her my failure to obtain an O-level in math. Teachers do make all the difference in the world but not always for the better unfortunately as was the case with Mrs Francis.

Jane Lindsay - 17 Feb 2010

I have my WCGS prefect's badge and a copy of the looooong 1958 photograph. I also have most of my Royal Free reports, all my pre-Windsor reports and all my WCGS reports, plus a couple of letters that Miss Shawcross wrote to my mother. I did have some ephemera from WCGS, such as speech day programmes, but I gave them to the Windsor Library.

Thamesweb - 20 Feb 2010

We have seen this picture before of the Girls' School in Osborne Road, by the King's Road junction. What part of the school was this?

Windsor Girls School

Pat Larkin - 20 Feb 2010

Thankyou, Thamesweb. That's 'Elmfield' at the junction of Kings Road and Osborne Road. We have seen this, or maybe one very similar when the 'School Memories' thread first came on the scene. Although, I have to admit, this is much clearer and shows, on the left-hand-side, 'our' front doors. No. 2 Osborne Road, Windsor... I remember those doors being red at one time, then another, green. Who decided on the colour? Inside the hallway there, up on the wall, was Hazel's 'Sundial' with the inscription none of us can recall... this might give someone's little grey cells a jog and, who knows, we may finally know what the inscription was. My bet's on Jane, she'll find it somewhere! It may read something like 'Time and tide waits for no man', but in Latin, naturally. The brick wall, far right, was where our Kings Road gate entrance was. Step through a wooden door into a yard area, then turn, first left, up some steps. This led into the back of the house. First left was a cloakroom where the pegs were regularly filled up with gym-bags or macs, coats and all-sorts. A row of toilets and a few sinks, it wasn't the brightest of cloakrooms by any means, but at least it was handy when running in several minutes late. Dinner tickets were on sale every school morning just further up the hall, then first right, after the kitchen, was the beautiful staircase... how many girls' feet have plodded up those never-ending stairs?... it goes on and everyone who went to the school will remember their own version of Elmfield, I'm sure. My only form room in Elmfield is above the right-hand bay window. Behind the bay-window was Room II - music and dining... I recall my year in this particular form room each time I watch 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. It's almost an exact replica, ... Looking again at the photograph, I think each window tells a story, depending upon which one you're looking at... I loved the house and whoever lived there must have loved the whole setting. Can you ever imagine living opposite The Long Walk? Well, I still think it a shame the house was demolished. I believe a small section of the outer, red-brick wall survives though. A few bricks maybe, but to lots of old 'County girls', they mean an awful lot.

Beryl Mann - 20 Feb 2010

Yes! Elmfield we all chorused... except that I have only just spotted this lovely clear photograph. How did you come by it Thamesweb? When do you think it was taken and do you think there could be any more floating around that could have shown inside the boundary walls? We have seen one of Hazel and class mates showing the hall and netball pitch in the background and there is one in the Girls in Green book with a good view of the Wing. Thanks Pat for the virtual - and as I remember it - almost reality tour of that lovely old house. I think if it had still been standing I would have paid for a return visit on an 'Open Day', just to stand and dream in every form room we occupied, of all the super girls I spent three of my last four years with to 1950 and to visit the dining rooms and imagine breathing in all those lovely aromas!... and I would have to aim a few shoots into the netball goal... and put my bike onto one of those slightly raised cycle racks which were just high enough to avoid the handlebars of the alternate, ground level ones... see, you don't forget these things do you?

Hazel Austin - 20 Feb 2010

Aaaah, thanks Thamesweb. Great clear photo and like Pat and Beryl, it's nostalgia time... I almost feel warmly towards Mrs Colenso and her bloomin' algebra. But not quite. And I don't recall the dinner smells with such enthusiasm as Beryl, either... We now know Henry Darvill lived there with his two (was it) little girls - which is a nice thought...but do we know all its history now? Pat, you knew a thing or two, didn't you?Of almost equal interest (well, I liked it) was the story of Carfax. That must have been a nice family home too, and being on the corner it got lots of light plus the views... lovely.

Pat Larkin - 21 Feb 2010

So, Jane, you were at the school a year before me, in that case, you may have witnessed my 'spider' performance in the school's production of '1066 And All That'... Fiona MacGregor (sp), was 'Robert the Bruce'. She was a prefect and you probably recall her as having beautiful titian hair, and in my 'young' eyes, she resembled the late Deborah Kerr..well, at that tender age I was very impressionable. I thought that prefects were actually grown-up women, or 'ladies', when I first went to the school. I was so tiny and they were the size of my mother and her sisters, so to me, they were women. Not being aware that prefects wore blazers with white piping round the edges I also thought they were attached to the school to help out with newcomers. I had a very vivid imagination and anything I saw that was new to me, or didn't make any sense, I think I conjured up my own explanation for it until I learned the true reason or meaning... If you remember the show, were you in it? I can still hum the music, played on the piano by a prefect, as the whole of the Roman army marched onto the stage... (then off again). It was a great show and we had 'full house' every night. Miss Meech put so much effort and hard work into the whole production and even she was moved slightly when the audience showed their appreciation at the final curtain each night. As mentioned by Miss Barnet in my school report, I volunteered to help paint the 'Elizabethan gentlemen', (tights, ruffs round their necks, beards and capes), and, with some older, (and taller), girls, between us, we painted some quite good scenery as I recall. I loved it all... Miss Barnet just gave us an idea of what she wanted and the 'big' girls and I painted away til the bell rang... I ended up standing on a stool or perhaps a chair, so that I could paint the heads of my 'gents'... great fun. There were some really nice girls in the older forms and I got to know them before I knew any of my own year, mainly because we spent quite a lot of time together with our 'scenery'. I apologise to any reader who has read this before, but I thought it worth repeating - ahem!

Jane Lindsay - 21 Feb 2010

1066 And All That

I remember the production, and I remember Fiona McGregor (just), but I don't remember the bit about Robert the Bruce and the spider. I was a French girl, along with many others from the second year. We each had an English soldier, and we sang something about them being back in 100 years or so, to the tune of the Marseillaise . ... "
You must go back to Merry England, for your wives miss you so (something like that, then)
They will kiss you, we shall miss you, and with all our might and main
But within a hundred years or so you'll all be back in France again."

It was a huge production, involving almost everyone in the school.

Pat Larkin - 22 Feb 2010

In the hall, where we carried out our gymnastics, does anyone else remember those heavy, rough and foot-hurting mats, (for want of another or more apt description). These awful excuses for mats were used for landing on after having jumped through or over the horse? I can't recall a single girl not moaning about having sore feet or legs after making a heavy or awkward landing on these mats... I hope these weapons of torture weren't taken to the new school and hope too the girls there now have air-cushions or soft mattresses of some kind to land on!Depending upon how Mrs Quinton felt on certain days, she would clap her hands to get our attention as we changed into gym gear, (bare feet), gym shirt and shorts if we had them, (bloomers if we hadn't). Then she would shout instructions as to which pieces of 'equipment' we needed to drag out from the back, or sides, of the hall... I don't think any of us liked dragging those big and extremely heavy mats across the wooden floor of the hall, (let alone later, trying our hardest to land on them after attempting some fancy roll-over finish). Beryl, I think you, like me, loved to shoot goals in netball. The small court outside the hall, and behind the wall in Osborne Road, was where most of us loved to play this great game... so much shouting of girls' names and 'Miss', (or Mrs), forever blowing her whistle and trying to attract our attention... it was a really great game to warm us up on a bitterly-cold day. The two teams playing netball wouldn't have accounted for the whole class, so I think I'm right in guessing that girls not playing, spent time in the hall, either climbing on or hanging from the wall-bars, and at times, equipment in the hall had to be sorted out for repair or bean bags needed counting..there was always something needing to be counted, sorted or repaired at the school...

Lesleyelmes - 25 Feb 2010

At the new school, I was the vice captain of the netball team. We only ever played netball outside never inside the gym. I don't even recall there being any hoops in the gym. The gym housed all the equipment like horses, ropes, balancing bars, etc. and we must have had better mats than you to land on as I really don't recall my feet hurting and we always performed in bare feet. Our netball court was brand new of course and it was my favourite game. We used to practise a lot and would go to lots of different schools competing. It was on one such occasion, while practising, that I wasn't quite quick enough to miss the ball as it hurtled towards me and it managed to crush my index finger on my right hand. I was taken by Mrs Quinton to the hospital for x-rays as I was in a lot of pain and she feared I had broken it. Luckily I had only shattered the bone and had little pieces of bone fragments floating around in my finger. I was not put in a cast - just had to use a sling for a week. I always played defence as I was very quick on my toes - although obviously not the day I managed to smash my finger! I loved netball as it was such a fast-paced game and it really gave you a work out. I can remember being given sections of oranges for refreshments during half-time when we were competing with other schools. We also had wonderful tennis courts in the summer. Several courts were housed on one very large area called the Red Gra - I think because it was covered in what looked like tiny, tiny fragments of red gravel, smashed into almost a dust. It would get all over your white tennis shoes and we were forever cleaning our tennis shoes as heaven forbid that you showed up in your tennis whites with red shoes! In the wintertime, the same Red Gra was transformed into our hockey pitch so it was used year round. We only really had gym in the winter time or in the warmer weather if it was pouring with rain outside. We had showers that we were forced to use and a very nice locker area for changing our clothes and storing said clothes in our own lockers. There were a lot of benches to sit on while you were changing. The only excuse we were permitted to use for not showering was if you had your monthly visitor. I believe up to ten girls could shower at the same time so we all took it in turns and lined up clutching our towels around us until it was our turn. We wore green knickers for gym with a yellow airtex short-sleeved blouse and for hockey, we added a green divided skirt with hockey boots. I have many memories of getting my ankles beaten black and blue when hit with someone's hockey stick! For netball we wore the same uniform but with white tennis shoes and for tennis we had to wear tennis whites of course. In the summer we also played rounders and this was another favourite game of mine. For the same reason I suspect, it was fast paced and gave us a good workout. We wore the same uniform as for netball and the rounders field was a huge grass-covered area at the back of the tennis courts. We used to use this same area for walking on our lunch breaks or just sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and it was always neatly mowed. The gym was also used when we took our exams. It was a huge room and they would fill it with desks and chairs and we took our mock O-levels as well as our actual O- levels in there. The sixth forms would take their mock A-levels and actual A-levels in there too. We were never allowed to take anything into the room with us. We were told where to sit, and a teacher would give us each a pencil and whatever papers we needed. A teacher would be there at all times supervising and she would walk up and down the aisles, watching to make sure you were not doing anything you shouldn't be doing. If you finished the exam before the allotted time, you had to sit there very quietly and look straight ahead of you. You were never, ever, permitted to look at anyone else or their papers. When the bell rang to signify the time was up, the teacher would come round and gather up all the papers and only when all papers were in her hand were we allowed to walk, single file, out of the gym. It was all very regimented and obviously designed so as to limit the risk of anyone cheating.

Pat Larkin - 25 Feb 2010

Although I think Beryl, Jane, Hazel and I might envy you just a tiny bit, Lesley, I think we'd all agree that our 'old' school was where we girls were happiest.

Showers, well, yes, those I would have loved... I couldn't understand why we didn't have them. There was ample room on the Elmfield side of the school, especially down the corridor end where there was a large cloakroom. As a matter of fact, I never liked that cloakroom for some reason, but can't remember why. It was never used that much by the girls and was always quiet in there... a bit spooky I think. Something I thought of the other day Lesley, was, 'sides-to-middle'... .we were taught sewing and cookery in the area behind the stage, and when we were asked to bring in a single bed sheet, I took an old one in and felt awful when told to 'cut the sheet right down the centre from one end to the other'... which I did. The idea behind this, (as most of us then knew), was to extend the working-life of the sheet. The only trouble was, this sheet was thread-bare down the middle, so, when I'd cut it, then tried to make hems down the sides, it was un-sewable. The material collapsed and we then had to bodge-up the whole thing. My mother didn't mind really, but I think I was blamed for that by Miss. Burrow, whereas she, being the teacher, ought to have realised this sheet was 'past its best' to begin with... I think she finally awarded me six out of ten, which I thought was rotten at the time, a bit like the sheet. My mother dumped the now-ruined-repaired sheet in the dustbin, (another item we don't have any more),... .the idea of doing that repair job on a sheet now is laughable as bed linen is now made from stronger fibres and lasts for years, and anyway, most things we buy and use are just disposed of and not repaired. You have memories of both schools Lesley, but I think I know which school meant the most to you... it must have been quite hard for you and the girls of your year to start at the Grammar, then after 6 months, up-sticks and move to the new school...that must have taken some getting used to for everyone involved. You said that all the equipment and school furniture and effects was new for the 'new' school, so what happened to all of 'our' old stuff I wonder? Perhaps someone might know...

Lesleyelmes - 26 Feb 2010

No Pat, it wasn't hard to go to the old school and then pack everything up and go up to the new school - in fact it was quite a relief. The new school was closer for me to bicycle, and my brief time up at the old school was not a pleasant one. We were housed in a temporary building on what I assume might have formally been a playground. It was a large concrete area at any rate - perhaps tennis courts? Not sure, anyway, we felt like we were in prison as we were strongly told we were not allowed to go anywhere other than our little buildings - I think there were two of them in total. They were extremely cramped and our desks were wedged together - we felt like sardines wedged into cans. I do believe at the time that the plan had been for us to go to the new school at the start of the new term, but I remember hearing that the building was behind schedule so they had to hurry up and find us temporary accommodations so that we could start our first term. We were permitted to go to the Tuck Shop but nowhere else. We had absolutely no interaction with any of the other forms and in fact when we did come across them, they were very cold and not friendly at all. I only ever saw the teachers that we had classes for and they came to us. It was quite a miserable time and when we went up to the new school it was wonderful! We had the free rein of the school and all the grounds. Everything was new and state of the art and of course, not knowing what was available up at the old school, we didn't have anything to miss. I'm sure it was much harder for the girls who had attended the old school for a year or more prior to that time as they would have had attachments that we didn't have. I do remember that the other forms went to the new school after us - we were the first and then every few weeks or so, other forms joined us. I remember a lot of the girls and teachers grumbling about the move and hearing how much they missed the old school. As is always the case with a new building, it probably didn't have nearly as much character as the old school, which I must admit was very old and beautiful even though I never got to see anything other than the outside of it. I'm sure there were a lot of little idiosyncrasies to the buildings, as is always the case with old buildings. There is no doubt that the facilities at the new school were superior in every way; however, having said that, it would be normal for the girls and teachers not to see that at first. Their attachment to the old school probably overrode any sense of betterment. All they new was that they had to move and they missed what they had had. I'm sure in time, some of the younger girls came to like the new school but I'm also sure that the sixth formers probably never did. It's what you've become used to that matters. It's like me emigrating here to the U.S. I really do like it here now but when I first came here I absolutely hated it and wanted to go back so badly. Everything was so different and the people were different - even though we spoke the same language no one could understand a word I said and my husband was subjected to bigotry because he was an immigrant. That's almost how we felt when we went to the old school - it was almost like the girls there blamed us for having to move to the new school. It was just a weird feeling - we had no choice in the matter but it was as if we were blamed and given the cold shoulder by the older girls. We didn't feel welcome at all. The tables were turned, however, once they came up to the new school as we had been there for weeks or even months before they arrived and they had to learn where everything was and had to ask us for directions, etc. We had a little laugh about that but tried to show more graciousness than they had showed us.

