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.