1935-39 MONICA VAN ZELLER NÉE TROLLOPE

What a lovely surprise! Of course I remember you. I, too, had the greatest respect for Eva, despite her leanings towards the prettiest in her charge. Josephine Tanner was a case in point. She was such a highly principled woman and so dedicated that she kept a tight rein on her inclinations, although at the slightest sign of a cold I remember a lot of chest rubbing was the order of the day! I remember too, Miss Edwards-Rees being so rude to her, ordering her about in front of us – “Fetch my glasses from my study, Miss Manning.” – never a please or thank you. And going into her (Miss E-R’s) study was an ordeal indeed, as it housed that disgusting little border terrier called Tolly, who I’m sure had never had a bath in its life!

Old Polly Payne was a real dear; endlessly good-natured despite the terrible dance we all led her. I always did my prep in Divinity lessons and I can hear her now in a tone of the mildest reproof “and Jacob went up the mountain … Monica.” I once nearly said “Bully for him!” but I don’t think even that would have upset her!

I am now 75 with two sons and eleven grand children, all of whom are a great joy. I still play tennis twice a week, and really love living in Yorkshire although it seems to get more trippery every year. The Worsleys, at Hovingham Hall, are the prime reason for this as Kate Worsley married the Duke of Kent and this was her childhood home. Also it’s a very pretty village with its stone cottages with their pantile roofs, village green and stream, but I go right off it in the summer when it’s full of gawping strangers. Well, I must stop the drivel now. It was very sweet of you to write and I did appreciate it. Take care of yourself and if you’ve a mind, keep in touch. I’ve been a widow for eleven years now. My husband, who I just met when I was 16, contracted Alzheimer’s Disease and for ten years didn’t know anybody or anything. It was terribly distressing for everybody, as you can imagine.

1936-39 MARGARET BROWN NÉE TAYLOR

I was very amused and interested with your letter! I think is a great effort on your part – and you may have some fascinating remembrances!

I recall you going through great misery because Eva M. was commissioned to buy your clothes at one point (because of your mother being abroad) and you hated her choice!!

Yes, I was so glad I looked up Anne Anderson (nee Harvey) only about 6 months before she died (finding myself staying with a step-sister in Farnham). We had a lovely chuckle together and I was so sad to see her death. I never had `Polly’ as a Housemistress, though she struggled to teach me Divinity! And was a dear lady. Old ‘Eva’ I had of course for my Housemistress in Fawcett for all of the 4 years. I never found her very approachable – or warm – but I know she was doing a hard job looking after us all. I think she ran an excellent House, with the standards of the day, and fed us well; but I look back at much of it all in almost uncomprehending wonder!! And although I was reasonably happy at the time with friends etc., I hated the complete lack of privacy (used to read my library books in the loo!), life totally ruled by bells – and the clock – the cold! Cold washing water, cold silk shirts on Sundays! Far too much emphasis on games (especially hateful cricket in summer!); going to bed early on summer evenings with the sun shining outside it seemed! Although I never suffered, I think girls could be cruel, and snobbish about some girls, and there was no idea of training us to be future wives and mothers. In fact, we were all supposed to behave as if the male race didn’t exist! And weren’t we all young for our ages – and kept that way! Do you remember those fantastic `dances’ when we all danced round with each other?’

I have kept in touch all these years with Jane Cullen (nee Greener) – went to her Golden Wedding about 5 years ago, and am Godmother to her eldest child (she had 6). Good luck to your research! I have rambled on; perhaps omitted to say in all fairness that I think we had a very good education and a good grounding in my love of literature, poetry and music – even if I didn’t perhaps realise it at the time.

1938-39 LORNAACLAND NÉE GRAHAM

My memories of Fawcett and Miss Manning are happy. How carefree life seemed in those pre-war days. When school work was over there were the happy evenings, sometimes mending or Mission work sessions in `Big Sit’ made so pleasant, instead of being a bore, by Eva’s wonderful reading to us. I remember too how freezing cold it was dressing in the morning – no central heating in those days, we weren’t ‘nannied’ as they are now, were we -just helped by Flossie bringing cans of hot water to make washing less agonising.

These little bits are, I know, too late and not of importance. I fear I only knew Polly from teaching Divinity, having left Godolphin before she became Housemistress.