Pat Larkin - 26 Feb 2010

I think the temporary school cabins you mentioned may have been parked on the old netball court. This court was just inside the double gates along Osborne Road, and on the immediate left-hand-side when going through the gates... .bicycles were parked under a low roof, to the right on entering... the hall was straight ahead and from the hall, and after morning assembly, we girls would rush back to our form rooms to gather up the books needed for the first lesson of the day. What a noise. Girls asking other girls, 'which lesson is it and what should we take?', or 'where is this lesson going to be then?'... after the first term though, everyone became used to the school's routine. We had no choice I suppose. Very strict, very 'old school', but looking back, I did like it and I wonder whether today's school children might be shocked if they knew the rules, routines and regulations we had to abide by.

Lesleyelmes - 26 Feb 2010

I absolutely agree with you that the school was very strict - that much didn't change when we went up to the new school. Miss McKay and Miss Meech and all the other teachers kept us all in line. We were not permitted to talk in class once the teacher was in the room unless we were called on to answer a question or unless we raised our hand and waited for permission to speak. That just wouldn't happen nowadays. I can remember when my children were in school back in the 80s (in the U.S.) my daughter once telling me that her maths class was so noisy with kids talking and throwing things that she just could not concentrate. I think teachers don't have the respect they used to be given but then having said that, I don't think kids in general have any respect for their parents so why would they have any respect for any other adult?Things were very different back then - you either towed the line or you ended up in detention and that was not a pleasant place to be. I only had to do detention once and that was a whole class detention because someone had done something and wouldn't own up to it. It was a disgrace back then. Nowadays it's just and excuse to goof around. I'm sure we were situated on the netball court now that you say that - it sounds about right for the location. I do remember thinking how beautiful the old school was - it had a certain charm that new buildings just don't have. The new building was lovely - everything new and clean and well laid-out but new buildings just don't have the charisma that old buildings do. It's a shame really that I was amongst the first girls to go to the new school. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to attend the old school for a year just to see what the inside looked like. We never had assembly in the hall that you mentioned - as I said, we never once were allowed to go inside the old school. All we ever saw of it was the outside. As a result it held a lot of mysticism for me - I used to imagine what it looked like inside and I was probably very wrong in my assumptions - it was probably very draughty in the winter and was in need of a great deal of repair but I'll never know. I know how excited I was on my first day there thinking I was going to be a part of it all and then felt the disappointment when I arrived and the only thing I saw was the inside of the temporary classrooms.

I can certainly understand the fond memories you all have for the old school. I have very fond memories of the new school and it was a very different place to the school you all remember. We used to gather every morning for assembly and prayer, sing hymns, etc. and Miss McKay would go over any news we needed to be informed about. She had broken her foot or ankle at one time and I can still remember seeing her hobbling up to the stage - funny the things you remember. Strangely enough I never had Miss Meech for any classes but a couple of years after I left school I happened to bump into her and she greeted me so warmly that I had to wonder if she had me confused with some other girl. She then said goodbye Lesley so I know she remembered me but I can't for the life of me remember why she would - I must have made some kind of impression on her!

Thamesweb - 4 Mar 2010

For the record I am not sure if this has been covered elsewhere, but given that this forum is intended, at least in part, to include the history as well as memories of our local schools, I offer the following. Maurice Bond, in his book The Story of Windsor, notes that the success of the County Boys School (opened in 1908) in the early years of the 20th century led to demands in 1919 that a similar school should be established for girls. At that time education in the area was the responsibility of Berkshire County Council (among others) so Windsor Borough successfully campaigned for the girls' school and by September 1920 the County School for Girls opened in 'unsuitable Victorian accommodation' in Osborne Road. But this did not prevent notable success under the guidance of the headmistress Margaret Curtis. (See pps 146-147)

Pat Larkin - 4 Mar 2010

'Elmfield' in Osborne Road... 'unsuitable Victorian accommodation', well, in the building's defence, I for one, wouldn't have had it any other way. I can't see his reasons for describing the school's accommodation as 'unsuitable'... what in his view then, might have been 'suitable'??? What might Miss Curtis have thought of those remarks, and I wonder if she ever read them?

Jane Lindsay - 4 Mar 2010

Maurice Bond seems to imply that Miss Curtis was the first headmistress at the girls' school, but this is not so. The first headmistress was Miss Collier, who was there for four years. Miss Curtis arrived in 1924. Headmistresses 1920-1995:Miss Collier 1920-24 Miss Curtis 1924-49 Miss Shawcross 1949-61 Miss Mackay 1961-75 Miss Hume 1975-95. The next head was Mrs Chevalley. Is she still there?

Thamesweb - 4 Mar 2010

Thanks for that. It was unclear from the book what Miss Curtis's headship dates were. As for the buildings themselves, I think Maurice Bond was writing with the benefit of hindsight. I too went to a school which used a large house as its premises and I wasn't bothered at the time about the accommodation. Looking back however, I can see how purpose built classrooms, science and handicraft rooms, gym, staff and dining areas, as well as kitchens, would have been preferable. What really matters of course is the teaching staff and if they were good, as it seems they were, then shortcomings in other departments could be overlooked - and were in the case of the girls' school, until the 1960s!

Beryl Mann - 7 Mar 2010

Dear Miss Curtis... there was something very special about her. She was very dignified and I believe highly thought of in Windsor. After her retirement she lived at the Castle. I think it was in a small house going up the hill just past St. George's Chapel. Perhaps someone could kindly verify. There is a lovely photograph of her in the 'Girls in Green' book.

Pat Larkin - 8 Mar 2010

I always carry a picture in my mind of every teacher at the school, but they're old or older ladies... . I loved delb's teachers' nick-names and although we called, (well some of us did), Miss Shawcross 'Katie' or 'Kate', I can't think of any other nick-names that were used back then. Hazel, do you remember any names you attached to certain teachers, and I want it 'in the best possible you-know-what' please! The feelings I had and still have, for a few teachers, never go away, but I think this applies to people in general. Miss Williams' name brought on an mount of silence, frowns on foreheads and mutterings of 'oh crumbs', or 'did you get that equation homework right, cos I didn't', sort-of-thing Even writing her name now makes me feel slightly tense and this feeling will stay with me forever. Why is it that our teachers' faces stay imprinted on our minds forever? I can remember right from Clewer Green babies' class to the County Girls' how each teacher looked. I can't recall all their voices, but most I can... Miss Shawcross - gentle, softly spoken and genuine, with a hidden naughty streak I think...

Pat Larkin - 9 Mar 2010

No, we didn't get books bounced into the backs of heads or anywhere else for that matter, ever. I remember one girl, not her name, but the picture of her standing on the school's stage, waiting for 'the slipper' has never left me... I don't recall why she was receiving this awful punishment, but I do know it upset all of us girls. It was unnecessary and uncalled for too... I did, for a very short time, dislike Miss Shawcross very much for carrying out this 'slipper' routine, or whatever it was called then. I don't even remember whether the girl had the slipper on her backside or her hand, but it did affect lots who witnessed it. It is one of only a couple of very unhappy memories of the time I spent at the school, and I'm not sure now whether Miss Shawcross carried out the 'slipper' punishment or another mistress did the deed.

Lesleyelmes - 9 Mar 2010

I believe I may have mentioned this before some time ago but it's very appropriate to today's discussion. When I was at WHFG it was unheard of for anyone to get caned; however, one day we were in the maths class of the dreaded Mrs Francis. One girl, who also happened to be named Lesley (a very common name back then - there were three of us in my class) was getting a bit sassy with her. Mrs Francis slapped her across the face and we girls were all mortified. The girl's parents brought action against Mrs Francis and it was a bit of a to-do at the time. They all met in Miss McKay's office and I'm not even sure how it was handled as of course, back then, no one dare mention it.

Spranglebolt - 10 Mar 2010

Re WGS, Jane asked 'The next head was Mrs Chevalley. Is she still there?' Apparently not. In connection with a granddaughter I logged into the school website at which reports that the current head is a Ms Labrum MA. Interestingly the site also says, inter alia, that 'No student may leave the School premises during the school day without written permission from her Head of Year.'

Pat Larkin - 13 Mar 2010

Darning socks the County Girls' way... I have got to sneak in a little sewing lesson, or tip, here - sorry, as I realise not many of us darn anything these days, let-alone socks. Miss Burrow taught us how to darn socks, so, we were 'asked', ahem, to bring in an old sock, one with a hole in it, (my Dad always referred to these holes as 'spuds'). We were shown by our teacher exactly what to do and we all had to use the wooden mushrooms too. I had darned socks before as my mother always darned or sewed and repaired anything that needed it, and I'd be shown by her 'her' way of doing this... We threaded our darning needles, (or, 'threadled' as my Gran used to say), the mushroom was pushed to the end of the sock, usually the heel or toe area, until it was comfortably set and the wool round the hole was stretched quite firmly... We matched up the colour of the sock with the choice of darning wools given to us. After threading the darning-needle, we knotted the strands firmly, sometimes making a double knot... the first thing to do is to sew a 'frame' round the hole. This 'frame' is to prevent the hole spreading or making ladders, (as in ladies' stockings!). Start from one side and, keeping the darning-wool flat, make a stitch on the opposite side of the hole. Keep repeating this until the hole is filled. Then, repeat this but on the opposite side of the frame. Weave the needle in and out, or over and under, the threads you've just made. Keep the stitching tight against the previous threads, otherwise, the repair will wear away more quickly. This then fills the hole and the initial 'frame' keeps the whole 'hole' stable and firm... Why I've remember all Miss Burrow's instructions, I'll never know, but it fascinated me to learn something new in the 'darning of socks' saga. My mother, needless-to-say, and as usual, didn't totally agree with my new-found art of sock-darning, but she told me that if I was so keen and needed practice, I could, from that time on, darn all my Dad's socks... we never used the mushroom at home, like Jane, it was the left hand that went into the sock, holding or making a fist, as the right hand prodded away with the darning needle, quite often catching the skin of the left hand. I think whoever invented the mushroom did it because of this... Now, what about 'hedge-tear-darning', did either of you ladies learn or remember how to do this, and never forget the word 'Coagulation'... this darning, sewing and 'coagulation' business brings Miss Burrow straight back into my head...she must have been something of a very good teacher for me, in particular, to recall her intricate, and sometimes difficult to learn, instructions.

Pat Larkin - 13 Mar 2010

Hedge-tears and the darning of, plus other useful lessons and tips from 'the olden days' at school.In Miss Burrow's day, and mine, we had to sew minute, neat and strong stitches to one part of the 'L', then do a double, strengthening stitch at the elbow of the 'L', and carry on to the end of the tear. Double-stitch, or back-stitch to finish off then tuck the remaining cotton/wool, into the stitches, hiding it completely... I have never, I must admit, used this method and thinking of today's synthetic fibres and the 'magic' tapes available nowadays, there isn't a call for it either... (that's my excuse anyway). The only part of sewing-machine stitching that totally and completely baffled me was when 'Miss' taught us 'French seams'... uuugggg, and aaaaah. I always folded my seams the wrong way round and ended up with the join on the upper side of the fabric or garment. I don't think I ever, once, completed a true 'French seam'... I've looked in the dictionary for this word, but it isn't there. Perhaps Miss Burrow made it all up just to confuse us!! We did learn how to steam-press a kilt, which later in life and having two girls who loved their kilts, proved useful. Did anyone learn how to machine-stitch net curtains? I did. I loved this lesson because we had to take in some net curtaining and some greaseproof paper. None of us could even begin to think why the teacher requested this strange combination of materials... all came to light though, once she started demonstrating her methods of sewing together two pieces of net curtaining. The greaseproof paper was tacked onto the net to give it strength and stability. The two pieces of net sandwiched the paper and after tacking, the whole was placed under the foot of the machine and clamped into position. Sewing began and it worked too. After finishing off at the end of the curtain, we were shown how to gently tear the paper away from the seam... magic. It saved all that time-consuming hand-sewing that my mother suffered... (me too sometimes)... I learned how to poach an egg in a shallow saucepan, just using vinegar and water. Something which again, I have never attempted... I learned the benefit of allowing home-made pastry to breathe and rest before rolling, and to always roll 'away' from the body... errrrr, welllll, I did try, but it took twice as long, so it's forward and backward for me I'm afraid... Puff pastry and rough-puff pastry I learned to make at the school, but again, didn't use that skill, ever. Hot-water-crust pastry is something I love, but I'll buy my pies intact and ready-to-eat from any supermarket shelf. I've never attempted to make choux pastry, then pipe it into those strange-looking tins. My mother always made loads of these, so there wasn't the need for me to chip in with my method. So many things learned from Miss Burrow, and most, I have to admit, taken for granted by us little girls, (mmmm Miss Jean Brodie is creeping in here!). She really was an excellent teacher, even if I perhaps didn't appreciate the fact then. We were always asked to wash our hands before we touched anything in the cookery 'room' behind the school stage, and this is something I still do. It's more of a habit I think and considering the germs hanging around now, it is a good idea...

Lesley Elmes - 18 Mar 2010

I was just on the Windsor Girls' School website and was interested to see that they no longer have the same form years that we used to have. In other words, when I first attended I was in the first form, the second year was the second form, and so on all the way up to the lower sixth and the upper sixth. They have obviously adopted the American grade system. When you first start school you are in first grade, the second year is the second grade and all the way up to the 13th grade.

Does anyone know when this was changed and why? I should be interested to know what the thinking was at the time

I saw also where they had experienced two renovations since 2000 I believe it said - I wish they had shown my photos of the school - I wonder if it still looks basically the same?

Pat Larkin - 19 Mar 2010

Each morning and straight after 'dinner', we had our names called out for 'register'...teacher would call out our names - we'd reply 'yes Miss', or 'here Miss' or even 'present', If anyone answered in a different fashion, like 'I'm here Miss', or had his/her name called out twice, then answered, this usually caused a ripple of noise and quiet laughter. There's always one clown in every class isn't there... Anyway, is the method of registration still the same, does anyone know?

I wonder what happened to all those large, flat attendance registers? I think I remember them as having ribbons or tapes at the top and bottom edges so the teacher could tie them up for safety. After each registration, the teacher took a large sheet of blotting paper and gently put it over the ticks or crosses, making sure none of the ink smudged. I'm not sure, but was blue ink used for 'present' and red ink for 'absent'?...

