Joy Worrell: I think I first learnt to swear, at the age of 11, at the idiocy of a person who thought school capes were a good idea. Not only did I have to put up with the batman taunts of my former primary school classmates – who never spoke to me again once I want to the ‘posh school’, but it was also impossible to stay warm and dry and carry anything at the same time. The bloody things ballooned over your head at the first gust of wind and let in all the elements, the only way to achieve any level of protection was to enfold the cape in your arms and then wrap your arms around your body. No wonder we rebelled. I also remember feeling sorry for the boys who all had to wear shorts all year round – can you imagine 11/12 year olds going along with that now? The boys froze in winter and the girls overheated in the summer as there was no summer uniform.
Angus Willson: Thanks for thinking of us, but we didn’t all wear shorts in the first year. This photograph shows Giles Norton, in shorts, fooling around outside Gibson House. Nicholas Gillett is taking a photo of Nick Hunt who, my original caption notes, is holding Kate’s teddy. Ralph Berry is sitting on the right.
Angus Willson: This must be in our third year as indicated by the jackets. I am meant to be standing on Jonathan Clamp’s hand, apparently amusing at the time, so I don’t know who took the photo. I think it is Nick Dakin at the top of the steps and it was taken in winter 1968/69.
The asphalt playgrounds made great spaces for roller-skating – four wheels you strapped to shoes, not in-line boots – and it made for fast and dangerous hockey games! The American Hartmann brothers, a few years older than us, had a skate-board, then a real novelty.
Jonathan Clamp: Is that really me? Where did all the hair go? Nick Dakin worked with me in the mid-seventies but I haven’t heard from him since then.
Angus Willson: Fiona Wood [Adler] sent her version with Jenna Huxley and Gill.
Jo Jones [Atkins]: Those awful cloaks and the fact that shopkeepers seemed to think that you were hiding stolen goods under them.Girls often used to borrow each other’s clothes when they got changed after school, and for some reason I didn’t like this idea. Once Jenna Huxley was determined to borrow something of mine, I refused and she ran off with it. I was furious and don’t think I ever forgave her.
Turning our skirts over to make them shorter and being told off by Joy Ashford because this had resulted in my suspenders showing (tights still hadn’t been invented!)
Veronica Chamberlain, Ruth Crocket, Julienne Markland [Little], Janet Stembridge, Gillian Farrer [Seaman], Fiona Wood [Adler],
sitting: Helen Lalich [Eltis], Gael Whittle, Summer 1971. Photo by Jo Jones [Atkins]. (Caption corrected 9 May 2010)
Michele Wilson [Underwood]: I was in Boots one Christmas with my green cloak firmly clasped around me and got mirrored round the whole shop by a vigilant staff member, feeling very peeved that she should doubt my integrity. I was however, nursing an illicit bottle of wine purloined by Ceri from her home, for later consumption (sorry Ceri!)…………one summer, 3rd or 4th form, it was exceptionally hot and sultry and everyone was suffering and sweating profusely. Along rolled an almighty thunder storm, EVERYBODY tore outside to revel in a good soaking but I never anticipated the joy (oops!) and hilarity of seeing Joy‘s dress transmute from ‘conservative’ to an ultra-clingy micro-mini!
This fine group shows their formal wear in Spring 1968.
Michele Wilson [Underwood] and Fiona Wood [Adler], Spring 1968.
Photo by Angus Willson.
David Way, Stuart Fell, Steve Pitcher, Geoff Barnard, 1973?
Photos by Simon Colbeck
Anna Roberts: The ghastly green cloaks we girls had to wear….made us look likely green penguins, especially over the even more ghastly green viyella school blouses, and green pleated skirts, which we all turned over and over to make shorter… thus making them look even worse as we bulged around our waists!
The grey Sunday dresses….. and sensible shoes! No teenage girl today would DREAM of wearing such a garment…. The constant swapping of clothes strictly forbidden, but somehow we got round it.
Then there was Mrs Miller (house matron) who would post mending lists on the pinboard in the girls hall… my name was forever on it… as were many others.