WYGGESTON GIRLS CENTENARY
"Memories are made of this"- a collection of articles and reminiscences covering 100 years of life at the Wyggeston
HILARY WHITBREAD and KATHRYN ZANKER June 1978
The Editors would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the compilation of this book: those who wrote for and produced the Wyggeston Girls' Gazettes; the many Old Girls who have written in with their reminiscences (including those whose letters arrived too late to be used in the text); the Old Girls' Committee and especially Miss Pedley and Miss Spencer for their advice and contributions. Finally, our thanks are due to William Wyggeston for getting the ball rolling in the first place!
ROB PURDY MBE 2011
Our aim in compiling this book for the Centenary of the School was not to produce a reference book on its history but rather to draw together items from various sources which reflect the life and spirit of the Wyggeston over the past 100 years. Most of the material was taken from Gazettes and so, although we have been able to fill some gaps with letters and reminiscences from Old Pupils and Staff, we realise with regret that there may still be omissions. We are also sorry that time and space did not permit us to include as much detail about individual personalities in the School as we would have liked. We hope that the contents of this book will revive happy memories of school days and school friends. H.R.W. and K.M.Z. No School is perfect, and teachers and pupils are only human, so no doubt misunderstandings occur and mistakes are made, but it is pleasant to know that most old Wyggestonians look back on their School days as happy ones, and that even those who thought they cared nothing for their School whilst they were attending it, discover on leaving it that it holds a strong place in their affection. GAZETTE, 1893
DATE ELEEMOSYNAM ET ECCE OMNIA MUNDA SUNT VOBIS
(This crest differs from that of William Wyggeston and the Boys' School in two ways: (a) the dark and light areas are reversed; (b) the stars have six wavy points instead of five straight points.)
Date eleemosynam et ecce omnia munda sunt vobis: Give alms and, behold, all things are clean unto you (Luke xi :41)
Navy blue and silver/white
"Now thank we all our God"
"Oh God, our Preserver and Guide, Who hast brought us hither again to stand before Thee, make Thy face to shine upon us anew and sanctify for our appointed work all of us, who are now met together in Thy name. We beseech Thee to assist us with Thy grace, that we may be blessed in our studies this day, and that each of us may diligently improve the talent which Thou has committed unto her. May this school be as a field which the Lord hath blessed, that whatsoever things are true, lovely and of good report, may here forever flourish and abound. Preserve it in an unblemished name, enlarge it with a wider usefulness, and exalt it in the love and reverence of all its members as an instrument of Thy glory. Grant this, Oh Father for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen." Miss Ellen Leicester 1878-1902 Miss Sarah Heron 1903-1927 Miss Nora Caress 1927-1948 Miss Myra Pedley 1948-1973 Miss Josephine Spencer 1973-
Diary of Events in the History of the Wyggeston Girls
1880 1882 1884 1885 1887 1888
1893 1896 1899 1900 1903
1904 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913
Monday 17 June-Girls' Department of the Wyggeston Hospital Schools, Humberstone Gate, open to pupils under Headmistress, Miss Ellen Leicester Tuesday 18 June-public opening ceremony 25 June-Scholars allowed to remain at the School at the age of 17 Addition of Drill Hall with an art room and classroom above Foundation of the Old Pupils' Association Wyggeston Girls' Gazette first produced 23 September-Swimming contest Wyggeston High School for Girls, the new name for the School First public Prize Day, and the first time it was held in the Temperance Hall 1891 First tennis courts and formation of the Tennis Club Alterations to the School buildings Wyggeston Schools' Cot established School badges and pendants sold to pupils Formation of the Hockey Club Wyggeston Girls' tree planted at the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes January-Miss Sarah Heron became Headmistress Kindergarten Room was altered to make a new science laboratory Class numbers were reversed-the youngest in Class I, etc. Beginning of the School Orchestra Formation of the Standing Committee of the Old Pupils' Association October-17 Friar Lane leased for the Junior School Wyggeston girl placed second in the Senior Oxford examinations and awarded a ÂŁ30 prize First First Class degree for the School gained at Oxford University Firedrill introduced Wyggeston Schools taken over by the Town Council and the Governing Body was reconstituted Wyggeston Foundation set up First Open Scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge Library to be stocked with fiction books-all donations gratefully received! First time the School won the Midlands Hockey Shield Sailor hats introduced League of Pity branch founded Beginning of the VIth Form Literary and Debating Society Swimming Club established Addition of storey to Humberstone Gate buildings and a house for Domestic Subjects Summer Term spent in Vaughan Working Men's College because of alterations
Boys admitted to the Junior School County pupils allowed to enter School Public Prize Day only every other year Beginning of a secretarial course Foundation Scholars' badges first produced 1914 Series of pictures purchased for the School) Pupils 1915 Junior School moved to II The Newarke helped in Pupils St. Mary's Vicarage acquired for kindergarten classes helped war work Rounders first added to the games played in war Death of Miss Leicester 1918 Publication of the Gazette suspended for the duration of the war 1919 Addition of 9 The Newarke for the Junior School Prize Day held at De Montfort Hall Miss Heron presented to King George V and Queen Mary 1921 Introduction of the Speech Day curtsies 1922 Dramatic Society established 1926 27 October-Foundation Stone of Regent Road building laid by Sir Jonathan North Branch of the League of Nations Union formed 1927 Miss Caress became Headmistress Science Club formed 1928 15 - 21 June-Jubilee celebrations galore! 12 September-Term began in the Regent Road building 16 November-The new building was officially opened 1929 13 May-Formation of the Photographic Club 8 -15 June-More celebrations to mark the end of the Jubilee year, including the first of many visits by the old people of the Wyggeston Hospital, and the first Founder's Day service 1930 November-Formation of the Historical and Classical Societies 1931 The Music Club was formed and the Inter-Form Singing Competition began The French Club was also formed The Guild of Service was revived Autumn Term-Formation of the Art Society 1932 First (?) cruise from School-to Gibraltar, Spain and North Africa 1933 Inter-Form Tidiness Competitions began First trip to Stratford 1935 3 - 7 May-The celebrations for the Silver Wedding of King George V and Queen Mary Formation of the Biological and Rambling Club The first meeting of the London Branch of the Old Pupils' Association 1936 French Club became the Modern Languages Club 1937 8 -14 May-Royal celebrations again, this time for the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth 1938 The Gymnastics Competitions began 17 June-Sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the School 1942 A company of the Girls' Training Corps was formed 1943 The School performed part of the "Messiah" at Speech Day under the baton of Dr Reginald Jacques The Inter-Schools' Sixth Form Club was started 1944 January-March-The School became a Munitions Factory! The Education Act was passed which led to the closing of the Junior School 1947 7 November-Poppies were sold in School for the first time 20 November-The Green Quad was reset to commemorate the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh 1948 Spring Term-Miss Caress was succeeded as Headmistress by Miss M. E. Pedley Senior prefects replaced the Head Girl 1949 Senior Choir made their first broadcast
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1959
1966 1967 1969 1971 1972 1974
28 February and I March-The first P.T. Displays 18 October-The School team took part in the B.B.C.'s "Top of the Form" for the first time The Festival of Britain celebrations December-The first Staff production of"1066 and All That" The year of the Coronation and the Seventy-fifth birthday of the School The first meeting of the Senior Play-Reading Group 1955 Formation of the School Chess Club 1958 Formation of the Inter-Schools' Debating Union The new navy dresses! First end-of-school-year parade from the Upper VI 14 December-First production in a girls' school of "Noye's Fludde" The Archway Quad was rebuilt The last Dancing Demonstration organised by Miss Selby The Photographic Club was re-formed and the Shakespeare Society and the Fifth Form Paperback Club came into being A new-look Speech Day-or should we say Presentation of Awards? The new-look Dancing Demonstration The Upper VI were given their very own common-room The School entered the Radio Leicester quiz "Who are the Champions?" but lost in the final Formation of the Upper VI Form Motoring Club The School won the Leicester Mercury Debating Competition Lower VI Folk Club began meeting Formation of the Chemistry Club The Upper VI Form unit was completed Miss J. E. Spencer became Headmistress The Parents' Association was set up Formation of the Christian Union First joint Christmas production with Wyggeston Boys' The School became a Sixth Form College and ceased to take new entrants into the Ill's Centenary celebrations include reception, Cathedral service and garden party
William Wyggeston You've heard of William the Conqueror, You've heard of old William Tell, or William Rufus and Mary's William, Yet there's our William, as well. He stands as a statue all carved in stone, But his heart wasn't stone, it was gold. Hospital, chantry, and homes he built For people both young and old. A public benefactor he, He gave what he had won, His name will live forever, It's William Wyggeston. MARY RAVEN, IlIA, 1953
William Wyggeston and the early history of his Charity (Based chiefly on the Wyggeston Hospital Records, edited by Professor Hamilton Thompson, and George Cowie's History of Wyggeston's Hospital and Schools.) William Wyggeston, called "the younger", was born in 1467 in Friar Lane, in a house rented by his father from the Guild of Corpus Christi; in the same street, 440 years later, was opened the Wyggeston Girls' Junior School. William's family name, which probably comes from Wigston Parva, near Lutterworth, and not from Wigston Magna, appears in Leicester records as early as 1201, and it is certain that his was at least the third generation of his family to hold office in the city. The time of his birth was that of the Wars of the Roses, and when he was nineteen years old Richard III stayed at the "Blue Boar" on his way to the battle of Bosworth, whence his body was brought back for burial in the St. Francis Church in Friar Lane. Wyggeston's family was very wealthy. and when he had become a freeman of Leicester in 1493 he became also, like his father, a wholesale dealer in wool; this was brought by pack-horses to his warehouses in Leicester from widespread pasture lands over bridges such as the one still existing at Anstey; then it was exported straight to Calais, the port of entry for English wool to the Continent; only three of his Leicester contemporaries had this privilege, the others being forced to export via Stamford. Wyggeston possessed much land, in Lincolnshire and Warwickshire as well as in Leicestershire; this was both an investment and a source of raw material. He was Mayor of Leicester in 1499, 1510 and 1520, and four times Mayor of the Staple at Calais, then an English possession surrounded on land by what was in those days often a hostile France. In 1504 he was a member for Leicester in the Parliament which saw Thomas More's protest against Henry VII's heavy taxation. His arms are those of an esquire and his name appears in 1520 on the King's Roll for Leicestershire, one of thirty names of "knights, esquires, gentlemen". He was twice married, but had no children. Of his personality no chronicler has left us a description; we must divine what we can from the indirect witness of legal documents. That he was generous his charities in his lifetime prove. William Wyggeston died in 1536; six years after Cardinal Wolsey had died in disgrace at Leicester Abbey. Wyggeston was buried near his Chantry Chapel in what is supposed to have been the most beautiful church in Leicester, St. Mary of the Newarke, where his first wife, Isabella, was buried and while his widow, Agnes, was also to be buried five years after her husband. This church no longer exists; as a collegiate, not a parish church, it was pulled down by order of Henry VIII in 1547; on the site now stands the College of Art and Technology. Wyggeston's Chantry Chapel, which of course was destroyed as well, was of metal work "fixed and sett between two pyllers in the body of the church on the north syde"-similar chapels are to be seen today in Winchester Cathedral, while metal work, which the Renaissance was making so fashionable, is one of the beauties of the Henry VIII Chapel at Westminster. The Chantry was established in 1512 and a house built for the priests who were to sing mass there; this house, with Wyggeston's anus supported by two angels carved on it, still stands in the Newarke, near to the Gateway School (now part of the Newarke Houses Museum), which was then the house of his brother Thomas, a priest of St. Mary of the Newarke, and from 1912-1928 the home of the Wyggeston Girls' Junior School'
In 1513 William Wyggeston founded his Hospital for twelve poor men and twelve poor women. Like that of his Chantry, the dedication was "In the honour of Allmyghty God our blessed Lady Saynt Ursula and Saynt Kateryn" and, like the Chantry priests, the Master, Brother and Poor of the Hospital were to pray for King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon, the Bishop of Lincoln (in whose diocese Leicester then was), for William of Wyggeston and Agnes his wife, his brothers, friends and benefactors, and for their souls after death. The seal of the Hospital was to be the Founder's Arms, surrounded by a motto, taken from St. Luke xi: 41: "Date eleemosynam et ecce omnia munda sunt vobis." No direct mention is made of a school in connection with the Foundation, but the Master and Brother of the Hospital are ordered to be "completely learned in the science of grammar", a qualification which would have found little scope if no school had been attached; while Wyggeston's interest in education is proved by his bequest towards the maintenance of ten scholars at Oxford and ten at Cambridge. The Hospital was built on land, bought for the purpose, lying to the West of the Church of St. Martin, where the Alderman Newton Boys' School stands now; the railed-in part of the play-ground is where the Chapel of the Hospital stood. It was endowed with lands in Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Leicester itself, including some in Humberstone Gate on which the Wyggeston Girls' School was built in 1878, but which was handed over to the City for the use of the City Boys' School fifty years later (now an annexe of the Charles Keene College of Further Education). The Hospital escaped destruction at the end of Henry VIII's reign and was confirmed in its grants by Edward VI in 1552. Twenty years later Elizabeth appointed three people to make fresh rules for it. Chief of these was Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, at whose castle at Ashby-de-La-Zouch, three years before, Mary Queen of Scots had been lodged, and who was later to be one of her judges. To his family had been granted the lands of Leicester Abbey, at the Dissolution; he was a Calvinist and seems to have been held in considerable awe in Leicester; his portrait can be seen in the Guildhall. Under the statutes made by him the Hospital was to lose its old name of St. Ursula and St. Katherine and to be known as the William Wyggeston Hospital in the town of Leicester; the Master and Brother were no longer to be "learned in the science of grammar", though each was to receive a certain sum out of the land and tenements "appointed for the mayntenaunce of the grammer schole there"; grants were also to be made out of Hospital funds to the Free Grammar School of Leicester to which Elizabeth had given a grant in 1564. The building made for this school in 1573, mainly out of material from the ruined Church of St. Peter nearby, still stands in High Cross Street (it now belongs to a bus company); part of its endowment came from the confiscated property of St. Mary of the Newarke and the Chantries there, including Wyggeston's. The Earl of Huntingdon also arranged that the Hospital should grant scholarships to poor boys at this Grammar School and exhibitions to be held at Oxford and Cambridge. During the 16th and 17th centuries many gifts and bequests were made to the Hospital and to the Grammar School. One of particular interest is that of Thomas Hayne of London, who, in 1640, two years before the outbreak of the Great Civil War, founded an exhibition to be held at Lincoln College, Oxford; from 1890 it has been possible to give the money from this bequest to girls as well as boys of the Wyggeston Schools, and it is not restricted to any particular place of study. The Free Grammar School decayed at the beginning of the 19th century; by 1841 it had a master and a building, but no boys. This was one of the reasons which led to the suggestion, in 1857, that there should be a boys' and a girls' school on the same foundation as the Hospital. New Hospital grounds were bought at the junction of the Fosse Road and the Hinkley Road, and the new buildings were occupied in 1867; the old Hospital was pulled down and the Wyggeston Boys' School built in its place, and opened in 1877. A year later came the opening of the Girls' School in Humberstone Gate, also on Hospital land. With these events the modern history of Wyggeston's Charity begins. RUTH BIRD, 1938.
The School under
MISS ELLEN LEICESTER
Humberstone Gate School-Front Entrance On Monday 17 June 1878 the Girls' Department of the Wyggeston's Hospital School was opened for the reception of pupils, and on Tuesday afternoon the public ceremony took place. The buildings cost ÂŁ7,162 and were described by George Cowie in his book The History of Wyggeston's Hospital and Schools (1893) as follows:
Girls' School--description The Girls' School, which was built on a plot of land belonging to the trust, situate on the north side of Humberstone Gate, occupies the whole of the ground between Clarence Street and Hill Street, standing back a little distance from the thoroughfare. The building, which is in the Tudor style. and composed of red bricks, with dressings of Ancaster stone, has a frontage of 104 feet towards Humberstone Gate, and covers an area of about 1000 superficial yards, with a playground at the rear. The space in front of the school up to the roadway is laid out ornamentally. The main entrance is from Clarence Street, through an arched gateway, ten feet wide, adjoining the porter's lodge. Above the gateway is a small oriel window, surmounted by the arms and motto of the founder. The building is entered through a large arched doorway, leading directly into the entrance hall, 28 feet by 20 feet. The floor of the hall and corridors is of white and red Mansfield pavement. Cloak rooms and lavatories are placed at the back of the hall, with doors leading to the playground. On the left of the hall is a waiting-room; on the right are the Head Mistress' room; the teachers' room; the music room and class-rooms. The music room is 22 feet by 17 feet, and through it are reached four small compartments, each containing a piano, and having double doors, the inner ones covered with baize to exclude the sound of the instruments. The classrooms here are of the same size as the music room. Outside, at the back, runs a covering of glass, as a protection for the girls in wet weather. Along a corridor to the left of the hall, are a lecture room 25 feet by 18 feet, and more class-rooms. From the back of the entrance hall, in the centre, a broad flight of stone steps leads to the upper floor, on which is the large hall, 64 feet by 30 feet, with an open timber roof and two large bay windows facing the front, and one looking out upon Clarence Street. Adjoining this large hall are three more class-rooms. The building is heated throughout by a hot water system and the apparatus is placed in a stone cellar, under the teachers' room.
On the first Monday of the School's life, instead of the expected 50 applicants, over 150 applied for admission. The reminiscences of one of the 153 girls who were accepted were recorded in the Gazette of 1890:
Reminiscences of an Old Pupil On June 17th. 1878 the Wyggeston Girls' School was to be opened for the reception of pupils, and in accordance with that announcement, I, with my mother, proceeded thither and found myself in a large square entrance-hall which was already well filled with parents and children. The names of intending scholars were being read from a long list by the Head Mistress. At last one-hundred-and-thirty-two was called, and that being my number I walked forward and made my obeisance. I am informed on good authority that my facial expression at the trying moment was the reverse of joyful; indeed, some people have gone so far as to say that I actually wept, but that is of course a fiction. I was passed on up the stone steps, and at the top of them I took heart at seeing a face I knew, and was directed by the owner of the face into a long room full of desks. Here I soon found plenty to attract my attention from myself. During the examination that followed, I sat next to a girl whose hair called forth my intense admiration, and I resolved that if ever I became intimate with her I would ask her as a special favour to tell me how she induced it to curl so. I did become rather intimate with her, at least I sat in the next desk to her for four years and a half, but I do not remember ever having asked the question, and if I did so now I am sure she would think it frivolous. At the end of the morning we were told that the examination was over, and that after two days' holiday we were to re-assemble on the following Thursday. When the day came, I again found myself at the school, and when all were collected into the long room, the Head Mistress proceeded to classify the crowd of girls, of all ages and sizes, before her. List and list was read, and still my name was not called. On seeing the very small children summoned I began to wonder whether I had shown unmistakable signs of lunacy in my examination paper, and was therefore to be denied the honour of being a Wyggeston girl. It was an awful moment when the last girl was sent off, and I was left standing alone in one of the alcoves of the long room. I was soon discovered, however, and it appeared that by some means or other my name had been omitted from the lists. This mistake was soon set right, and I was put into a class of what seemed to me then to be very big girls. Here I found the lady with the hair, and very soon made friends with her. I took a great pride in my new desk, and used to arrange my books in it very carefully, and I was also kind enough to offer hints to my neighbour on the subject, but strange to say, she seemed to consider that an arrangement that necessitated some of my books being in her desk was not desirable. In the early days my place was right in the front of the class, but as I turned out to be a trustworthy person I was promoted to a very comfortable corner at the back of the room, where I remained for four years-of course I mean with certain intervals. This corner was particularly convenient in the winter, as the hot-water pipes ran through it, and I used to find great comfort in kicking off my slippers and warming my feet thereat. Here let me warn girls who think of trying the plan that it has its disadvantages, for several times when summoned from the room suddenly I have had to stop and play "hunt the slipper" before being able to go; it was not a very dignified proceeding. During the first half-term the School was in a very unfinished state, especially the lower rooms, and we were constantly meeting the workmen in our journeys up and down. There were no pegs for our hats, and consequently we used to pile up those articles of clothing in what are now known as the "slides", only they had no sliding parts then. There was no Drill Room, and the present Art Room was unknown. The Lecture Room was only partly finished, and the seats were perched against the walls, and great consternation was one day caused by some girl knocking one down and making a small but distinct mark on the newly painted wall. I remember when the first needlework I did at school; it was to make one of those time-honoured striped work-bags which every Wyggeston girl knows so well. I used to walk home with a girl who lived near me, and we thought to pay our teacher a great compliment by escorting her home occasionally. I have my doubts now, looking at the question from another point of view, whether our well-meant attention was productive of perfect bliss-to the teacher, I mean; of course we thought it delightful. It may interest present girls to know that we were summoned to school by a bell, which I believe still remains in the tower, but which retired from active service many years ago. Our school hours were from 9.30 to 12.30 in the morning, and from 2.30 to 4 in the afternoon, and very fortunate we thought ourselves if we were allowed a few minutes occasionally for Home-work preparation. Think of that, present girls, and rejoice that times are altered now; but even considering all the extra advantages you enjoy-musical drill and morning school-I would not if I could exchange with you.
The public ceremony for the opening of the School took place at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday 18 June 1878. The following extracts have been taken from the Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury of Saturday 22 June 1878:
The Opening Ceremony On Monday, 17th June, the Girls' Department of the Wyggeston's Hospital School was opened for the reception of pupils, and on Tuesday afternoon the public ceremony took place. The course of study will include reading and writing, arithmetic, elementary mathematics and bookkeeping, English grammar, composition and literature, ancient and modem history, physical and political geography, French, German, Latin, natural science, domestic economy and laws of health, plain needlework, drawing, class singing and calisthenics. Religious instruction is limited to lessons from the Bible and in the senior department Christian Evidences, according to the scheme of the Cambridge Local Examinations, form part of the teaching of the school; but any pupil may be exempted therefrom on application of the parents or guardian. The regulations of the school are admirably drawn up, and will probably be found to work exceedingly well. The Governors of the School are Rev. Canon Vaughan (chairman), Mr. E. S. Ellis (vice chairman), Mayor of Leicester, Sir F. T. Fowke, Sir A. G. Hazlerigg, Messrs. G. Baines, W. Barfoot, W. Collier, A. Burgess, W. H. Walker, T. Windley, Rev. J. Wood, Mrs. Clayton, Miss E. M. Ellis, Mrs. William Evans, Mrs. Fielding Johnson, Mrs. Paul. The Bishop of Peterborough had sent an apology for his absence, but on the platform that day were Professor T. H. Green, of Oxford, and Mr. Rathbone, M.P. for Liverpool. Professor Green had already worked hard in the cause of education in the Midlands and Mr. Rathbone in Liverpool. It is most interesting to note that there had been considerable opposition to the opening of girls' schools; in fact, schools of that type were not common even for boys in those days. The Boys' Wyggeston School had been opened one year earlier and already was craving for extension. Professor Green and Mr. Rathbone addressed the assembly. In the course of Mr. Rathbone's speech he said that the Wyggeston trustees had taken a wise and righteous course in opening a school for girls, and he hoped the example set that day in Leicester would be followed in the future much more largely than it had been hitherto, and that many such schools would be established in the country. Continuing, Mr. Rathbone spoke of the opposition to the education of women in those days, and said that he could not understand the grounds on which such narrow-minded people proceed. Professor Green spoke next. He was very glad of the opportunity of assuring them of the great interest with which all Oxford men, who wish to extend the influence and usefulness of the universities, looked upon the rise of such institutions as that which they started on its career that day. They might ask what Oxford had to do with a high school for girls? Well, they most of them felt that it was not enough for them to retain the hold which they had hitherto on the education of the more wealthy classes and the clergy. They wished to bring more grist to the mill, they wished to bring the influence of the university to penetrate other social strata of society than that which it had hitherto reached. They had established at Oxford a system of examination for women, which was specially meant to encourage study at local colleges. It was an examination framed on the same lines as that which they conducted for their own students, though the subjects were somewhat different. He trusted that when Miss Leicester's pupils had come to maturity and had completed their studies at a local institute some of them would do them the honour of coming for examination. Examinations were of course necessary to let the student know what progress he was really making, but he trusted that in the education of women they would be kept in their proper place, and not become the be-all and end-all of education. But though he would not have the education of women and men exactly the same he would urge a condition of healthy companionship between them and that it should be so far alike that the same literature, arts and sciences should be open to both. Men would not be educated as they should be till women expected them to be so, and women would not expect that till they were properly educated themselves. He looked with great satisfaction on the opening by the Wyggeston trustees of their school for boys, and he hailed, if possible with greater satisfaction because of its greater novelty, the establishment of this school for girls. The women of Leicester ought thoroughly to understand the great educational advantages which were now put within their reach. The Mayor then mentioned a criticism he had heard regarding the syllabus of instruction in the School. It had been said that the list of subjects was comparatively meagre. That was to his mind a positive advantage. ... They wished children to remain children and not to be over-educated, and he was glad that the managers of the school recognised the fact. They did not wish to make the scholars mere encyclopaedias. Cramming the mind with so many facts was not education (Hear, hear). ...