Pat Larkin - 29 Mar 2010

At WCG we had a skeleton. We probably named 'it', but I don't remember what exactly. He stood just behind the door of the first laboratory as you enter the building, (after the bicycle rack part). We called this 'the covered way' I think... We first gathered round this bony and obviously under-fed object and were all so interested in it. After several months though, our attention wavered somewhat and 'he' was completely 'blanked' by us girls. We were all 'used' to him always just hanging around. I still don't know if this skeleton was 'real' or plastic. I suppose one of the girls asked, but I can't recall. I loved the jars that contained frogs, rats, organs from different species of animals and best-of-all, the lungs... oh crumbs. However disgusting they looked then, we all seemed to be drawn to them... We finally got the 'real thing' in that the teacher brought in some sheep's lungs. I have written this before, but I thought I'd bring it up again, which is how most of us were beginning to feel when 'Miss' produced a glass straw. She demonstrated how to blow into the dead animal's lungs and how we should note what was happening as the air from her lungs entered the sheep's lungs... how could we not notice... it was a 'cringing' moment, one I've never forgotten and can't forget. I told my parents what we'd done in this lesson. Their joint reaction was one of yuk and, 'glad it wasn't me' kind of thing. However, years later on meeting Tony, (he was a butcher), he was so interested and asked 'were the lungs definitely from a sheep'? 'What did it feel like?' and 'which butcher did she get them from?'... a completely different reaction to my parents'...

Hazel Austin - 29 Mar 2010

I don't remember the lung-blowing-up-bit but we did get to look through an ox eye (don't ask) and dissected a frog and on one occasion a rabbit. The ox eye was stupid, because of course we don't see the same as an ox because our brains are different... the frog was disgusting... and poor bunny was chosen specifically because that was what we were going to have to label for O-Level... All in all the yuck factor and carnage was pretty high. What was the name of the Biology teacher? Short very red hair, and a very red face when she did the more exciting bits of "Human Reproduction" in less than ten minutes - we timed her.

Pat Larkin - 29 Mar 2010

Hazel, I can't recall our lab teachers as having red hair. I remember Miss Blankley, Miss Mitchell, (she had lots of thick, very dark, curly hair, and had a round face), Dr Patrick was another lab teacher and there was another, who thinking back, we did more-or-less what we liked with. That's awful isn't it? She was very nice, sweet and pleasant and we did like her, but there was no discipline when she taught us. I do think though, perhaps we learned more with her teaching us her way, than we did with the others. Lab. overalls, well dark green coat/apron-things we tied round our skinny, (huh), waists, which I can only now think back on with great fondness. Hair tied back, sleeves rolled up and 'remember girls, wash your hands before leaving the lab. Wash all utensils, shut off Bunsen burners. Equipment must be replaced to the correct cupboards and shelves so the class following this can find everything they need without wasting time looking for it... hang up overalls and don't leave anything of your own behind. Next week can anyone please bring in a dead mouse, a bull's eye or something we can dissect?'... we were outa there s.t.s. The bull's eye was disgusting. It was all water and sinew and not pleasant for 'little garls', (Miss Jean Brodie), to handle.

Lesley Elmes - 29 Mar 2010

Oh yes how I remember biology class. We had to dissect a frog and then dissect a sheep's lung. Not the most pleasant of experiences but it did give you a better idea of what was inside our own bodies. Most of the girls, as you can imagine, were quite squeamish and one fainted. But for the most part we just got on with it and sighed a big sigh of relief when it was over. Of course we had to wear appropriate attire at all times when having biology or chemistry lessons - you guessed it - a green lab robe/uniform that was like a normal lab coat but had a tie-wrap-around front that tied at the side with a bow. It was the awfullest green colour - not the dark bottle green but a light green almost like kelly green. We also had to wear goggles when dissecting in case any blood splashed in our eyes and we wore rubber gloves like doctors. All donned up we felt like we were real lab techs. We also wondered what was going to happen that the teacher felt we needed to take so many precautions.

Hazel Austin - 29 Mar 2010

Yes, our biology teacher definitely had red hair - dark auburn, cut short and straight and she always seemed uncomfortable with us. I don't think I've ever seen her in a photo, maybe she didn't stay long. I'll check my old reports and see. I got my biology O-Level anyway, so the dead rabbit experience must have paid off... The older teacher, Miss McAllister? was just for the chemistry lab - grey hair, nice but no nonsense, always reminded me of a missionary, but I don't know if that's fact or just how she looked. And yes, those unflattering lab overalls were horrid - just like the thick school knickers. Probably not a problem they had at the boys' school?

Jane Lindsay - 30 Mar 2010

I think Miss McQuillen had reddish hair. She left the school sometime in the 50s and came back after a few years. Yes, Miss McAlister was the older one. I liked her. She taught me physics. She used to call me Pat, even though there were four genuine Pats in the class. Apparently I reminded her of someone she had taught at another school. I also remember her giving a talk one night to the AYPA (Anglican Young People's Association) - I think the talk had some Church connection, so Hazel's idea of a missionary might not be far off the mark. The only detail I remember from the talk was about cycling at night in a country area, and having a carbide lamp on her bike. The teacher who certainly did become a missionary was Miss Nash. Pat, you might remember her - she taught scripture and history, and left at the end of your first year. She came back a few years later to give a talk to the school about her work in South (or was it Central?) America. She did a lot of erring and umming when teaching, and I remember sitting in a class one day with two columns in my "rough book" . . Need I continue? I think you can all guess what I did. I can't remember the scores though.

Pat Larkin - 30 Mar 2010

MISS NASH!!!! I saw her face in an instant Jane. This is a name I have completely left off my list of WCG's teachers' names. I can see her now. I, well we all really, wondered why she suddenly disappeared. We were never, to my recollection, told of teachers' comings and goings. One term they were there, the next - gorn! Miss Nash, crikey, and I didn't even miss her. Perhaps, as you said, she was only there during my first year... . I was told years after I had left the school that Miss Shawcross became a missionary, so was this little bit of school gossip, or 'gossipe', as we called it then, true? Years later she did apply for a voluntary post in the Windsor Castle Shop and I only know this because my longest, ever school pal, Pat, spoke to her and was quite taken aback at the thoughts of her 'old' Headmistress working 'under' her s.t.s.

Jane Lindsay - 30 Mar 2010

I don't think Miss Shawcross was a missionary as such, but she did go to Kenya to teach English. She was there for about two years I think.

Pat Larkin - 30 Mar 2010

She would have made an excellent missionary I think Jane, what with her quiet voice and caring attitude. Mind you, I think behind that mask, there was a bit of a cheeky character trying to get out... she made a very good Head Mistress, and we girls then were so lucky to have known her. In the first form she took us for English. She was thorough in her explanation of most things and would write loads of stuff on the blackboards for us to copy into our rough books... I wish now I'd kept all my rough books. What a laugh I'd have reading them now... Probably wouldn't remember or understand half I'd written. Sometimes the pencil lead was so light, I couldn't read anything I had quickly written down. What a nightmare. Thankfully most of us girls shared our notes during playtime, or break. The soft, cheap paper used to make these note-books was really not fit for purpose because if we had just sharpened our pencils to a really keen point, more often than not, the point would pierce the page and go down several pages too, which was annoying. We really should have been issued with higher quality paper.

Jane Lindsay - 31 Mar 2010

Miss Shawcross in Kenya. It's possible that she taught at a mission school. I'll try to get some more information.

wcgs61to68 - 8 Apr 2010

I was at WCGS/Windsor High from 1961 to 1968, coming from outside the county (Englefield Green). I remember Miss Shawcross with great affection, although she left the next term; she seemed sincerely interested in every girl as a human being. Miss McKay was a great 'reformer' in the 1960s style: squeezing out Latin in favour of science (although we still dropped physics and chemistry at the end of the 3rd year if we wanted to continue studying two or more languages); dropping the house system; abolishing our tuck shop. The prefects ran the tuck shop from trestle tables outside Elmfield every morning break. You could buy Wagon Wheels, Jammie Dodgers, digestive biscuits and ginger nuts, all for around three old pence or even less. Miss M. said biscuits were bad for us, but did not replace them with healthier snacks, so some of us were very hungry by lunchtime. Miss M also decided to replace the 'Excellent' award with 'Distinction', and did not maintain the Honours Boards, so it looked as though the school had suddenly stopped sending 'gairls' to universities around 1964. Mrs Francis was a near neighbour of ours and she and her family were frequent visitors to our home. Her right arm had been injured at birth, hence her habit of curling it up under her bust. She also had a stammer, worse if she was angry or excited. She was an ardent supporter of Miss McKay's reforms, and I once saw her by the main staircase in the new school having words with Miss Meech, whom we girls thought of as the leader of the traditionalist faction. Mrs F taught me only briefly so I can't say anything about her teaching style, but I do remember her as a clever, witty and peppery person, highly opinionated. Re the cardigans: my mother wasted most of her summer holiday before I went to Windsor High knitting me a lovely lambswool cardigan in what turned out to be the wrong shade of green (emerald rather than bottle) and was rather cross when she was told it was unacceptable. She made me another, in lovely uncontroversial beige. Interesting to see that other people had similar experiences. The shop-bought green cardigans were pretty tacky, I thought. I remember Miss Philipson for geography, a marvellous teacher who had actually visited most of the places she taught us about, brought us to order with cries of 'Ladies! Ladies! Please!', and was a great Verdi fan. I later went to Royal Holloway College, unaware that Miss M had gone there, and had the experience of meeting her again at Royal Holloway years after I had left Windsor High. She was as terrifying when I was thirty as when I was thirteen!

Lesley Elmes - 8 Apr 2010

We were at the new Girls' School at the same time. My time there was 1965 - 1969 and I was among the first year to attend the new school, starting off the new school year at the old school and moving several months later to the newly built school in Imperial Road. No doubt we may have seen each other although you must have been a couple of years ahead of me. You told me some very interesting things I had not known about Miss McKay. She was certainly a staunch disciplinarian and we were all terrified of her; I think it was pretty much a universal fear from everyone. She certainly didn't appear to be approachable but also we noted that she didn't seem to be very friendly with her staff either. However, I had no idea until I read your piece that she had been responsible for doing away with the tuck shop, the house system and didn't maintain the Honours Board. She was already installed as the Head Mistress when I arrived and I only know that for the first few months at the old school I was a member of Oak house and enjoyed buying bickies at the tuck shop (very cheaply too!) and then when we went to the new school, they both mysteriously disappeared without a word of explanation which was a shame. As for Mrs Francis - she was my maths teacher for several years and I hope I'm not treading on your toes when I say that she was the very worst teacher I ever had. It's no secret as I've posted on past threads what I thought of her. She was mean spirited and only liked the straight-A students. Since maths wasn't exactly my best subject and I really needed help with things like algebra, needless to say I wasn't one of her favourite pupils. She totally ignored anyone who needed help in favour of helping those who really didn't need it. It is to her that I owe my failed O-level in maths, as I struggled terribly in her class and received no encouragement whatever. When I asked for help I was given some smart-aleck remark about studying harder and that was as much help as I ever got. Everyone I knew disliked her immensely and only the favoured few had anything good to say about her. I actually witnessed Mrs Francis slap a girl in the face in my class one day as she had talked back to her. The slap was quite unnecessary I thought at the time and they (the girl and Mrs Francis) were summoned to Miss McKay's office once the girl told her parents what happened. Her parents were there and we all gathered that the girl had come out the victor although of course, no one knew what had been said. I can only say that I agree with your assessment of her to a point - she was definitely highly opinionated and peppery - as for the rest well let's just say we had a mutual dislike of each other. She taught me my first year or two of chemistry also which I failed miserably; however, luckily in my third year we had a different teacher who was wonderful and I ended up getting my O-level in chemistry thanks to her. I believe it was in the fourth year we were able to give up one science and I chose to give up biology and went on with physics and chemistry. I took French, German and Latin and also dropped geography at that time.

As for the uniform, I can imagine how your poor mother felt when she'd spent all summer knitting your sweater only to find it was the wrong colour! I had a bottle green, store-bought v-necked sweater and wore it for five years with a tie and didn't think it was too bad. After wearing bottle green for five years it was years before I could wear that colour again I can tell you - even our gym knickers were green and my mother bought me many pairs so that I could wear them every day. I'm very lucky that they didn't sell bottle green bras back then as I'm sure I'd have had several of those too!!

Do you happen to remember the name of the only male teacher we had at the GS - he was the geography teacher and the poor man was incredibly shy and seemed to blush all the time. He definitely wasn't suited to teaching in an all-girls school but he seemed intelligent enough and I think may have had a Welsh accent. A young man with sandy hair I believe. I always felt a bit sorry for him as he was the only male in a school full of women and he didn't stay long so I'm sure he did feel uncomfortable. We also had an American teacher for our final year in history and I learned a lot about American history from her, which has come in handy since I came to the States. She was very interesting and of course, back then, we all loved her accent. She was on some kind of exchange programme I believe.

wcgs61to68 - 9 Apr 2010

Yes, I do remember the geography teacher. He taught us geology briefly in the sixth form as an optional subject. I can't remember his name, I'm afraid, but I do recall his lovely Welsh accent - 'Be quiet, girls, I have a head-eck today, girls!'. There was also an art master. The first male teacher I remember was Mr Drewett (maths), who used to contribute a tuneless bass hum to the morning hymns at assembly - I thought at first it was a fault in the heating system! I don't know what he was like as a teacher. His daughter went to the school, I think. [Ed: Yes, she did. Her name was Cathy.]

Re dissension in the staff room - we girls thought there was a pro-MacKay (progressive) and a pro-Meech (traditionalist) faction. This was probably an over-simplification, however the atmosphere was tense, I think. I supported Miss Meech's side personally, despite Mrs F and her views. I found Mrs F's advocacy of Miss MacKay difficult to handle. When I met Miss MacKay later at Royal Holloway, I was amazed to see that Miss Meech was with her and that they seemed to be the best of chums - they had both retired by then. I will say for Miss MacKay, the lunches at the new school were much better than at Osborne Road. Also, she apparently did a lot for music at the school. In 1967 our English A-Level group went on a walk to Canterbury, in the steps of Chaucer's pilgrims (one of our set books was the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales). The redoubtable Mrs Adams led us, together with her husband. (She was very Welsh, nice woman). At Dartford half of us left (including yours truly), defeated by blisters, and returned home by the 725 bus. The rest plodded on to Canterbury, taking four days over it (fifteen miles a day) and staying at youth hostels. A few boys from the grammar school joined us. Do you remember the custom of the second-year girls cramming acorns down the backs of the first-year girls on Founder's Day?Do you remember one-armed Mr Pearce, with his amazing hooked prosthesis which would actually support a full zinc bucket of water? He kept chickens in the gardens of The Gables, and had a couple of cats, which would sometimes wander into the classrooms.