I am joint secretary of our local O.G.A. group and we meet other contemporaries, some from Fawcett, quite regularly. It is good to keep up with folk where we all have those times in common and to reminisce. Tomorrow in fact. I’m going over to Patricia Rycroft (Kitto, St. Margaret’s, both in my form) for lunch, where I think Joan Young (Innes) and Deirdre Hall (Elmes) will be. Elizabeth loved seeing you and Ruth last summer and showed me photographs of you all. I think Daphne Goddard, too, was there?

1939-45 RUTH ADDISON NÉE GARRETT

My mother visited Fawcett after my parents had arranged for me to have a place in the school. She had lunch with Miss Manning, reporting that the House had a lovely warm atmosphere and that all the girls seemed very happy.

I remember little of Miss Manning but a few incidents spring to mind. On a Sunday afternoon we were due to go out for a walk “but do we have to go? It’s pouring with rain.” The reply was that we would not melt and that the rain would do us no harm. With this she returned to her snug study which we thought very mean.

I was occasionally off school with terrible colds. I had to stay in bed and from time to time Miss Manning came to the Dormy to see if I was alright. I hated the whole procedure, the cold empty house when everyone had gone to school and my nose so sore. The visits from Miss Manning were not heartening. She had a gadget that I had never seen before and have never seen since. Designed to clean combs, like a small hammock with many fine strings running from the opposite bars, allowing one to hook one end onto the tap and then to run the comb to and fro so that the strings cleaned the teeth.

I was no fine pianist but I was told one evening to play the piano for the hymn to be sung at House prayers. I was so nervous playing all kinds of wrong notes and feeling very uncomfortable sitting more or less behind the Head of the House, that Miss Manning swept the length of Big Sit, told me to get up, sat at the piano and with great assurance played for the singing. I was embarrassed greatly.

During my Lower IV year I became plump and my school skirt got tighter and tighter. Eventually Miss Manning wrote to my Mother telling that my skirt was “riding up” because it was too tight and that I really must have a new one. I do not remember the “riding up” worrying me – but our family was amused. What a frightful responsibility the staff had. Enemy planes overhead and the girls all having to pick up their bedding in the middle of the night and to go down to the Basement. I do not remember Miss Manning being worried about all this: this is what had to be done and she did it – a very good example.

I was sorry when Miss Manning left, although I was only in the Upper IV I felt that she was the main stay of my life at school. I did not ever really get to know Miss Payne, this is disappointing because I know other girls were able to develop real friendships with her. When I was in Little Sit and the VI form Miss Lemarchand came to Fawcett for a term or so, perhaps Miss Payne was ill. I liked Miss Lemarchand very much and we became close friends; a friendship that lasted all her life.

1939-42 ANNE HENDERSON – EXTRACTS FROM HER DIARY

Thursday 18/1/40 – Went back to school. I have moved above Jill, Mary and Alison in house order.

Friday 19/1/40 – Then instead of games we went for the stale old seven minutes radius walk . . . In the evening we played Monopoly.

Saturday 20/1/40 – In the afternoon the others went down to look over the Cathedral … We listened to Garrison Theatre on the wireless.

Thursday 25/1/40 – I had a temperature so had to stay in bed. About 10.30 I moved up into the spare room where I had the wireless to listen to.

Friday 26/1/40 – My temperature was normal so I got up in the morning at about eleven o’clock and had Ovaltine and three chocolate biscuits.

Sunday 28/1/40 – After lunch we had letter writing and Miss Manning told us about Lent.

Monday 29/1/40 – After supper Miss Manning read out the things people dislike and like.

Thursday 1/2/40 – It was Jill Langley’s birthday, she was 14 years old. She had a lovely coffee birthday cake which was very good indeed.

Sunday 4/2/40 – After letter writing I helped Miss Manning cut out Mission garments.

Friday 9/2/40 – For the first time this term a few people played games. We went for a walk up towards Old Sarum.

Monday 12/2/40 – We are reading a jolly good detective story for Darning.

Tuesday 13/2/40 – We had the first of our house dance practises in the second half of games time today, we have got some quite nice songs.

Wednesday 14/2/40 – It was very cold. As the coke was running out, we all had to get our baths in, in free time. At lunch Miss Manning gave us a lecture on calling staff by their Christian names, she had heard Pamela Tozer calling her Eva.

