1932-37 JOANE WALCOT NÉE VIVIEN

I am sorry to have been so long in replying, and to hear that Fawcett is already sinking into oblivion. I hope that your rescue project comes in time. I went to a School Commem.  years ago and was saddened to find our Houses sold off and quite monstrous buildings in the School grounds. I remember the Mills family very well. Particularly Joan’s lovely voice and Barbara, who was in my year. Miss Payne I never knew very well – in my day she was somewhat overshadowed by Eva M, and was replaced for a while by Sally King. From what you say I think that you were very lucky to have had her as Housemistress. You ask “what we were given which enabled us to survive” – for myself, I am grateful to Eva M. who was very understanding to those of us who were temporarily orphaned by parents’ long overseas postings – no holiday flights then. So one had to learn to solve one’s own problems, face and come through adversity, soldier on etc., etc. She was good at that and it was useful later on. I also learned from Eva M. how to syphon off bath water and bucket it onto roses and the best way to manicure nails.

Of the other Fawcett things that come into my head – how did we manage with no showers and three baths a week. Little brass cans (now collectors’ pieces) of water in between. And hair washing only every three weeks.

And Charlotte, the kind and pretty maid who dished out first aid and sympathy, and mended our clothes, in the little room off the bathroom. Much missed when she left to get married. The excellent library at the top of the stairs. And being read to on Sundays after tea while we constructed flowered flannelette Mission garments. And filling dip-pen inkwells down in the cloakroom. But we did have our shoes cleaned.

Valerie Hesford will have written you a proper considered account of Fawcett ‘32-36. She was a high-powered journalist on the Observer – flitted behind the iron Curtain for stories – as was her husband, Jock Ferguson.

If enough comes in, do consider a private publication rather than a one-off just for the School archives. I would love to know what Fawcett was really like.

1936-41 ELIZABETH HALFORD NÉE JAMES

I am amazed at the VI former not knowing what F or Fawcett were. I can quite honestly say that I am always very grateful I was sent to Godolphin. It gave one a wonderful grounding and the friends I met and still do are always great, and one’s earlier friends are much more than one’s present ones. One’s formative years are special. Fawcett to me was wonderful when I look back on my time there. Eva was great; a great sense of humour, and yet firm (super)!! I had left when Polly came to Fawcett but I remember her well taking Divinity and drawing one back, such as explaining something only to find one member of her class looking out of the window far away with other thoughts when suddenly, out of the blue, she would say “Do you agree, Elizabeth?” (“Oh yes, Miss Payne.”) I am very glad I lived when I did, life was much more stable. The early groundwork from school we had helps one tackle the problems that arise now. My love to you, also Ruth and Dido. I do remember our meeting at Commem.

1937-40 PAMELA HENDERSON NÉE HENDERSON

I couldn’t believe my eyes when your letter arrived. What a lovely surprise. Yes, of course I remember you. I often laugh when I think of the pinnies – no doubt the cloaks were very nice: I wonder how the present generation manages without galoshes! Strangely enough, I don’t remember being cold. We only had aertex shirts and thin jerseys – those awful stockings- Monday nights spent darning the wretched things! Our uniform was supposed to be quite modern at the time – I often wished that I had gone to Sherborne who wore nice tweed coats, skirts and brown felt hats!

Very brave of you to go to Commem. I never went, by the time it all got going after the war I had rather lost interest, was busy with babies etc.

Sadly I never embarked on a career in medicine. Our father’s death made money short. I spent a year at Glaxo in the vitamin research department, which I loved. Then I was old enough to go to Exeter University, where I spent a very enjoyable year. The war in the Far East severely reduced the family income, so I left and went into the Wrens, an experience that I shouldn’t have missed for the world. Then I got married and was the conventional housewife. I think Godolphin would have been very disappointed in my lack of achievement! I always remember head mistress `Teddy’ telling me that I was like a blunt pencil, and when I had my hair permed it was like going to the beach in a bathing dress and a pearl necklace! I am certain that we were over-protected from life – our 14 year old grand daughters are far more grown-up and worldly wise than we were at 18! I am glad to have known life as it was then – at least for our place in society.

Do you remember the Mission children who came in a coach in the summer. We fed them with lots of cake etc, and played some games of sorts. For many of them it was the highlight of the

year. Now they probably holiday in Spain. So for them, life is much better.

Anne went to New Zealand in 1953 and has only been home once – she never married and worked in the Magistrates’ Court in Christchurch for many years. Age has curtailed her activities but she was a great “Tramper”. Have you been to N.Z? We thought it a lovely country; so much space, lovely scenery and very little traffic.

We have been lucky and have lived in rural surroundings for the past 33 years. I hunted, our daughter evented and I was very involved in the Pony club and Riding for the Disabled. Now I garden, walk dogs and play golf and Bridge!

You don’t say much about your life. Did you have a career? Godolphin certainly gave us an excellent education and a lot of enjoyment in the musical and drama activities. I should love to be a fly on the wall there now.

I noticed the death of a Mrs. Simpson in the paper recently, but couldn’t remember her. She had been teaching there since 1940. Your letter has made me reminisce about Godolphin days. I can’t think how the school produced Jilly Cooper! I remember Eva being furious with me because she thought I was calling to soldiers walking up the road, when all I was doing was getting a breath of fresh air from behind the blackout!

Obviously one could go on digging out memories – are you thinking of contributing to a history of the school?

I remember Ruth Mills, and her sister, but can’t picture Dido. June Banks, Doreen Dempster, Anne Harvey, Alison Marshall, Monica Trollope, Liz James and of course Margaret Pope, with her `delightful dignity’ as Eva described her. It is impossible to imagine them all elderly. I wonder what became of Marianne Falk, the German girl? Do you remember seeing the Aurora Borealis one November? The sky was all pink. I hope you can read this. I have been scribbling whilst under the dryer at the hairdresser – much to everyone’s amusement.

Still Henderson – I married someone with the same name!

I kept in touch with Alison Green, who tragically died of T .B. – only about 21 – awful.