Pat Larkin - 9 Apr 2010

Kerrrrrumbs, I am so very glad and lucky not to have had Miss MacKay as my head. I know from stories told me by my late cousin, who probably was at the school with both of you girls, that she locked horns on several occasions with the Head. I can't imagine in a million years having a tuck shop. It just didn't happen in my day and I didn't rely on anything else at morning break but my own hastily, cobbled-together Marmite or fish-paste sandwiches. If I, or maybe my mother, forgot to make them, or I left them on the counter, tough... no sympathy from my parents, so a waste of my time telling them how 'starving hungry' I was that day. I had a lovely 'best-friend' who came from Holyport. She never failed to have a very interesting variety of goodies in her it followed, I would be offered a ham and chutney sandwich or a fairy-cake...her mum was an excellent cook, as was mine, the difference was, my mother left at dawn, almost, to go to work, hers didn't. My cousin Frances, who sadly died in January this year, would have been 60 this May, so I think her years at the WCGS began in 1961. She spent time at both the old and the new-improved schools but told me she wished she could have stayed at Elmfield. As I've related before, she and Miss Meech were close, well, as close as pupil and teacher could be. When talking over our separate times at the school, (Elmfield for me), we had so many different memories, which surprised us both. Some things though, hadn't changed from the time I had left to the time she started. The battle of the uniform, knickers especially, came in for a whole lot of criticism. Why we couldn't wear all-white underwear still baffles me. She, unlike me, didn't wear garters round her long socks. She only wore white ankle socks in her time there. I couldn't understand the 'no house' business at all. I've always thought that competition was healthy in most people, so there was nothing in the way of clubs or groups or anything I gather? No house points, or oratory competitions or sports day cups??? Did you at least have a school magazine and were you allowed to write using a Biro pen, whereas we had to buy and use a fountain-pen. I suppose if we hadn't left Windsor our younger daughter would have gone to the Windsor Girls' School. I wonder how different it would have been for her. She attended Eastbourne High School for Girls. An excellent school which compared favourably with Windsor County Girls...sadly, this great institution has gone, like many other grammar schools across the country.

wcgs61to68 - 9 Apr 2010

Well, we did have after-school clubs and societies, like the International Society, and of course there were sports matches. There were the 'Oratory' competitions, which was mainly verse-speaking, verse-writing and the acting of an excerpt from a play - Shaw's Saint Joan, I remember; the girl playing Joan couldn't bring herself to speak up at the word 'bastard'. I think that 'Oratory' fizzled out after the move to the new school. There was a full-scale drama production, Lady Precious Stream, in 1962 and another in, I think, 1968 - Midsummer Night's Dream. Oh those dreadful green knickers! We had no pockets with ours. There was a girl called Frances in our class. She was known as 'Lofty' because she was so very small. Could she have been your cousin?

Pat Larkin - 9 Apr 2010

'Lofty', yes probably, although that's the first time I've heard that nickname. Frances was my height at 5' 1", she was though, half my weight and if you have seen my one-and-only school report from those days, you'll have noticed my weight then... It's a wonder I didn't blow away on a windy day, especially when living up on Hilltop!... Her surname was Donnelly and she lived along Dedworth Road. I suppose when she changed schools she didn't have as far to travel, which, anyway you look at it, was a bonus. I still have to remind myself that she's dead. It will take some time for it to sink in I suppose. I have several photos of her and get them out occasionally to have a peep. She was an extremely pretty girl, that's for sure. She had straight, almost black hair and usually styled it herself... she eventually owned two hair-dressing salons in Blythe, then later returned to Dedworth where she opened another. She left England and lived in Nevada, mostly on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, until her recent death.

Lesley Elmes - 9 Apr 2010

Unfortunately I don't remember either Mr. Drewett or Mr. Pearce - they must not have gone to the new school at all. Yes, the school lunches were very good and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I don't remember the custom of cramming acorns down the backs of the first year girls on Founder's Day nor do I remember Founder's Day at all. Another custom that went by the wayside once at the new school by the sounds of things. We did have sports day for a time but I don't remember it lasting through my 5th year, which is when I left as I didn't stay on to go into the lower 6th. We had no oratory programmes that I remember but in our first year we did put on a dance show choreographed by one of our gym teachers (not Mrs Quinton) this one was much younger but I can't remember her name. Anyway, it was entitled, "Earth, Wind and Fire, and I was Fire. I was all dressed up in a bright orange swimsuit and had flowing scarves attached so that when I danced, they all went every which way like flames. Quite striking so I'm told and I received many compliments for my performance. I have always enjoyed dancing and being so short and slim (at that time) I was quite lythe. I have a correction to make also - my time at the new school was from 1964 not 1965 to 1969. Anyway, sounds like perhaps you would have been in the fourth form when I was in the first form so you would have left when I was in the fourth form if my maths is correct. Our paths probably didn't cross and I must admit back then that we new girls were all very terrified of the lower and upper sixth! We kept our heads down and didn't try to make any kind of conversation unless someone spoke to us. You all seemed so terrifying back then - don't know why but that's how it seemed. I believe I have mentioned this before but I didn't know Miss Meech very well at all while I was in school as she didn't teach any lessons I had then. She was always a very nice lady and always made a point of saying "Good morning girls" as she would pass us in the halls etc. Anyway, several years after I left school I happened to run into her one day and she treated me as though I had been her favourite pupil. I really hadn't even thought she would even remember me but she actually called me by name and we stood and chatted for a few minutes. I was quite taken aback. How she would have known me I really don't know but she did. I never heard anything bad about her at all - only good things. I always wished she could have been the head instead of Miss McKay. Were you there when Miss McKay broke her ankle and was in a cast and had to walk with a cane for what seemed like months at the time? She would clop on to the stage during morning assembly and you could hear her coming from a mile off which was nice as she couldn't sneak up on you like she seemed to do before!!!

Lesley Elmes - 9 Apr 2010

No I can't recognise anyone but I would like to say that the uniform obviously changed from 1965 at the old school to the new school and uniform when I started in 1964. Back then the summer uniform was bottle green and white striped dress with very bold stripes as opposed to the faint stripe in the photos posted by Derek. Also, we were not allowed to wear our winter uniform in the summer - everyone wore a green and white striped dress. No skirts and blouses were allowed. Also we were not allowed to wear stockings until the fifth year. It does look like someone in the second photo was wearing their lab overall though!!!I see some open toed shoes in the first photo which was a no-no when I was there. Only solid, fully covered shoes were allowed - either brown or black and white socks were only allowed with the summer uniform. In the winter we had to wear either bottle green or beige. Looks as though Miss MacKay was stricter than the previous head mistress on dress code.

Jane Lindsay - 10 Apr 2010

Lesley wrote: Unfortunately I don't remember either Mr. Drewett or Mr. Pearce I'm fairly sure that Mr Pearce, the caretaker, retired about 1960-61. Mrs Pearce also worked at the school, in the kitchen. I think they went to Spain to live. They were a very nice couple. I don't know when John Drewett joined the staff, but it was probably mid-late 60s. He was an old WCBS boy, as was his younger brother, Francis. They were both good rugby players, and Francis played for England in a schoolboys team on at least one occasion. John's wife was an old WCGS girl, Angela Fazey. She was before my time, but perhaps not much before. Beryl might have known her. Lesley's experience with her maths teacher made such a sad story. Maths was always one of my strongest subjects, but I did not do well in my first year with Mrs Colenso teaching me. The teacher can make such a difference. Mrs C was a very different person from Lesley's teacher, but she totally confused me, and I don't think she inspired anyone to take an interest in the subject. Fortunately in the following years I always had Miss Williams. She terrified most of us, but her teaching style suited me, and the rest, as they say, is history. Without Miss Williams I would probably have been an absolute no-hoper, although I did have languages to boost my confidence, and Miss Riddle was a good language teacher.

Another problem for me was gym and games. I loved the exercise, but I was not good at it, and I always felt a bit left out. I quite liked Mrs Q, but I always felt that the girls who were good at sport got all the attention and encouragement. Also, there were no endurance activities - it was all about speed and agility.

Pat Larkin - 10 Apr 2010

Thanks for the photos Derek I knew the lawn over at Elmfield straight away. Nice to see it again and in colour tooooo... my cousin Frances is the girl, front left, sitting on the grass in the first photograph. At least, I'm pretty sure it's her. She loathed cameras and having to pose, which I think shows in her expression. Looking at her for some time, I'm convinced it is her. If, on the other hand, someone knows definitely the girl's name and it isn't Frances, I apologise. I have scanned several photos of her in her younger days, but none in uniform. Talking of which, what a mish-mash of styles there - that wouldn't have been tolerated in my day, absolutely not... we'd have been dressed exactly the same as each other and would have posed, just standing there and smiling, most likely. There again, if a teacher had caught a whiff of that camera, it would have been confiscated immediately. The girls look relaxed and happy too and I suppose we girls in my time must have had at least a few 'silly' or happy moments like that, it's just hard trying to recall one!!As mentioned further back by me, our school trip to Stratford-upon-Avon was something I can remember as being happy and very unlike actual schooltime. I suppose being out of the confines of the school buildings it was more like a trip to the seaside, but by train. We were all reminded that full school uniform had to be worn. We were also reminded that we represented the school and should behave accordingly. I have a photo of my 'best friend' Ann. She's posing and smiling too with 'Prince Hal' looming up behind and over her, well his statue is! It is a lovely shot and I'm sure she wouldn't mind her photo being posted on the forum. I'll try to find it. There's a shot too of some boys from the Grammar school, well we both assumed they were Windsor boys at the time - the only problem is, their faces are so small they could have been from another district and weren't from our train either. We all agreed once back at school, that everyone had thoroughly enjoyed this trip and sitting there in The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, well that was 'it' for most of us I think... the essays we had to compose about the whole day out didn't come quite as easily, but the memories of that day have remained in my mind as being, well, smashing.

Hazel Austin - 20 Apr 2010

When we went it was to see Love's Labours Lost - which wasn't on the London syllabus so I don't know why we went for that; I loved it, and Shakespeare. The critics had said Alan Badel (I think I've got the name right?) had produced a "towering performance" which he may well have done, but all we teenage girls noticed (with giggles) were his tight tights. Had grammar girls had pin ups he would have been it all the summer term... The only other trip I remember was to Cambridge - not sure if it was Katie's alma mater but it was certainly a trip to encourage us to "aim high" as we were told. Actually I remember it as a lovely place, a real academic ivory tower sort of place with the most gorgeous library that seemed to have been there for centuries - which it had - and a rather nice bridge. I should have been happier still had we visited Granchester's vicarage whilst in the area (Rupert Brooke being my pash throughout my teen years as mentioned elsewhere) but we didn't and years later it just wasn't the same with a dubitable novelist/politician dancing down the lawn instead of the hundred vicars... (Apologies to all those who found English and Messrs Shakespeare and Brooke utterly boring at school, for me they were among my few really positive memories of the grammar school...).

Pat Larkin - 20 Apr 2010

I loved that day I think more than any other at our old school. I didn't stay beyond 15 years of age, which is something I regret occasionally, but it's still 'there' at the back of my mind. I've been looking around for the dvd of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. Mainly because her little gairls in the form-room resembled my time at the County Girls' so very much. Our form-room was just like the one in the film. We, though, never had male teachers at any time. Golly!, (the word doing the rounds during my second year there), can you imagine our lady teachers putting up with 'a man'? Never... The only other excursion I recall was a bus/coach trip to Maidenhead, to the cinema, to see 'Richard III' with Sir Laurence Olivier in the lead role. Crikey, (another schooly-word), he was scary and a character not to be treated lightly 'methinks'...

Jane Lindsay - 20 Apr 2010

Hazel Austin wrote: When we went it was to see Love's Labours Lost - which wasn't on the London syllabus so I don't know why we went for that. We went for that because Geraldine McEwen was in it, and she was an old WCGS girl. The fact that there was noone (other than a few staff) in the school who had been there at the same time as her was totally irrelevant.

Pat Larkin - 20 Apr 2010

We first-formers were told about Geraldine and how proud the whole school were of her. She's still going strong and if we happen to see her in a play or on TV in an interview, Tony always says, (before I can get my two penn'orth in), 'yes, we know, she was at your school'... well, at least he knows and he's remembered the fact too!!! I think, and I'm not one hundred per cent certain here, we saw 'The Merchant of Venice' at the Royal Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. I do remember we sat very high up at the back and the seats and carpet were red.

Jane Lindsay - 20 Apr 2010

There were two school trips to Stratford in successive years. I went on the first but not the second, so perhaps "The Merchant of Venice" was on the second trip. I was not a Shakespeare fan, and at that time I hated train travel, so I told them I didn't want to go. I was not popular, but for once in my life I refused to budge. I usually just gave in and did as I was told, but not that time. I spent much of the morning with a few other girls from various years doing something to the curtains on the stage - I think we were hemming them. Perhaps the old hems were coming undone or something. Or perhaps they were new curtains. There was no school lunch that day, so I went home for lunch, then came back and brought some of my own needlework with me. I think I spent the afternoon gathering a very full skirt - not my favourite sort of sewing, but I had to do something.

Pat Larkin - 20 Apr 2010

Shakespeare et al. Lesley, you were so lucky to have 'gone abroad' at such a young and tender age. Travel does broaden the mind at any age, that's true, however, we didn't ever go farther/further than Stratford I'm afraid. Speaking of which, Jane, now you've said about the 'Merchant', I'm thinking that perhaps, and maybe, kind of, it was 'Twelfth Night' we saw. I just can't remember which and that's the truth. Anyway, it doesn't detract from my happy memories of that day. You being the expert at research Jane, is there a way to maybe track down the dates and names of plays at the theatre, even though we're going back to the 1950 somethings? It would be great to know for sure which plays we actually saw. Do you think there might be archives where lists of school trips are recorded?

Brian Stinton - 20 Apr 2010

Pat, it was Twelfth Night that we saw at Stratford on that summer day back in about 1956. I also have the impression of the red carpets etc and also the opera glasses in the backs of the seats in front which cost 6d to release... .one boy said that he would take his home (he must have been rich to have a spare tanner to squander on opera glasses!!) until we pointed out that they would be useless for birdwatching taking into account both types of "bird" which he may have had in mind!!I have a feeling that this trip and the choice of the other two was a "one off"... I certainly don't remember any others. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't recall being in a boat on the Avon but it will be interesting to see the photo if you do manage to dig it out in case I recognise somebody.