He trusted that in that institution the pupils would get the faculty of acquisition, so that they would be able to tum to good account all knowledge that might come before them in after life. If that school was as successful as the boys' they would have good cause for rejoicing on that day. They had no reason to suppose but what the success would be equally great-indeed the fear was that the school would become full too soon (Applause). The Chairman, in the name of the Governors formally declared the school open, wishing it God speed. REPRODUCED BY KIND PERMISSION OF THE EDITOR, LEICESTER MERCURY.
Humberstone Gate School-Front Entrance Robert Read, in his book Modern Leicester (1881) described the Wyggeston Girls' School: The object of this School is to offer sound and careful instruction, under competent Teachers, to girls between the ages of 7 and 17. The School is divided into two departments, called respectively the Senior Department and the Junior Department. Girls are admitted into the Junior Department at the age of 7, and into the Senior Department at the age of 13, in the order of application, provided the entrance examination can be passed. The Fees (payable in advance) are as follows: Junior Department: Entrance fee, 10s.; Tuition fee, for girls under 10, £1 per term; for girls between 10 and 12, £1 6s. 8d. per term; and for girls above 12, £1 13s. 4d. per term. Senior Department: Entrance fee, £1; Tuition fee, for girls under 15, £1 13s. 4d. per term; and for girls above 15, £2 per term. A fixed charge of 2s. 6d. per term is made for stationery, drawing paper, and copy books. For the following accomplishments extra fees are charged: Pianoforte, £2 2s. per term; and solo singing, £2 2s. per term. These lessons are given in the afternoon. Cambridge local examination fee, £1 5s., College of Preceptors, 10s.
The first Headmistress of the School was Miss Ellen Leicester who was assisted by Miss Collet (in charge of the most promising pupils, in Class I), Miss Butler (the first teacher to be engaged, who taught Class II), Miss Marston (with the youngest girls in Class III), Miss Caillard (teacher of languages) and Miss Gill (for instrumental music). Miss Appel, who joined the School in the second week of its existence, taught Botany. Fanny Hibbert was the first to hold the office of Head Girl. On 25 June 1880 an order was made by the Charity Commissioners which provided that in special cases on the recommendation of the Headmistress scholars should be allowed to remain at the School after their seventeenth birthday. In 1882 the Girls' School was added to, by the erection of a drill hall at the rear of the school buildings, 50 feet by 32 feet, with a large art room and additional class-room above. This was done at a cost of ÂŁ1,000 provided by the Governors.
Humberstone Gate School-Drill Hall The Old Pupils' Association was formed in 1884: New girls entered every term, but of course others left, most of whom though perhaps glad enough to feel they were nearly grown up were grieved to think that their connection with Wyggeston was at an end; so in April, 1884, Miss Leicester delivered the Inaugural Address as President of the Old Pupils' Association. What an evening that was! How the girls had altered! What elegant and fashionable young ladies some of the wildest schoolgirls had become! The teachers, by the by, "had not altered a bit"-they never do; this has been remarked at every Old Pupils' meeting since, and is due probably, not to their having drunk from the fountain of perennial youth, but to the discovery that they are still twenty or thirty years younger than their pupils had thought them when they entered their class.
Association of Old Pupils President-MISS LEICESTER The Association of Old Pupils meets twice a year, on the last Thursday in April and October. Each Meeting begins at Five o'clock, when tea and coffee are served. Every Old Pupil is invited to attend the Meetings of the Association whether she is a member or not. Members will receive a notice of each Meeting. The Annual Subscription is One Shilling. GAZETTE, 1885 In 1885 the first Wyggeston Girls' Gazette was published, edited by a Committee appointed by the Reading Society, a society which was already meeting regularly. The Gazette was produced three times a year and to try to stimulate the girls to greater interest in their studies the Editors instigated the Prize Competitions which were to be a feature of the life of the School for many years to come:
Prize Competitions The Editors of the W.G.G. propose to give prizes to pupils in the Wyggeston Girls' School for work done by themselves, without assistance, in any of the Sections A, B, C. Competitors will have their names published, in the order of merit, in each magazine, and the prize will be awarded to the girl who gets the highest number of marks during the year in anyone section. (A) A Map of Ancient Rome (open to Classes I and II) A Poem (open to Classes IlIA, Remove (IIIB and IV)) An Essay on "What I like best" (open to all below Class IV) (B) A well-arranged collection of shells, dried sea-weeds or wild flowers. (C) A complete set of dolls' clothes. The dressed dolls sent in by competitors will be sent to the Children's Ward of the Leicester Infirmary. The work must be sent, with Name and Class attached, before September 30th, addressed to the Competition Editor, Wyggeston Girls' School. Also included in the Gazette were reports of the concerts given at Christmas and at the end of the school year, and of Miss Leicester's popular "At Homes" at which informal dramatic entertainments were provided by the girls. Perhaps we can leave the last word about the tenor of School life in 1885 to "Tootles" whose poem is also an example of the literary contributions to the magazine:
Thoughts in Very Blank Verse BY OUR SPECIAL POET There was a time when Leicester slept in darkness, When only semin'ries and colleges for ladies young existed, Whose wretched victims walked out two by two, When the day was not too rough, and kept their eyes Demurely on the ground, or else They had an extra half-hour's needlework. But why describe them more; these were dark ages Past long since; and now a glorious time has come, When Leicester town can boast a public school, (Tis true it has not many things of which to boast) Where every morn, the holidays excepted, more than three hundred girls (Weâ€™ll leave the boys out of the question) enlightened ones Troop in, and every day, at one, troop out again. People may ask who were the noble founders of the school? We answer, Read the history of the school and learn from thence, That even in Leicester there have been some lights that shone, That, even now, a few are faintly glimmering.
And so at last there is a public school To which it is a downright honour to belong And where the girls work for the School, and its renown, More than themselves. Of course our School was not Built in one day, We have improvements every year As we proceed. We don't pretend we're perfect 'cause Anyone can see we're not; nor are we "finished for a drawing room," That would be following in the boarding school young ladies' steps. We even went all day, but now that is a thing of yore and We are further out of Egypt. Once we used to finish off the Term quite soberly, and only notice it By carrying home an extra load of books, with pencils, Rulers, books, etc., dropping by the way. But now at Christmas we have gay festivities; At midsummer we warble to the guests assembled Who sit and listen patiently and wish the time were up. Then as the year goes on the prize day comes When we clap the winners of the prize and wish we'd got it Thinking, "Next year we'll try our best," and next year somehow Always brings the same thoughts round again but still no prize. Tootles, 1885 Holidays were important enough to deserve a mention in several Gazettes:
Holidays On Shrove Tuesday the whole school had a holiday in honour of the Cambridge girls; and on the following Monday the holiday was given that Mr. Stafford (speaking for the Mayor) asked for at the Christmas breaking-up. Fortunately the weather was fine on both days. As a merit-holiday came on the Saturday previous to the Mayor's holiday, many girls went into the country for a few days, and Miss Leicester and a small party went to Cambridge, and paid a visit to the Wyggeston Girls now at College there. GAZETTE, 1886
The Coming of the Cambridge List 'Tis Wednesday! and every mind and head, Not, as they should be, on the books intent, Nor on the working out of problems bent, But on the Pass-list, which will soon be read. For all our thoughts far from our books have fled, And anxious glances at the door are cast, Each time we think Miss Leicester's step goes past. All hope the list no tears will make us shed, All feel concerned-not only those who passed, While all the rest were happy down below, A week of purgatory, at Christmas last. For do we not all surely, truly know Th' appearance of the list does seem to say, â€œHurrah! hurrah! three cheers! a holiday!" K.M.A. 1890 At this time secondary school examinations were conducted mainly by bodies independent of the central government, for example, the Oxford and Cambridge local and London University external examinations which were taken at the Wyggeston Girls' School. These university examining boards produced many classes of certificates, including the junior, senior and matriculation levels. As the number of boards and certificates grew confusion arose over the precise merit of each examination, especially when trying to compare them as university entrance requirements, but it was not until 1918 that the system was changed.
1887 saw the first swimming competition (we think !): Our Swimming Contest This great event took place at the Public Swimming Baths, on September 23rd, 1887. The performance was supposed to begin at half-past five, and by that time there were over a hundred girls, and many of 18
the teachers collected in the gallery round the bath; but their patience was sorely tried, for it was past six before there were any signs of its beginning. When once it did commence, however, it was a most amusing and diverting sight, as there was such a great difference in the heights of the girls. They were handicapped according to their speed, and in nearly every case the judgment was correct. There were four heats, and the winners in each swam again in a final. The greatest excitement prevailed amongst the spectators, and vigorous was the clapping with which they greeted those who won. The girls all swam their best, and "their best" was in all cases very good. The competition in the final was very keen, since all the best swimmers were in it; in fact, it was so sharp that the three last had to swim again. Finally Alice Ison was declared the winner of the first prize, Muriel Reynolds of the second, and Lizzie Taylor of the final. At the end of the race the competitors did not retire at once to their dressing boxes, but desported themselves in the water, looking very much like so many frogs, though in very unfrogical costume. Nearly all of them showed their skill in diving from the box, and swam races again and again for their own amusement. On the whole, the girls showed that they had been diligently practising all through the summer holidays on every opportunity. It is to be hoped that next year there will be a like occasion when those who did not win this year, and those who were prevented from entering, may vie with each other in a similar contest.
1888: Wyggeston High School for Girls That is how Our School is henceforth to be described. For several years it has been a High School, that is one in which Science, Mathematics and Classics are taught, and where pupils may remain after they are seventeen-and as after all, there is a good deal in a name, we are very glad that the Governors have decided that we should adopt the title we have fairly earned. We felt that a link had been formed between the Wyggeston girls of 1888 and ourselves when we found the following item in the Gazette under "School News": Our teachers and scholars have made a present to the School which will be valued as long as the School exists; a photograph of Miss Leicester beautifully executed on Porcelain, adorns the wall of the Long Room. The Photograph is imperishable, so we may hope that the girls who celebrate the Centenary of the Wyggeston High School may have a memorial of the Head Mistress to whom even they will owe something and to whom we owe so much.
Prize Day, 11 October 1888 Hitherto the presentation of our prizes has taken place in strict privacy in the Long Room; Canon Vaughan has made us a speech, we have clapped our most distinguished companions, the bell has rung for us to go home at half-past eleven instead of one, and that has been all. But we have changed all that. Year by year the number of girls who have won prizes and certificates has steadily increased, and so has that of the friends, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and old school-fellows who are interested in and proud of the results our school has attained. So this year, the eleventh of our existence, these friends were invited to come and see us at the Temperance Hall with our blushing honours thick upon us. They came by hundreds; the doors had to be opened ten minutes before the appointed time, the crowd in the street was so great; and they saw such a sight as has never been seen before in Leicester. Three-hundred-and-sixty of us were seated on the Orchestra, though how we managed to squeeze in is a mystery. Miss Ellis had had the front of the platform decorated with beautiful plants, which at her request were kindly lent us from the Abbey Park. We had the pleasure of seeing all the Lady Managers on the platform, and our two head girls, Annie Brown and Alice Johnson, had the privilege of presenting bouquets to Miss Leicester and Mrs. Wright who, in the absence of the Mayor, very kindly distributed the prizes. The happy girls who had several certificates had to run through wonderful passages somewhere at the back, and at one anxious moment we thought they had been too much for one prize-laden pupil, but she soon appeared a little out of breath, smiling and ready for more. Mr. Went read the names of the prize winners, and earned our gratitude before the close of the proceedings. Our good friend Canon Vaughan took the chair, and we were quite at one with Mr. Walker in wishing to tender him our warm thanks for his kindness not only on that, but on numberless other occasions; but when we were called on to give three cheers we trembled. We generally give our teachers a few cheers at the end of the term, to relieve our feelings and show we bear them no ill-will, but we are always secretly conscious that cheering is about the only thing, except playing football, which
boys can do and we can't. However Mr. Went rushed nobly to the rescue, waved a large white pockethandkerchief "enthusiastically round him" and led off in fine style. We gave our friends a few musical selections before taking our prizes, Fraulein Alexander played, Miss Dent sang (of course we encored her song) and we sang three part songs, conducted by Mr. E His. Before that Mr. E His had been playing on the Organ for half-an-hour while we were sitting ready on the Orchestra and our friends were coming into the Hall. We ended by singing the National Anthem, Miss Dent taking the solos, and Mr. Ellis playing the Organ, and by five o'clock the Temperance Hall was empty.
Class I, 1890 Exercise for the girls of the 1890's took several forms including the already well-established drill: One Thursday afternoon in March over a hundred visitors, parents of pupils, came to see a number of the girls, over sixty in all, go through their Drill exercises. It was a pretty sight, and the effect was greatly heightened by their all being dressed alike in loose navy blue frocks with dark red sashes. GAZETTE, 1891 -and new games such as lawn crooketta, played in the playground, and lawn tennis which could only be included when in 1891 part of the field in which the Wyggeston Boys played cricket had been marked out for the girls as two tennis courts. A third court was added later the same year and the popularity of the game was such that the Wyggeston Girls' Tennis Club was formed and tennis was included in the Prize Competitions run by the Gazette. The success of these tennis competitions was not always automatic:
The Tennis Competition The names for this were given in, and the arrangements were made for the games, but the weather, the Mighty Ruler of the Destinies of Tennis-players, interfered with his winds and rains, and decreed that this year, at least, no girl should be crowned as Champion-player of the Wyggeston Girls' Tennis Club,
By 1893 the number of girls in the School had risen to 360 and changes in the buildings had to be made: When we assembled in September we found improvements and additions were being made to our buildings. The Drill Hall has been re-laid with highly-polished parquet flooring, requiring wary walking from novices, and this new flooring has had a wonderful effect in improving the acoustic properties of the Hall, and, in consequence, Mr. Ellis takes all his singing classes there. Opening out of the Drill Hall are a new Cloak-room and two new Class-rooms, in one of which our very small people will be able to indulge in unlimited Kindergarten games and exercises. They will be painted during the holidays; meanwhile, as they are dry and well heated, if a little bare-looking, they are most useful in relieving us from the crowding from which we generally suffer during the Cambridge week. The girls were by no means unmindful of the needs of others and Miss Leicester encouraged them in the collecting of toys which were taken to the orphans at the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes each Christmas. The idea of founding a Wyggeston Schools' Cot at the Children's Hospital met with great support from both the Girls' and Boys' Schools and the pupils' subscriptions soon reached the amount necessary for the project to go ahead. Two of the girls recounted their visit to see the cot for the Gazette:
Our Wyggeston Schools' Cot The day after the school broke up for the Christmas holidays, some of us went to the Infirmary to see the little girl in the cot supported by both the Girls' and Boys' Wyggeston Schools. Several presents had come in too late to be given to the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes, to which we contribute presents every Christmas, so it was decided to take them to the Infirmary for the children. The girls met Miss Collet at the school, and set out laden with books, balls, dolls, scrapbooks, and toys of every description. When we reached the Infirmary, we were taken through numerous passages and corridors, and across the garden, till we reached the Children's Hospital. The merry laughter of the children greeted us. On the left-hand side of the first ward there was a very small baby-girl only three months old, we think, who was suffering from hip disease. There was a very kind nurse with her who said that she was a very cheerful little baby and her name was Rose. In the next cot was a very bright little fellow to whom we gave a wool ball, and Miss Collet amused him by catching it when he threw it to her. The next cot was the one supported by our schools, to which we had especially paid our visit. In it was a little girl suffering from hip disease. We gave her a large wax doll, dressed in a most fashionable costume, for her very own. She was very pleased with it, and looked at it as though she had never seen one so beautiful before. The cot looked very nice and as if great care was taken of it. On the back was a brass plate with these words inscribed on it: "Wyggeston Schools Cot". The rooms were so clean and the nurses so pleasant that we thought we should like to stop there all day, but Miss Collet thought it was now time to leave because it was the children's tea-time. We had spent a very enjoyable afternoon, and hope to go again shortly. C. I. WATERS, H. LIMBIRD, 1893 Academic success has always been a feature of the Wyggeston Girls' School and even in 1893 Cowie (The History of Wyggeston's Hospital and Schools) was able to write: The Girls' School stands extremely wen with its Honours' list â€Ś. Of former pupils of the Girls' School, ten now hold the degree of B.A. of London University, and one the degree of B.Sc. Six former pupils gained scholarships in the Welsh Colleges. Of these six, three had passed the intermediate examination for the degree of BA. at the London University, and the other three had matriculated there before leaving the school. Twenty-eight other pupils have matriculated at London University and seven of them have passed the intermediate examination, all whilst at the school. A very large number of girls have passed the Cambridge Local Examinations Junior and senior), and many have taken honours.
It seems that the School prepared its girls not only for life in academic circles but also for the world of the housewife. This is reflected in an article written by an Old Girl in 1895: "From toil he wins his spirits light From busy day the peaceful night." When the times comes that we Wyggeston Girls must leave our School, when we sing at Prayers, for the last time, the hymn for the end of the term, and the words: "Let thy Father-hand be shielding All who here shall meet no more; May their seed-time past be yielding Year by year a richer store" ... Instead of having a general signification, as heretofore, have now a particular application to the allimportant "Me", then what becomes of these now "Old Girls"? A large percentage of us, continuing somewhat in the lines of our school days, either begin at once to teach (privately, or in a school), or are trained for teaching at the Cambridge College, or work for our degree. But still there are many, who immediately (or even perhaps after having had a College course, or some experience in teaching), having no longer any definite scholastic work, find it necessary to settle down and busy themselves at home; and it is of these chiefly, that I am thinking just now. At first, perhaps, the mere freedom from regular school-life and home-lessons, is a relief, and the novelty of household work pleasing; but surely enough in a little time there is a reaction. One begins to realize the terrible monotony of the ever-recurring dusting-if there were need of it only at intervals, say, of a week; but when what has been done thoroughly on Monday has to be re-done on Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, then we begin to rebel. Also, too, in Cookery: at first, until we have mastered the preparation of all the ordinary dishes, we feel interested, but once having attained perfection, the charm disappears, and we feel within ourselves what a waste of time, to spend all the morning in preparing what is eaten up in half an hour. And so on with the many various branches of housework. Again, another difficulty against which we have to contend, is that feeling of tiredness which we necessarily experience when, instead of sitting for the greater part of the morning, and during homepreparation time, as has been the case throughout our school course, we are suddenly called upon to be moving about, or standing for several consecutive hours, in attending to household matters. The question then is, how can we render less monotonous and less fatiguing this necessary housework? First, with regard to lessening the Monotony:1. Doubtless there is much to be done which requires but little skin, and which, from its being of daily recurrence, becomes purely mechanical (e.g., dusting, washing china, re-arranging and putting fresh water to the flower vases, etc.); and so, since the hands only are employed, it is a pity for the brain to remain idle. This, therefore, should be regarded as a quiet time (and a far better time than when we go to bed!) for doing one's thinking, planning, arranging the menu for dinner, framing the answers in connexion with the Cambridge Extension Lectures -always taking care, however, that the hands and brain act simultaneously, for as some people find it an utter impossibility to work and talk together, so others to work and think. But the habit is easily acquired. 2. The more we regard this housework as something to be done and thought out scientifically, the less monotonous it becomes. Here our Wyggeston School training and discipline is of paramount use. The fact of our having for many years been bound to do our school and home-lessons on fixed days, and in a given time, has become so instilled into our minds, and so much a part of our nature, that we, almost as it were instinctively, in our new capacity map out for ourselves in similar methods our work for the week. So now certain days and hours at once suggest a particular duty, and thus no time is lost in thinking what has to be done next; and, moreover, there is less fear of anything being omitted. It might be urged that this time-table arrangement tends to increase, rather than lessen, the monotony. I think not; and when once a thing has become thoroughly a habit, the effort of doing it is diminished (with the one huge exception, perhaps, of rising in the morning, which though done, roughly speaking for say 70 years of 365 days, never becomes less of an effort; though the window being opened two inches at the top is the best known recipe).
Taking again into consideration Cookery, how much less is it a monotonous drudgery when we do not act by mere rule of thumb, but try to understand clearly the reason for everything (which, of course, all modern Cookery books and teachers will explain). The mere order to subject meat and rice pudding to a fiercer initial heat, afterwards to be decreased, is meaningless and uninteresting, till we realize that it is necessary in the first case, so that the albumen may be solidified and thus the juices retained; and in the second, so that the starch granules may swell and cause the enveloping skin to break. Our slight knowledge of physiology, and of the digestive organs, should teach us to make food as digestible as possible; of physics, to allow room in the basin and cloth for the pudding, when heated, to expand; our smattering of chemistry will show us why, when using carbonate of soda and citric acid (as ingredients in a cake) there will be an effervescing and general disturbance upon the acid and alkali coming into contact; and that an ounce of permanganate of potash will make three pints of Condy's Fluid (one of Miss Leicester's earliest lessons), which will render powerless many millions of microbes. Secondly, with regard to lessening Fatigue:1. Let us make a rule of sitting down to do anything, whenever it is practicable. Why should we, though bound to stand to make pastry, tidy rooms, iron, etc., yet neglect to take advantage of the time and sit down to rest meanwhile, when we are, say, peeling apples, arranging flowers, polishing silver, etc.? Just as those employed in sedentary tasks should take every opportunity of standing, so, too, those customarily standing or moving about should make a point on every possible occasion of sitting. 2. Let us alternate house-work with head-work-that is to say, when we have done a certain amount of the former and are feeling inclined to chafe somewhat under its unintellectuality. and are beginning, moreover, to get physically tired, then let us renew our bodily strength by sitting down, and refresh ourselves mentally by an hour or two's study of our lecture Walk, or French, or of the heavier book selected by the Wyggeston Old Pupils' Reading Society. [And may I here say that this same Society is now an imaginary quantity, due to the fact that out of a possible 1500 old pupils, about 10 only (the maximum number) were sufficiently interested in it to join. It does seem a thousand pities that we cannot re-organize it, and have at any rate three meetings a year, when we could discuss any books, and determine to read before the next meeting one standard novel, one poem or play, and one book of a somewhat more solid character.] In this way, by taking care never to surfeit ourselves with too much household work, or too much study, we are less apt to weary of either. At least, this has been so in my own case. BLANCHE GARDINER, 1895
1896: School Badges The idea having occurred to two girls that it would be nice to have a School Badge, such as are worn in many High Schools and Colleges, they appealed to the Editor of the W.G.G. for aid in carrying out their idea. It was decided to adopt the School Arms, but with the initials W.H.S.G. instead of Wyggeston Schools, Leicester, encircling the shield. A die is now being struck, and before the end of the term any Wyggestonian will be able to buy a silver badge, either in the form of a brooch or a pendant, for half-acrown. At Christmas 1896 the whole School united to give Miss Leicester a gold badge which was beautifully enamelled and mounted on a gold bar. The following year the Gazette reported that the School Badge seemed popular with many girls wearing them in their hats or as a brooch. Christmas time also meant the Headmistress's party and giving to others: We were delighted to see that there was no falling off, but rather an increase in the number and quality of the presents sent in for the Cottage Homes. Three hundred and twenty children at the Homes and the Workhouse will receive gifts, and many toys are kept in reserve at each home. The case of toys sent to the Fever Hospital is most gratefully received by nurses as well as children, for there is great difficulty in amusing the little convalescents who have to be isolated so long. Miss Allen and some of the girls took a special collection of toys to the Children's Ward at the Infirmary, especially for the Wyggeston Cot. GAZETTE, 1897
In 1899 the School came of age! The 17th June was the twenty-first Anniversary of the foundation of the School. Some of the Junior Classes presented Miss Leicester with flowers in honour of the day, and sang a little song, written and composed by Miss Gardner for the occasion. There are not many High Schools whose Head Mistress has ruled over them for twenty-one years; we are all proud of the unusual honour that is ours, and hope we may long continue to enjoy it.
