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?


Miss Eva Manning, much respected, and seemed to have a great deal to cope with, considering her apparent great age, which was probably only about 60ish, she seemed all of 80! I was asked to help with her few brown hens who were probably doing their `bit’ towards the war effort by laying eggs, there were only about 9 or 10 or them. I remember she had some eggs due to hatch off from a broody but there was much disappointment when they didn’t and turned out to be all bad. It never occurred to her that a cockerel was vital to produce chickens – I couldn’t believe her `forgetfulness’. There was a very fine ginger cat called Marmalade who she was very fond of and so was I. Miss M. retired soon after I arrived.

Darling Polly – she was the best and in my opinion the most outstanding Housemistress one could ever ask for – I owe her a great deal toward the development of my character – I often remember her even now.

I was an only child of an Army family – looked after by my Grandmother whilst my parents were abroad during the war. I was also dyslexic, which in those days was backward. In spite of this I was very happy at Godolphin especially being in Fawcett. I lived in Yorkshire and felt it was Godolphin’s war effort to take in this backward child from Yorkshire!! We each had in our cubicles, up in the dormitories, a china washbowl and jug of cold water, which froze in the winter. We collected warm water in enamel jugs from the bathroom to wash in the mornings. The fire escape was a good site for midnight feasts usually held about 10.30 if we could keep awake that long. We used to have to share bath water, it was bad luck to have second bath; it was pretty grubby. I well remember singing at the top of my rather fruity voice, not at all melodious “As Time Goes By” – “. ..and when two lovers woo, they still say `I love you.” etc: in comes Polly, with “That will do Angela.” End of song!

Polly used to take House Prayers beautifully, we needed prayers, away from home. The war at full pelt, it was a serious time. Polly developed my power of prayer enormously, she was very forgiving. I used to get into some hairy scrapes, and she was always very balanced and good at pointing out the folly of my headstrong opinions and actions. In these days, when women become ordained, I often think of Polly.

On Sunday evenings Polly read to us for one glorious hour – Dorothy Sayers was my favourite. She read most beautifully and we all had a pash on Lord Peter Wimsey, thought him simply divine, purely through her reading, leaving out the risqué bits no doubt. Her reading was magic to listen to.

We went down to the (A338) main road to watch and cheer and wave to the soldiers, British and American, in every sort of vehicle going to a mass on Old Sarum Airfield ready for the Big Push on D-Day. It was very moving and an emotional occasion. We probably were not supposed to do this but we did and I shall never forget that sight. Living in Fawcett down the Snicket was a 10 minute walk to school which made you make sure you had all you needed in your sack for the morning and work. You had a long haul back if you forgot anything. Each House in Godolphin had a definite character. You could tell a School House girl from a Methuen girl, and a Hamilton girl from a St. Margaret’s and so on; needless to say Fawcett was very special.

Polly always kept in touch with us right up until her death. She made a point of knowing our husbands and showed interest in whatever we did, enjoyed seeing our children; they enjoyed seeing her in return. Dear dear Polly, how very fortunate we have been to be brought up by her whilst at school. You asked “what was it that we were given which enabled us to survive” – apart from what I have written I say, probably, Horlick Tablets after lunch, when the sweet ration had gone.


Staff, 1932-1966

Miss Payne was a graduate of London University; subsequently she took a further training as a teacher of Divinity, before joining the staff of Croydon High School. She came to Godolphin in 1932, and served the school with great devotion for 34 years. In 1943 she became Housemistress of Fawcett, where in 1948 she was joined as Assistant Housemistress by Miss Olive Winter. This began a partnership which lasted until 1965, and to which the House owed the continuing happiness and stability to which all ex Fawcett girls testify. they regarded Polly, as she was known to Staff and girls alike, with great respect and affection.

In 1963, when Douglas House was opened, and Fawcett and St. Margaret’s closed, Polly undertook the task of welding these latter two houses together as the new Douglas House. This was no easy matter, as Fawcett and St. Margaret’s were both houses with strong traditions and individuality, and had been important units in the life of the school for a long time. It was Polly’s sound judgement and sympathetic understanding which enabled these changes to take place, and Douglas House to become firmly established, quickly and easily, in spite of the inevitable initial regrets of members of Fawcett and St. Margaret’s.

As Housemistress, Polly’s sense of humour and fun, her great commonsense, and her very real understanding of young people and their problems enabled her to win the loyalty and affection of the girls in her care. In her other role, as a teacher of Divinity, she was wholly committed to her task, and this commitment was recognised by those whom she taught. This same commitment was also evident in her work for the Mission and other charitable causes supported by the school. Her strong Christian faith was the inspiration of all that she did. In her 23 years in retirement she shared a home in Wilton with Miss Winter. She devoted much time to Wilton Parish Church, serving as Sacristan, as a member of the Parochial Church Council, and as a representative on the Deanery Synod. Her life centred round her allegiance to the Church and her Christian faith. Her devotion to Godolphin, however, remained a paramount interest. She served the O.G.A. in various ways. For instance, it was she who organised the geographical groups when they were first formed, and she collected the annual subscriptions for a number of years. In particular, however, she maintained until the end of her life an enormous correspondence with former pupils, and friends and colleagues on the staff, her service to Godolphin was sustained over a period of 57 years. Increasingly in recent years she became frail in health. We must be thankful that she did not suffer a long final illness, nor any loss of mental ability, which would have distressed her. We are very grateful for all that she gave to the school, and for her loyalty and devotion to all its members. She will be remembered with affection, and greatly missed by very many of us.

G. Engledow