Jane Lindsay - 21 Apr 2010

Pat asked: Do you think there might be archives where lists of school trips are recorded? I don't think there are any school archives as such. Nothing much survived under Miss Mackay and the move to the new building. Even the house shields that we used to compete for were thrown into a skip. A few were rescued and are in the possession of an "Old Girl". [Ed: They are now displayed in the school in Imperial Road.]According to "Girls in Green" the first trip to Stratford, to see Geraldine McEwen, was in 1956, so "Twelfth Night" must have been in 1957 - and 1957 fits with when I was making that particular dress with all the gathers! In 1956 the school play was "The Merchant of Venice". Maybe that's what you were thinking of, Pat.

[Ed: The first trip to Stratford was in 1955, and the date was 5 May, ie 5.5.55]

Hazel Austin - 21 Apr 2010

If Geraldine McEwen was in the Love's Labours Lost that we saw (I'm sure that was what it was?) we wouldn't have noticed her anyway...not with those tights also on stage. I think she was the only famous old girl from the girls' grammar in its history so no wonder they flagged her up regularly... actually she was my favourite Miss Marple through the years - nice and twinkly, like a sharp little robin... but I digress.

Pat Larkin - 21 Apr 2010

School trips

There wasn't, either, any mention of our very, even back then, famous 'old girl' Geraldine. Nothing was mentioned about her performing in this particular production, and I'm sure I would have remembered that much. So Jane, another mystery to be solved...

Lesley Elmes - 11 May 2010

This photo was taken in the spring term of my first year at WHSG. For those of you who are very observant you will see that I am wearing a purse on a strap that goes across my chest. This purse was a vile lime green leather and it was mandatory for all first year students to wear it at all times. It was only big enough to hold our lunch money and my front door key for home so the only thing I can think is that they didn't think we were old enough to take our lunch money to school without losing it if we didn't have this handy-dandy purse strung around our necks! We all hated it as it had a little gilt dog on the front that made it look like it was for a six-year old. We all ditched them in our second year as they were no longer mandatory.

Hazel Austin - 11 May 2010

Dear Lesley... don't take this personally because you had lovely thick hair and are posing very winsomely (knee up starlet-fashion) but I am so glad I went to the grammar when I did and not when you did! I'd be the first to criticise our old school for its rampant elitism (nay snobbery) but it knew what it was - and why it was. Rules might have been irksome, but they all were well-grounded and had a reason and I have to say - as progressive as my opinions were when I taught myself - they stood the test of time to a surprising degree. Every time I have read about the "new" girls' grammar it seems to have been peopled with new broom educators of determined but erratic vision, who mistook rules for reason, made changes when things didn't need fixing, and created ...what? True this was in the swinging sixties, but even then no-one wore lime green across-the-chest bagettes with dogs on. One can but imagine what Miss Williams would have made of her gels owning - let alone wearing as school uniform - such an object.

Pat Larkin - 13 May 2010

Wow, Lesley. You look as if you were posing for a 'girls' magazine. So saucy with it too. Beautiful, thick and curly hair, some girls had all the luck, (wasn't that a song back then?). Hazel is right or should I say 'correct' in that we wouldn't have been allowed in the school gates wearing such a bright, happy colour... never... we were allowed to have purses on our skirts or dresses. The ones where the belt of the the skirt or dress, threaded through the back of the purse. I did see purses on straps too, but they were and had to be, brown leather. No hint or suggestion of a colour in our day... don't know why though... we became very quickly used to the rules and regulations at that time. I suppose though the 'old' girls, those who came well before us, would have said that we were given a much freer rein than they were. It's all relative. I remember wanting to buy two slides to help keep the shorter hair at the front of my plaits, out of my face. We went into Woolworths and I can see the slides, all on small cardboard squares or rectangles, and my mother suggesting this pair or that pair. I finally bought two of the slim, long slides and they were in a 'normal' green. Even choosing the colour was a serious matter then. If I was spotted by a prefect or member of staff wearing the wrong colour in hair-wear, say a bright green ribbon or red slides, I would receive a warning to take them off and to wear something within the school's rules. It really was as strict as that. Your dress is much more glamorous than ours' were too Lesley. Your wide, candy-stripes are very bold, whereas ours' were a softer, paler shade of green and much narrower too. I do say though that we girls always looked smart, that's a very clear memory of mine. You could have taken us anywhere really!!!! There was a no-jewellery rule. I don't recall a single girl having her ears pierced. I certainly didn't have mine done until I was well into my forties. I wore clip-ons until then. No gold-strapped watched, just plain back or brown leather straps. No bracelets. Nothing really that was brassy or cheap-looking could be worn to the school in our day. I still maintain that we all looked very smart both inside and outside school. It becomes a matter of pride I think, for each individual. If seen minus beret en route to or from school, well, you just didn't get away with it. No question. It made me mad to think that we had no choice re headwear but teachers could, if they wanted to, wear a hat, or not, as they chose. As we now know, none of this strict uniform regulation business has had any lasting effect on us - errrr. has it??

Pat Larkin - 13 May 2010

Miss Shawcross didn't encourage joining any kind of clubs or societies, well, not in my day. I talked to her once after an English lesson and she asked what I did at the weekend. I said I rode horses from a stable in Upton Court Road, Slough, which she thought delightful. I then said 'But, I'd like to get a Saturday morning job if I could'... wellllllllll, she did not approve at all... 'I don't think that would be appropriate', she told me. 'We don't want anything distracting you from your studies', or something along those lines, she frowned very deeply and when Miss Shawcross did that, you knew she wasn't pleased - at all. I did like her though and I didn't get that Saturday morning job because I knew she wouldn't have approved. Lots of girls of my age then, had jobs in small shops. Mainly just helping out and sweeping. But, they were earning and that's what I wanted to do. I had to wait until I left school before I could do that. We County Girls all sat upstairs on the Thames Valley bus, when we could all get on that was, and when the bus stopped at the junction of Vansittart Road and Clarence Road, several PMR girls would climb the stairs and sit at the back if they could. We all knew what was coming - 'Oh, I see the County Cow Shed girls are at the front of the bus and we have to sit at the back'... ..we were always referred to in this way. We went to the 'County Cow Shed'... we didn't mind calling ourselves this name, but strongly objected to any other schools' pupils calling us this... .had there been a certain girl from O. Windsor on this bus, there would have been trouble. Thankfully, most of us were quiet and didn't look for trouble. House points at our school could be lost over something very silly and it just wasn't worth it. Happy days!

Lesley Elmes - 13 May 2010

Pat, other than this gaudy purse that was worn across our chests, we were not permitted to wear anything of any color at all, other than the standard school colors. Hair berettes or hairslides had to be brown or tortoiseshell and no earings or jewellery of any kind, other than a plain watch with leather strap. We were allowed to wear no make-up or nail polish at all and they were very strict about our appearance when I was there. We were always told that our behaviour outside school was a reflection on the school and we were always to conduct ourselves as if Miss McKay was standing by our side - at all times. Now if that didn't put the fear of God into you I don't know what would!

You will notice I was not wearing my beret in the photo. Even in summer we had to wear a hat, either a boater or beret and I was adamant I was not going to wear a boater so I stuck with the beret but I can remember my dad taking this photo of me and I told him since I was already at home and not strictly speaking "out" I didn't have to wear my beret so that was the only reason I got away with it. I also chose the beret in the summer because it served a dual purpose and my poor mother didn't have to buy yet another article of clothing for me. Times were tough for us and I honestly don't know how she afforded my uniform. The only saving grace was that I attained my full height of 5 feet nothing when I was ten years old and really didn't put on any weight either for the five years I attended Windsor High School for Girls and other than a few new blouses and perhaps a new sweater every other year, I wore the same mac, blazer, and skirts from first year to fifth year. I only ever had one set of tennis whites and divided skirts for sports so after the initial outlay, it didn't cost her much. I always took very good care of my clothes and changed them as soon as I got home and my mother used to press my skirts as they were full of pleats every week. You will be upset to hear that I never thought of my hair as lovely and thick - rather, I always felt like the wild woman of Borneo! I hated my hair and it never seemed to grow down - rather it grew out like a bush! I had such long hair as a child that I was able to tuck it under me and sit on it but when I was about 9 I started getting very bad headaches and my mother was told by the doctor that it was the weight of my hair causing the headaches. She took me straight away and had it all cut off up to my chin and when my dad got home that afternoon he walked right past me and didn't recognize me! He went beserk when he realized I had had all my lovely long hair cut off as my mum used to spend hours on it, brushing it and winding it into sausages and it really did look pretty for a little girl. I never grew it back again - well not as long as it had been and I believe the length of my hair in this photo was about as long as I ever let it get but when I was 13, I had it all cut off really short a la Twiggy style and thought myself very mod at the time.

Hazel Austin - 14 May 2010

I defended the standards of the old girls' grammar, but come on - Saturday working was nothing to do with interfering with studies. I did it, and got the exam results I wanted through sheer hard work and parental encouragement. It was where standards became snobbery - for Miss S I fear it was just not the sort of thing her grammar gels did. (Horse-riding yes, selling records no!) And "economically challenged" as my parents probably were, I certainly didn't do it for the money - which was minuscule. Luckily my mum and dad were smart enough to know that a little experience of real life work (assuming I wasn't going to marry into the Windsor gentry) was at least as useful as algebra - and that all work and no play made Jack's sister a dull girl too. Good on 'em. Having got that off my chest, the good news is that Lesley's reminded me that at least one article of all that expensive school uniform came in useful in later life. In the sixties mini-culottes came into fashion for a while and the beautifully made grey-flannel divided skirt/shorts ( which I had so hated for PE and which had languished in my bottom drawer since I left) were exactly what was called for... and no, I shan't be posting pictures...

Lesley Elmes - 14 May 2010

I'm glad Hazel that you got some use out of your beautifully made grey flannel divided skirt. Mine went straight in the bin when I left school as I hated it. It was that awful bottle green color and made of very stiff material. I can't think of any article of clothing that I wore again once I left school as my mother gave some of it away to friends of hers who had gels at the school to save them the expense of buying new. The rest went straight in the bin. I did keep my tennis racquet as I loved to play and it's still up in my closet. It doesn't get any use nowadays but it saw quite a bit of action when I first came to this country as I had a best friend who had always wanted to learn to play tennis so I taught her and we played three times a week for several years.

As for working while in school, I'm really glad I never told anyone about my jobs. I started working at the ripe old age of 12 with my dad. He was the manager of several different cinemas over the course of his career, including Maidenhead, Bracknell, Windsor and then later he had several in London. I worked with him at Bracknell and used to take the bus over there and did usheretting, selling tickets and sweets in the kiosks and ice cream lady. We would then come home together at night in his car. I then worked in Windsor, doing the same thing plus I worked on a Sunday afternoon in their teashop as a waitress for a while. When my dad left Windsor to go to London, I continued working there for the new manager until I left school at 16 and got a full-time job. Miss Shawcross had left by the time I was at the Windsor High School for Girls but I'm sure Miss McKay would also have objected. Good thing I kept my mouth shut!

Pat Larkin - 15 May 2010

Hazel and Lesley, we didn't have grey flannel culotte by the time I left the school. We were still wearing the longer, divided green 'shorts'. Quite comfy when playing hockey though and flattering if you had good, strong, long legs - which I didn't... We girls were quite happy prancing around in the gym in our green knick-knocks and wore our shorts for tennis and hockey. I recall red and blue legs in the winter months down at the hockey pitch along the Long Walk. Most girls suffered these patchy patterns on their upper leg area and if someone caught your foot with a hockey stick, uggggg. the pain was terrible. Not a lot of feeling as such when it happened, but later on when 'coming to' back at school, that's when the real pain kicked in. Janet Kidd, an excellent, all-rounder at sports, caught me on my ankle when tackling for the ball... it hurt then but the next day, wow, what a bruise I had. No one took much notice if a girl got 'caught', especially Mrs. Quinton. She'd say 'give it a rub and get on'... so that's what we did. When I see footballers fall after being tackled or fouled, I laugh. They should have Mrs. Q. behind them, she'd soon sort 'em out, and how!!Can you recall after hockey, going into the pavilion and changing your footwear? Trying to pull off frozen hockey boots all caked with Royal mud wasn't easy, then we had to put our school shoes back on. I hardly ever untied or 'undid' as we said then, my shoe-laces, so come the time for putting them on after hockey, I'd have to try hard to undo the knots in the laces before attempting to squeeze my frozen feet into my equally frozen shoes. Although there were benches in the pavilion, they were never wide or long enough to accommodate all our sports gear. We also had very little time to change back into school uniform, then get cracking back up Kings Road. Mostly, we ran back with sports gear flopping all over the place. How many cardigans, hair ribbons or slides were lost along that stretch of road I'll never know, probably quite a few. We didn't have the time to comb our hair either so must have all looked a bedraggled sight on the way back to school. I think the worst thing was to button up my school blouse the 'wrong way' s.t.s. Wrong button, right hole. Nightmare.

Hazel Austin - 15 May 2010

Another Saturday worker, Lesley! There must have been others doing it because I can recall (and will on my deathbed) Miss S rebuking gels who worked, in assembly - and she wouldn't have bothered just for me. I can't remember what my parents said when I told them, but I knew my lovely grandad had gone down to school to sort out the unkind Miss Butteridge (sp?) and I know they'd have done the same for me so perhaps I just kept quiet too? There was no danger of any of the staff climbing those stairs to Surplices Record Department for the latest No. 1 anyway! Mind you, Miss Chaplin (Cynthia I think) was a bit of a goer. People don't seem to remember her, and she's not in any staff photos I've seen, I suppose because she wasn't there long. I remember her getting married and being pregnant quite soon, then she was gone. Shame - of all the teachers she was the only one who stood out as being really enthusiastic about her subject - English. Not just because she was young, but because the other young ones were so "old" - sorry Miss Riddle, who was also a sweetie. Miss Barnes may well have been enthusiastic in the beginning of her career - and I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because I liked and respected her too - as did many of us. Must just include an "erratum" - my culottes were green flannelly material not grey - nice green, not bottle! Don't know what made me write grey. As for purses I think mine was on my belt but more often in my bag. I can't say I recall don't remember any unexpected (for a grammar school) uniform rules or obligations - except inappropriate colour choice would have been picked up by the uniform police - aka Miss Williams. As were my beautiful red leather shoes glared at by said lady as soon as I walked into class. I did have some sandals but had got them soaked for some reason and my spare pair were squeezy too small, so I had no choice - ballet and tap shoes, wellies and plimsolls were out, so red it was. You can imagine. Someone will say I'm paranoid but I always got the impression there was more monitoring and approbation of uniform misdemeanours for girls from the social-economic class that had to be let in because they'd passed the scholarship. That changing pavilion, Pat - yes indeed. (I think we may have been here before?) I suppose it was the treated wood (like some Canadian log cabin) but although I couldn't remember the rules of hockey today if my life depended on it, I can instantly recall that smell as you walked in - particularly on a hot day - or as you say, a muddy wet one. And incidentally the smell of chlorine in my hair all day when we'd gone for swimming lessons to Maidenhead - open air baths then and inevitably freeeezing. Did the replacement school have its own pool?

