After Godolphin had left the Close, a site was bought and a house built, for the School in Elm Grove Road. This later became Fawcett, named after a distinguished citizen, Professor Henry Fawcett, F.R.S. and, M.P. for Brighton. His sister Maria was a School Governor for many years. Although he had been accidentally blinded in his youth, he became nevertheless a reforming administrator, and Post Master General in Mr. Gladstone’s Government. He died in 1884. In 1897 the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was formed. Professor Fawcett’s widow Millicent became its first President. She was made a D.B.E. in the year in which Eva Manning came to Fawcett, 1925. Exactly one hundred years after the Union had been formed, while I write I am listening to Figaro from Glyndebourne. Marcellina is singing, Sue McCulloch an old girl of Polly’s in Douglas, whose mother Jane had been in School House. Perhaps these extracts will reflect our gratitude to Eva Manning and Polly Payne; gratitude as well for living at a time when women’s education was a relatively recent privilege.
J.B-S. July 1997
In the early Spring of 1997, exactly sixty years after my first term at Godolphin, I wrote the following letter to forty five old girls –
“You will I hope forgive me for writing to you uninvited. About three years ago Ruth, Dido and I went to Commem. and I sat next to a delightful would be stockbroker in the VI. In spite of all this talent she had no idea what or who Fawcett was.
I have decided that recollections over the thirty eight years in which Eva and Polly were severally Housemistress (covering as they did a world war and a social, intellectual and technical revolution) must offer the school archivist/historian some interesting material. What was it that we were given which enabled us to survive.
I certainly learned to give grateful respect to Eva – whose soldierly precepts I found hard to follow – “Come in Jill, sit down and shut the door” and real love of Polly from early lessons in Rose Villa until she died. Do I beg you ponder all this and write if you possibly can and if you can’t still write.”