Prize Day, 1899 Our Prize Day this year was rather earlier than usual, being on October 19th and was a grand public affair in the Temperance Hall-a red letter day in the annals of the School, for it also commemorated our twenty-first birthday. Over a thousand invitations were sent out to "old girls", parents of present pupils, and various friends of the school. By 3.00 nearly every seat in the hall had been taken. The orchestra was full to overflowing with Wyggeston girls who were taking part in the singing, and who looked very effective in their white dresses. Mr. Fielding Johnson was in the chair, and in his opening address read extracts from the Examiner's Report for the preceding school year. Then followed several songs; the last one, "Our 21st Birthday", composed and set to music by Miss Gardner, was a brilliant success, especially when, at the line "Proudly now the flag unfurls", one of the girls stood up and waved to and fro a large flag on which were painted the school arms and also the dates 1878 (the year of the foundation of the school) and 1899. After the song and the flag had been vigorously cheered, the girls out of the First Class and a few out of Class IIA acted a French play: "La LeĂ§on de GĂŠographie". After the play was over, and just before Mrs. Clayton distributed the prizes, a presentation was made to Miss Leicester of a gold ring set with diamonds and opals, and two books, subscribed for by all the girls, as a souvenir of the twenty-one years she has been Head Mistress of the school. V. D. ELLIS, 1899 1899 was also the year in which the Hockey Club was formed. The girls played four afternoons a week on the Wyggeston Boys' School Ground where they received a warm welcome from the boys! In a recent number of the Wyggestonian, we received a very pleasant welcome to the Wyggeston Boys' Ground. We are glad to be able to express here our hearty appreciation of this opportunity for Hockey and Tennis, and also of the way in which the boys consider our comfort and keep wandering cricket balls from our particular corner. The Gazette goes on to describe the first season of the Club:
The Wyggeston Girls' Hockey Club The Hockey Club was formed in the Spring Term at the beginning of February last. A hundred and five members-mistresses and girls-were enrolled. Practices were held four afternoons a week, two games being played each afternoon from 2.30 to 3.30 and from 3.30 to 4.30. The members showed a keen interest in the game, and turned up regularly for practices. By the end of the Session, many gave promise of very good play. In 1900 there was an item in the Gazette which described the girls' work in connection with the civilian effort for the Boer War: In the Spring Term there was great excitement in most of the classes over making cushions for the Yeomanry in South Africa. The cushions-more than two hundred in number were stuffed with curled paper, and were intended for use at the front, and during the transport of the wounded to the, hospitals. Later in the Term the Mayoress sent six cushion-covers to be filled and worked with the town motto, Semper Eadem, for the Princess of Wales's hospital ship. Miss Gardner's class undertook the work, which was specially commented on and approved by the Princess herself. GAZETTE, 1900 but many still found time to take up a new game: Mr. Went has very kindly given us the use of the ground between our tennis-courts and Regent Road, so we have bought a croquet set, and some of the girls have taken it up most warmly, and are practising it with great diligence. It is particularly satisfactory that so many of the younger girls seem to like it so much and take so much interest in it. 24
At Prize Day that year the Lady Mayoress asked Miss Leicester to go with her to Countesthorpe and plant a silver birch tree at the Cottage Homes, to be called "The Wyggeston Girls' School Tree" in commemoration of the interest taken by our girls in the children at the Homes. The Gazette was not published from the beginning of 1902 until March 1909. This means that we have no records of the events surrounding the retirement of Miss Leicester at the end of 1902 but the extent of her involvement with the School and its pupils is summed up in the Editorial of the 1915 Gazette:
ELLEN LEICESTER Died, May 30th, 1915 Before this notice appears in the Gazette, most of the Old Pupils of the Wyggeston Girls' School will have heard that their old Head Mistress and friend, Miss Leicester, is gone from us. Her death will cause sorrow to many, for although Miss Leicester could be very severe at times, she truly loved her girls, and they learnt to love her, and to feel finally that her one idea was to make them what good women ought to be. There must be many girls who remember being sent to Miss Leicester's room "to be talked to" for some breach of school rules, roughness, disobedience, etc. They went in, perhaps fearful, perhaps defiant. They came out with red eyes, but cheerful, feeling that they had been naughty, and that they were sorry and all was forgiven. Since her death I have had a number of letters from girls, or rather women, who say, "We do not know any of Miss Leicester's relations, so we write to you, as her friend." One says, "I and my sisters always remember her wise and loving counsels at the Wyggeston School, although at the time of instruction, we did not appreciate the teaching, as we have done in later years." Another says, "For her sake, it is a merciful release from suffering, but for myself, I feel that a very strong link with my past is gone." Another, "She was always so kind and nice to me." Again, "I am so sorry that we cannot show our love by going to her funeral. " Yet another, "It must have been particularly sad for one who had always been so active, and in the thick of things, to be laid up with painful rheumatism, and obliged to live a dull quiet life." Again, "With the sense of loss we must be glad that she is at rest." During the past 12 years, hundreds of Old Wyggestonians have asked me about Miss Leicester. In streets and trams they would say, "How is Miss Leicester? Please give her my love when you write to her." I put down their names afterwards, and was able to send her quite a list in my next letter. She loved to read it, and to hear of them. All her letters ended with "Give my love to any of my girls you meet". When I saw her, three weeks before her death, she said many times, "Tell me about Leicester," "Tell me about the School." All her interests were centred here. When one realizes how full of pain and suffering the last eight years of her life have been, we cannot help but feel that at times it must have been "weary waiting here". I say "at times", because any good news about the W.G.S., e.g., an excellent report from the Oxford Examiners, or a good account of some girl's work, a Scholarship gained perhaps, would make her quite cheerful. It was always a great comfort to her, to know that the School had such a Head Mistress as Miss Heron, and that it was not merely keeping up its past traditions, but progressing and improving in many directions. The newspapers have told us that Miss Leicester remained at the W.G.S. 24 Â˝-years, and that 2644 girls passed through the school in that time. Scores of girls matriculated at the London University, and many won distinctions at the Cambridge Local Examinations. I will add that hundreds obtained full certificates for various branches of science and art from South Kensington. Now she is gone we will remember just this: she did her best for the W.G.S. One lady wrote to me saying "She started the school on right lines, which made all the difference to its future". Miss Leicester spared neither time nor money to make things successful. I say money, because there may be one or two who will read this, who will remember that if Miss Leicester had not paid their School Fees for a year or two, they would not have been as successful in their after career as they have been. When she left, most of the money subscribed by her old pupils was used, at her wish, to found the Ellen Leicester Science Prizes, thus connecting her name with the School for all time. M.A.E.B., 1915
The School under
MISS SARAH HERON
Humberstone Gate School-Entrance Hall I was standing in the Hall at School when Miss Leicester walked through with a little figure who, we were told, was to be our new Head Mistress. Our excitement was great-what a contrast to our dear old Head with her silvery hair, her picturesque cap, her lace, and amethyst brooches. Here was someone who would bring a new atmosphere into our midst, and though we none of us could ever forget what Miss Leicester did for us and for education in Leicester, we were thrilled at having a new young Head. A. C. NEWTON, 1927 The first sight of the new Headmistress of the School was obviously a momentous occasion for any pupil, as Miss Heron herself was aware: At Prayers on that first morning, with 290 girls before me, I remember telling them how painful it must be for them to see a stranger in the place of one whom they all knew and loved so well. S. HERON, 1938 Although there was a new Headmistress the pattern of work at the School still continued: Time tables for home lessons consisted of a list of lessons with the times to be taken, and we were not obliged to enter the time we took, and hence there was no limit. Methods of teaching are very different now, greatly improved and more interesting to the pupil. To mention a few subjects-we learnt the counties of England, their county towns and all the smaller towns in them, by singing them to a certain tune at the end of every Saturday morning in the Long Room. There is no doubt that things learnt in lists stick fast in the memory! Drawing and Needlework-how much more practical now! I still have a little heavy cotton garment for which I won a prize in my early school days, which even in that age of extraordinary underwear for babies would have been uncomfortable for the most Spartan infant! Drill in our day consisted of exercises to music, very different from "gym." nowadays. School on Saturday morning till 12 was the order of the day, with every fourth Saturday as a "merit holiday" - if we deserved it and had not lost three "general marks". Which brings me to the old name for "conduct marks", though a "general mark" was sometimes given where now an "order mark" would be considered enough punishment.
Before Miss Heron's time (I think) there was no uniform worn at School at all, and at first when we wore white blouses, blue skirts and blue ties, we wore them only on Friday, on which day parents and friends might come to watch drill. This uniform we wore also for hockey and cricket. Blue and brown striped ties were worn by the hockey, cricket and tennis teams. Tennis was the only game played by the School for some years before hockey was begun we played on a part of the Wyggeston Boys' ground in Victoria Road and later Regent Road. Few girls played, and there was little organisation about the hours for playing, and no teaching or supervision as far as I remember. Later Miss Heron made games compulsory, and then grounds had to be found elsewhere. A. C. NEWTON, 1927 Not everything remained the same, however, during Miss Heron's first few years as Head-mistress: The year 1903 was marked by several minor changes; for example, the reversing of the names of Forms (Form I. becoming Form VI. and vice-versa), the formation of a School Orchestra and the fitting of the Kindergarten Room as a Science Laboratory.
Humberstone Gate School-Science Laboratory We were proud in those days of the old School building in Humberstone Gate, which so well combined usefulness with dignity and beauty, and many Old Girls still speak of it with affection. Its position, however, had its drawbacks, and in that first summer term, a holiday was necessary not only because of cases of small-pox in the Annual Fair encamped outside, but on account of the noisy merry-go-rounds and the stamping of horses tethered to the school railings. It was a great relief when a fair-ground was found elsewhere. We were once mistaken for the Town Museum by a visitor who asked to see "the stuffed animals"! Early next year saw the formation of a Standing Committee of the Old Girls' Association, though there had been regular gatherings since the early days of the School, initiated by Miss M. E. Butler, who was the much-loved Second Mistress for a quarter of a century. As the years passed, numbers rapidly increased till at last, in October, 1906, our busy hive at Humberstone Gate overflowed and a swarm of Juniors migrated to Friar Lane with Miss E. M. Burton as Queen Bee. Her wise judgment and real love for children assured the success of our new venture. Meanwhile, in 1907, our Local Examinations were marked by good results, one girl being placed second in the Senior Oxford and gaining the ÂŁ30 prize from the Syndicate. 1908 brought the welcome news that A.C. Henderson had won a 1st Class in the English Honours School at Lady Margaret Hall and the next
year saw the first beginnings of the School's successes in Open Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge. In 1907, when Games Matches between Staff and girls were a novelty, I well remember a Cricket Match, when the Staff played in such sweeping and voluminous skirts that the ball was often lost about a player's ankles. In hockey, this skirt-volume gave advantage to the goal-keeper, though it often left the umpire in perplexity! In 1908 Fire Drill was organised and surprise practices were a new feature of School life. It is a matter of thankfulness that we never had a real conflagration, though it was an anxious moment when a ton of coal caught fire in the boiler-house underneath the Staff Room. Were the flames daunted by the priceless intellectual value just above them? S. HERON, 1938 An important external change came to the School in 1909 when it was officially taken over by the Town Council in its capacity as the Local Education Authority. The Governing Body for the Wyggeston Hospital Schools was re-constituted to include three representatives from the Council, one of whom was to be a woman. This meant that the Council assumed responsibility for the School's properties and finances, its general educational policy and the appointment of its Headmistress and her staff. The School was to continue as a public secondary school for girls (day scholars only) with a course of study arranged to meet the requirements of pupils intended for the universities, professional pursuits or commerce. A system of leaving exhibitions, for which students were eligible to compete, was introduced and the Education Committee granted bursaries to girls who wished to become pupil teachers at the School. The Wyggeston School,' Foundation was initiated by the Council and over the years money from this fund has helped buy furniture for the School, finance girls on conferences and field-trips and enable the giving of prizes in recognition of service to the School. These changes did not noticeably affect the lives of the girls at the School. The normal routine continued, as did such special events as the giving of toys to the orphans at the Cottage Homes, the sponsorship of the Wyggeston Hospital Cot and the eagerly anticipated Headmistress's Christmas Parties. Hockey was as popular as ever but tennis and cricket needed encouragement:
Tennis and Cricket It is hoped that all girls who have the opportunity will practise during the Easter holidays. There are some excellent covered courts at Spence Street and Cossington Street Baths. Among the younger girls it would be advisable for them to practise bowling and throwing, as Cricket Form Matches will be arranged for the Middle and Lower Schools. I. TARDREW, 1909 The School was building on its academic achievements as the first edition of the Gazette since 1902 reported:
Public Examinations This year the school has broken all its previous records and stands higher than ever in comparison with other schools. Though we have not sufficient space to give a detailed report of the examination results, we must mention May Garlick's success in winning an Open Scholarship to Newnham College. This is the first time that a Wyggeston girl has gained this distinction, and we hope it will not be by any means the last. There is little fear of this, however, as is proved by the brilliant results gained by distinguished members of the rising generation in the recent Senior Oxford Examination. Reading for pleasure as well as for serious study was encouraged by the setting up of a fiction library:
The Fiction Library In the summer term of last year an appeal was made to girls, past and present, for donations of books to form a Fiction Library. The response to this appeal was most generous, and Libraries have been formed at both Senior and Junior Schools. In addition to the books presented, donations of money were received from the Lady Managers and from several girls. All the books were covered in blue linen, labelled and catalogued by members of the Sixth Form, and were ready for use three weeks before the end of term. Many books have since been presented, and we hope to have more and more as time goes
on. Books which their owners may have outgrown would be welcomed to fill gaps on our shelves, while suggestions for new books will always be considered when we have any money at our disposal. GAZETTE, 1909 In a later Gazette of the same year each school-leaver was asked to present a book to the Library in which a special label could be placed giving the name of the donor and the date of the gift. Careful plans were made to avoid duplication of the books unless demand warranted it. Booklets of views of the School (price 10d) were sold to pupils and Old Girls together with sets of postcards (price 5d). The postcards were available in two series: (a) containing six views of the Senior School; (b) containing six views of the Junior School.
Junior School, Friar Lane The Editors of the Gazette were always ready to include something a little different in the magazine as the following shows:
A Mathematical Problem! If the number of permutations of 500 girls in cabs for the School Parties be the reciprocal of the number of square miles of navy blue ribbon worn at the Prize Distribution, show hence that the cost of the cab is the mean proportional between the cost of a set of ribbons and a new drill blouse. (Given that the relative destiny of a cabman = 309.6.)
The most exciting event in the school year 1909-1910 was the winning for the first time of the Midland Schools' Shield by the Wyggeston Girls' Hockey Team. They beat Nottingham High School in the final by three goals to one, and great rejoicing followed:
After the Shield Final It was a mild March evening, The season's work was done; The Team before Miss Heron's door, Feasted, because they'd won; And with them revelled in the Hall Others devoted to the Ball.
I've seen this struggle year by year; It needs not I should tell, That this year's victory is the crown Of years of striving well. And Adcock, Tardrew, Dodd must be, Remembered in our victory."
Miss Heron rose among the throng Who sat expectant by; The while she smiled and spoke to us With merry twinkling eye "Full many yearn to speak," said she, 'About this famous victory,"
Great praise our Hockey coaches won, And our famed Captain May. And when the speech-making was done We set ourselves to playFor relaxation well may be After a famous victory.
"I have few words to say to you, Many know more than I Of 'shooting' and of 'passing', And the many wiles ye try, And they shall speak to you," quoth she, "Of this, our famous victory."
And everybody praised the team Who this great fight did win. "And shall we win the shield again Now we have once got in?" "We'll do our level best," say we, "To win another victory'" C2 H5 1910
Hockey Challenge Shield, 1910
D Hodgkins, E. Lee, G. Spencer, G. Squire, D. Barrowcliffe, P. Walters R. Squire, D. Lawrence (Vice-Captain), M. Eames (Captain), D. Devereux, M. Dodd
However, the Staff were not to be outdone:
Staff Cricket Match Alas! The Staff beat the girls! This is the first time they have had that honour in a cricket match. No one can say that they did not thoroughly deserve their victory. Miss Lee, Miss Hughes and Miss Henderson were the shining lights, but all the Staff did good work. The girls went in first and made a total of 69, quite a fair average. No one was prepared for the huge score knocked up by our challengers. Miss Lee retired unbeaten with an individual score of 55, and, before the rest of the side were disposed of the total had reached 89 runs. GAZETTE, 1910 Once again the School celebrated its academic achievements at Prize Day and the following also gives some idea of the ritual which attended these occasions:
Prize Distribution, 1910 Even the anticipation of Christmas excitements cannot banish from our minds the memory of that joyful day of the Autumn Tenn. on which, in the presence of our proud parents, we received the rewards of past labours. In spite of anxious speculations concerning such important matters as the gracefulness of our bows, and the position of our feet at the critical moment, the pleasure the proceedings afforded us must ensure our lasting remembrance of the Prize Distribution. Who could forget the thrills of excitement on first handling the coveted books, so daintily tied up with the familiar blue ribbon, our gloating admiration of the beautiful bindings, or our eager anticipation of investigating their contents? Thursday, November 17th, was the day appointed for this year's Distribution. As usual the Temperance Hall was filled to overflowing. Bouquets were presented to Miss Heron and to the Hon. Mrs. MurraySmith, who had kindly consented to distribute the prizes. The Mayor expressed pleasure at the success which had attended the School during the past year. He congratulated the Staff upon maintaining the high standard of the School, and was sure Miss Heron and the Governing Body would be satisfied that the reputation of the School had been kept up. He also expressed thanks to the donors of the special prizes. Three songs from Shakespeare were then sung by the girls. The success of the girls was also mentioned by Miss Leicester in a letter which she wrote to the Old Pupils' Association in October, 1910: "MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, I am very sorry, that it will be quite impossible for me to be present at the meeting of the Old Pupils on Thursday. My thoughts will be with you, and I am sure that you will have a delightful evening. It is always a great joy to hear of the success of the girls, both present pupils, and past, and to know that the Wyggeston Girls' School is becoming more and more a centre of interest in Leicester. For you, who have taken your places in the work and life of the world, the problem is to find one's ideal in the real, so that a larger meaning may stream through the smaller actions of life. It is one thing to feel, but greatest of all is to embody one's feelings in one's life and actions. That you may all try to think, to love, to serve, and to pray, is the earnest humble prayer of your loving old friend. ELLEN LEICESTER." The Junior School was also thriving in its new premises in Friar Lane. A garden party and open day was held towards the end of the school year:
Junior School Garden Party On Friday, July 1st, a large number of spectators were present at an Entertainment held in the Junior School Garden. Some of the girls sang favourite Nursery Rhymes, and others appeared in costume and gave a realistic performance of the adventures of the various characters. Then followed several Morris Dances, all of which were exceedingly pretty, though the most attractive were those in which the performers sang such charming old ballads as "Mowing the Barley," "London Bridge," and "Lubin Loo". After tea, which was handed round in the garden, the visitors went over the school and inspected the work which had been done by the girls during the year. Needlework, painting, and handwork were all displayed.
The Editorial of the July Gazette of 1910 must ring a bell with all those who have been involved with the production of the magazine over the years! This Magazine makes one more appeal to the geniuses of the School to cast off their humility. to come forth from their retirement, to seek no longer seclusion in the dark corners of the earth, but to immortalize their names within the gorgeous covers of the Wyggeston Girls' Gazette. The contributions this term have been few, and we hope that during the summer holidays, those girls who have gained honours for the school in the Local Examinations will gain further distinction by adding to the literary fame of their school magazine. One such literary work was entitled "Gulliver at Wyggeston":
Gulliver at Wyggeston In the course of my travels I happened upon a large building which immediately attracted my attention; and having a desire to enter, I did so, though with some slight sense of misgiving as to what might await me within. I found that the inhabitants of this building-whether prison, dwelling or otherwise, I knew notwere, almost without exception, of a dark blue colour in the lower half of the body, and cream in the upper, with dark blue growths about the neck and head. Nevertheless, I observed certain superior beings, to whom the smaller creatures paid the utmost reverence, who differed from them in colour. These, I afterwards discovered, were called Miss-tresses, because their tresses, instead of hanging down, had grown together on the top of the head, and were thus "missed". On venturing a little further into this remarkable edifice, I discovered several doors, and had the boldness to push open one of these; whereupon I found myself in a small room decorated with hangings of different colours, each surmounted by a round object, with a protuberance on one side, and a hollow on the other. I went down three steps on one side of this room, and found a row of large white holes with a bright curiously shaped ornament above each. As I was conjecturing the purpose of these holes, one of the inhabitants entered, and gave a twist to the top of one of the ornaments, when a stream of what appeared to be water came forth. She next took up a lump of brown material, and began to make a white froth upon her hands; I being alarmed at the strangeness of the proceeding, retraced my steps, and decided to investigate elsewhere. I opened another door, and perceived one of the superior beings with a number of the creatures I had first seen. I imagined at first that she was there to prevent their escape, but presently she began to make white marks on a black piece of wood, while the others made similar black marks on a thin white substance; whereat I was much amazed, but considered that this was some rite or ceremony peculiar to the place; in which opinion I was afterwards strengthened by observing the same thing to take place in many other parts of the building. Another mysterious ceremony was being held in a large room which I entered. I perceived herein a number of the inferior creatures standing in rows before one of the Miss-tresses-I do not, indeed, recollect that throughout the period of my visit, I ever observed that these creatures were left without a superior being; even when I saw them enjoying a little liberty in order to take food, which they were allowed to do in a large enclosure surrounded by high walls, one or two of these were continually on the watch lest they should escape. In this large room, the creatures were raising their arms, swaying their bodies and moving their heads, in obedience to the commands of the Miss-tress. I was much interested in this ceremony, but entirely failed to understand its meaning. As, however, the creatures began to take murderous looking instruments from the walls, I deemed it prudent to remain no longer, but fled into a smaller room, where were other creatures, who were engaged in playing with glass bottles, and making offerings to small flames, which seemed to grow from the middle of the tables at which they sat. I was informed later that they were trying to grow a Kemmis-tree, but being ignorant of this at the time, I was little less alarmed by these proceedings, than by those from which I had fled. Many other marvels I saw during my stay, and at length departed, much amazed, and not a little alarmed. I was afterwards informed that these creatures were not dangerous, and that they were not as I had supposed imprisoned there, but were released at a certain hour each day, and returned thither of their own accord next morning; at which statements I was exceedingly surprised, and have not yet succeeded in producing a satisfactory explanation of what I saw and heard. C. MAY GARLICK, VI. 1910
The Coronation of George V and Queen Mary An outstanding feature of this term has been the part which the School took in the Coronation celebrations. On Wednesday, June 21st, we found that the Entrance Hall had been most gaily decorated in Red, White and Blue, and the effect was truly imposing. In anticipation of the following day's ceremony, Miss Ready addressed the School on the subject of the Coronation. In the course of her interesting lecture, she dealt with the nature of the present kingship, the significance of the modern Coronation ceremony and its relation to the past. Thursday June 22nd, and Friday, June 23rd, were holidays, so that we all had an opportunity of enjoying the public festivities, but our own special celebration, which took the form of Sports, was held on Thursday in the following week. Contrary to the gloomy predictions of those of a pessimistic turn of mind, we were fortunate in having a fine day, and accordingly the whole Senior School assembled on the Wyggeston Hospital Grounds, with spirits undamped by any untimely showers. There is no space to give an account of all the different events upon the programme, sufficient to say that everything went off successfully, and was thoroughly enjoyed by both spectators and competitors. The "Blind Pig Race" and the "Frog Race", however, were new features, and must be specially mentioned. In the former, pairs of blindfolded girls, who received the name of "blind pigs", had to be driven to the winning post, round obstacles placed on the course. One feels some natural curiosity as to why the term "pig" should be used-Does it refer to appearance or to personal qualities? In either case, it is, to say the least of it, scarcely flattering. The race was most interesting to watch, owing to the frequent collisions, which took place between the different couples, with results highly entertaining to the onlookers, though distinctly painful to the unfortunate "pigs". The "Frog Race" proved no less entertaining to the spectators, who found considerable amusement in watching the antics of a number of girls, solemnly hopping along in the heroic endeavour to reach the tape without tumbling over. Like the "Blind Pig Race" it held painful consequences for most of the competitors. The last event was the Egg and Spoon Race, in which the Staff ran while the School stood and cheered their efforts. During the afternoon the different Forms retired in turn to refresh themselves, not only with cakes and tea, but also with strawberries. These last luxuries, as well as the handsome prizes which Miss Heron afterwards distributed, were the result of a very generous grant made to the School from the Local Coronation Fund. The Junior School did not join with us, but are to have Sports of their own later in the term. GAZETTE, 1911 1911 seems to have been a year of innovations at the School. The VIth Form Literary and Debating Society was formed and held weekly meetings which were devoted alternately to literature and debate. A branch of the Children's League of Pity was begun on 1 November that year following a visit from a representative of the N.S.P.C.C. and the aim of the girls who joined was to help provide money, clothes and presents for the Society. Mention is often made in later Gazettes of the various types of fund-raising events they organised, for example sports and sales of work. It was during this year that sailor hats made their appearance:
Hats Since we issued our last magazine, an edict has gone forth commanding us to cast aside all other forms of head-gear and to wear sailor hats. Gone are the enormous creations which used to decorate our cloak-rooms and irritate the owners of the neighbouring pegs by their unfortunate tendency to fall on to the floor at the slightest touch. Their day is over, and the modest sailor hat, decorated with the school hat-band, is now "the only wear". It is interesting to notice the different ways in which a sailor hat may be worn. It may adorn the back of the head like a halo, or it may form an acute angle with the line of the nose produced. These are the two extremes, but there are various other positions which it may occupy, and for our own part we would recommend the horizontal as the most becoming.