Pat Larkin - 16 May 2010

I don't remember Miss Chaplin at all, but no doubt Hazel, she was called 'Charlie' by most girls then. I can just see Miss Williams' grey, cold and staring eyes, espying your Dorothy-type shoes - red... oh crumbs, you must 'of bin' so very brave, either that, or you just didn't give a t...!! (that saying wasn't around back then, was it?). I like 'uniform police', it just sums it all up really. Uniform, so very, very important then. The worry lines on my mother's forehead and the grey hairs too over how much money she could find to pay for the 'extras' then. All gone now, but it just stays in the memory files for ever... I keep thinking of one of my late cousin Frances' posts where she wrote that she got most of her sports gear from Lost Property. Do you know, that had never occurred to me, there again, she always was a business-minded individual. At my grandson's school, (4 years ago), there was a department where any lost or outgrown uniform could be bought by the less well-off members of the school's pupils' families. I thought that was a sensible and less painful way of kitting out a boy or girl if pennies were few in the family. Take out the name-tab, get the article cleaned and there you go, no one knows where it came from. That just wouldn't have happened in our day.

Lesley Elmes - 17 May 2010

Hazel, I'm assuming that by "replacement" school you are referring to the Windsor High School for Girls in Imperial Road? Well, if so, I shall try not to take offence at that adjective (I'm sure you didn't mean it as it sounded - did you?). I think "new" school may be more appropriate - anyway, no, we had no swimming pool at our school nor did we ever have swimming lessons anywhere. I think our school day was quite full as it was so don't know that we'd have had time for swimming lessons and at any rate, by that time, I was a good swimmer anyway, or as good as I was going to get, so in my opinion, it wasn't necessary.

Hazel Austin - 17 May 2010

Lesley - oh dear, no offence intended at all. Yours replaced the existing grammar school - buildings and all - hence "replacement". I didn't say "new" because it wasn't actually a new school because it was the old grammar school but somewhere else... well, to me!Incidentally, can you remember the childhood tradition of making friends again after a real (or perceived) spat? You used to hook your little fingers together and shake them like shaking hands. I think there was a verse you said about making friends that accompanied it. One of those little tribal playground rituals... anyway, my little finger is duly offered...

Pat Larkin - 22 May 2010

Does anyone have any idea who the longest-serving teacher was at the WCGS in Osborne Road and Kings Road? I think, Miss Meech, but I could be wrong? Likewise the longest-serving Head Mistress. Having only known Miss Shawcross, I don't have a clue!

Jane Lindsay - 22 May 2010

I don't know about the longest serving teacher, but here's a copy of #359 in this thread, posted by me a couple of months ago, which answers the head mistress question:Maurice Bond seems to imply that Miss Curtis was the first headmistress at the girls' school, but this is not so. The first headmistress was Miss Collier, who was there for four years. Miss Curtis arrived in 1924. Headmistresses 1920-1995:Miss Collier 1920-24Miss Curtis 1924-49Miss Shawcross 1949-61Miss Mackay 1961-75Miss Hume 1975-95The next head was Mrs Chevalley. Is she still there?

Pat Larkin - 22 May 2010

I have just Googled the school Jane and found a site of sorts. It even has a 'Rate my teacher' thread, so that present girls can give their teachers marks out of ten, or something similar. I found another site stating that a Mrs. Gill Labrum was Head Teacher. I'm not sure though of the date of this site. Thanks for your list of teachers' dates. I hadn't realised Miss Shawcross had given twelve years of her life to the school. Miss. Curtis did extremely well. Miss Meech surely must be up there somewhere as one of the longest-serving teachers.

Hazel Austin - 22 May 2010

These days I believe they're usually called Headteachers and the majority are expected to do some direct teaching; Miss S certainly did some teaching, so strictly I suppose she's also the longest-serving teacher, unless her reign was overlapped before and/or afterwards by an "ordinary" teacher. (Though I know what you mean, Pat.) Do we know the story of Elmfield before the school took it over? Did anyone own it after the Darvill family? And whether either of the grammar schools replaced existing selective schools in Windsor? It might be interesting (or not) to discover the legislation and arrangements that brought about Windsor's opting for a selective system.

Jane Lindsay - 22 May 2010

Miss Meech was certainly at the school for a lot longer than Miss Shawcross - she was there from 1937 until at least 1972. Can anyone remember when she left?According to "Girls in Green" the Darvills moved out of Elmfield in 1896, and the house was left to decay. It was requisitioned by the War Office in 1914. It was vacant when the Berkshire Education Committee started looking for suitable accommodation for a girls' school early in 1920.

Hazel Austin - 22 May 2010

Thanks Jane. I wonder why Miss Meech never made Deputy then? How deserted and sad an abandoned Elmfield must have been when the Darvills left. I suppose that was the fate of most of those large houses. Schools, flats, offices or demolition. Makes you wonder what it had been like in its heyday... the War Office is not known for the sensitive care of buildings it requisitions. I wonder if it had a garden then, rather than just a big lawn? Despite being a prestigious school it always had an emptiness about it - there was very little furniture (only basic school stuff) and very little too in the way of artwork on the walls (even the girls' work) to make it look "lived in" rather than occupied. My own opinion is that the environment (and that includes Carfax) added to the ethos of the school, but I imagine the LEA and staff were pretty happy to be swapping it for a purpose-built brick and glass building when the time came. Shame.

Jane Lindsay - 23 May 2010

I have an idea that Miss Meech preferred not to be deputy head.

Hazel Austin - 23 May 2010

I know Miss Meech did a lot with the Windsor and Eton Society, maybe she wanted to have time for her non-teaching interests like local conservation and music - I don't blame her. I always envied where she lived, in that lovely Georgian terrace overlooking the Long Walk; it must have been by far the nicest accommodation of any of the teachers, many of who I think rented converted flats in those big old Victorian houses in that area. Lovely coving and ceiling roses, but jolly hard to heat in winter. Carfax was never the warmest of places in the cold months (or even summer, come to that!) particularly the gloomy basement. We may have discussed this earlier, but I don't recall our discovering why there were houses built on one side of that stretch of Osborne Road only - the Gables an exception. If I remember, the land dropped down a bit on that side, and I notice from checking an old map that the Bourne Ditch seems to have flowed through that area, so maybe it drained badly? I remember that big field being used for PE and sports day - does the Girls in Green book describe when the Gables and that field were added to the school?

Pat Larkin - 23 May 2010

My late Father-in-law was stationed at Victoria Barracks for a while after the war had ended. He and others from the barracks used both Carfax and Elmfield during those post-war years. He knew both buildings and described each house to me as we sat in Albert Street one day. As mentioned on here earlier, I could still read the rooms' numbers underneath the newer paintwork carried out after the army had left. Room II in Elmfield, used as a dining and music room by us in the early 50s, was still called just that. In Carfax, on the right-hand-side and on entering the big front door/s, this room was used by us in, I think, the third year. We had Miss Lerrigo and were called '3L'. Under the black shiny paintwork could still be seen the number of the room the army had given it. How long did the army use the school buildings for and why did they use our school in the first place? Tony's Dad said 'The Hut' was used by the army too, when I said that this cold, draughty hut was where I began my school-life at the Grammar School. He was very surprised the hut was still standing, moreso that it was used as a main form room. We were '1B' then and Miss Barnes, the really lovely Miss Barnes, (Geog), was our first form mistress. Weren't we the lucky ones!

Hazel Austin - 23 May 2010

I remember your saying about those door numbers before, I certainly never noticed them - shows what a nosy, sorry observant girl you were at that age!I imagine (but may be wrong) that Elmfield was built first but both it and Carfax were quite a way out of town along Kings Road. They would have needed a carriage, I imagine. The stables/coach house may well have been on the site of the extension at the end of the covered way in Elmfield but where would they have been in Carfax? There was room at the back of the house (before the awful hut) just about but not enough room to get round the side. Does anyone remember an entrance at the back of the house that could have led to a stable block?

wcgs61to68 - 26 May 2010

That Hut was indeed dreadful. It had the most noxious and inefficient heater imaginable, in the shape of a turtle inscribed 'Slow but Sure'. I remember doing a Latin end-of-term exam there and nearly being suffocated. Miss Mellor (RK) used it for the Junior Scripture Society - at least, I think that was what it was called. The huts between Wing and The Gables were known as the Terrapins and were much more attractive, except that they were on waste ground which attracted rats, of which we girls were rather fond (some of us called them Charles and Rodney; Mr Pearce put them down). They were still there when the school moved to its new premises. I loved Carfax, but it was certainly in need of TLC. Somebody put her cardigan on the floor and when she picked it up it stank (the cardigan, not the carpet). We used the top floors for art and the main floor for geography. A beautiful neoclassical house. What would it be worth now, properly restored? And Elmfield? Both had wonderful marble fireplaces and plasterwork on the ceiling. I remember the huge mural of St. Christopher in the dining hall of Elmfield. Why was that there? Any religious connection?

Hazel Austin - 26 May 2010

I left a couple of years before you, but the St. Christopher mural in Elmfield was nothing to do with us, honest! In "my" day painting on the walls would have been a big no-no; there was I think a mural in the bathroom where we washed our brushes and palettes and us in the Art Rooms - but that was hidden all the way in the attics and no-one would have seen it. I can only imagine that the Sixties were working their heady bohemian magic on the staff, and they gave in to the younger generation. (Miss S in a kaftan and Miss Williams with a flower in her hair - that would've been something to see...) St. Christopher hasn't so far as I know any particular connection with the school, or Elmfield history, although someone else might have some ideas?Nice to hear you praise Carfax - it had some lovely features and must have been (like a lot along there) a beautiful family home once. Today had it avoided the bulldozers, it would probably be "prestige apartments" or whatever the phrase is estate agents use these days. Incidentally, you can't remember what was written on or around the sundial on the wall above the door that led to the lawn from the Elmfield entrance hall can you? I may die not knowing, at this rate...

Lesley Elmes - 26 May 2010

Ah huh! For the first time I've read that the terrapins might actually have been at the old girls' school prior to my first year there. I had always thought that they had been brought in especially for us as we were supposed never to have gone to the old school and were in fact the first year to go to the new school. I had been told that because the old school had been too overcrowded to accommodate yet another new batch of first years, that the terrapins had been brought in to temporarily house us until we went up to the new school, which was behind schedule and we didn't move in until much later that autumn or early winter. I do remember being in there before Christmas. So, it seemed that you older girls called them huts - we always just referred to them as the terrapins because that's what the teachers called them. Are we talking about one and the same? And I'm assuming that you were talking about the terrapins not the rats still being there when the school was moved to the new premises????????

Pat Larkin - 27 May 2010

At WCG we had double desks ...well, you'd know all about that Jane! We girls all started out by keeping our desks very tidy and in order, however, gradually through the term, things deteriorated slightly. Every now and again, my friend Ann and I would have a spring clean s.t.s. Usually though this was the day before we were due to leave this particular desk and form room for pastures new after the summer holidays. How on earth we collected so many bits and pieces during the year, I don't know. Bits of blotting paper stuck at the back of the desk, with pen knibs and usually half an eraser. This is because just before the new term I'd get a pencil set that had in it a long, flat rubber and half the rubber was for pencil, half for pen. Well, I didn't like the 'hard' half of the rubber, so usually sawed it off, but left it in the desk 'just in case'. There were pieces of old wallpaper that had somehow come adrift from the excercise books I'd covered with it. Paper clips, bits of pencil lead from my new propelling pencil, pencil wood shavings from times when I'd have to quickly find my sharpener and let the wood shavings drop into my desk. So many bits of clutter that on the last morning, just had to go to make way for next year's new pupil. We'd have to un-stick our timetables too. These were usually stuck to the underside of the desk's lid by most girls then. I wish now I'd kept those timetables and those old Rough Books. Did we have to hand those in can anyone recall, or were they discarded when full? I know my Rough Books were just that by the end of the school year. I used to think that my new desk in the next year just wouldn't be the same as my present one. I don't know why. Then, when we knew which form room we had been allocated, and as soon as we found our places and filled our new desks, we were soon settled and getting used to our new desks. We still used pen and ink with inkwells at Clewer Green, but at grammar school this all changed and we used fountain pens and if we were extra lucky, propelling pencils. More expense when the cartidges ran out and the lead was all used up, but Woolies usually supplied all these things and in a round about way, it taught us youngsters all about shopping around and how to spot a bargain.

Jane Lindsay - 27 May 2010

I thought we had single desks at WCGS.

Jane Lindsay - 28 May 2010

WCGS Long-serving StaffMiss Williams and Miss Lerrigo joined the school in 1924 or 1925 ("Girls in Green" is not absolutely clear on this) and they retired in 1960, so they served 35 or 36 years. Miss Meech joined the school in 1937 and retired in 1972, so she served 35 years. So it was virtually a tie. After Miss Williams retired, Miss Meech became deputy head.

wcgs61to68 - 28 May 2010

Hallo, we did say 'terrapins', I think. The hut behind Carfax was just the 'Hut'. By the way, I see I gave the impression that there was carpet in Carfax, which there wasn't, it was just floorboards, oak probably. The mural wasn't a Sixties thing. It looked like a Victorian painting, probably a copy of an Old Master. I do remember the single desks particularly, because we had had dual desks at our primary school.

Hazel Austin - 28 May 2010

The grammar school desks were single I think; how else could we have been expected to so rapidly and as one stand up as the teacher walked in? (How much cooler would it have been to have stood on the desks for the teachers one liked, a la Dead Poets' Society - Captain, My Captain!...) I've forgotten what Mrs. Longfield-Jones would say - Salve puellae? but I think our lines were Salve/Vale, magistra. One of the few very things from that education that I have never found use for in later life. I wish I could remember my Latin classname.

wcgs61to68 - that mural must have been done between 1956 (when I left) and when you arrived in 1961 - unless I walked past it and never noticed! I know Italian pows in Scotland during WW2 painted an army hut out with religious murals to create their own "church" - so maybe it was done in the same incarcerated spirit? I'm really surprised that it was allowed - I recall the walls throughout Elmfield (and Carfax except for the Art Quarter upstairs) being eerily bare except for two, maybe three framed pictures in the right hand dining room. Does anyone know any more of the provenance of this mysterious religious mural? And why St. Christopher?Huts and terrapins: that building in Carfax's garden was indeed a real "hut" possibly put there during army requisitoning and built of old-fashioned materials. Terrapins was the commercial name of those lovely pre-fabricated buildings that came later, that could be brought in piecemeal and erected by crane on site. After that all temporary school buildings were usually called "terrapins". Second-hand ones were moved around to meet the demand of rising school rolls, and deposited complete - although they were never the same once they'd been moved and with a flat roof, leaked beautifully. They had good heating and must have been a vast improvement on that old hut (which is all I remember.) I do recall thinking at the time what a sad shame they had ruined the garden to that elegant house. Elmfield had such a beautiful lawn and lovely mature trees. Carfax had tarmac and weeds.