Friday 16/2/40 – As I had glands I had a late breakfast in Miss Manning’s room (with others). Dr. Armitage came and found we had all got German Measles. So we packed ourselves off to the San.

Monday 19/2/40 – After tea Miss Manning came and fetched us (from the San).

Friday 23/2/40 – Anne Harvey and Jill Langley went to the San. After prayers we listened to a talk on a place called “The Settlement” in London where poor people meet.

Sunday 25/2/40 – We played “Pooh sticks” under the bridge at the bottom of school hill.

Thursday 29/2/40 – We did Acrobats in Big Sit after supper.

Friday 1/3/40 – Jill Langley came back from the San.

Thursday 7/3/40 – Jill Langley has got German Measles.

Friday 8/3/40 – After supper Dr. Thornton gave a lecture on X-rays. He brought an X-ray set with him. It was a marvelous lecture.

Sunday 10/3/40 – Went to St. Martin’s 10.30 a.m. service. Miss Manning took nearly the whole school as she was about the only well mistress in the whole school . . . We gardened in the afternoon.

Monday 11/3/40 – After supper Miss Manning gave us a confirmation class about how to pray. Friday 23/3/40 – We went to part of the three hour service in the Cathedral, it was very boring.

Saturday 24/3/40 – At 6.30 p.m. in the Hulse Room the eggs which we had painted as Easter eggs were judged. Jill Langley got third prize.

Thursday 26/3/40 – All confirmation candidates had a late breakfast. We came out of lessons at eleven. At twelve the Dean came and talked for about ten minutes. We then went to the Cathedral and were confirmed by the Bishop of Salisbury.

Thursday 28/3/40 – Jill Langley and Ruth Garrett got their girdles this term.

EVA M. MANNING

Housemistress, Fawcett, 1925-42

Miss Manning was a Housemistress at Godolphin from 1925-42, during which time she was untiring in her efforts, winning deep respect and much love from pupils and staff, many of whom continued to correspond with her, giving her great joy. Her interest in the school continued throughout her life and she was, until the end, an active member of the Old Godolphin Association. After her retirement she became a member of the English Speaking Union. She was widely known and loved in the City of Salisbury. First and foremost, however, she devoted her life to St. Martin’s Church. She was elected a member of the P.C.C. in 1944, then to the Board of Governors of the two Church schools in the parish. When fire destroyed the girls’ school in Milford Street it became her great ambition to see another school built to replace it, and she put all her tireless energy and drive into the necessary fund-raising. The target was £3,000, to be raised in five years, but this was accomplished in three-and-a-half years, and permission to build a school on the Shady Bower field was granted. Eva cut the first turf of the new school on 21st March, 1950, and the building was officially opened on January 9th, 1952. This achievement was largely due to Eva’s efforts and organising ability.

Martin’s Church at a cost of £1,000. An Appeal was launched and once again in her seventy-second year Eva gave a lead in the fund-raising and, with her encouragement and enthusiasm, the target was again reached.

Among her other duties she served on the Missionary Committee, as Clerk to the Board of Governors, Flower Organiser, Church Cleaner, Secretary to the P.C.C. and Churchwarden. In November 1966 when Canon McKenzie died suddenly her grief was intense, they had worked together so happily for many years, but her loyalty to the Church and two successive Rectors remained steadfast. Many who have known her over the years will remember with love and gratitude her many sterling qualities. At St. Martin’s she will be remembered also as the frail little lady, with a dynamic voice, who, from her wheelchair, read the Old Testament lesson in January, just after her nine-sixth birthday. She died on February 20th.

(Abridged from a Memoir in St. Martin’s Parish Magazine).

Eva Manning came to Godolphin and Fawcett House in 1925 as Housemistress. She was Australian by birth and had previously been on the staff of “Glennie”, a girls’ school in Queensland, Australia. Looking back fifty-seven years, I remember she seemed like a breath of fresh air to us in Fawcett. She was deeply religious, a strong character, friendly, helpful and interested in all our activities, we became firm friends and remained so. She drove around in a bull-nosed Morris in those days and continued driving a car until comparatively recently. She dearly loved travel and spent many holidays abroad until her infirmities put a stop to them. She sang, wrote poetry, played bridge even in her latter years. She enjoyed many things. Other people know more about her life in Salisbury after retirement in 1942. I feel sure she will be missed by many and they will feel they have lost a very special friend.

Phyllis Fraser (Farncombe).