The introduction of weekly swimming classes at Vestry Street and Bath Lane led to the formation in 1912 of the School Swimming Club:
Swimming Many of us have long wished for a School Swimming Club and this Term our wishes have at last been realised. The formation of the club has caused a great deal of extra work for the Staff, but we all thoroughly appreciate the trouble they have taken to make it a success. Every Friday the Senior School goes to Vestry Street Baths and the Junior School to Bath Lane. The popularity of the swimming in the school is evident from the fact that on a Friday afternoon at Vestry Street, it is impossible to find a vacant dressing-box. Marked progress in Swimming has been made under our instructress, Madam Jarvis. The majority of girls who joined the club were unable to swim at the beginning of the Term, but there are now very few who cannot venture at least a few strokes, and several very promising swimmers are to be found both in the Senior and Junior Schools. The girls able to swim have been very helpful and unselfish in assisting beginners. G. SPENCER, VI. 1912 A member of the Missionary Settlements for University Women in India spoke to some of the older girls and as a result a branch of the Society was formed at the School in November 1912. This year was also the first time the School could boast the acquisition of both the Tennis and the Hockey Challenge Shields in one year and they were proudly displayed in the Entrance Hall.
Tennis Challenge Shield, 1912
M. Collier, E. Lee, G. Spencer, M. Oxley
Competitions were still an important part of the contribution made by the Gazette to school life and one that appeared that year asked for the design and working of a badge for the tennis four, which had to be in navy blue and white, the colours of the hat-band. Another competition requested the composition of a poem on the fire drill. The former produced many beautifully finished badges, the designs of which were amalgamated into a badge for the tennis champions. The latter inspired some delightful poetry:
Firedrill One bright morning in the summer, When the sun with all his brilliance Lighted up each nook and corner, Lighted up each room and passage, In the school-house grand and mighty, Suddenly, upon the stillness, On the stillness of the morning, Broke a sound of well-known warning, As of distant rumbling thunder. 'Tis the fire-gong! 'tis the fire-gong! Instantly the school awakens, Instantly work is abandoned, And at once the door is opened, And at once we close the windows. Meanwhile all the rest are walking, Walking quickly to the staircase, There is no noise or confusion, In a single line we go out, At the end the Mistress follows, The red register she carries.
Down the broad wide stair we hurry, 'Cross the stone-flagged hall we follow, Till at last into the sunshine. In the sunshine of the morning, All the school is soon assembled. We arrange ourselves in neat groups, In fixed places in the garden. Then the Mistress who was teaching Us, when out boomed the big fire-gong, The red register she opens, And our names aloud are called out, And we answer when our turn comes, So that she will know that we are All assembled in the open. Then once more the mighty fire-gong Booms aloud a different meaning, Telling us to tum and march in, Back again into our classrooms, Where we soon resume the lesson, That was broken in the middle. N. GREENLESS, IIIB, 1912
The possibility of new buildings for the Wyggeston Girls' School had been discussed by the Governors as early as 1911 but were temporarily shelved in favour of alterations to the existing premises: an extra storey comprising five new classrooms; a new Domestic Science building to be erected on the site of two cottages adjacent to the School on Clarence Street; extensive additions to the girls' offices and other minor improvements. The total cost of this was estimated at ÂŁ5,000. While these changes were in progress the School spent a cramped and eventful Summer Term in the Vaughan Working Men's College and St. Nicholas' School:
Some Humours of the Situation SUMMER TERM, 1913. This wearisome and trying term has not had an uninterrupted course of sheer monotony. From time to time situations have occurred which have compensated for hours of dissatisfaction and dullness. One day, quite at the beginning of the term, the mistress on duty in the early afternoon was surprised by seeing a hot, distracted looking man in cycling clothes gazing wildly round the Entrance Hall. She enquired his object, and he replied, "I want to see the animals". "What animals?" was the rejoinder. "Oh! Any animals there are. I am told this is the Museum and the only place of interest in the town." The next excitement was a real fire. This occurred in St. Nicholas' School, in III B room. Unfortunately there was no chance of showing the perfection of our Fire Drill, for we had no gong to sound, and the fire was quickly extinguished by the gas being turned off at the meter. However, it formed a topic of conversation for many days. The music mistresses have perhaps not fully appreciated the humour of giving music lessons in a corner of the large cloakroom, surrounded by boots and coats, and invariably refreshed during the early part of the day by a savoury smell of frizzling bacon and escaping gas from the gas-stove. But when one of the staff was locked into St. Nicholas' School at 1-15, and only got out after unlocking five gates or doors, she so much enjoyed relating her adventure that the culprit who had unwittingly locked her in was only lightly reprimanded.
The Sixth Form have had many vicissitudes. Their earliest resting (?) place was next to the Drill Hall, and the floor was incessantly heaving up and down. Work was impossibility and they adjourned to a small upstairs cloak-room. Here life was perilous, for, whenever the door was opened from outside, the blackboard fell heavily on to both mistress and girls. They moved from there to another cloakroom, where work has gone on very steadily. The early days are still remembered when despairing mistresses tore wildly round enquiring "Where are the Sixth Form now?" The Head Mistress must have felt that the limit of human endurance had been reached when she tried to read the weekly list in one Form whilst another lesson was going on behind a curtain, trams were passing outside, the Great Central Railway trains were shunting and engines whistling near, and that particular hour was the time the dustmen chose to come to empty the dust-bins just below the window! GAZETTE, 1913 After this many were relieved to return "home", anxious to discover what had been going on in their absence. The Editorial of the December Gazette, 1913 summed up the girls' reactions to what they found:
Editorial We are all delighted to be back in our own building. On the first morning the truth of the saying, "Great minds think alike," was strikingly demonstrated. Two remarks were heard everywhere, delivered with an air of conscious originality, It's quite different," and "It's not a bit the same". It was indeed a thrilling moment when we discovered in the Drill Hall the staircase which led to a new classroom, a changed Art Room, and a Botany Room. Another flight of stairs went still higher, and we found on exploring that it led to three more classrooms. Downstairs we found the Lecture Hall equipped with desks ~ indeed, almost all the rooms in the School had been altered. Everywhere there was electric light, and a new cloakroom had appeared. In one of the classes part of the new plaster came off on to the dress of the unfortunate girl who sat next to it; otherwise we settled down quite calmly. We were all much excited about the Domestic building across the play-ground. It was not finished at the very beginning of the term, but when we did see over it we found it well worth waiting to inspect its glories.
Humberstone Gate - A Senior Form Room
The furnished rooms were delightful; and there was much speculation as to whether girls who were ill in school would be sent to lie down in the bedroom! Since then Housewifery has been engaging the attention of many of the girls, and sympathetic friends have been regaled with rock cakes and tarts. Boys!! ... Boys?? ... It was decided by the Governing Body that boys should be admitted to the Junior Department of the Wyggeston Girls' School. Whatever would they think of next?
1913 was also the first year in which pupils from the county could enter the School. A certain number of places were reserved each year for girls living in Leicester and the County Council paid ÂŁ3 per head towards their education. From now on, however, if some of the places were not required by them they could be used by the Borough Council for girls from further afield. The Borough Council then assumed the financial responsibility for these pupils. By that time the total number of pupils in the School had risen to over 5()(). As pupils came into the School from outlying areas, dinners were provided for a few of them by Mrs. Tebbutt, the caretaker's wife.
Once the School was re-established in its changed buildings a new course was set up: We began a Secretarial Course, which proved both popular and successful, but a doubtful joy to the Staff and myself when the typing-room door was left ajar! S. HERON, 1938 The Prize Day that year was held privately at the School as the Governors had decided to hold a public distribution only on alternate years. We were interested to note that the School hymn-"Now thank we all our God"- was sung on this occasion. The new buildings were not the only additions to the School: The School has had some very acceptable presents this term from kind friends. Alderman North, the Chairman of the Governors presented the badges which are worn by the Foundation Scholars. The badges are of silver, a straight bar with the Wyggeston crest in the middle. Mr. G. C. Turner, another of our Governors, has given us a most beautiful book on Alpine Flowers. On "Parent's Day", Mr. H. H. Peach offered to give a present to the School as we were having a house-warming, and the choice between a chair and a picture is left to Miss Heron. We most heartily appreciate these generous gifts, and wish to express our thanks in this way.
This photograph has been taken from the Games Album, first begun in 1913.
We are very fortunate in being able to include extracts from a letter we received from an Old Girl which gives us a more personal link with the Wyggeston Junior School at this time: In those days I attended the Junior School, and I well remember it was a beautiful house in Friar Lane. We had a large open glowing coke fire in my classroom and always felt wonderfully warm. Discipline was extremely good, unruly behaviour just did not happen, a reprimand from the teacher quickly brought to heel anyone caught committing any small misdemeanour and, if repeated, a report to our much loved and respected Headmistress, Miss Heron, plus a black mark on our report, and having to stand in a corner of the room with our back to the class made us feel duly subdued. We respected our teachers and gave the majority of them our childish affection; our school days were happy and our desire, where possible, was to gain the teachers' approbation by giving our best work, though heaven knows our best must have seemed pretty hopeless at times. The days always commenced in the big Gymnasium, we had prayers and sang a few hymns, then had a short Bible
reading followed by physical exercises. We then lined up out-side our various classrooms for our teacher to arrive, roll-call was taken, and we commenced the lessons scheduled for the day. Of course, we all had our favourite teachers. Which child does not? A universal favourite -I can name after 63 years-was Miss Florence Marston, small and grey-haired. She usually took botany and nature study and had the gift of being able to hold one's attention and even making the study of a moth enthralling to a young mind. Then there was Miss Selby; we were all in awe of Miss Selby. She was a personification of the Maiden Lady of those days. She would arrive like a ship in full sail in, usually, a tight waisted navy serge sixgored skirt sweeping the ground-a lady did not show her black wool garbed ankles in 1913-a high corseted bosom beneath a spotless well-fitting blouse with a net collar containing a collar support of whalebone each side reaching up to her ears; her hair was brushed severely back and coiled in a neat bun on top of her head, and a pair of rolled gold eyeglasses perched on her nose completed the picture. Any small divergence from the strict discipline she expected called forth her righteous displeasure. She would look through her rolled gold eyeglasses on the offender and the more angry she became the higher rose the cadence of her voice. We did not often offend. Once I saw her in her hat. A stiff biscuitcoloured straw sailor encircled with a garland of scarlet poppies. We never laughed at Miss Selby, but I still remember the wild desire I had to giggle. Miss Selby was a good teacher dedicated to her work. Our school uniform consisted of a navy serge kilted skirt, white shirt blouse and hard straw Boater worn with the blue and white striped band with the Wyggeston Badge at the front. Underneath our kilts we nearly all wore woollen combinations and navy fleecy-lined bloomers, long black ribbed woollen stockings. I remember how I envied the few girls who wore plain black botany wool stockings. I thought they were the very essence of smartness when compared with my wool ribs. MONA K. N. LEWIS (MISS)
Junior School Garden
On to 1914:
New School Pictures When the school was reopened last September with additional rooms, the barrenness of the walls was so great that it was felt some effort must be made to secure pictures. Consequently a Fancy Dress Dance was arranged, which took place on November 29th. The proceeds, as mentioned in the December Gazette, realised ÂŁ11 15s. Many suggestions for pictures were given in, and a small committee was appointed to select. This was no easy task, as the number possible was so limited and the range to select from so vast. Miss Heron, Miss Burton, Miss Ready and myself met in London during the Christmas holidays, and after visiting three Art-shops, made the final choice. The collection is very varied, and all the pictures are reproductions of masterpieces of world fame; four are coloured Medici Prints and the others monochromes. A.M.G., 1914 It was now three years since the introduction of straw sailor hats and Miss Heron offered a prize for the best simple recipe for cleaning them (no poisonous chemical to be used!). The competition, run by the Gazette, was open to everyone in the School: There were 39 entries, chiefly from Forms VI, L VI, IV B, and III A. Forms L V and III B were unrepresented, and a stricter supervision will therefore be exercised in future over the cleanliness of their hats! A Hat-Examiner has been appointed on the Staff, and hats will be periodically inspected on the cloakroom pegs. It is hoped that it may not be necessary to read out at Prayers the names of girls wearing hats that are black, grey, speckled, or of any hue other than white. Two sisters came up with particularly ingenious ideas:
Recipes for cleaning a Straw Hat INGREDIENTS:
One dirty white straw school sailor hat Half a juicy lemon A little salt A little luke-warm water A breezy day
METHOD: Take the hat and brush it well with a clothes brush to remove the dust. Then rub the lemon well into the salt, and apply the lemon and salt to the hat and rub well. When the salt on the lemon has all been rubbed off and the hat is not yet satisfactorily clean, repeat the process. Then remove the lemon and salt with as little water as possible and place the hat to dry on a flat surface in the open air. N.B. It is advisable to remove any hatband or trimming from the hat before applying the salt and lemon. NESSIE GREENLEES, IV A. 1914 To clean a hat of plaited straw, Choose one that's not in tatters, For you will want it good as new; Is that not all that matters?
Now hang the hat where breezes blow, Where warmly shines the sun, And there the hat will quickly dry, Your task will soon be done.
First choose a day with skies of blue, With breeze both cool and bright, While snow-white clouds so gracefully Pass o'er in peaceful flight.
Remember well to use good soap, And not to soak the hat, For that will soften all the glue And make the brim fall flat.
Now take a bowl of water warm, Not hot, nor yet too cold; And take a brush with bristles hard, A nail brush not too old.
Now cooks in books do give advice Concerning all their dishes, Of how to cook the meat quite brown, And how to try the fishes.
Small strength it takes to scrub it well, The sooner done the better. And now be careful that you've done This to the very letter.
My recipe is simply this, (I've given it far and near): To buy a hat each summer-term, And make it last the year. MAMIE GREENLEES, LVI 1914
Life was not all fun for the School or for others at this time. The threat of war that had been growing over the previous years became a reality in August 1914 and the December issue of the Gazette carried the following message to the pupils:
Lord Robert's Message The late Field-Marshal Earl Roberts addressed the following message to the youngest citizens of the widespread British Empire: CHILDREN OF THE EMPIRE: You have all heard of the war; you have all heard of the fighting forces sent from every part of the Empire to help the Mother Country. Why are we fighting? Because the British Empire does not break its promises, nor will it allow small nations to be bullied. Now, the British Government promised, with all the Great Powers of Europe, including Germany. that no army should set foot on the territory of the little nation of Belgium without her leave; in other words, she "guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium". Germany, however, was bent on war, and on dominating other nations. Britain did her best to keep the peace, but Germany (breaking her word) marched her armies into Belgium to try and conquer France. Children of the Empire, this is why we are at war-to hold our promise, to help our friends, and to keep the Flag of Liberty flying, not only over our own Empire, but over the whole world. GOD SAVE OUR KING AND EMPIRE. The School responded to this call in many different ways: When the war cloud burst in the sad early days of August, the one thought in the mind of every patriotic man, woman, and child within this realm must have been (to adapt the memorable words of the late Lord Roberts), "What is the most useful thing I can do at this moment?" Naturally our Soldiers and Sailors came first, and we were glad to give up our Senior School party that the money might be spent instead on mufflers, body-belts, woollen helmets, and cardigan jackets for Leicester troops going to the front. Many parcels and packing-cases of "comforts" have also been sent to the Navy League and the "Dreadnought", to Lady French for the Troops, and to several Field Telegraphists and Signallers at Luton. We have also collected story-books, games, playing-cards, and magazines for the 5th Northern Hospital, for men at Aldershot, for the Y.M.C.A. Recreation Camp at the White City and the V.A.D. Convalescent Hospital, at Knighton. After some searching we also found some French story-books and magazines for Belgian wounded soldiers now in Leicester Hospital. A philanthropic gentleman in London asked us for golf jerseys of any colour, which he undertook to dye khaki, and we managed to send him a substantial parcel. But two other channels of work seemed open, one to help our brave allies, the Belgian refugees, and the other to clothe our own poor children whose parents are in difficulties owing to the war. For our Belgian visitors we have collected clothes, and we are pledged to contribute 12/-per week towards the maintenance of some children in one of the "Belgian houses". For this, we put our contributions weekly in a money-box in the Entrance Hall. For the War Relief Committee we have a work-party in each Form week by week, and we then make and mend clothes for poor children. In the dinner-hour we have knitted many dish cloths, or "wipes for the soldiers' faces", besides making pincushions and needlebooks for sale, the proceeds to be used to buy Christmas toys for the Cottage Homes. The above is written in no spirit of self-praise, but we think readers of the Gazette, both past and present pupils, will be interested to know the outline of the ways in which we have been busy and happy in trying to be of a little use to others this Term. GAZETTE, 1914
1915: Very few of us, at the outbreak of the war, anticipated that a second school year would open with its clouds still hanging over us. In various ways the school has endeavoured "to do its little bit" towards helping forward the cause of our country. This year we felt it would be unsuitable to have the prizes as usual, so we determined to forego them, thereby helping others less fortunate than ourselves and practising that very necessary quality-economy. This small self-sacrifice will testify, we hope, to the patriotism and loyal devotion of the girls of the Wyggeston School.
This patriotic spirit continued to find expression in other ways. Some girls helped in the wards of the Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital at Knighton House and occasionally an evening of entertainment was provided by the pupils for the patients. The following item shows that the girls discovered another more unusual way of contributing to the war effort:
Vests for Belgian Soldiers A most ingenious plan for making warm undervests of linen or sateen, lined with old kid gloves, was invented by a society in London, and we have collected and sent to this society over 450 pairs of gloves (filling two sacks!), We also sent money towards the making of the vests, each of which costs 1/-. As the Secretary of the Ladies' Territorial Association says, "Each 1/-provides work for a woman and warmth for a man", The academic life of the School continued in spite of conditions imposed by the war. The lease of the Junior School building in Friar Lane ran out on 1 August 1915 and alternative accommodation was found at II The Newarke:
The Junior School Even in an old town like Leicester there are still a few quiet spots, and the Newarke is one. That part is very old, as you easily can see if you walk round and look at the two arches, and a building called the Castle. Then, as you go the round, there is the Chantry House, next door to our School. All round the house there is an old wall, with an iron gate which was made in the time when people enjoyed making such things. Inside the House you see the beautifully carved staircase, from which there open three classrooms, and the library is one of them. There is in Form I. a white marble mantelpiece, supposed to be one of the first brought to England. Downstairs, along a passage to the left, there are several classrooms, and in one of them there are some secret cupboards hidden in the panelling. Along another passage there are three rooms built out into the garden. At the end of the garden you notice the ancient wall that borders St. Mary's Church, and looks as if the stones were fitted together like a puzzle. R. HARRIS (aged 10), 1916 For a time St. Mary's Vicarage was also used for members of the Junior School and playing fields were obtained at Aylestone and in the Wyggeston Hospital Grounds so that every pupil could have an opportunity of joining in organised games.
Games in The Wyggeston Hospital Grounds
Other changes were less evident to the public but equally important to the School:
Latin Plays An epoch in the history of the School was marked on Thursday, July 8th, in the performance by the girls, for the first time within the memory of anyone now connected with the School, of Latin Plays. It was an ambitious attempt, but the result was so successful that Miss Cumming is to be very warmly congratulated.
Rounders This year the School has taken up the game of Rounders and found it most successful. It is a game which is now played at Bedford Physical Training College. Many of the girls were inclined to despise it and think it decidedly beneath their dignity to play such a childish game, but they soon discovered that there is a considerable amount of skill required to play the game. It is no easy matter to hit the ball squarely and at the same time to place it and avoid sending a catch straight into the hands of a fielder. The bat for hitting the ball is about one foot long, not counting the handle, it is round and measures about one-and-a-half inches in diameter. The fielding requires the girls to be quick and on the alert the whole time. Great judgment and speed of decision are called into play. In a second a fielder has to decide out of perhaps three or four things which is the best to do. If she does not decide immediately all opportunities are lost. Their prowess was soon tested: A solemn silence reigns: for the first time in the history of the School, the Staff meet the Girls in the fierce conflict of a Rounders Match. At each of the four posts stands a fielder in attitude of strict attention; from within the little chalked square the bowler eyes silently the opposing team, and in the background hover other fielders, chosen for their skill in marking the unwary batsman. The silence is broken. The bowler having settled at exactly what portion of the batsman's anatomy she shall aim, in order to avoid a "no ball", throws. With one fell swoop the unlucky batsman hits "nothing" right to the boundary, and the shock caused by contact with nothing produces, for the moment, much bewilderment in the batsman's mind. Shall she run? Of course, she must run. Well, shall she take the bat with her? No, 'tis best to leave the bat, for having hit nothing right to the boundary, it is safe to assume that the fielders will have some trouble in finding it and throwing it back to the bowler. Now she has decided: flinging away the bat she rushes to the nearest Pod. Alas! halfway there she is seized by a horrible misgiving. Has she in that wild rejection of the bat materially damaged the spectators? If not, whence that wild howl which grows in fury? Convulsively she lurches towards the post, and there with one hand hidden stands a fielder, leaning forward in a menacing attitude, triumph in her eyes. Why does that howl grow louder as she nears the desired Pod, the batsman wonders, and in sudden silence comes the answer, and for the first time she feels and sees clearly the ball she should have hit. Such is the game of Rounders, and of such incidents was that memorable match composed, in which on June 24th, after a fierce struggle against valorous opponents, the Girls returned the conquerors by 19 rounders to 9. L. STIBBE, VI. 1915 The war continued on into 1916 as did the School's war work:
My First Lesson in Munition-Making I had looked forward with great excitement to my first lesson in munition-making. When it was time for the lesson I went, with several more girls, full of excitement and curiosity, to the munition-room, out of which issued strange humming noises, and sometimes a vigorous hammering. We opened the door and the first things I noticed were the long ribbons of belting attached to many machines which were fixed on a long bench against the wall. There was another bench in the centre of the room on which were boxes of empty cartridges ready to be fitted with the wooden dummy-bullets used for practice in rifle-loading. I attired myself in a blue Chemistry pinafore, which must have been made originally for a girl of eleven or twelve, for the sleeves came only a few inches below my elbows. I was then taken to the machine which made the wooden bullet. I was instructed how to work it, and then left to myself to make the bullets. I proceeded slowly at first, spoiling a few, but gradually I made them quicker and of a better shape.
After what seemed to me only a few minutes we were told that it was time to go, and found we had actually been working for two hours. We took off our pinafores and went to wash ourselves, dirty, yet happy, and myself the proud possessor of a big blister on my thumb to show how hard I had worked at my first lesson. M. HALLAM, VI. B. 1916 Other efforts, in which the School became involved, included starting a branch of the War Savings Association, the VIth Form helping as teachers at a local orphanage and the "No Sweets League" whose members put their pocket-money towards Christmas puddings for the men at the Front rather than spend it on themselves. The Juniors joined in where they could and had their own ways of practising economy:
Some Thrift Hints from the Junior School "We can save by not having so many chocolates, sweets, and fancy cakes." "We need only take one lump of sugar in our tea, and we must not give our dog sugar." "Mothers need not put so much butter on the bread, and we should not have butter when we are having jam." "We can save by not leaving any milk at the bottom of the glass, or any fat on our plates at dinner." "We can darn our old clothes instead of having new ones, and try not to wear through our clothes so quickly." "There is no need to leave the gas on while we are out of the room, or to make up a big fire at bed-time," "We should not go to the Picture-house, or spend our money on other useless things." "We can use less ink and paint at school, and not take more cotton than we need off the reel." "We must try not to worry our parents, in case we make them ill, and they would have to pay for the Doctor." GAZETTE,1916 The enthusiasm of the Juniors continued and in 1917 the rest of the School joined with them in turning the Junior School grounds into vegetable gardens:
Gardening at the Junior School So much has been said and written about the necessity of providing food for the nation, that we decided that the garden at the Junior School must be used for growing vegetables. Last year Miss Wadland began to cultivate it, and the border in front of the house was filled with plants brought by the children. With ruthless hands we dug up all merely ornamental plants in one half of the border and prepared the ground, The small trees in the front garden were cleared out and the soil dug over and left rough in order that the frost might get into it, and do much of our work for us, then, when the weather changed, we set to work. A force of sixty willing gardeners was available, many of them provided with all the necessary tools. The work was hard and tiring, but there was never any difficulty in getting girls to do it. We also dug up one end of the back garden and planted there Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, mustard and cress, parsley and carrots. In front we planted eighteen rows of potatoes, as we felt they ought to be the main crop; the kinds are "British Queen" and "King Edward". We hope to sell our produce for use at the school dinners, and we feel very hopeful at present that there will be a good trade done. We have had many presents from the parents of the girls, from Mr. Stevenson seed-potatoes, and from others cabbages, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, etc. E.M.B., 1917 When the Government announced that the available food would probably only last the country from three to four weeks, the Central War Agricultural Committee for the County of Leicestershire was brought into being. The county was to break up 60,000 acres of land for the growing of wheat and to do this the Committee required maps showing acreage of fields and enclosures. The Wyggeston Girls went to work:
Food Production The girls had to go to the District Surveyor's Office, and it has occupied several weeks, working both morning and afternoon. Only girls from the Upper and Middle School were considered old enough to help.