Pat Larkin - 28 May 2010

Carfax had no shade either, Hazel. In hot weather we girls would descend the basement stairs, drink as much milk as we could, then 'try' our best to stay down there to keep cool. I say 'try' because if a prefect just happened to be checking up on the milk situation, there was no way she was going to let a crowd of first-formers hang around inside. Elmfield was perfect and completely the opposite to poor old Carfax's back yard, which after all, is what it was... I'm wondering if there once might have been a side entrance to this yard. You were wondering if there had been stables and a coach building Hazel. Is it possible that there was once a side entrance but when the school authorities took the building over, they deemed it necessary to brick it up. The only way to find out is to look for the plans of the building. Something might show up on them.

Pat Larkin - 3 Jul 2010

Anything French reminds me of Miss Riddle, and when I think of her, I still smile. How many teachers, I wonder, live on in pupils' memories for years on end? She certainly does in mine. Miss Lerrigo's smile and deep voice. Miss Williams' black suit and flat, lace-up shoes, usually worn on bad-mood mornings... Miss Barnes' wobbly chins which moved as she described 'chalky outcrops, such as Beachy Head'...little did I know... ... Miss Barnett's bun at the back of her head. How she attached it to her head I never knew. It may have been her own hair? Miss Shawcross's eyebrows, so dark, like her hair, and her way of touching her eyebrow with her little finger when in a one-to-one conversation, and she was trying to get her point across. Miss Blankley, (first year only), she always wore red lipstick and quite often a red jumper to match... she wore brilliant-white coats in the lab and I used to wonder if her mother did her washing. Mrs Q - Mrs Quinton, she wore sheepskin coats, thick scarves, those zippy-uppy suede boots that reached just over the ankle... and tweed skirts, probably 'Gor-ray', (sp). She smoked while we bashed a hockey ball about on the concrete-hard and perma-frosted hockey pitch. She wore earrings and was smashing all-round. Very normal, very natural and one of the easier of all the teachers to talk to... I think 'in her day', she'd probably have been a bit of a goer... Miss Griffin - scared the living daylights out of me. She was exactly like 'Mrs Go-to-bed' in Carry's War... .very thin, never late to lessons and never ill... (which was a good thing for her)... Miss Hewitt who took over briefly from Mrs. Q. We all loved her. She was one of us I think. Very young, full of energy and probably trained down here at the Chelsea College... I liked her a lot. Miss Burrow, cookery or domestic science teacher. Not everyone's cup of tea but we rubbed along quite nicely once I told her my mother was a cook in a Windsor pub...

Hazel Austin - 4 Jul 2010

At WCGS the curriculum (and exams) were the thing - although while I was learning about the Amazon Basin with lovely Miss Barnes, nearer home postwar (and in particular Communist) Europe was in a turmoil. I can recall asking to make a collection for the Hungarian Refugees at WCGS after the uprising in '57, and although I think there was a nice note about "thinking of others" on my report that term it was clear that that wasn't perceived as relevant to a grammar girl's curriculum. I know that a single-sex school tended to have narrower interests but that wouldn't happen today thank goodness.

Jane Lindsay - 4 Jul 2010

WCGS also went to the Playhouse to see the Coronation and Everest films. I really enjoyed the Everest one, and it was so pleasant to be able to watch a film without the place being filled with cigarette smoke!At WCGS I think house captains might have had special badges; there were also shield shape badges for those who excelled at sports.

Pat Larkin - 4 Jul 2010

Talking of sport, does anyone remember a great, senior girl who always played in goal during hockey matches. She was amazing and completely fearless. I recall her as being quite a strong girl with thick, very curly dark hair. She was always a happy girl and took the time and trouble to talk to us younger sprogs, which thinking back, many prefects and sixth-formers didn't. As I've written before, these older girls to me were more like 'ladies' than school girls. Quite a big thing, in an 11-year-old's eyes, to walk through those double green gates in Osborne Road and find yourself completely lost and alone. Fortunately Pat and I were together on this new venture and kept very close to begin with. I can't imagine how it was for girls who hadn't a friend from the same school to accompany them. Form captains didn't have badges when I was at the school, but as Jane has written, House Captains did. I recall the shield badges too. The white piping on the prefects' blazers too was the first sign to me that 'this girl' is slightly different and holds a special post within the school. I loved my blazer so much and wore it at weekends too. I didn't like the green school cardigans much then, so my new school blazer with the school badge on the pocket made my day, literally... I loved wearing my Summer school dress too. The dress, teamed up with the blazer was 'cool' to me and I always felt comfortable wearing them. White ankle socks, as in your photo Jane, and a white or dark green ribbon in my hair, I felt so grown-up, and proud to be part of the County Girls' School, like most of us were then. We mentioned the Coronation Books about a year ago, and I believe I gave mine to one of our girls. I just can't remember what happened to it.

Hazel Austin - 4 Jul 2010

Re the coloured badges for those who excelled at sports. Believe me, that wasn't me. I loved rounders, but I've always believed the Devil invented hockey especially for cold wet days. Only when watching a boyfriend (Slough grammar) play could I see - through the icicles - any point in it at all.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

WCGS Summer 1959

Windsor Girls School

Help needed with some of these.

Front row: Jennifer Blow, Sheila McCrea, Joan Brazier, Jean Whitelock, Penny Jones, Susan Smith?

Back row: Jennifer Shuttle?, Judith Summers, Dorothy Clark(e), Hazel Burrough?, Ruth Reading (wearing blazer), (behind Ruth) ??, Hazel (Vicky) Field, Carol Passmore, Susan Merrills

Windsor Girls School

These girls are all in the picture above.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

WCGS Library

I'm not sure of the date of this one. Possibly 1955-56.

Windsor Girls School

Back row standing: Julie Barker, Barbara Blowers, Jane Price

Back row seated facing: Janet Osborn, Elizabeth Rudd, Patricia Parnaby

Front row seated back views: Heather Collins, Ann Skinner

Pat Larkin - 15 Jul 2010

I remember Jennifer Blow, Jennifer Shuttle, Ruth Reading, Judith Summers, and Hazel Field. These five girls were in my form. I knew Hazel Burroughs too but I can't recall her from this photo of her. I remember Carol Passmore too, she and Hazel B. were in the parallel form to mine. Carol came from your area I believe and didn't her Dad have a shop?? I remember cycling round that way one day after school with her although I didn't know her very well. She was so very blonde and I envied her that. I notice the girls aren't wearing ankle socks with their sandals, and just look at those sandals. This was after I'd left because we had to wear white or fawn ankle socks in the Summer term and wouldn't have been allowed to wear any of those peep-toe sandals. A lot obviously changed, for the good, after several of us left the school. Judith Summers had an older sister called Jennifer. She may have been in your year although I thought she was two years older than Judith. Ruth Reading was from the bottom end of Vale Road, the end closest to Maidenhead Road. She and Jennifer Shuttle were great friends when we first went to the school. Ruth had plaits like most of us newcomers did. Hazel Burroughs had very thick, wavy hair and wore glasses. She was a nice, quiet and kind girl, unlike a few in our form... Hazel lived on the corner of Parsonage Lane and Haslemere Road. My Aunty and Uncle were her next-door-neighbours for many years. Jennifer Blow's father was a maths teacher at the County Boys' school. Now, Phyllis James, I don't recognise or know her, but in my form we had an Ann James and looking at Phyllis, Ann probably was her younger sister and I'm sure she spoke about Phyllis when we all sat eating our morning-break sandwiches and leaning on The Hut's old walls. Ann James's friend at school was Margaret Hewitt. Another lovely girl. Hazel Field's mother used to sometimes walk with her to the school. On days when I got off the Dedworth bus at Cross's Corner and walked down St. Leonard's Road, Hazel would appear from a side road with her mum. I think I saw her several years ago when we stayed at The Castle Hotel, I only thought it was her because she looked just like her mother had all those years ago. I asked one of the hotel staff if the lady's name was Hazel and she said it was, that doesn't mean it was 'our' Hazel, of course... I should have asked, but you know what it's like when you haven't seen someone for around 50-odd years, it's a bit intrusive I think. Jane, I can see your face now and I do remember you at school. I remember you as always being quite quiet and not one of the noisier girls there. Some were so full of beans, it scared us younger ones when we first joined the school.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

Yes, Jennifer Summers was in my year. It was Jennifer and/or Judith who suggested that I should go with them to Windsor Ladies Swimming Club to learn to swim; they lived in Bolton Road (later moved to Holyport); we used to walk together to the bus stop near WCGS to get the 441 to the community centre in Farnham Road, where there was a small indoor pool where the swimming club met; our dads used to take it in turns to come and pick us up at the end of the evening. Ann James was certainly Phyllis's sister - I knew both of them, as they lived quite close to us. I think Phyllis left WCGS in about 1953-54. She didn't do A-levels, and I'm not even sure that she did O-levels, but she was an achiever; she studied after leaving school, and later went to Monash University in Melbourne where she became the first female graduate in chemical engineering. I'm not sure how long she spent in Australia.Hazel would appear from a side road with her mum. The Fields lived in St Marks Road. I think Carol Passmore lived in Old Windsor. I don't remember anyone in Spital (except for us) who had a shop - I'll work on it! Something, or someone, might emerge from the mists of time.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

Yes, the picture with the table and bookshelves was taken in the library on the top floor of Elmfield. I think it was when the library first opened. Previously the library was on the ground floor - the window on the right, identified by Hazel. My dinner table was in that bay window when I was a head of table - and that didn't last long, as once I was at the boys' school I had lunch there most days, and in my last year I had lunch there every day. Lunch at the boys' school was in the hall, and we girls sat at the prefects' table on the platform. It was quite scary to start with, but we got used to it. Edit: Hazel wrote: Where maybe the Darvill's servants had slept?No doubt the Darvills' servants slept in the small rooms on the top floor of Elmfield. When Miss shawcross first joined the school, the top floor was her flat, before she moved to the house further along Osborne Road. Even after she moved out, she still had her own toilet up there on the top floor. Eventually it became a 6th form toilet. I don't know where Miss Shawcross "went" then. Perhaps she still used it after it was turned over to us, or perhaps she used the staff one.

Hazel Austin - 15 Jul 2010

The LibrarySo I wonder if the shelving was original or put in for the school? It was dark wood which seemed to match the flooring but the books would have brightened it up; I always liked that room, looking out on the long lawn. I'd have thought that a solicitor like Darvill would have had a library - but maybe his books were in a study on the first floor? He - and his son, also a solicitor - must have entertained socially quite a bit so I suppose the two big reception rooms facing the Long Walk would have been used for that. The one on the right was too big for a dining room, so was the one on the left used for eating? Unlike Carfax and presumably other large houses along Osborne Road, there was no basement/cellar - unless someone can recall an entrance.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

Yes, there was a basement in Elmfield, but I don't know its extent. I know of two entrances to it. The boilers for the heating system were under the toilets, which is why it was always so hot and stuffy in there. How I hated those toilets! The atmosphere choked me. I don't remember whether there were any windows, but I do remember that nobody (other than me) liked open windows in cold weather, so even if I had been able to open a window for some fresh air, it wouldn't have remained open for very long!One entrance to the basement was near the back door where we had to queue in the mornings to get our dinner tokens. Just round the corner, in that little courtyard, there were some stairs going down into the bowels of the earth. Well, they might just as well have been going there as anywhere else. We were certainly not allowed down them! There was also a coal (or coke) chute there, but I don't really remember it. So how do I know it was there? Well, there had to be one to get the fuel down to the boilers, didn't there? Also there was a story about it. The other entrance was under the "back" stairs, on the right just past the kitchen. Instead of going up the stairs, walk along beside them towards the back wall, and there was a door in the wood panelling which was kept bolted, and there was some sort of lock on the other side. I remember seeing the caretaker using this door occasionally. Now for the story. I heard this one quite recently from someone who was not in my year. Let's call her Pandora, although she didn't find a box of bees down there. It was either a bet on Pandora's part, or a dare. She planned to break into Elmfield one weekend, so on the Friday before going home she made sure the door under the stairs was unbolted. I don't know how she got into the courtyard, as I think the Osborne Road gates were closed and locked, but that wouldn't have bothered Pandora - she would just have climbed over the wall. She entered the basement via the coal chute and found her way up the stairs and through the unbolted door. I don't remember all the details here, but she was found out and came close to being expelled. I have no reason to disbelieve this story. Pandora was quite a mischievous girl, but also very likeable.

Jane Lindsay - 15 Jul 2010

Pat, was Gillian McManus in your year? Her parents had the grocers halfway along Bolton Road. Perhaps you and Carol went home with Gillian?

Pat Larkin - 15 Jul 2010

The library, where we ate if we couldn't get into Room II or the Dining Room, looked out over the lawned garden. I can imagine just how beautiful it was when the Darvill family lived there. This room to me though was quite dismal, even in the summer, I suppose the hundreds of books stored on the shelves made the room slightly dark, but it wasn't a huge room like the other two. I quite enjoyed using this room for lunch, or school dinner as we called it then. It was a room with no noise or echoes, to me that is. I suppose the books deadened any sounds and gave it that feeling of 'quiet'... I read on the forum months ago that someone recalled seeing murals on the wall of one of the dining rooms. Well, I can see them now. As you entered the room the murals were on the left-hand-side. I think they had faded even when I was there. The light from the big windows perhaps sapped the colour from the paintwork and made them almost invisible. The cloakroom in Elmfield, just inside the back door and on the left before you came to the kitchen door, wasn't a favourite place of mine. I don't know why I didn't like it in there, I just didn't. The paintwork was brown and it seemed so dull and lifeless. I'd avoid it if possible and use the one down the covered way and opposite the classrooms there. We were all so fortunate to have gone to the Windsor Grammar School in those days. I suppose pupils at the new school will feel as we do now, when they reach 'our' age... Jane, I took so long to post the above and then saw your question re Gillian M. Yes, I think possibly it was her shop I remember seeing and it was half-way down Bolton Road. I think Carol was there for the ride, or she was going in for tea. I remember us chatting on our bikes then me coming out back onto the main road and riding back to Dedworth via Stag Meadow and Clewer Hill Road. This was nothing to me then, I was a wanderer and loved trying out new routes to and from school. Do you remember Susan Lowis and Betty Buckby. Both were in my form. Susan lived along Kings Road and off it slightly. I don't know the name of the row of terraced houses she lived in but they were at right angles to Kings Road. She lived with her mother and granny in the very last cottage along this little alleyway. Betty Buckby lived in East Crescent. I always mixed the two. Anyway, her lovely back garden backed onto the alley that lead into the Vale Road Rec. Her dad grew lots of veg, and runner beans grew like nobody's business in their garden. My 'best friend' at the school was Ann Himmons, later Avis. Ann lived at Forest Green, Holyport. I spent most summer holidays at her home and we did the usual girly things like roller skating, trying to make out we were a lot older than we obviously were, shopping in Mai... ooops, 'X', I almost forgot the 'X'... we both learned to ride horses and cycled too... .lovely holidays and great memories too. Jacqueline Hill, or Colleen as she preferred, lived in Old Windsor. Ann Pullen lived there too and these two went home together after school each day. Pat Lilley was another 'Pat' in the form. I don't know where she originated from, but she was a quiet girl like several others in the class. Pat Sumner, my oldest friend of all, lived along Dedworth Road in Jutland Place. We seemed to be joined at the hip for several years. Elizabeth Potter came from Furze Platt, near 'X' and Janet Holloway hailed from Eton, just across the bridge. Some girls' names I have completely forgotten, but there are some I suddenly see when I'm thinking back about the school.