This work is of great importance, and all who have assisted have the satisfaction of knowing they have done something of value when their country was making every effort to increase the food supplies. When the work began, 25-inch Ordnance Survey Maps (Scale 1/2,530) were given out; on these maps every parcel of land had a survey number and the acreage; if these were not given, the particulars had to be looked up in the records. The figures had to be copied from these maps on to 6-inch Ordnance Survey Maps (Scale 1/10,560). It was very easy to make a mistake when working on such a different scale; and on the 6-inch map there was a yellow line in the first series which now and then led some astray. In many cases it was found that land had been divided up differently, or new streets made since the 6inch maps were printed, and all these details had to be marked in on the maps. We found many difficulties when trying to note all the changes that have taken place on the "New Estate" and other districts which have altered much in the last few years. This set of maps is being used by various Committees appointed by the Agricultural Board, and from these and other records they will decide which land is most suitable to be ploughed in preparation for next year's harvest. E.H.M., 1917 The Editorial of the July 1917 Gazette sums up the extent of the School's involvement in the service of its country:
Editorial We feel that the war-work done this term by the girls has been a great success. Although we ceased making munitions after Whitsuntide, hospital mending still goes on every afternoon with great energy. A new departure this term is the Pound Day which is held every Thursday, when each Form in turn brings groceries, fruit, eggs, etc. for the V.A.D. Hospital at Evington. But perhaps the most interesting of our war charities is the support of a naval prisoner-of-war in Germany, named Mr. Head. The collections made every week in our box for him have so far been very regular and generous. Form IV B has already written to him, and we are hoping in the future to hear from him. The restrictions imposed on the School by the war meant that some things had to be curtailed, at least for the duration, and these included outside matches for the games' teams and even the meetings of the Old Pupils' Association had to "do battle" without tea to sustain them. Mrs. Fielding Johnson was one of the members of the Governing Body who took an active interest in the girls and their work and it was with obvious sorrow that the Gazette published the following obituary:
In Memoriam By the passing away of Mrs. Fielding Johnson, our School has lost one of its best and oldest friends, one whose memory will always be regarded with love and gratitude. A member of the Governing Body from the opening of the School in 1878 till its transfer to the Borough Education Committee in 1909, Mrs. Johnson's was no mere nominal appointment, for she took real interest in a very practical way in all that concerned the Girls' School. One of her special hobbies was to encourage the teaching of Plain Needlework, and each year she visited the school with her fellow Lady Governors, and spent a very arduous morning in examining the finished garments done by the girls. She awarded Needlework Prizes annually, until the war stopped the giving of book-prizes, and since then she has very kindly given the prize money as usual, and allowed us to devote it to war-schemes. The last payment was sent just four weeks before her death, enclosed in a very cordial and kind letter wishing the school all good things in the future. Many Old Pupils will feel gratitude and respect to Mrs. Johnson's memory when they look at her "Glimpses of Ancient Leicester", a copy of which for many years she has presented to every girl leaving from the Senior Forms. In each copy she wrote a few words, and she never forgot to enquire shortly before Term ended, how many books would be needed for those leaving school. That book was a source of pleasure to very many, perhaps especially to those who had never had the luck to win a Prize, as they felt it was "like having a prize". GAZETTE, 1918
In 1918 the war showed no signs of coming to an end but the determination of the pupils to "do their bit" remained as strong as ever:
Editorial This is now the tenth issue of the Gazette since the outbreak of the war, and we feel the moment is opportune for taking a brief survey of the present condition of our school life. Our enforced inability as schoolgirls to take any active part in the great struggle may in some measure be compensated for by our willingness in undertaking any work, however trivial, within our power for the furtherance of the Great Venture. Especially in the support of our Prisoners of War do we feel that something of real importance is being done. We must indeed congratulate the Junior School upon undertaking to adopt one prisoner independently of the Senior School. It was with great appreciation that we heard Rev. F. R. C. Payne's account of the work of the Leicester Prisoners of War Fund, which he kindly gave us on 31st October.
Ration Books In March 1918, 220,000 National Ration Books for meat, bacon, butter, lard and sugar were issued. For this purpose 60 clerks were temporarily employed in Leicester and were assisted by pupils from the Wyggeston Girls' School. Not all the projects undertaken at this time were directed towards the war effort as this article written by a young member of the School illustrates:
"Farthing Bundles" We think some girls may not have heard of a very interesting school in the East End of London, to which some of the very poorest children go. During last term we collected for this school (The Fern Street School Settlement, as it is called) a number of various little trifles, such as little pieces of stuff which could be made into doll's clothes, etc.; or little beaks, or games, or anything of that kind. Altogether we got quite a number of things. When the things reach the Settlement, they are made into little "Farthing Bundles", and every child can come to buy one on Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. All the children have to "show hands" before they can have their bundle, just to see if they are clean. A short time ago the school had a visit from the Queen, which all the children enjoyed immensely, although some of them, as the Queen herself said, seemed a little disappointed that she had not her crown on. E. POTTER, III B. 1918 With the benefit of hindsight, it seems extremely ironic that after overcoming the restrictions imposed by the war for so long it was in July 1918 that the following sentence appeared in the Gazette: We regret to state that after this number the Gazette will cease to appear, at least for the duration of the war, owing to the scarcity of paper and increased cost of labour. Looking back some time after the war had finished, a member of staff stressed the invaluable contribution Miss Heron made to the way the School had coped through the conditions of those four years: During that time of stress, which told so heavily on the girls as well as on the staff, she kept that balance and calmness which has always been characters tic of her. Everyone who worked with her during that time must owe her a deep debt of gratitude for the way in which she helped all under her to "carryon". The actual war-work done in the School, important as it was, was less so than the maintaining of sanity and steadfastness in those difficult days. E.A.R., 1927
We have attempted to show some of the ways the Wyggeston Girls' School responded to the circumstances created by the war but the following letter which we received from a member of the School at that time gives us an idea of the everyday routine which continued in the background:
One Old Wyggestonian's Memory I was born on Christmas Eve 1906, one of 8 children, 6 girls and 2 boys. The 6 girls went to the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls and the 2 boys went to the Wyggeston Boys' School. I mention the Boys' School as 5 out of the 6 girls married Wyggeston Boys. One sister is dead, but we others all remember the old school days. We lived in Anstey and so we had to travel the 5 miles to Leicester. There are lots of stories. I could tell of the journeys, either walking over the old gorse or by walking to Glenfield and getting on the train to West Bridge and walking to the Junior School which was in the building that is now a museum (Newarke Houses). I started in Transition A under the Headship of Miss Mary Heron, sister of the Head of the Senior School. After a year I went to the Senior School in Humberstone Gate. Do you remember Mr. Tebbutt the caretaker? Miss Sarah Heron was Headmistress. Miss Bolton was Second Head and I remember her for introducing me to the works of Dickens and for the acting we used to do for the people living in the Wyggeston Hospital, Hinckley Road, In the summer we played tennis in the grounds there. Remember the two Miss Burtons?-little Miss Lucy teaching French. There were three Miss Lees teaching at the School. My mind is hazy about the 1914-1918 war, but we were looked after by the good teachers and we felt safe in their care. Miss Racham took us for Latin and I remember that she told us that over the School Gateway in Humberstone Gate was William Wyggeston's motto "Date eleemosynam et ecce omnia munda sunt vobis" which didn't make much sense to me then (translation of motto-"Give alms and behold all things are clean unto you"), and I also learnt "amo, amas, amat" and "bellum, belli", There was a house across the school-yard where we did cookery and there were music rooms (remember Miss Mills the music teacher?) Gym was simple under Miss Hudson but we did have a wooden horse and wall bars and ropes to climb. The School tunic of navy was 2 inches off the floor when kneeling. We wore quite long navy knickers and long black stockings kept up by suspenders attached to a liberty bodice - bras weren't invented. We had a dance at Christmas-no males but good refreshments and we danced Sir Roger de Coverly and very daringly the polka. We had to wear gloves and carriages were announced for us to go home. Miss York taught us maths and we had exams-written on green paper-each week after half-term. The Prize Days were at the De Montfort Hall which was newly built. I left school in 1922 as my mother died. I have had 2 daughters and 10 nieces and 3 grand-daughters at the School, so that I keep in touch. ANNIE ELIZABETH CUFFLIN (NEE PALMER) From 1918 external examinations for pupils in state-aided secondary schools were limited by the Board of Education to the first (or School Certificate) and the second (or Higher School Certificate) examinations of eight examining bodies, seven of them of university origin, approved by the Board. The standard of the examinations was maintained throughout the boards by a Secondary School Examinations Council. The School Certificate was taken by pupils of about 16 years of age who had completed the Upper Vth Form course. At this time the Board required whole forms to be present, not just selected pupils (this was altered in 1928). Also at first the Certificate was awarded on an overall assessment of performances in at least five subjects covering three groups: (i) English, history, geography and scripture; (ii) languages; and (iii) mathematics and sciences. The "credit" or "higher pass" in individual subjects was designed to be equivalent to the previous "pass" grade in various subjects at matriculation level. It was thus hoped that universities and professional bodies would accept the School Certificate instead of their own entrance tests.
The Higher School Certificate was taken two years later at the end of the Upper VIth Form course. It was a specialist examination since the candidate had to confine his main subjects to one of four groups: (i) classics; (ii) modern studies; (iii) mathematics; and (iv) mathematics and the sciences. It was intended that these examinations should be used by the Local Education Authorities to award their university entrance scholarships and, later, the state scholarships, whereby students were aided financially to further their education. Oxford and Cambridge however, continued to bestow their own scholarships after entrance examinations had been taken. In order to meet the demand for places at the Junior School the Education Committee decided to lease Number 9 The Newarke. Miss Thornton, Head of the Junior School from 1937 to its close, has drawn together some reminiscences from those days: The house in the Newarke where Thomas Wyggeston once lived was a Tudor building. Our class-rooms had, I think, the original and very uneven Tudor-polished floors and some had panelling. The garden where we had break etc. was a lovely walled place with grass and cobbled paths. A large tree (an Ash?) which was a base for many games was still there a few years ago. Once a week Miss Heron came over from Humberstone Gate in full majesty and all the black marks were read out in public. Punishments-the worst one was to have to sign one's name in the Black Book: 3 signatures = 1 detention. In addition we could win excellents for written work and these were signed by the members of staff concerned and also read out as were Honours marks in examinations. One vivid memory: we had to learn all the dates of the Kings and Queens of England from 1066. As each mastered the task she was presented with a small exercise book covered in very gay paper which we had to keep as an anthology book in which we had to copy out all the poems we learned. The actual transfer to the Senior School was very formal. We all assembled at the Newarke House and were shepherded, in crocodile, by the gym mistress across to Humberstone Gate. Here we were formally received, relegated to our various rooms and taken on tour of the, to us, huge new building by senior prefects.
1919: In June, Leicester was gaily decorated for the visit of King George and Queen Mary, and the Wyggeston Schools were honoured by the presentation to Their Majesties of the Headmaster and Headmistress at the De Montfort Hall. This Hall now became the regular scene of our Speech Days and was a welcome change from the gloom of the Temperance Hall and the insufficient space of the Association Hall; bookprizes, voluntarily given up during the War, were once again awarded. S. HERON, 1938 Two years later there was another change in the ceremony attached to Speech Day:
An Innovation in 1922 Speech Day. The distribution of prizes followed. There was one important innovation; instead of our usual bows, we made neat little curtsies, which enabled us to fix our eyes on Miss Stephen while we said "Thank you", and also ensured an upright carriage. Dramatic work had always been a feature of the School's interests, from the days of Miss Leicester's "At Homes" to more recent entertainments laid on to raise money for the war effort. In 1922 a voluntary Dramatic Society was formed in the Upper School and the first play produced was "The Tempest" which was performed on 17 March 1923. This was followed in successive years by such productions as "She Stoops to Conquer" and "The Merchant of Venice". In 1922 the finances of the School were reviewed and changes which were accepted by the Education Committee affected both the Headmistress and her pupils. The salary paid to Miss Heron of£750 per annum was raised to £800 with yearly increments of£25 (as compared with that of Mr. T. Kingdom,
Headmaster of the Wyggeston Boys' School, which was increased from £950 to £1,050). The tuition fees for pupils had hitherto risen with the age of the child as set out in the table below:
WYGGESTON SCHOOLS -TUITION FEES Girls' School £8/0/0 £10/0/0 £12/0/0
Under 10 years of age 10 to 12 years of age Over 12 years of age
Boys' School: £10/10/0 £12/12/0 £15/15/0
From the Autumn Term 1923 they became a uniform £12 a year for all members of the Girls' School and at the Boys School the £10/10/0 level was raised to £12/12/0. The additional income received from these changes went mainly towards paying the rates. The idea of a new building for the Wyggeston Girls' School had originally been broached in 1913 but the Governors had opted to add an extension to the existing buildings instead. As the reputation of the Wyggeston grew, the real necessity for larger buildings became more apparent. Plans for a Boys' School were drawn up as early as 19/5, the site to be the 12 acres between Regent Road, De Montfort Street extension, Lancaster Road and Victoria Road (now University Road) which was at that time taken up by the Alderman Newton Boys' School playing fields and allotment gardens. In 1915 the Education Committee agreed to pay an annual sum ~r£493/I2/0for 60 years in respect of the transfer of this land from the Estate Committee of the Council. The estimated cost of the building, plus furniture and equipment was £37,693. Several sites were considered for a new Girls' School including the land between Victoria Park Road and Victoria Road which had been left to the Education Committee by Mr. Fielding Johnson. It was probably the acquisition of this property which led to a decision by the Committee whereby the Boys' School woul4 make use of the endowment leaving the Regent Road site free for the building of a new Girls' School. The 1915 plans for the Boys' School were to be used for the Girls' incorporating only minor adaptations. This is probably why the Girls' School had a large number of science laboratories when the subject was not a common one for young ladies to study. Several form rooms in the lower corridor of the building were built smaller than others and these were to be used for the Junior School with a hall nearby for their assembly and dining area. The new building was to house 680 girls and in 1924 the cost of the school including furniture and equipment was estimated at £86,809. Owing to a decision to employ an outside firm of surveyors the cost rose to £89,500 in 1925. It was particularly important that the Regent Road building be erected without delay as the premises in Humberstone Gate were required by the City Boys' School. This School was accommodated at that time in hired buildings, the tenancy of which was to expire at Michaelmas, 1926.
The Ceremony of Laying the Foundation Stone of the Wyggeston School, 1926 On October 27th, 1926, Sir Jonathan North laid the foundation stone of the new building for the School in Regent Road… The ceremony began at three o'clock, and by ten minutes to three we were all mustered ready watching the other schools - the Elementary Newarke, Alderman Newton's, Collegiate, and Wyggeston Boys' file into their allotted places. To begin with we sang our old School hymn, "Now Thank we all Our God," and though perhaps it might be said of the singing that "the spirit was willing but the voices were weak," we did try to sing! An interesting item in the afternoon's programme was the burial of an urn, or glass jar, containing two Leicester papers, a Wyggeston Gazette, a document containing all the Staff's signatures, and some coins of the realm. It is rather fascinating to imagine the conditions under which that jar will again see daylight; it is now buried in a groove underneath the actual foundation stone, snugly laid in sawdust.
Sir Jonathan North lays the Foundation Stone The stone was announced "Well and truly laid" after Sir Jonathan North had officiated with the mallet presented to him by the builders and the beautiful little silver trowel presented by the architects, and designed at the Dryad. The usual votes of thanks were proposed after Sir Jonathan had spoken to us about the School, now consisting of six hundred and twenty scholars, and we ended the afternoon by standing at attention and singing the National Anthem. The authorities hope that either in October or November of 1928, the new building will be opened to those lucky ones who are still young enough to go to school. In an interesting speech Sir Jonathan North pointed out the extension of educational facilities in Leicester which has taken place since 1878-the year in which the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls was opened. After dealing with the importance of the education of women, Sir Jonathan reminded us that "bricks and mortar of themselves are but dead things; the soul of the School is in the keeping of that fine corporation of women and girls which has won for the Wyggeston School a name as honoured as it is far spread". He expressed the hope that the new building would be animated by the spirit which for so many years had sanctified the old home in Humberstone Gate.
Appended is a list of the contents of the glass jar which was buried in the foundations of the new school: 1. Minutes of the City Council authorising building of School. 2. Programme of Stone Laying Ceremony. 3. Wyggeston Girls' Gazette, June, 1926. 4. Copy of The Times. 5. Copy of the Leicester Mercury. 6. Copy of the Leicester Mail. 7. Autographed signatures of the Education Committee, Wyggeston School Governors, School Staff, Administrative Officers, the Builder and the Architect. 8. Coins of the Realm (up to 5/-): 1 Half-crown, 1 Florin, 1 Shilling, I Sixpence, 1 Threepenny-piece, 1 Penny, I Halfpenny, and 1 Farthing. A. RENDLE, 1927 INSCRIPTION ON THE STONE. This Foundation Stone was laid by Alderman Sir Jonathan North, J.P., Chairman of the City of Leicester Education Committee and of the Wyggeston School Governors, October 27th, 1926. As the building of the new school progressed not only were pupils looking at a different part of Leicester but also following current trends in taking an interest in the affairs of other countries. This manifested itself in a visit of a group of VIth Formers to Paris in the Easter holidays, and with the formation of a branch of the League of Nations they became more seriously concerned with events at an international level:
Account of League of Nations' Meeting On March 4th Mr. Whelen came to talk to us about the League of Nations. He said it was born on 10th January, 1920, and by November 42 nations had joined the League: at the present time 54 nations are members of the League. The two great aims are "To promote international co-operation" and "To achieve international peace and security". By Rule 12, the members of the League promise never to go to war suddenly; all their quarrels must be submitted to a Court of Law or to the League, and a decision for war must not be made until nine months have elapsed. Any war is the concern of every member of the League. Mr. Whelan said that we were part of the youth of mankind, and if we feel that the League of Nations is doing good work, the rest of the youth of the world will feel the same. His final words were, "If the League succeeds, think what we have done! We are living in days of history: how grand it will be to have lived when the League of Nations was being born!" We were so inspired by Mr. Whelen's speech that a Wyggeston branch of the League was formed immediately, with about 150 members. Membership of the branch was limited to the Vth and VIth Forms only and there were very few who did not enrol. Miss Heron was asked to be President and a Committee made up of staff and pupils was formed to organise the society meetings and events. The drill exercises and displays which had been such a feature of the earlier days were gradually becoming more like modern gymnastics and more pieces of apparatus were being used, as the following extracts from the Gazettes of 1926-1927 show:
Gymnastic Inspections The Gymnastic work throughout the School showed much care and keen interest, and there was a marked improvement in the general carriage of all the Forms; obviously the result of steady work during the year. It was a pleasure to watch the alert way in which each Form marched into the Gymnasium, and to see this alertness maintained; every Form moving the apparatus in a quick business-like way and sitting well whilst waiting for their turn.
The forms who did climbing showed an excellent understanding of the movement and the style was very good indeed-only one thing is left now to improve; that is the position of the head when coming downseveral people just allowing their heads to hang down. All moving of apparatus, especially the moving of forms was done most excellently; the jumping-stands proved the most difficult things to arrange, otherwise all the work was done very quickly and quietly and in a well thought out and sensible manner. The vaulting and jumping movements at the end of each lesson were often very good in themselves, this especially applies to "curtesy-sitting on the horse"-"jump off forward" when the position of head and back was in every case good-but marks were lost because of jerky landings or wrong start on the springboard. If emphasis is laid on these points during the coming year the value of the vaulting will be much greater. I am very much struck by the keen interest and spirit displayed in the School, which cannot help producing the best results in every way, not only in the Gymnasium, but in all other School work. FREDA COLWILL, Bedford Physical Training College Dancing lessons were now included more regularly in the timetable and a demonstration was held every year at the County Assembly Rooms for the benefit of parents and friends. The Old Pupils of both the Boys' and the Girls' Schools joined together to arrange an Old Wyggestonian Christmas Dance held at the De Montfort Hall which seemed to become a popular annual event from subsequent mentions in the Gazettes. The report of the formation of a Science Club in 1927 suggests that the subject was increasing in popularity among the girls:
The Science Club Although the Science Club has only been started this year it has over 100 members. Only girls from V.s and VI. forms can be members. The object of the club is to encourage those who are interested in Natural Science. We have held two general meetings: one on Wednesday, February 16th, and the other on Tuesday, May 10th. At the first meeting three papers were read: "Science in the Middle Ages," by M. Beaumont; "Some Scientists of the 18th Century," by J. Blanchard, and "Fabre", by A. Platt. At the second meeting papers were read by J. Cross on "Pupin", and H. True on "Wireless", with a practical demonstration. There was also an exhibition in the laboratory of specimens collected by members, which included shells, birds' eggs, caterpillars, and nature drawings. Miss Peecock gave a few comments on the specimens shown. 1927 was marked above all by the retirement of Miss Heron after 24 years as Headmistress of the School. Like Miss Leicester before her she had devoted her time and talents to the well-being of the School and its pupils. A member of staff used the following words to describe some of the ways Miss Heron had influenced her charges: One of the things Miss Heron has always had at heart is the inculcating in the minds of the girls the desire to give to those less well off than themselves, and especially to do so at some personal sacrifice. The Countesthorpe Cottage Homes, the Cot at the Royal Infirmary, the Russian School Girls, are only three of the many objects for which money and gifts have been collected, and in every case the girls have been enabled by visits or letters to take a personal interest in those who received their gifts. This is only one of the ways in which Miss Heron has instilled the lesson that the development of character, the growing into fine womanhood is the first thing that matters, one that comes even before intellectual development, but there are many old pupils who think of her with gratitude for both forms of training. Apart from those who have passed from the School to College, there are many others who owe to Miss Heron's advice the choice of a career, and the actual finding of suitable posts. It would be interesting to know how many there are who, with apparently no particular bent, have found suitable and congenial work owing to her suggestions. Miss Heron possesses, in a large degree, a quality usually attributed to Royalty-a remarkable memory for faces, and more than that, she not only remembers and recognises all her former pupils, and knows what work they are doing, but she knows every one of the 625 girls in the school today, their individual characters and needs. This very special gift means that there is a close personal touch between her and the girls and their parents which makes for that helpful understanding and sympathy, for which so many
have been grateful during the last twenty-five years, and which brings many old girls back to the School to ask for that help and advice which Miss Heron is never too busy to give E.A.R., 1927 Miss Heron herself wrote a letter to the School which shows clearly that the affection the School had for her was reciprocated: My dear Girls, It will not be possible to have a few words with each of you before I leave at the end of this Term, so I want to send you this letter through the Gazette. Sometimes, as you stand before me at Prayers, it seems strange to think that when I first came here in January, 1903, none of you were born, and I was reading Prayers and giving out notices about hockey matches and lost shoes and weekly examinations to your mothers and your aunts! The other day I had the curiosity to look up in the Registers to see how many girls had been admitted since I became Head Mistress, and it was amazing to find that the number was over 3,000. Some of your parents have told me lately that they had hoped I would stay long enough to "see you through the School", but obviously there would be no end to my work if this hope were realised, and the day would come when your Head Mistress would be hobbling about toothless, hairless, sightless, and witless, and no longer equal to control your turbulent spirits. It has been one of the greatest interests to me to help to plan your new School building, where you will have plenty of room and long desired quietness, and will no longer have to squeeze yourselves into as small a space as possible or to raise your voices in lessons in order to be heard above the din of a circular saw. Many of you, especially the elder girls and Old Pupils, will leave the present building with a pang of regret, for it is certainly the most beautiful School in the City, from an architectural point of view, and its only drawbacks are its insufficient size and its position in a crowded thoroughfare. Before you pass on to the new and more spacious building on Regent Road, I would remind you that it is not bricks and mortar nor any other material thing that can make a great school. Nothing can do that but a true, loyal and unselfish spirit in each girl, past and present, who proves herself faithful to the School's best traditions. Believe me to be Always your friend, S. HERON.
Miss Sarah Heron DIED AUGUST 1940 It was with much grief that we heard of Miss Heron's death in August last year; we feel that the School has lost one of its very greatest friends. Miss Heron was our Headmistress from 1903 to 1927 and had always kept very closely in touch with us since her retirement. We always looked forward to her visits, and were sorry when during the last few years her failing health made these somewhat infrequent. As Headmistress for those twenty-four years, Miss Heron carried on the tradition of the cultured pioneers of a wider education for girls, and in spite of inevitable changes in conditions worked untiringly to maintain the individual character of the School, and it was a tribute not to her academic distinction only but also to her out~ standing personality that numbers rapidly increased and that she attracted to her staff women of high attainment and character. Endowed with wide sympathies and breadth of mind, Miss Heron was looked upon as a friend by both parents and pupils. Her aim was the encouragement of every possibility of usefulness in each girl who came under her influence, as she believed that the development of character was of even greater importance than the achievement of high academic honours. By maintaining a high standard on both the intellectual and the more practical sides she succeeded in sending forth from the Wyggeston School girls who have since proved their capacity to hold responsible positions in every sphere of life. Her wise judgment and sincerity of purpose, her balance of mind and kindly outlook made her opinion invaluable to the academic committee of Leicester University College and to the Leicester and County Education Committees. She was also at one time President of the Midland Branch of the Headmistresses' Association and a valued member of its executive committee. The passing of Miss Heron will be keenly felt by all who knew and loved her, but her life work will remain an ever-living memory, the most sincere tribute to her high courage and vision. GAZETTE, 1941
The School under
MISS NORA CARESS
Miss Nora Caress took over as Headmistress of the School in September 1927. She entered the School at a particularly exciting time, with the prospect of celebrating the Jubilee and moving the School into its new buildings before her. While the preparations for these went forward, the normal routine of School carried on in Humberstone Gate, including the Christmas distribution of toys at the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes and the Headmistress' end-of-term parties. The annual Prize-giving took place at School on 14 December, as it was the last opportunity they would have to hold it in the old building.
1928-What a year! The School was in a fever ~f activity as it prepared for its Jubilee year: 17 June 1928-16 June 1929. The celebrations began with a week of events in June 1928:
The Jubilee June 15thJune 16thJune 17thJune 18thJune 19thJune 21st-
Old Girls' Meeting at School. Garden Party at the New School. Meeting at the old School in the evening. Performance of the Masque. Fiftieth Birthday of the School. Jubilee Commemoration Service at the Cathedral. Senior School Party. Junior School Party. A whole holiday, which the Bishop asked for at the Jubilee Party.
Friday 15 June: Old Girls' Meeting at the School The occasion of the School's Jubilee, as far as the Old Pupils' Association was concerned, was marked by a weekend of brilliant functions and activities during which ample time was afforded for many to meet with former friends of their school days. The first event of a social nature was held at the old School in Humberstone Gate, on Friday 15th June, and even before the time that the meeting was due to take place, the Entrance Hall was thronged with visitors representing every period of the fifty years of the School's life. Miss Heron in giving her welcome to those present, expressed her great pleasure in being at such a delightful gathering. She was especially glad that Miss Butler, who was present as a "first-day" Mistress of the School, was able to be with them. Fifty years is a long time to look back upon, and during these years education has materially changed. At that time there were few secondary girls' schools, and so the Wyggeston Girls' Grammar School is one of the first to celebrate a Jubilee-and such a great Jubilee because almost simultaneously the new School buildings are ready for occupation. Miss Heron then thanked the Old Pupils for the gold wrist watch which they had given to her on her retirement. She said that it had travelled with her many miles during the last six months-to Vesuvius, Rome, Pompeii, Assisi and lastly to Glion. She also thanked them for the cheque which she intended to spend on extra furniture for her new home. Miss Heron then expressed her pride in the School, particularly in the pupils, past and present, not one of whom had ever given her cause to be ashamed. She was immensely proud of the staff too, because they have done and do so much for the girls entrusted to them. Miss Heron intimated that the success of the School in the future was assured by the appointment of Miss Caress as Headmistress, for, although she herself was said to be a demon for work, Miss Caress was an archdemon! She hoped the members of the Old Pupils' Association would do everything they could to support Miss Caress in her new position. Miss Caress, in reply, thanked Miss Heron for her very gracious words. She also wished to thank every individual who had contributed to the Jubilee Fund, which is being raised for providing furniture and fittings for the new Library. The response towards this Fund had been exceedingly generous and it was interesting to note that many contributions had been given in memory of others, for example a special gift of an oak and glass case by Edith Keay in memory of her father. Miss Caroline Collet in a very humorous speech, mentioned the fact that although she and her sister were quite young when they began to teach at the School, the pupils looked upon them as being "very, very, middle-aged". During Mrs. Lovell's reminiscences she mentioned that her first impressions on entering the School fifty years ago was the immense size of the Entrance Hall, and being told by a mistress that "speaking was not allowed" in the cloakroom! Then she went through her entrance examination under Miss Butler and other mistresses. Mrs. Lovell afterwards mentioned that she was the first Old Wyggestonian to become
Mayoress of Leicester. She spoke next of the lovable disposition and great goodness of Miss Leicester, whose favourite saying was: "I want all you girls to be clever, but above all I want you to be good women." One of Miss Leicester's favourite quotations was from Wordsworth's "Phantom of Delight" beginning, "A perfect woman nobly planned". Then Miss Burton (who retired from the staff as recently as last July) after expressing her great delight at being back at School again, told some very amusing incidents which had taken place during her long association with the School. She first told of the day when she was appointed on the staff thirty years ago, and evoked much laughter when she alluded to the fact that the first thing that struck her on entering the School building were rows of girls standing under the Entrance Hall clock, eating lunch, with no conversation! She was then ushered into the Head Mistress's Room and, when face to face with Miss Leicester with her beautiful silver hair, exquisite lace cap and amethyst rings, she felt greatly overawed, and it was only when Miss Butler was summoned and came in with a smile that the ice melted, and the post was offered to Miss Burton-that of Form Mistress of Three Lower A. Miss Burton added that she taught everything to this Form, except drill, games and hygiene. NORAH P. POYNER
Saturday 16 June: The Garden Party and William Wyggeston's Masque Standing at the gate of the future in the new school in the afternoon, and looking through the gate of the past in the Masque in the evening, the old pupils of the Wyggeston School had a thrilling day for the second of their jubilee celebrations. The new school made many of them sigh with regret that they had not been born a little later. The magnificent great hall, with its beautiful stage and gallery at the back, the school arms carved above the stage, the lofty art rooms with great wide windows, looking right over the Freeman's Common, the padded music rooms, to save the distraction of haltingly played scales for mistress and girls in the throes of algebra or history, were some of the things that were commented upon with envy. Then there were all the laboratories which should encourage the school to specialise far more than ever has been done before on science; the pleasant form rooms, not too large, so that enormous classes have to be housed in them; the gymnasiums and the spacious dining hall, with French windows to the grounds. There is a real "quad" with something very like cloisters round two sides of it, and a lovely square of green next to it. Several people have commented to me that the building from the outside seems extremely "institutional" and rather ugly. I think one grows to like it more as one watches it longer, but no one could suggest that the inside of the school is lacking in imagination. When it is inhabited, it will soon begin, I believe, to take on something very like the aspect of an ideal school. The garden party which was held at the school in the afternoon naturally, was more of an occasion of gossip with old acquaintances than anything else, Miss Heron and Miss Caress receiving the hundreds of old pupils and their husbands who came. But the most persistent of gossips could not help delaying their reminiscence for a while to watch the delightful "gym" of a number of present girls. In their desire to become just as efficient as their brothers, girls have often made of gymnastics a very efficient but very mechanical business. They frequently wear a strained expression, and seem to have all their muscles taut-a thing one very rarely observes in boys. Miss Wrightson, the "gym" mistress of the Wyggeston School, is counteracting that tendency in the most delightful way by introducing singing rhythms into as many of the exercises as possible. Even when the girls did not actually sing a little tune to their jumping on their various movements, one quite expected them to break out into song, so insistent were the rhythms of their motions. There was some very pleasant country dancing, too, from present girls, who made a lovely picture on the smooth, green lawn, in their many coloured cotton frocks. If the evening gathering began more solemnly than the afternoon, it ended in as happy excitement as a gathering of present girls might do. The Masque of William Wyggeston, beautifully dressed, and smoothly and sympathetically acted occupied the first half of the evening. The girls acted with a remarkable sense of dignity and repose, especially good William Wyggeston himself, who was played by U. Angwin. The music was a very moving feature of the performance, coming from a hidden choir, who sang words to tunes of William Lawes, who wrote the airs for Milton's "Cronus" in 1634. When the masque was over, the audience of old and young "old girls", shouted itself hoarse in its enthusiasm. One after another the
participants in the masque were called before the curtain, from the authors, Miss Fairburn and Miss Robinson, to the orchestra under Miss Grace Burrows, and there were cheers for the headmistress, for the new and old schools, and even for William Wyggeston. After refreshments, and a glance at the amusing collection of school relics, the company recalled old school parties by dancing in the "Long Room", and ended in time-honoured style by dancing Sir Roger with great energy, even, after a very long day, demanding an encore, as if they were all still little girls at school, who could not bear to go home! M. WADDINGTON.
Synopsis of the Masque of William Wyggeston, 1467-1536 This most interesting and valuable contribution to the Jubilee rejoicings has unquestionably repaid the time and trouble that must have been spent upon it by many. The Scene is laid in a room in Thomas Wyggeston's ecclesiastical home (the house now occupied by the Junior School) closely adjoining the Collegiate Church of St. Mary's. To prepare the audience for the important interview between the three brothers, William, Thomas and Roger "to plan and found The Hospital", a solemn and religious atmosphere is created by the strains of Church music heard in the distance after the afternoon service. The appearance of William and the gentle Agnes, his "sweet wife", coming from the Church, seems further to emphasize the peacefulness of the scene, "The gentle spirit of reflection folds Her wings about me in the gath'ring dusk And music from my chantry sings of peace with God," In a few moments they are joined by Thomas and Roger, who "Come to do this faithful work of hope and charity". In spite of the obvious difference in character and experience of the brothers-William, the prosperous and great-minded merchant, Thomas, the far-seeing ecclesiastic, and Roger, the astute and practical man of business, there is no real friction to break the harmony of their meeting. True, Roger doubts the wisdom of such extensive generosity "Build a hospital supporting full seven and twenty souls, their food and clothes their mass, and burial fees if they should die, and still have left enough t'endow a school, a grammar school, free to rich and poor alike?" One cannot wholly blame Roger if, in those early days, he had not his brother's breadth of view in extending his charity to women. This inclusion of bedeswomen in the Hospital and girls in Thomas' proposed School arises naturally from William's reverence for the Virgin Mary, St. Catherine and St. Ursula, his pious affection for his mother, "the good Elizabeth," and his love for Agnes, his "sweet wife". The brothers, however, come, one and all, to the final agreement that "though a man's first duty be to help The poor and aged, his second is to guide The young, to train their minds and bodies both As servants of their souls." William, left alone, meditates and falls asleep, and the troubled perplexity which has taken possession of his soul, as to the right motive and the future success of his Scheme in those troublous times, is cleared away by the subsequent Vision. Father Time, heralded by a Chorus of Years, comes "to soothe and comfort" his "distressed soul"; "Time shall so nurture seed devoutly sown That it shall flourish and increase e'en more Than thou canst ever dream." "To prove this true" he summons Piety, Charity and Learning to appear in turn before William and they each give him the assurance: "Therefore fear not nor be distressed again, Thy work is blessed in heav'n." The necessary solemnity of this scene is followed by the appropriate and refreshing introduction of a Chorus of Children "paying tribute" to one who has given them "means to climb, Paths of knowledge, steep, sublime." They enter dancing and their costumes indicate the three periods which they represent, the original Grammar School of 1543, the Girls' School of 1878 and of 1928. The symbolical figures vanish with the Children of the Years, and Agnes returns to find her husband still asleep. She gently wakes him with the one jest which the authors permitted themselves: "Nay, 'tis unlike a man to fall asleep 60
Ere he hath supp'd," but when she sees his face "shining with a calm security And steadfast hope," she knows that "all is well". The Masque ends, as it began, with the distant voices of choristers chanting William of Wyggeston's motto: "Date Eleemosynam et Ecce Omnia Munda Sunt Vobis." In spite of the natural absence of dramatic action, the Masque held one's attention from beginning to end. The stateliness of the verse, the soft strains of the music, the skill of the actors in making clear the individuality of the characters, together with the colour-scheme of the dresses and the simplicity of the staging, all combined to bring out the interest of the story. E. C. BOLTON, 1928
Monday 18 June: The Jubilee Commemoration Service at the Cathedral
Miss Heron and Miss Caress lead the procession of Governors EXTRACTS FROM The Leicester Mail A stirring sight was the procession of all the 650 girls of the Wyggeston School filing into the Cathedral yesterday afternoon for their jubilee commemoration service, with their staff in their rarely seen caps and gowns, walking behind. There were also the clergy, including the Master of the Wyggeston Hospital, Canon S. T. Winckley, in their robes, and schoolmasters with their hoods and gowns, and the Mayor, preceded by the macebearers, in his magnificent scarlet. It was a brilliant picture. Every one of the girls was a picture of neatness in navy tunic, white blouse and navy blazer. The blazer has increased enormously in popularity among girls during the last few years. It is not long since the girls who wore them were in the minority. The Cathedral was filled to its last inch with the School, distinguished visitors, parents, and old pupils, all uniting in a great thanksgiving for the School which has meant so much to the life of Leicester. GAZETTE, 1928
Members of the Junior School arriving at the Cathedral
and in the evening:
The Senior School Party Then came the merry tea-party in the Long Room, which had never looked more beautiful than on that afternoon, filled with tables surrounded by happy girls. The charm of dainty decoration in colour and flowers emphasised the satisfying proportions of that room which has been the scene of so many parties, prize-givings, concerts, and ceremonies and has marked so many milestones in so many lives. Our gaiety held a poignant regret that this was our last party in our beloved Long Room.
Tuesday 19 June: The Junior School Party The very last festivity of these crowded days came on Tuesday afternoon with the tea-party to the younger children. To them, when the cake was cut, the alluring prospect was offered of all being present at the next great celebration in the School's history when they should meet to celebrate the centenary! E. M. BURTON, 1928 The whole School, Staff and pupils alike, worked extremely hard to make the celebrations a success. Miss Caress suggested that a Jubilee Fund should be started to provide beautiful furniture and a grand piano for the Assembly Hall in the new School:
The Jubilee Fund Many and various are our devices for raising money to furnish the new school in a suitable manner. Mistresses, fearing for our health, when we calmly inform them that "William the Conqueror signed Magna Carta at Versailles in 1914", ask us what time we went to bed last night; to which we reply that we went to bed at about 11 o'clock, after going to see the "Beeby Boys" (a popular feature at III A's concert) or attending a "Tea-dance", given by another enterprising Form. We certainly never lack amusement nowadays, with a Concert, a Party or an "American Tea" nearly every day. IIIB had the very original idea of opening a combined Museum and Sweet Stall, so we regaled ourselves with sticky toffee, whilst we looked at a piece of Niagara Falls, a stone horseshoe, and a hard, white thing which the optimistic owner expected us to believe to be a whale's jaw. It is the greatest wonder in the world that we are not all in bed with severe poisoning, or, at least, bilious attacks, for the Forms take it in turns to supply home-made lunches, and the VIth have a permanent stall for home produce. I believe a time will come, very soon, too, when the passers-by will only be able to see the eyes and fingers of Wyggeston Girls through the mass of flowers, favours and buttonholes which we are almost forced to buy from the legions of diligent money-makers. Nor will mistresses ever have to complain again of un-paper-clipped homework; for who can now make the excuse of "Please, I ran out of paper-clips", when they can be bought at the extremely cheap rate of Id a dozen? We are daily expecting a fight between the competitors in the number of competitions there are at present, such as the Recitation Competition and the Pressed Flower Competition. For some time we were at a loss to understand the glances of enmity cast between the Oxford V and VI, but some kind person has enlightened us by informing us that the latter Forms develop and enlarge photographs for a small fee. We should become great athletes before we have finished, as there has already been a Tennis Tournament and a Paper Chase. The Form to which I belong-IVA-has started a Library, which, I believe, has brought in the marvellous sum of Id (the charge is Id per book). Now comes the great tragedy! We (IVA) had a dip, but a few things were left over. They were left in the waste-paper basket, which had been used as a receptacle for the dip. Morning came, and, lo! they had gone! When we enquired into this dark mystery, we learned their horrible fate. Being in the waste-paper basket, they had been tipped into and consumed by the boiler as waste-paper! So ended our dip. We have now over ÂŁ300, but in helping to earn it, the Form to which I belong has lost its good name for ever! It has even descended so low as to stand by the door and beg the girls going in to allow them to black their shoes for them. And a dreadful rumour circulates through the school-that our high-and-mighty VI takes in washing! K. MERCER, IVA, 1928
The Jubilee Fund Alphabet A is a novelty, American Tea; A splendid idea, Hurrah for 4 C!
M is for mistresses, Likewise for mothers, Who've given their aid Along with the others.
B is for buns â€“ We sell them at Break. It is our desire Some money to make.
N is a need Most vital and great: And all for the cause Work early and late.
C's competitions, Big profits one gains; We hold them for sport, And for taxing your brains.
O is for Oxford, Whose favours we sold; They were beaten you know. But that story's old.
D is for dipsNot those in the ocean, But into a basket, Another good notion!
P is for poetry We busily make. We always work hard When a prize is at stake.
E means enlargements, Please give us a test; Just send us the films, And we'll do the rest.
Q is for queue We all like to see, When selling such things As sweets, cakes, and tea.
F is for fingers, So nimbly they ply, In making such things As people will buy.
R means rosettes, See Oxford and 0; I'll mention the Can tabs And let this verse go.
G is for "Grand", A piano so dear, But if we work hard, We'll get it, ne'er fear.
S is for sweets We're tempted to chew In School, after sweet sales, But that will not do.
H is for housework We do to earn money; In aprons and mobcaps We all look so funny.
T is for thinking. It falls to a few To plan and devise Ideas quite new.
I is the interest We each of us show; When asked to give help We never say "No".
U is for unison With which we all work, To gain every penny That may anywhere lurk.
J is the Jubilee And the joy we acquire In watching the fund Mount higher and higher.
V is the vision That became an abode; The wonderful building That's in Regent Road.
K is the keenness We put in our work. Throughout the whole School There's no one will shirk.
W's a worthyNone ever built sounder, His name doesn't fit So I call him-"our founder".
L is the library Owned now by IVA In taking a book There's a penny to pay.
In most alphabets X Y Z is left blank; If you've read all the rest I have you to thank. JOYCE A. GRIFFITHS, IVA, 1928
On 12 September 1928, the school year commenced in the new buildings on Regent Road. The Junior and Senior Departments were together under one roof for the first time since 1906. We were amazed to discover that the total cost of installing heating and electric light throughout the School and erecting the caretaker's house within the grounds only came to ÂŁ7,083! Aerial view of Regent Road School
The Official Opening of the New School Buildings On November 16th, 1928, the new school buildings were officially opened by Lord Eustace Percy, the Minister of Education. The Governors of the School, The Lord Mayor and The Lady Mayoress, and many important people of the city were present at the ceremony. It had been arranged that a procession should go around the School buildings, and enter the main door, after it had been opened with a golden key by Lord Eustace Percy. Unfortunately, owing to stormy weather, this part of the ceremony could not take place. But Lord Eustace formally unlocked the door with the golden key presented to him by the architects; and then the procession, headed by Miss Caress, passed through the Great Hall, which was closely packed with visitors and girls, and took their seats on the platform. Then speeches were made, first by Sir Jonathan North, the Chairman of the Governors and after him by Lord Eustace, Miss Caress, and the Lord Mayor. Great enthusiasm was evinced when it was announced that the organ, which is such a fine addition to the School, was the gift of Sir Jonathan and Lady North. We are tremendously grateful to them for their generosity. The whole ceremony was ended by the Lord Bishop of Leicester pronouncing a blessing on the new buildings. GAZETTE, 1929 A week later, at an Old Girls' meeting, the Library was formally presented to the Governors of the School by the Old Girls' Committee. The Library was entirely the gift of the Old Girls and was obviously much appreciated by the School:
The Library There is one room, other than the Great Hall, that gives all who come to it pleasure-that is the Library. The series of drawers built into one of the cupboards in the Spring Term is a gift from Miss Heron. We thank her very much for it. In the drawers the card catalogue is kept, and any girl can now find the book she requires. The catalogue is arranged under authors, and subjects.
Regent Road School-The Library In such beautiful surroundings we hope to develop a real love of books, and joy in learning which is found by browsing amongst them. A few girls have already shown this spirit, and are often to be found pursuing some subject, in which they find much pleasure.
The Junior School in the Regent Road building The Junior School was housed in nine of the ten form-rooms on the west side of the school building opposite the fire station. There were from 25-30 (35 during the War) in each form which were not streamed according to ability. The initial of the form-mistress was used to name the forms of the same number where the school was two-stream, and these names were Kindergarten, Preparatory, Transition, two Lower I's, two Form I's and two Form II's. There were three students who helped in the Kindergarten, Preparatory and Transition. They were usually Sixth Form girls who were thinking of training to teach. The Junior Hall was used for Assemblies, music lessons, games and P.T. for the younger forms when they could not go out to the '"hump" or some other part of the garden. The bookshelves for the library reorganised and run by Miss Haywood with help from Miss Collier for Lower I's upwards were in the Junior Hall (those on Nature Study and nature specimens were at the other end of the corridor opposite Room 10). There was a lift from the kitchen to the Junior School Hall as it was also used as the Junior School dining room. The first and second forms had games and gymnastic lessons with the P.T. Staff on the pitches and in the gyms, and dancing in the Great Hall during Spring and Autumn terms with Miss Selby or Miss Whitehead (not to be confused with Miss Daisy Whitehead). Under the Great Hall was a large room equipped as a Junior School craft room in which many forms of handicraft could be undertaken. It was designed meticulously in every detail by Miss Haywood with the help of Miss Collier and Miss Lott. There was a glass topped display cupboard in the Junior School corridor in which each form in tum could display craftwork or anything else in which they were interested. MISS THORNTON
Both inside and outside there were changes for all the girls:
Games What a vast difference the games fields lying outside the doors of the School have made to us all; what numerous advantages we have gained-four Hockey pitches, four Netball courts, 14 Tennis courts (with more in the future), Cricket nets and Rounders. There has been a marked difference shown in the way games are treated, everyone keen, enjoying every moment of their games periods. The number of girls who stay to After School Games shows that there is now a real keenness to play and to play well and with the right spirit. In a few years we shall hope to be unable to choose our teams, not for lack of good players, but because all are equally good. B.M.D.W., 1929 This meant, among other things, that netball could be played for the first time by members of the School and the following letter gives us a further glimpse of sport and of other aspects of school life: I was a fee-paying pupil and took my entrance exams at the Humberstone Gate School. I started at the Wyggeston in 1928. In those days we used to play Cricket and Tennis in the Summer and Netball and Hockey in the Winter. Pupils were admitted from the age of five years. Junior Pupils wore W.G.S. as a badge on their blazers and graduated to wearing the School Crest when they became Seniors. We had to wear a Navy Pilot Coat in the Winter-a Gabardine Mac. in the Spring and a Blazer in the Summer-and always a Hat-Velour for Winter-Straw for Summer-turned down at the front and up at the back. Prefects used to be posted on University Road to report us if we were not clothed rightly. Also we were not allowed to speak to any of the Wyggeston Boys. DOROTHY C. THORPE (Mrs.) There were several opportunities for the parents of the pupils to view the interior of the new School. Miss Caress held "At Homes" for the parents of the Junior and Middle Schools in December 1928, and for the Senior School at the end of January 1929. (These occurred at least once a year from now on and were the precursors of what we now know as Parents' Evenings.) Both the Senior and the Junior School prizegivings were held in the Great Hall at the beginning of the year. Many pictures had been taken of the new buildings, and perhaps it was these that prompted some of the girls to hold a meeting on 13 May for the purpose of forming a Photographic Club. This was open to members of the V Forms and above, to help them learn how to develop and print their own films. Several members of the Staff showed an interest in this project and joined in with the girls' activities. Miss Selby's dancing classes gave their customary demonstrations at the end of the Spring Term, 1929, but for once a charge was made and the proceeds were given to the Jubilee Fund. The end of the Jubilee year was marked by a week of special events, similar in many ways to those which had taken place the previous June: June 8th. June 12th. June 14th. June 15th.
The Sale of Work. The Party for the Inmates of the Wyggeston Hospital. The Performance of the Masque. The Garden Party.
Saturday 8 June: Sale of Work This had involved a great deal of preparation: All the school is busily working for the Sale of Work, which is to be held on June 8th. Enthusiastic girls ask their parents and friends to buy tickets, and pay visits to distant relations to tell them that they simply must not miss the sale of work. On the notice boards are notices asking for toys for the toy stall; jam, fruits, etc., for the garden produce stall; and brushes, polishes, dusters, soap and manicure sets for the household stall. There, also, we are told of the awful fate of the girl who contributed nothing to the
garden produce stall, for she was pursued by a weird and wonderful fruit man and drowned in the well. In the evening, cookery books are brought out, and industriously searched for new and original cake recipes, for the girls are making cakes for the cake stall. Music lovers are sure to be interested in Miss Mills' stall, where music will be sold. The household stall will delight the hearts of practical mothers and aunts, who will not be able to resist the temptation of buying "just one more bar of soap, we might need it, and it is so cheap". The sweet stall is now the subject of many conversations, and girls come to school with their fingers wrapped up and tell their friends that "the toffee boiled over". A new recipe for peppermint creams has been found, and cocoa-nut ice is being made in large quantities. These delicious sweets will all be found on the sweet stall on June 8th. The hens are being anxiously watched, and we hope that they will be in good humour, and lay a great many eggs for the garden produce stall. Flowers and vegetables are to be sold, and we hope "King Sol" will be kind and cause the roses to bloom. The girls who are clever with their fingers are busy making gollywogs and woolly lambs for the Guides' toy stall. For fathers, who will not be interested in the stalls, there is the Fun Fair which promises to be very interesting, and when one gets hungry, an appetising tea can be obtained in the school. When the sale of work is over we hope to have a large sum of money to add to our Jubilee Fund. V. CLARKE, UIV Lang., 1929 but it was all worthwhile:
The Sale of Work Come to the Sale of Work! Keen was our war-cry. Twelve pence-including tea! Not a tremendous feeJust right for you and me. SALE TICKETS! Who'll buy?