Hazel Austin - 15 Jul 2010

...this is beginning to sound less and less like the WCGS when I went to school - not least a nest of mischief in the sixth form; I thought throwing thingies onto the sundial was bad enough, but burglaries? Well. The worse that happened in our year was a girl with kissbites. (And working on Saturday, of course...) You, Pat and on occasion Beryl all seem to have had more fun than me.

No, I don't recall the coal chute, or either door to the cellar though I remember there was more along the right hand side wall opposite the kitchen than our cloakroom door. However, I knew Mr. must have kept his wine cellar somewhere, and doubtless much else besides. Yes, Gillian M. was in my year; a nice girl, neat, smallish I think, worked hard - and as you say, lived in the grocers in Bolton Road. Did she have an older sister or is that someone else? Several of your names I recognize, Pat, but only the names; two years' difference is a lot socially in a school. I remember those murals coming up before on here, but I definitely don't recall them in either room; though if I remember the name of your friends then I should have been there at the same time, shouldn't I? Did it overlap like that? I recall pictures as I said before, but not murals... what was the picture, perhaps it will jiggle something?

Pat Larkin - 15 Jul 2010

I forgot to mention Janet Kidd in my list. Janet was taller than most in the form, she had short dark hair and was a live wire. Janet joined us in the second year I think. She definitely wasn't there in the first year. At sport she excelled at everything, a very athletic and enthusiastic girl. Her dad was a policeman in Windsor. I also forgot about Margaret Hersey. Margaret left us in the third year because her family moved from the district. We missed her when we returned to the school for our fourth year. Some girls' names and faces have faded completely from my memory. I would love to see a list of the girls' names who were in the two forms, their faces would surely spring to mind. As Hazel has said, different age-groups don't really get to know each other whilst at school, although in later life, age means nothing in friendship.

Jane Lindsay - 18 Jul 2010

CarfaxIn the early 1950s the art room was up the first flight of stairs, on the Kings Road side of the building I think (or was it a big corner room like the classroom below it?), and there was a small store room/brush washing room facing Elmfield. But I think there was another room facing Kings Road, at the turn in the stairs, a room with a bay window. Can anyone else remember that room, or the stairs? The top floor at that time was out-of -bounds, but later it was renovated and converted to a flat, and the local education officer and his family lived there for a time. I don't remember his name, but he had a young son who attended Royal Free with my youngest brother. I think the top floor was later used by WCGS.

Pat Larkin - 18 Jul 2010

Art rooms, Carfax. Jane, I remember, like Hazel, there being one larger room with a step or two down into the smaller, cosier room with the lovely old window. We didn't use the smaller room very much, though having said that, when exams came round, Miss Barnet would allow perhaps two or three girls to sit the exam in the smaller room. I liked that very much. It was just different and quieter too. It was more of a dressing-room sized room really, which, years before, it may well have been. The 'brush room', well, we called it that in my year, was right at the top of the staircase and the window in this room looked out onto Osborne Rd./King's Rd. There was a deep sink in the right-hand corner. This sink was always filled to brimming over with glass jars, messy paint brushes, (where the previous class hadn't had the time to rinse and store the brushes), fairy-cake tins, (6 cake-size), poster paints in big tins on shelves, overalls or spare old shirts for those of us who had forgotten to bring 'one of Dad's old shirts' to wear. I don't this Miss Barnet ever gave anyone in our class a 'minor offence' for forgetting to bring an overall for the lesson. She was too nice a lady to do that. We had quite large wooden boards to lean on when sketching or painting, and there were easels too that we used on certain occasions. In sewing classes with Miss Burrow, (the classroom was behind the stage in the hall, which always baffled me a bit), I made an apron to wear in cookery lessons. Not one for sewing, I think I made a fairly good job of it. I lost the apron somewhere along the line, but, I still use today both aprons made by our two daughters at their respective schools down here. The material together with their good sewing technique have made these two school aprons last and last. I can recall the small 'back stairs' in Elmfield Jane. I had forgotten them til reading your descriptions of that part of the school house. That part of Elmfield was dark and quiet and I hardly recall ever seeing anyone go up or come down those back stairs. Mr. Austin, or 'Austin', may have come down them once carrying a bucket and mop, but that's my whole recollection of that part of the school. It was really just an area where we girls bought our wooden dinner tickets then walked straight to our own particular form room. The wooden dinner tickets fasctinated me greatly when I first joined the school. I had never seen anything like them in my life before. At Clewer Green, we paid our dinner monies over to whoever was our teacher in whichever class we happened to be in... we ate at our desks each lunchtime and accepted this routine as quite normal. We knew nothing else. To have three dining rooms at the 'big' school just threw me... big school, new rules, everything completely at odds with everything I'd grown used to for the previous 8 years.

Hazel Austin - 18 Jul 2010

First floor CarfaxI'll offer what I can remember from 1953 on, but most of it's surprisingly hazy considering I spent years of my young life there. At the top of the stairs from the ground floor, facing Elmfield, straight in front of you was the bathroom - literally, there was just a bath in it where we washed the brushes and palettes. To the left was a big corner classroom with just a front window overlooking Elmfield that was a form/teaching room, and on the right the art "studio". If you went into the studio, to your right in the left corner was a very small room down a couple of stairs. I recall it as sort of rounded, so it may have had a bay window, and it overlooked the hut in the garden and had some lovely light. The classroom that was beneath it on the ground floor didn't have a matching bay window just sash windows like the rest of the elevations. I don't remember having lessons anywhere else on that floor, though it would seem I've lost at least one classroom. I don't remember a broom cupboard either, sorry. Not much help, is it? I was trying to find a match for Carfax with other Queen's Villa houses that are still there on Google street, and I can match up the front facade with rooms I recall, but of course you can't see the back. Maybe that's where your bay window was...

Pat Larkin - 18 Jul 2010

The form room opposite the art rooms was one of mine Hazel. I sat left-hand-side as you entered the door. The form mistress's desk was there too, just sharp left as you went in... The door at the top of the stairs, first floor, was where I spent my door-monitoring apprenticeship... there was so little room to stand when 'Miss' came up those stairs, that I used to have to breathe in and smile, whilst holding back that sprung door... why 'Miss' couldn't have managed to open the door herself, we didn't question. It was a job that someone had to do... I did it for a year. The strange thing is, I don't recall having to open the door for her to leave that floor when lessons had finished... bits and pieces just fade or weren't there in the first place... I didn't or couldn't understand either, why more classrooms hadn't been built in Elmfield. There was that stretch of lawn and ample garden-space where another block of classes could have been built. I wouldn't suggest the garden be totally used for that, but surely, crossing that very busy Osborne Road, day in, day out, could have been done away with had the main school building been extended. We wouldn't have had those small, wooden stairs in Carfax to climb either. On a winter's day they were okay, they warmed us up, but on a very hot summer's day, phew it was like climbing Everest and was noisy too.

Hazel Austin - 18 Jul 2010

Both I and the "hundred vicars down the lawn" would have laid down in front of your virtual excavator had you tried to build on that lovely lawn, Pat Larkin. Sacrilege. Although I don't suppose that's what stopped them - I imagine it was educational finance. I had forgotten WCGS didn't start until 1949 - you must have started two years before me, so 1951. Not very long post-war and I suppose building materials were being used for houses - so it was cheaper to take over Carfax - and then the Gables. I'm glad they did, though, that awful extension and hall were totally out of synch with the Victorian building - though again that wasn't a priority I suppose. Ah, so that bathroom was the brush room Jane referred to. Didn't you have a real bath in it? We did. White, on the right hand side, with a mural above it. And nearly always full of soaking paint brushes and other thingys. Yes, Miss B. was a nice teacher, always encouraging. Incidentally I was reading your post where you said that she liked you rather because you were little like her and not because you were good at art. I don't know what your art was like because I never saw it, but knowing you it would have been enthusiastic, and that's what she loved. All teachers do! So enough with the short stuff... I have to say I was touched by your camel/papier mache saga. And with a camel "smile" too. I'm not madly fond of camels since one ate my cornet at the zoo with his great big unbrushed teeth, but I like the sound of yours. Funny the things you remember - and keep. And yes the gingham aprons we made with the other Miss B. I wish I could say I enjoyed my "Domestic Science" lessons but I shall only say I dumped that apron as soon as I left school together with all memories of that subject and its teacher. I laughed at your door-holding-back activities; you were obviously a model pupil. There were some teachers there I would not only have opened the door for, but run up to the Copper Horse and back for, but most I wouldn't. Like the standing up when one came in. (Salve, magistra!) Single-sex grammar in the fifties or what? Just my opinion...

Brian Stinton - 5 Aug 2010

Large Agricultural Show Windsor Great ParkOne of my early WCBS memories is volunteering to be an early morning litter clearer at a large agricultural show in Windsor Great Park in 1954,I think. Anyone else remember the show??

Jane Lindsay - 6 Aug 2010

Yes, I remember the show. It was the Royal Agricultural Show. We were taken there from school one day; I don't know whether the whole school went, or just my year. One of the stands was a manufacturer of wellington boots, and they were demonstrating the process they used, by making batches of mini wellies. If you had the patience to stand there long enough, they would give you a mini wellie to take home. I don't know what happened to mine, but I kept it for many years.

Pat Larkin - 6 Aug 2010

Jane, I would have been in IIL then but I don't think our form went to the show, so I think perhaps just your year went, as you suggest. It doesn't ring even the tiniest bell with me and I'm sure I would have remembered going as I love this kind of event even today. The only large shows I do recall in Windsor were the Royal Windsor Horse Shows over the years. I did go to several and really enjoyed each one, but these visits were with my parents and once with Tony.

Pat Larkin - 15 Sep 2010

Geraldine McEwen literally was Miss Jean Brodie. We had a variety of teachers at WCGS, but none there, when I was at the school, equalled or came up to Miss Brodie's ideal way of teaching her 'little geruls'. We all have our favourites I think. Listed amongst mine were Miss Shawcross, the Head Mistress. Miss Barnes, the geography teacher, in whose classes I just wanted to learn even more about geography. She was such a fine mistress. Miss Riddle, who taught French. Hazel's photo of her with Miss Riddle is something I am envious of... There in front of me on my screen was, Miss Riddle... looking exactly as she had and wearing her slim-line two-piece suit, her flatties and smiling her lovely and very genuine smile. Miss Barnet/t, our art teacher/mistress. I looked forward to art lessons so very much and I can still see her wearing her floral smock, with her hair in a bun on top of her head and I can hear her voice too. She had a great way of teaching and inspiring us all to enjoy any form of art we chose to do. Lovely lady. I've written on this thread about the many other good teachers we had at Windsor Grammar and I think all, or most of us now, would thank them if we could, for giving us the best start in our senior school days. It's a sad thing really, that once we have left school, in most cases, we never meet out teachers again. Too late now methinks!

Beryl Mann - 17 Sep 2010

Geraldine is included in our long school photo taken in May 1947.

Pat Larkin - 22 Sep 2010

Jane, could, or would you please, ask S.M. (once her little arms have recovered from that long-haul flight), whether there was any sign or mention of the portrait of our late Head Girl who sadly died at university at the very young age of 19, or possibly, 20. Miss Shawcross was so very upset during that morning's assembly when she told the school, in hushed tones, that our head girl had passed away. We younger ones couldn't understand how or why a lovely girl such as she should die so young. I can't for the life of me recall her name now, which is inexcusable, but I'll try my hardest to remember it, then return to edit it into this post. There was talk of her parents' wish to dedicate a portrait of her and have it hung in the school at Elmfield. I've never found out whether or not this wish was carried out. My late cousin, 9 years my junior, couldn't recall seeing a portrait in Elmfield or Carfax during her days at the school, so it remains a mystery.

Beryl Mann - 26 Sep 2010

Perhaps those long school photos were taken say, five years apart do you think, because that was the only one I ever knew of, when I was eleven in May1947. We were never asked to go back for another one in subsequent years. I can't understand that because if they had one with each of the first years's pupils they would have needed all the later years pupils in them as well like they had in ours, up to the sixth form. I certainly can't remember what happened in that case. Do you recall that Hazel Pat and Jane? How many did you 'star' in?

Pat Larkin - 27 Sep 2010

I have never figured out how often the school photo was taken. No one I speak to remembers either, so, we are none the wiser. I only knew of the one I mentioned before, where I was off sick, along with another girl from my form. I suppose thinking it might have been an annual thing, isn't on really, as I'd have been in at least three others, and I wasn't.

Hazel Austin - 27 Sep 2010

That never occurred to me - one for the whole of my time there was quite enough, though I cherish the form photo, and the ones with friends. I assumed the cycle was every five years - because there were five statutory years a gel had to be in school, so in one of her years so long as she was in school that day, she'd have been in the photo once. The lower and upper sixth were irrelevant because theirs would be a repeat. However, I await the correct answer - and also the answer to how often the form ones were taken, because I seem to have only the one.

Jane Lindsay - 27 Sep 2010

There was one in about 1953, but I don't have a copy of it. I was in Miss Mitchell's class (2M), and I remember being in trouble because my hair was untidy and I did not have a comb with me. I have always had unruly hair. Where's the point in carrying a comb? Two minutes after using it, my hair would be untidy again, but that was not the sort of thing one could point out to teachers without receiving a detention for being insolent.

Pat Larkin - 27 Sep 2010

Yes, 1953 sounds about right to me, Jane. I was 12 in the May of that year, so would still have been in 1B dear old Miss Barnes, (in the Hut over at Carfax). My plaits disappeared that year I seem to remember.


This entry in September 2010 marks the end of the first School Memories forum thread. A new thread was subsequently started while this article was prepared.

Readers are welcome to add their own comments and memories on the current School Memories forum thread here. If you are not already a member you would be welcome to join us. It is free!

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