ICES for Sale of Work! (We hope not the last time!) Drawn by the sandwich- "men", Often we went-and then Stopped counting-(after ten!) Popular pastime!
GOODS for the Sale of Work! Come now, what offers? Toys, handwork, pounds or cakes, Flowers, dusters or soap-flakes Each girl her own gift makes To help swell our coffers.
Now at the Sale of Work Come to the FUN FAIR! Here are all sorts of shows â€“ Quoits, skittles, "Ring-the-Nose" Here's where your money goes! All very unfair!
TEA for the Sale of Work! "Nippies" efficient Wanted to help with urns! Each waitress, taking turns, Skilled feats of balance learns (Query proficient!)
Past is the Sale of Work! Weary on Sunday Those who had helped at all, Behind scenes or at a Stall. But Success to us did fall! Jubilant Monday! M. RUDD, VI, 1929
Wednesday 12 June: The Visit of the Old People of the Wyggeston Hospital One of the most novel, and certainly one of the most delightful, events of our Jubilee week this year was the party given to the inmates of the Wyggeston Hospital. It had been felt that, as the School had now removed from Humberstone Gate and consequently had no need of the Fosse playing fields in addition to those round the new site, the connection between the Hospital and the School would tend to become weakened as time went on. The enthusiasm of all those present, however, gave ample proof that if ever the link between the two were broken, it would not be the fault of either. The Governors and inmates of the Hospital, including Sir Arthur and Lady Hazlerigg were received after School by Miss Caress and certain members of the Staff. Twenty-one out of the twenty-five old people were able to be present-one of the guests being over ninety years of age-but the other four could not come on account of illness. Unfortunately, owing to the weather, they could not watch the tennis out of doors as had been arranged, but some of the older girls gave a display of country dancing in the Great Hall.
Tea was served in the Library; at the end, Miss Caress, replying to the thanks of the Lord Lieutenant on behalf of the guests, said she hoped that henceforward it would be a custom for the inmates of the Hospital to be entertained at School for at least one day in every year. From the reception which greeted her remark, it was obvious that the invitation will be accepted with as much enthusiasm as it was given. After the guests had been shown round the School, a performance of the Masque was given, at which the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were present. Although the old people had read the Masque, they had been looking forward to seeing it acted since it was given to the Old Girls, last year. Most of them followed it word by word, and appeared to enjoy it thoroughly. Finally, after a very happy afternoon, the old people were given a hearty send-off; we hope it will not be long before they are able to pay another visit to School.
Saturday 15 June: The Garden Party The Garden Party proved even more popular than the other Jubilee Events. In addition to the many tickets sold beforehand, a large number of people obtained them at the gate, and the ticket-sellers, though very willing, found their mathematical talent taxed to the utmost. The weather beforehand caused many misgivings, but, though it was not ideal, it turned out better than was expected. The first event of the afternoon-and a most attractive one-was a display by the Star Gymnastic Class in the grounds of the School. This was greatly appreciated by a large audience, and the vaulting particularly inspired emulous efforts on the part of younger brethren, when the crowd had dispersed. This was followed by a display of massed drill by the Third Forms, whose sense of rhythm made their performance most effective. Next came the country-dancing which afforded a pleasant contrast, and concluded a delightful demonstration. The more one thinks of the numbers of hungry people who required tea that afternoon, the more one admires those who organised and prepared it. It was a great work, and all those who helped deserve everyone's sincerest congratulations. The last event on the programme was a short concert in the Great Hall. It was awaited with much eagerness by a large audience which overflowed into the passages. The programme consisted of songs given by the singing classes, those sung by the Sixth Form being especially appreciated, and, in addition to the vocal items, pianoforte solos and duets, and one violin solo, rendered by some of the music pupils. The Concert ended shortly after 7 o'clock, and brought to a most successful close the Jubilee Efforts of 1929, which fully realised our expectations.
Monday 17 June 1929: The First Founder's Day Service The Governors were invited to the School to join in the celebration of the School's 51st birthday. Prayers were conducted by Miss Caress, and Sir Jonathan North gave a short address, after which the Blessing was pronounced by Canon Went. It has been decided henceforward to hold a similar ceremony in Great Hall each year to commemorate the School's birthday. The 1930 Gazette includes a report on the two Girl Guide companies which had been attached to the School for some time:
School Girl Guide Companies Guide activities have been maintained with increasing enthusiasm this year. We have now in the two companies a dozen second-class Guides, many of whom have gained proficiency badges. On the 17th December the 45th Company presented two plays to the School, entitled, "Cabbages and Kings" and "The Weather Clerk". These were greatly appreciated by the audience, with the result that sufficient money was realised to give a Christmas party to 120 Brownies. This took place on 18th January, and was attended by the Patrol Leaders, who assisted in distributing presents. We all felt that the party was a great success. During the Spring Term we had two inter-company Netball matches, which resulted in one victory for each company. We were occupied in preparing for camp during the earlier part of this term, and are now looking forward to a Guide Rally on July 12th, in which we are helping to run competitions. C. CLAGUE, VI, 1930 Their first camp was held at Baggrave Hall in the Whitsuntide holiday, and it was so successful that it became an annual event.
About this time School uniform underwent a change, as this article from an Old Girl shows:
The Delights (or otherwise) of School Uniform approximately Half a Century ago The date-Wednesday September 17th, 1929. I was walking across the Victoria Park on my way to the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls for the first time. It was a misty Autumnal morning with the sun just breaking through. Like all the New Girls, I was wearing the statutory School Uniform-a black velour hat with a black band and badge, a thick navy woollen reefer coat, a navy serge pleated tunic, a long-sleeved winceyette blouse, long black woollen stockings, black laced shoes, and out of sight (but not out of mind) black sateen knickers! Oh those knickers-how uncomfortable they were, and what a sight we all looked in the Gym when we had removed our tunics! Those knickers were voluminous and stuck out like a Dutchman's trousers-such indignities! It was not until a couple of years later that the sateen knickers were replaced by thinner woven woollen ones. These were not too thick and were far more comfortable. We were delighted to hear that a Summer Uniform was to be introduced (1930 or 1931) and that "our year" would be the first to wear it. For Summer wear, tobralco blouses and blazers had been the only concessions to date. Now we were to have blue tobralco tunics (unpleated) and knickers. But when we saw the brightish blue colour of these, we were not so enthusiastic. In those days, sugar was packed in blue bags, so when we appeared in our new tunics, our Seniors, Wyggeston Boys, and indeed, the community at large, called us "SUGAR BAGS". Clad like this, the walk from School to the Vestry Street Swimming Baths seemed endless! The following Summer, the colour of the tunic was altered and a softer paler blue was introduced. Unfortunately, some of us had not out-grown our SUGAR BAGS! We were allowed to wear them for another year!!! Despite numerous pleas, short sleeves in the Summer were still taboo. These were not introduced until approximately 1937. However, by 1936, summer dresses of one's own choice and colour were permissible for Sixth Formers. There was another problem concerning our School Uniform. It was possible to assess (more or less) the affluence (or otherwise) of our families by the blouses and hats which we wore. Our square-necked blouse had mitred corners. If these were home-made or had been bought from one of the cheaper shops, it was quite easy to distinguish them from those supplied by the leading School Outfitter. Similarly, the cheaper hats had a much deeper crown than the better-class hats. This was most apparent in the Summer panamas. To be offered a summer hat with a shallow crown, discarded by a schoolleaver, was sheer bliss. Was it such an indignity to wear someone's cast-off? Not in this case-one's status in the School was raised considerably! It must be remembered that these were the days of Scholarship Girls and Paying Pupils in the School. The two groups did not always have equal opportunities but many girls from both groups have had distinguished careers, have brought honour to the School and have survived during this last Half Century. BEATRIX WELLS (Hon. Sec. Wyggeston Old Girls' Association) After a lull of several years, the Magazine Competitions were revived, but in a slightly different form. In 1930 prizes to the value of ÂŁ3 in books were offered to individuals; the entries were classed in three grades, according to age, and were all written under noms-de-plume to make the task of judging easier. In 1931 the system was altered so that the form obtaining the highest number of marks for its entries was presented with a glass bowl. Many of the School societies that had been formed over the past 50 years were still flourishing, especially the League of Pity, the League of Nations Union and the Dramatic Society (later to become the Dramatic and Debating Society). With the increased facilities of the new building and the girls' desire to continue their learning outside their time tabled lessons, many new societies sprang up during the early 1930's. The Historical Society was formed in November 1930 with 137 members, and 170 girls joined the Classical Society at the end of the Winter Term that same year. In 1931 the Music Club was established with a membership of about 130. This Society had strong connections with the Orchestra and Choir and with singing in the School generally, which it helped to encourage by setting up an Inter-Form Singing Contest. In the Summer Term, meetings of the French Club began.
During that year one aspect of social work in the School was revived under the name of the Guild of Service:
The Guild of Service For many years in the past the making of useful and suitable garments to be given away to various institutions and individuals had been a great work of the School. The collections of Toys for Christmas presents are still carried on with much enthusiasm, and the management of this in the future will be undertaken by the Guild. The meetings are enjoyable and no one looks upon them in the light of "work". After tea the girls and Staff divide into groups, where sewing, knitting and gossip pass the time away exceedingly quickly. It is generally noticeable that the knitting section is far more hilarious than that of the sewing. This is probably due to the fact that any enthusiastic members who were doubtful as to their capabilities joined the knitting section, with the result that their efforts at "two plain, two purl", were highly entertaining to the more advanced workers. Work in the sewing section proceeded decorously and it was observed that members worked with great concentration, especially in cutting out, where the distortion of some faces indicated the seriousness of their labour. EDITH BAILEY, VI, 1931 Enthusiasm for the work was high, and by the end of its first year the Guild had made much progress: Each group is now working for some particular institution and aiming to keep it fully supplied. For instance, the Monday group works for the Maternity Hospital and District Nurses, the Wednesday group for Welfare Centres, and the Thursday group for Nursery Schools. Besides these activities, sets of garments have been made for convalescent children in the Infirmary. In the Autumn Term an Old Clothes Collection was made to which the whole School contributed. The garments were distributed by the Guild, some to various local charities, including the Local Branch of the League of Pity, others to societies in London, such as the Poor Clergy Fund, Winter Distress Fund, and the Loyal South Irish. Those who join the Guild have to be prepared to work and to work hard for somebody other than themselves; this is worth doing and worth doing well. May next year see the whole School members of the Guild of Service! M. GEORGE, VI, 1932 The inaugural meeting of the Art Society took place during the Autumn Term of 1931, with a membership of 31 girls. This was the last Society to be formed at School for several years. Some of the less serious articles in the Gazette of1931 give us some idea of the routine of day-to-day life: A is for antics we all try at gym., And generally accomplish without loss of limb. B's for the bell which brings us relief When sometimes in lessons we're coming to grief. C is for choir-girls who sing in two parts, Their fervent endeavour comes straight from their hearts. D is for dinner of meals the most prime??? At which? and? have two helps every time. E is for essay we wrote in three hours, To show some outsider our literary powers??? F is for form-rooms on show-days delightful, But when we've no friends here they're perfectly frightful. H is for hockey we all play with zest, And most of us say that this game is the best.
G is for girdle tied now round the thighs, And there it must be whatever your size. I is for ink at school of no hue, To "fill up" at home is the best thing to do. J is for juniors who live down below, All being trained in the way they should go. K is for knitting we started with zest, But found it took ages to finish one vest. L is for library where silence must reign, Most ably looked after by wise Miss Maclean. M is for matches played with much vigour, But watched by a crowd which might often be bigger. N is for noise that we try hard to quell, With the help of form Pres. we get on quite well. O's for the organ by very few played. But we all appreciate the noise that is made. P is for prefects who appear on the stairs, If anyoneâ€™s talking she's caught unawares. Q is the quad where green grasses abound, A good spot for French-cricket as several have found. R is for rounders by young ones enjoyed, In future for cricket their fielding employed. S is for shower-baths ready at last, Their coolness we love when our clothes we have cast. T is for Tebbutt who stands in the hall. All ready for visitors when they should call. U is for uniform at all times quite neat, Hats down, collars up, taboo in the street. V's vegetarian containing much rice, With pepper as flavouring increasing its vice. W's for windows kept spotlessly clean, The hoppers removed must never be seen. X is for 'xcellents earned by good work, They never will come to the people who shirk. Y is for yawns we try hard to conceal, When near twelve o'clock we are wanting a meal. Z is for zest which most girls display In work and in games throughout the whole day.
A Senior School Alphabet Miss Adams heads our roundelay, 'Tis she we place beneath our A. Then B is second in demand, And so's Miss Bithray in command. For C we place our honoured head, 72
FORM VI, 1931
With Chapuzet, and piece of thread. Our Dicky Bird now cries '"Tweet-tweet!" She's chirpy, learned and petite. For E we place our Ewart slim, She always is so neat and trim. For F there's Fawcett, tall and straight, Who'd easily jump a five-barred gate. For G there's no one, but take heart, For H there's Hawkes, who teaches Art. For I there's no one we have seen; For J there's Jordan, dressed in green. For K there's no one, but for L There's Lee who teaches Shakespeare well. McLean, MacNaughtan come with M, We don't know much to say of them. For N there's Norton, baking cake, And making pastry, puff and flake. For O we greatly fear there's O, Although we both have thought and thought. All names have P and Q forsook, So now along to R we'll look. Miss Ritson is the earnest one, Who thinks that watching newts is fun. S for Stanton, fond of Greek, And Selby, dancing twice a week. And still some more come crowding round, For Sillem, Stenhouse, now are found. T's for Tebbutt, old and gray, And Muriel, too, an actress gay. Of all the letters, you'll agree, The "awkwardest" are U and V. For W there's Wyggeston; And now our lay is nearly done. For X and Y, and also Z, There's really nothing to be said. KATHLEEN ROBINSON, MARGARET WARNER, V. Langs., 1931 Many of the staff were also remembered with affection by the Old Girl who sent us the following letter: My first contact with the Wyggeston Girls' School was in 1926 when my Mother took me to the old school in Humberstone Gate to have a little written and reading entrance test, and to be introduced to Miss Heron, that dear lady who was Headmistress at the time. I was accepted, and in September 1926 I started at the Junior School in the Newarke. School was for each morning and Tuesday afternoon. My first form mistress was Miss Muriel Ainger, a delightful young woman, who left at the end of my first year to become a Church Missionary in India. Her name appeared month by month in the Church magazine of the Holy Apostles Church, which was printed by my Father. I often wonder what finally became of her. After two years the new school building was complete, and I was an eleven year old. I can remember the opening ceremony when I was crammed into the corridor at one of the sides of the Hall. It was such a beautiful new building, so modern at that time, and I was there for five happy years. My form mistresses were Miss Bird, Miss Ewart, Miss Ritson and finally Miss Barton for two years. I gained no great academic distinction, although I did obtain the Oxford School Certificate with two Credits. I was just an average hardworking pupil, but when I left the school in 1933 it was with a great sense of loyalty and love which has existed right up to this very day. M. VERONICA BAILEY This idea of using the alphabet as the framework for a poem was used again a year later to describe some ~f the highlights of the Easter cruise to Spain, Gibraltar and North Africa undertaken by senior members of the School -
Cruise Alphabet A's for the alphabet I'll try now to write, So don't be impatient It's hard to recite.
N is for night-time, Enjoyment we knew, We went to the pictures, Or danced with the crew.
B is for beef-tea We had at eleven, And with it dry biscuits Almost like leaven.
O is for oxen, The poor beasts of burden; Their uses were primitive, And so were the herdsmen.
C is for cruises We'd go every year; To hear of another We'd all give a cheer.
P is for ports, We visited four; I really am sorry We didn't see more.
D is for dinners Which sure were supreme, We ate them with relish Including ice-cream.
Q is the question I think I will askDo you think I shall manage To finish my task?
E's for enjoyment Which almost was endless; The fun of the last night Was really tremendous.
R is for ring Where the bulls are tormented. It's terribly cruel . For they just go demented.
F is for fishesWe just saw their flippersIt's not quite correct But we'll say they were kippers.
S is for sports, We had them one Monday; There's nothing to rhyme But it came after Sunday.
G is Gibraltar, From whose famous dock. We went in a gharrie To see the great rock.
T is for tennis, Deck-tennis you know, Played with a ring Which is tossed to and fro.
H is for hoods Which natives all wore, Who in spite of sunshine Had clothes by the score.
U is for union In the great tug-of-war, Wyggeston won it, But crashed to the floor.
I is for interest We got on our money, We bargained with traders Which really was funny.
V is the vessels We passed in the night, We wirelessed each other To say all was right.
J is for jackets The first day at sea, In case we were shipwrecked; We mustered at He".
W's for water A glorious hue, I just can't describe it, 'Twas like Reckitt's blue.
K is for kindness By natives not shown, For the mules and the donkeys Were nothing but bone.
X is for 'xtrasWe bought them in numbers; Some were in packets And others in tumblers.
L is for Liverpool, Shipyard of dreams, The scene of embarkment, Fulfilment of schemes.
Y is for yawns When daybreak. was dawning; We went to bed late, And soon it was morning.
M is for memories We'll treasure for ever Of the good ship "Montrose" And the traders in leather.
Z is the end, If you want any more You must finish yourself For I've done twenty-four. KATHLEEN RUDKIN, Upper V. Science, 1932 74
In 1932 the whole of Leicester was involved in a vast and colourful Pageant depicting the history of the City, which was held in Abbey Park. The members of the Wyggeston School played their part particularly in a Carnival and Battle of Flowers, and a very young pupil of the Junior School put her impressions of the events into verse:
The Pageant The Leicester Pageant now is here, And all should go and see; It will not come another year, So will you come with me? The Danish ships are on the sea, The little king is crowned, The Saxon children dance with glee, Some huntsmen gallop round.
The dragon comes along the green: He is a fearful sight! The highwaymen come on the scene, And then there is a fight. King Charles's horse did rear and prance, And Lady Jane did weep, And all the devils did a dance, Then came a flock of sheep. FORM LOWER I, 1932
Although the girls had more space at Regent Road than they had had in Humberstone Gate, there was still the problem of keeping the school, and especially the form rooms, tidy:
The School Beautiful We are pleased to be able to say with confidence that among the many revolutions of history, such as the French, the Russian, the Glorious Bloodless and the Industrial, our School has been able to provide one which has caused universal amazement and unparalleled admiration. Spurred on by our elders, by the eager among ourselves, and by the hope of a material, as well as a spiritual, reward, we have contrived to change the entire appearance of our Form rooms. No longer are our eyes revolted by the sight of misplaced desks, dead flowers, dirty scraps of paper adorned with the clerkly handwriting of members of IVA, old exercise books writ large with "C-", or ,worst of all, jars of dead tadpoles or unhappy sticklebacks (which might well bring upon the School the stern censure of the R.S.P.C.A.). Cupboards filled with neatly folded chemistry overalls may be said, with a slight exercise of the imagination, to have taken on "the attraction of a country in romance"; pin-rails, once pins and nothing else, look like a room in the Royal Academy; blackboards, once covered with the three-days'-old hieroglyphics of Guild of Service secretaries, are now washed with the care which we used to reserve only for our favourite dolls; and, above all, desks those wisely-lidded, internally chaotic holdalls-give the examiner not only exercise for the muscles, but a feast for their eyes (but here we pause and, with our innate sense of honour, whisper to the examiner that appearances are not everything, and that under every book may lurk an old letter, an untidy paper, or a squashed wasp, picked up at odd times in the Form rooms and hidden in desks in the hope that empty, and therefore necessarily tidy. Waste-paper baskets may cause just the difference between a gold and a silver "star"). These startling changes were achieved in the course of one week, and we have not yet fallen from our lofty pedestal. We have at last fulfilled, belatedly but not in vain, the real task of women as conceived by our ancestors-we have banished ugliness and dirt; we have learned to worship at the shrine of neatness; we have produced order out of chaos; we have achieved, Mirabile dictu, an evolutionary revolution! KATHLEEN WARNER, VIA, 1933 (This was the beginning of the Inter-Form Tidiness Competition, which continued right up to the end of the 1960's.) Some people were suggesting that cricket was not the most desirable sport for young ladies, but there were obviously some ardent supporters of the game within the Wyggeston Girls' School:
Cricket for Girls Cricket is one of the best games there is. It is the summer substitute for hockey and football -the summer team game, more enjoyable in this way than tennis, which is played more from an individual standpoint. Why should girls be deprived of one of the most enjoyable sports? Surely the average girl has overcome the nineteenth century terror of the hard ball!
And yet there is some excuse for fond parents who request that their daughters shall stop playing "that dangerous game". They must have watched practice games, for somewhat startling displays result when the "weaker sex" tries to acquire Larwood's "body-line" bowling. Perhaps mid-on is temporarily "knocked out" by an unexpected ball which mistook her chin for the wicket. Or they may be watching when mid-off springs for her life when the ball "breaks" at right-angles on a dandelion. The overworked saying "Practice makes perfect" is quite true. The more one practices cricket the less dangerous it becomes; so that in time Mrs. Grundy will have no reason to call it "that dangerous game". The bowler will know where her ball is going to, and so will the batsman (to the boundary, we hope!). EILEEN GRAVES, VI Alpha, 1933 As the interest in drama continued to develop amongst Staff and pupils, a trip to Stratford - on - Avon was organised for the first time in 1933. Also that year one girl visited a Junior Summer School of the League of Nations Union, held in Geneva, where she enjoyed both a holiday abroad and lectures by members of the new International Service. The fee of about 14 guineas, which included the cost of travel, 10 days' accommodation and the lecture course, was raised by the School branch. This shows the continued interest of the girls in the work of the League ~f Nations at a time when international support for it was becoming increasingly apathetic. During the school year 1934-1935 there were two Royal occasions which were celebrated by the School: 29 November-the School received a holiday on the occasion of the marriage of H.R.H. the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece. 3 May-Jubilee Medals and Pencils given by the Lord Mayor and Members of the City Council were distributed in School, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the King's reign. 6 May-in accordance with the King's wish, the whole School received a Jubilee holiday. 7 May-Miss Bird spoke to the School on "The Twenty-five Years of the King's Reign". To commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V the Staff and the girls contributed money to buy silver birch trees, which, when planted, would be known as the King's trees, and to make a rock garden, which would be known as the Queen's Garden. (The birch trees were planted by the School Prefects on 11 November between the hockey pitches and the netball courts on the Lancaster Road side of the School.) In 1935 the international situation was still very unsettled, especially after the failure of the recent Disarmament Conference. Lord Cecil and his Committee drew up a Peace Ballot to find out the opinion of the people of England on the all-important question of: "Shall there be war or peace?" The Ballot consisted of five questions, each of which could be answered "Yes" or "No". These five questions were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Should Britain remain a member of the League of Nations? Are you in favour of an all-round reduction of armaments by international agreement? Are you in favour of the abolition of national military and naval bombing aircraft? Are you in favour of the abolition of the sale of armaments for private profit? If one nation declares war on another nation, should the other nations combine to stop it by (a) economic or (b), if necessary, military measures?
The School branch of the League of Nations Union took great interest in this:
The School Peace Ballot The Peace Ballot, which was taking place in Leicester during February, made us determined to do our bit, even though we were not old enough to sign the ballot forms. A meeting was held at which we discussed the Five Questions, and later on we held a mock Peace Ballot in the Upper Fifths and Sixth, joining with five other schools in showing the attitude of the youth of Leicester towards world peace. GAZETTE, 1935
Another new club was formed in 1935 called the Biological and Rambling Club, which must have been of particular interest to Miss Caress who had gained her B.Sc. in Biology at Manchester:
The Biological and Rambling Club This Club has been formed for the purpose of helping members to appreciate living things, and will be of great assistance to those studying Biology in senior forms. Rambles will take place on Saturday afternoons, provided that there are at least five girls in the party; they will be accompanied by a member of the Biology Staff or two Sixth Form girls, one being a Prefect. Tea will be taken and apparatus for collecting and carrying home biological specimens. RAY WILSON, VI, 1935 The London Branch of the Old Pupils' Association was also started in 1935:
London Re-union On Saturday, March 2nd, an idea long cherished by Old Wyggestonians materialised, and a re-union of members residing in or within reach of London was held in the Queen Mary Hall of the Central Y.W.C.A. Club. This Hall was a happy choice, as it is a bright and spacious room, remote from the noise of traffic, and for this occasion it had the additional attraction of masses of gay spring flowers. The reception of the guests by Miss Heron and Miss Caress began at three o'clock, and though many entered timidly, fearing their inability to recognise any familiar faces, it was not long before the room presented an animated scene with groups of eagerly chatting people. After tea we returned to the Hall, and Miss Heron said a few words of welcome to us all as well as to members of the past and present Staff, who had responded so heartily to her invitation. She had anticipated a possible thirty or forty acceptances, but the number had grown delightfully till it reached eighty. Miss Caress next expressed her warm appreciation of the idea of holding an Old Girls' Reunion in London, particularly as the friendship and interest of old pupils are always a strong support to the school. She very kindly said that if any of us were visiting Leicester, and had not seen the new buildings, she would feel it a real pleasure to take us round. At the business meeting which followed, it was decided to make the Re-union an annual fixture and to hold it, if possible, on the second Saturday afternoon in February. K. F. SHOULTS, 1935 In 1936 the French Club became the Modern Languages Club, and the girls attempted to speak German as well as French at their meetings.
1937, like 1935, was dominated by Royal events, this time the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth: May 8th-The Junior School Sports were held, followed by a Coronation Tea. May 10th-Coronation Services were held for all the schoolchildren of Leicester. The Senior girls attended one in the De Montfort Hall, addressed by Dr. C. Norwood, and the Juniors had a service in the School grounds. The Senior School Sports were held, followed by a Coronation Tea. May 12th-Three days holiday were given to celebrate the Coronation of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. May 14th-The youngest girl in the Senior School planted an acorn in Abbey Park in commemoration of the Coronation.
A Coronation Commemoration To commemorate the Coronation of George VI, I, as the youngest girl in the Senior School, was chosen, with twenty-three other children from different schools, to plant an acorn each from the gardens at Windsor, in Abbey Park. We assembled at the place chosen and found twenty-five holes in readiness. The Mayor planted the first acorn and raked the soil over it, and we followed in turn, after which we were presented with souvenir medals of Oxidised silver, having a picture of the King and Queen on one side and Westminster Abbey on the other. After the Mayor had made a short speech, we rejoined our parents, who had been watching the proceedings. PAT SIMONS, IlIA, 1937
Things I shall always remember about the Coronation I am sure that I shall always remember the service that was held in the School grounds on the Monday before Coronation Day. I thought that the trumpet sounded very unusual, and I was very glad that it did not rain. I enjoyed watching the Pageant, given by the schools of Leicester, and thought it very good for a rehearsal. I think I shall best remember the Elizabethan scene, as I watched that more closely than the other scenes because it was done by girls and boys from the Wyggeston Schools. I think I shall always remember Sports Day and how lovely the weather was, and how, after the sports, we were given a tea by the people of Leicester. I can remember how funny it seemed, to be sitting in the dining hall, having cups of tea poured out by members of the Staff. I shall always remember receiving the book "The Crowning of the King and Queen", given to each girl and boy by the Education Committee and so I shall always remember the Coronation, because I shall always keep and treasure my book. MONICA STAPLES, IV Parallel, 1937 On Tuesday 18 May, three members of the UVI forms, representing the School, attended the Empire Youth Rally at the Albert Hall, which was organised on the occasion of the Coronation, and the following day attended the Youth Service in Westminster Hall. Both the Spoken English and the Spoken French Competitions are mentioned in the 1937 Gazette for the first time. These became annual events both as individual and inter-form competitions, together with the Gymnastics Competitions which began in 1938. Other less recently established Competitions were still going strong:
Everyone Sang Everyone suddenly burst out singing; And I was filled with such a pain As competitors in an oral contest Suffer in silence, when the awful strain Moistens many a brow; "My turn! Never again!" Thirty voices were suddenly lifted, The roof tried hard to stay on. My heart was shaken with tears, as madly I covered my ears ... but the row went on. Oh, Upper Five Science is hopeless; the singing prize will never be won. JEAN LYNCH, UVSc., 1937 17 June 1938 was the Sixtieth Anniversary of the foundation of the School. The celebrations were not on the same scale as in 1928, but it did afford the girls an opportunity to look back to the early days of the School and compare life in 1878 with that of1938:
1878-1938 In 1878 when Jane Brown went to school, Skirts were long, hair was long; Stern discipline did rule. Gymnastics were unheard of And the only game she played Was tennis in the summer, mere pat-ball I'm afraid. One thing she had in common with the girl at school to-day. For a grave misdemeanour these words someone would say: Bring me the book.
To-day in 1938 Jane's grandchild goes to school In tunic short, hair page.boy bobbed; She looks both trim and cool. Gym or games take place each day, School rules are not so numerous, But one rule has come down the years, which Jane does not think humorous; Although the education pill is quite well "jammed" to-day. If grand-daughter Jane talks on the stairs someone will surely say: Bring me the book. HELEN RIDGWAY, V Languages, 1938 Another poet was content to describe the present:
The Wyggeston School, Leicester Just now the lilac is in bloom In jars about my old form-room, And thirty other jars, I think, Brim with a liquid called school ink; And in the gardens, well I know, Are girls who toil with rake and hoe. Oh! there the schoolgirls, summer through, Wear blouses white and tunics blue And panama hats. At rounders, "Deep" Is never known to fall asleep; Hard balls are caught and thrown beneath Trees dark, mysterious as death. Upon the banks they like to lie Day long and watch the summer skyUnhappily this can't be done At Wyggeston, at Wyggeston ... Still in the quiet of the school Are form-rooms bright and wide and cool, And on their notice boards, I'm told, Are shining stars of purest gold. Corridor floors are polished, wide, Inviting girls to run or slide. The prefects note, with furious eye, The rash Third Formers running by. The girls at school do all they ought, They each remember what they're taught (And when they're tired of work, men say, They go and have a holiday). I want to feel the Summer sun Upon my cheek at Wyggeston. To hear the "five-to-nine" bell ring And in the Great Hall hymns to sing. Say, do the schoolgirls always take Milk in the dining-hall at Break? Is there the Scripture essay still? And do the flower-orderlies fill The vase every morning? May They win a Merit Holiday? Is there a Singing Trophy yet? Sight-reading? Is it often wet On games days? Are there girdles red? And for the Juniors stripes instead? Say, is the Fat Girl any thinner? And do the Staff serve girls at dinner? EVE BRALEY-SMITH, Upper V Languages, 1938 79
We are very grateful to Miss Thornton, who was Head of the Junior School at this time, for collecting the following anecdotes about the Lower School:
Junior School Memories The Junior School provided us with a magnificent foundation. For me, it created and stimulated interests which I have to this day. ______________ "Reference Cards." Cards were drawn up in 1938-1939 in the hope that not only should we have a record of the children's progress and general development from the time they entered the school, but that eventually, the cards could be developed and used in addition to or instead of the "coarse sieve" of the Eleven Plus examination on which all would-he entrants to the Senior School could be selected. These cards were used in the Junior School but unluckily, owing to the closure of the Junior School the experiment never came to fruition. A very large number of children from other Junior Schools applied for vacancies in the Wyggeston Junior School and, when they had passed the Eleven Plus examination, for the Senior School. The Junior School staff had to hold very careful entrance exams for both types of entrants. The results were discussed by Miss Caress with the Head of the Junior School. On entry to the Senior School the second forms were divided into three groups alphabetically, as was the outside entry. Each of the new third forms was therefore made up of a group of ex-juniors and a group of new entrants. ______________ The pegs in the cloakroom had symbols as well as our names and mine was an umbrella. Miss Lott helped with our reading but there were no restrictions on parents helping too, and I remember it was at home when I experienced the glorious moment when all the letters suddenly made sense. And I remember the glow of pride the next day when Miss Thornton visited our class and I showed off my newfound skill by reading to her. Prayers were held each morning and my favourite readings of all were from a book of moral, but slightly diverting, tales and they included a story called "The Pig Brother". I think at our age these stories made more impression than straight Bible readings. ______________ During 1938-1939 the plans and location for a pond needed by the Biology Department and Junior School were made and, owing to Miss Daisy Whitehead's generosity they were quickly put into execution. The pond was a favourite with me and I remember Miss Thornton taking us across to it and talking about pond life, etc. I also remember the thrill of jumping across to the end of the small peninsula in it. I remember very well each of us having our own little garden by the beech hedge by the netball courts; I even remember planting candy-tuft and love-in-a-mist and clarkia. ______________ I've just remembered the Craft Room-you know we were so lucky to have such a well-equipped school all those years ago. Actually my mother still has an ash-tray which I made and fired and glazed at school. "Clubs" were instituted for the top half of the Junior School on Wednesday afternoons. Some were for Art and Craft, English, Music (we were exceedingly fortunate in having someone so unusually well-qualified to take music with children of Junior School age as Miss Daldy) and Nature Study. The children chose their "Club" and there was no segregation by age. Expeditions were made to the most interesting buildings in the old part of the City and frequent visits to the museum. ______________ I went to school just as the war broke out. We all had gas masks which we took everywhere with us. Choosing a gas mask case was quite as important as choosing a trendy school bag today. We always had overcoats at hand (in case of a dash to the trenches). We also had a haversack each in which was a rubber sheet, barley sugar and raisins. The raisins were usually all gone by the end of term. I can only remember one siren going during a school day but we had numerous practices when we filed out to the trenches under the "hump" with great enjoyment and no fear and sat on wooden slatted benches in the narrow tunnels. The shelters were roomy and as we were never in them for any length of time it all seemed a great adventure.
Miss Caress, who visited each Junior School Form on Friday mornings, took the last Assembly of the term in the Great Hall. The Assembly at the end of the Autumn Term was a Carol Service with readings. At the end of the Spring Term there was a Spring Festival while at the end of the school year there were summer readings and singing. There was a Harvest Assembly in the Autumn Term. Our parents were always very co-operative. Miss Caress kept Monday and Thursday afternoons free for visits from Senior and Junior School parents besides seeing them by appointment. The Head of the Junior School was free to see parents of Junior School children on Monday afternoons. Once a year there was an At Home for parents of various sections of the School (including one for the Junior School) when the parents met all the staff who taught their children. The Junior School was a complete world of its own. We were scarcely aware of the Senior School, but looking back, moving up to the Third Form was not nearly the shock that moving to a totally different school would have been. I think having the two Schools in the same building gave us a terrific sense of security.
School Diary, 1939-1940 This school year opened in a unique way for all of us: we assembled in the Great Hall on September 13th, complete with gas masks, overcoats and haversacks. The first half of the term was marked by our new activities-trench drills, the knitting campaign, and other war work. We shared the school for most of this term with the Collegiate and Alderman Newton Girls, attending school in alternate sessions; from 8.00 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. one week, and 12.45 till 5.00 p.m. the following week. We should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Collegiate and Alderman Newton girls for their beautiful gifts, which will serve as a symbol of the friendship between us. During their free sessions the Staff and VIth Forms helped with the copying of maps for the Ministry of Agriculture, while the rest of the school helped with the gardening. On Saturday mornings, many girls from the VIth and Upper Vth Forms attended First Aid lectures, very kindly given by the Matron of the Infirmary, Miss Hughes, who was assisted in practical work by some of the nurses. On November 12th, the school suffered a great loss in the death of Sir Jonathan North, the Chairman of our Governors. On Wednesday, November 15th, a party of staff and school prefects attended the funeral at the Cathedral, and every girl in the school contributed to a wreath, sent as a token of our love and respect.
Sir Jonathan North In his public life his contributions to the welfare of our city were manifold as a business man and as a member of the Council. He held the office of Mayor for four years during the Great War, and in recognition of his services during that time he was knighted by the King in the De Montfort Hall in 1919 the first time since the Middle Ages that such a ceremony had been witnessed in Leicester. But it is as an educationalist that we specially remember Sir Jonathan. He became Chairman of the Leicester Education Committee in 1908, and held the office for thirty years, during which time his liberal and broad-minded guidance did much to further elementary, higher and technical education. A gift of ÂŁ3,000 given to him by the shareholders of his firm, Freeman, Hardy & Willis, was handed over by him to the Leicester Education Committee to form a Trust Fund, with the object of stimulating original creative work among pupils and students attending the Schools and Colleges of the city. The "Sir Jonathan North" medals, prizes and awards hold a valuable place in the educational system of Leicester. It was with especial pleasure that Leicester saw the consummation of Sir Jonathan's devoted work in the foundation of Leicester University College, in the inauguration of which he played a huge part, and of which he was Chairman of the Council for many years. The Wyggeston Girls' School particularly remembers Sir Jonathan for his presentation of annual Prize Essays, for the handsome silver Sports Cup, given in memory of Lady North, and for the wonderful organ in the Great Hall. GAZETTE, 1940 On December 12th, the whole school assembled in the Great Hall to see Miss Jean Sterling Mackinlay, who gave a programme of songs, in costume, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody. We should like to thank Miss Caress, who made possible this entertainment in lieu of school parties, which we were not able to have owing to the war.
The Spring Term was remarkable for the severest winter for fifty years. The snow and ice caused great difficulties, and many girls made Trojan efforts to come to school, in spite of almost impossible conditions. To complicate matters, an epidemic of influenza swept the school in the first half of the term, and very few of us escaped it. We returned to more or less normal conditions in the latter half of the term, apart from the epidemic of German measles-that unpatriotic disease-which claimed many victims. On February 15th, we had our Annual Speech Day. This time we were unable to have visitors in the school, owing to insufficient accommodation in the trenches. The prizes were presented by Alderman Hallam, our new Chairman. He most kindly offered to perpetuate the Sir Jonathan North Essay Prize, which is now to be called the Chairman's Prize Essay. Also in the Spring Term, the Staff, VIth and Upper Vth Forms played a part in the City's A.R.P. Certain girls and staff went down to assist at various infant schools, for two and a half days at a time. During this time, they had talks on air-raid precautions-ways in which to deal with various kinds of bombs, and elementary principles of First Aid, which were both interesting and useful. This term, as we have been able to stay at school after four o'clock, the school societies have resumed their activities. Instead of having the usual weekâ€™s holiday at Whitsuntide, the school returned on Tuesday, May 14th, recalled by the decision of the government, because of the international situation. GAZETTE, 1941 Musical activities were playing an increasingly important role in the school:
Musical Matters As with other school activities, musical affairs have been considerably hampered this year. However, an instrumental trio and a quartet were formed in the Autumn term, and are still meeting regularly. Orchestral practices were impossible in the Autumn term and the first half of the Spring term, but they were then resumed and now take place every week, giving a great deal of enjoyment to those who come to them. In war time, music is more important than ever, and besides getting a great deal of enjoyment out of playing yourself, you can also give it to others. Recorders have become increasingly popular in school this year, and several girls can now play them quite proficiently-the VIth Form often enjoy impromptu concerts in the dinner hour and at break. This term, we have again had the pleasure of hearing music played after prayers, once a week, by one of the music staff. We are all delighted that this has been resumed. As we have seen from the Diary, the war-time conditions affected most of the activities of the Wyggeston girls in one way or another and inevitably this was reflected in the items submitted to the Gazette of 1940:
Shakespeare: 1940 WAR CONDITIONS. "His burdenous taxations notwithstanding ..." "We are enforc'd to farm our royal realm" Richard II. THE BLACK-OUT. "A curse shall light upon the limbs of menâ€? Julius Caesar. "And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp" Macbeth. "The treacherous feet which with usurping steps do trample thee" Richard II. "Think no more of this night's accidents" Midsummer Night's Dream. "Nor can we be distinguished by our faces" Taming 0/ the Shrew. RATIONING. "Give to our tables meat" Macbeth. "I am meek and gentle with these butchers" Julius Caesar. WOMEN. For ever knit" Macbeth. EILEEN HEWITT, Upper V Languages, 1940
Ode to the Respirator What has a place in every home, The smaller and the greater? Is it a special kind of dart? No! it's the Respirator.
What fills the schoolgirl's heart with rage, And is a sigh creator? Is it a brolly or wellington boots? No, it's the Respirator.
What is festooned on every bike, Adorns each p'rambulator? What costs our nation many pounds? The little Respirator.
Australian troops have been safely led By convoy across the equator: We're guided home by an irate mistress To fetch our Respirator.
Because of the war and the weather, we've had Quite a shortage of meat and potatoes; But let us hope that it's never so bad That we're driven to eat Respirators! KARLEEN JONES, Upper V Languages, 1940
School Diary, 1940-1941 The school year opened on September 11th, but school closed again until the 17th, as the building was being used for the reception of evacuees from Ipswich. As the result of an appeal to the School furniture was collected for empty houses which were taken over by the evacuees. On October 17th, a Memorial Service for Miss Heron was held in the Cathedral and was attended by the VIth and Upper Vth Forms. The Old Girls' Association has decided to establish a "Sarah Heron Fund", to enable girls in need of financial assistance to continue their education. It is thought that this will be the most fitting form of permanent memorial to Miss Heron. The Current Events Discussion Group began meeting in the Winter Term. School Parties were not possible this year, but Miss Selby very kindly arranged party programmes for different sections of the School on December 14th and following afternoons. The Spring Term was marked by a new A.R.P. activity. A fire-watching team, consisting of three members of Staff and three VIth Form girls, is now on the premises every night. Our "watching" has lately been enlivened by searching intelligence tests, set by the Fire Watching Committee-we now know the whereabouts of every grain of sand, every drop of water, every pump, rake, shovel and spade in the building. On February 27th, we had our Annual Speech Day. This year we were able to have visitors, as in prewar days. Prize-winners had the honour of being presented to the Bishop, Dr. Guy Vernon Smith, although books were replaced by National Savings Certificates. The Spoken French and German Competitions were held in the Spring Term, and girls are now preparing for the Drama Competition, which is to replace the Spoken English Competition this year. Forms are also busy practising for the Singing Competition, and for the Sports, which are to be held on July 3rd. The Guild of Service was particularly active during the war years:
The Guild of Service During the last year parcels of clothing have been sent from the Guild to the Royal Infirmary, the District Nursing Association, the Day Nursery, the Leicester and Leicestershire Maternity Hospital, and the Welfare Centre-institutions which the Guild always supports. Parcels have also been sent to the Citizens' Advice Bureau in Leicester, the Leicester Children's Aid Association, the Save the Children Fund, the United Associations of Great Britain and France, and the South London Mission. In all, 396 new garments and about 450 old garments have been distributed. At Christmas the School sent toys to the usual places. This work will prove increasingly difficult as long as the war lasts, but we hope that by planning and mending toys in good time we shall not disappoint the children who expect them so eagerly. Many forms packed Christmas hampers for poor families in Leicester. Here is a quotation from the Record of War Work as it was printed in 1946:
"Manning the Trenches" We should like to put on record the loyalty of the Senior girls who throughout the war years undertook the dull routine of "manning the trenches". Winter and summer alike, in rain and mud or July heat, the twice-daily procession took its way laden with stretchers, tins of food, beakers of water, first-aid boxes 83
and rugs from the school to the trenches. . .. These girls cheerfully undertook their share of fire watching our buildings. Patrolling the top corridor in winter was a chilly and eerie affair, with the too-clear moonlight streaming in and the ominous droning overhead. Luckily, we had no real incidents-and as for our homemade incidents, when we tracked down innocent cocoa tins camouflaged as bombs, that was sheer joy, especially when, having dealt with a "bomb" in the tank room, we found on descending that the gallery and organ were "in flames" and our way blocked. . .. More than half the joy of these rehearsals was, of course, "putting the Staff through it". D.M.A. During the summer holidays of 1941, most o[the girls were initiated into the important task of working on the land at harvest camps where they took part in stooking, thistle-slicing, wire-worming, flax-pulling, potato-lifting (for all ages [rom the IV's upwards) and pea-picking:
Pea-picking One morning last summer the waiting passengers at the 'bus station were astounded to see an oddly assorted crew of girls wearing wellingtons, galoshes, and bedraggled mackintoshes over very short shorts, or gay cotton frocks, or else very correct riding kit. The inevitable gasmasks were slung over one shoulder and on the other swung a haversack with sandwiches, a bag of tea, a spare jumper in case of rain, and a face flannel (if one happened to be fastidious about washing before meals). This was the Wyggeston pea-picking contingent. On arrival at the farm we were handed over to the "fatherly" keeping of one Reg, who was much delighted at having so youthful and so credulous an audience for such yarns as he chose to spin. It was about a mile to the field of operations, a pleasant walk with several five-barred gates affording excellent practice for gate-vault. In the pea-field we were instructed in the art of gathering the elusive vegetable. Do not ever dare to say that the price of peas is too high until you have spent a day trying to fill sacks which, especially towards 4.15, will not register forty pounds of peas on the scales; moreover, every pod does not obligingly contain full, ripe peas. The method of picking was as follows: With a basket to one's self or shared with a fellow worker, one set one's face to a long row of peas, grasped a handful of plants and bodily uprooted them. Every likelylooking pod was thereupon stripped from its parent and cast into the basket. I believe that there grew up in our minds a new multiplication table rather like this: 20 handsful - 1 basket; 5 baskets - 1 sack; 1 sack - 1 shilling and sixpence. It was rather upsetting when one's neighbour discarded her pea "straws" upon one's own peas yet unpicked. The official method of disposal was a quick jerk of the straw over one's shoulder, with the intention that the rejected piece of vegetation should land on ground already stripped of its pea crop. Games mistresses will probably agree that aims are not always true even when the projectile is of uniform shape, and thrown with the right hand in a forward direction; imagine then the result of a backward throw over the left shoulder. At 12.30 we "knocked-off" for lunch, which consisted of food from home and tea kindly made for us by the farmer. At 4.15 each afternoon when we ceased work, or were supposed to, there was always a frantic rush to try to fill one's sack. Pleas for help to more fortunate workers who had managed to do so usually meant that each sack was filled by hook or by crook. Very dirty, very tired, and very hungry, we would gather round Reg to receive our day's wages. We all enjoyed that farming. We did not care a bit about discomfort. What did it matter if people stared at our bedraggled state as we marched through town at about 5.30, just in time to meet all the smart office girls who looked at us as if we were a menagerie! We were happy because at last we had had something really useful to do; and given the chance again this year, I am sure we shall all take it. VIOLET SIDDAL, VI, 1941 Term started on 17 September, but the farm labours were not yet over: We did not settle down to work with our usual speed, for hardly were we backing at school when an urgent S.O.S. came from Mr. Burrows, whose pea-fields were not yet cleared. So for the first week of term relays of girls from the Senior Forms were absent from school to help him gather in the rest of his harvest. There were no further interruptions in school life until half-term. Then girls from the Vth, Upper Vth and VIth Forms went out to farms in Leicestershire during the fortnight beginning on half-term Monday, November 3rd, to help in gathering in the potato crops. This proved a novel and exciting, as well as a useful, adventure.
School Diary, 1941-1942 The Annual Speech Day was held in the afternoon of December 17th. Like last year, books were replaced by National Savings Certificates as prizes. The programme included several musical items. There were three songs by the Senior Forms, and the School Orchestra, performing for the first time in public, played a piece specially written for it by Miss MacNeill and called the "Wyggeston Suite", (The piece was played again before the performance of the "Masque of William Wyggeston" in May.) In the Christmas holidays a three-day Conference was held, which was attended by senior pupils of the Leicester Secondary Schools; it was arranged by the Director of Education in co-operation with the Student Christian Movement. So great was the interest aroused by these talks and discussions that regular central meetings are now held, and local discussion groups have been formed. Those who attend these meetings find them very helpful and stimulating, and we hope that the Movement will continue to receive support from the Upper Forms of the School. On January 16th, the Friday after we returned to school, a collection was held in aid of the Red Cross, amounting to £37, and three weeks later, on Friday, February 6th, was taken the first collection of our Red Cross Penny-a-Week Fund, to which members of the Senior and Junior Schools and the Staff now contribute regularly. The week beginning March 2nd was Leicester's Warship Week, when the City of Leicester aimed at collecting £3,000,000 to "adopt" H.M.S. Renown. The schools of Leicester aimed at raising £5,000 among them. By the end of the week the Wyggeston Girls' School alone had the staggering sum of £9,560 14s 0d to its credit. Although continuing with their academic work, the girls still found time to become more involved with the war effort during the Spring Term:
G.T.C. During the spring plans were set afoot for the formation of a company of the Girls' Training Corps. The Wyggeston Girls' School was to be the Headquarters for the area, and we were pleased to hear that Miss Caress was appointed Area Commandant. Several meetings have been held, both for girls who wish to become cadets and for prospective officers. Enthusiastic support for the G.T.C. has been shown by the girls, who are now anxiously waiting for "things to get started", when they will be able to assume their uniforms and begin their pre-service training in earnest.
The achievements of the Guild of Service The Guild has worked steadily all through the year, and parcels of knitted garments have been sent to the Royal Navy, as well as to the City Maternity Home, the Day Nursery, the Royal Infirmary and the Welfare Centre in Highcross Street. In the summer of 1942 six packages of books, magazines and games were sent to the Friendless Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen. In the autumn of 1942, 240 old garments were sent to the Polish women and children in Siberia through the Leicester Branch of the British Federation of University Women, and a parcel of 16 sheets and 32 pillowcases (mostly used) was sent in answer to an appeal for bed linen for Russian hospitals. During the Easter Holidays several girls from the Upper Vth and VIth Forms volunteered to help at the Day Nurseries, the Leicester Royal Infirmary and the City General Hospital. Even though everyone was spending a great deal of time on the war work, music in the School did not suffer:
Music in the School Although we were all sorry to lose Miss Scorrer, we welcome Miss Railton, who with her different approach to the subject is maintaining our interest and pleasure in music, and has established or reestablished several choirs - a School Choir, a Madrigal Choir, and a Junior Choir. The madrigal singers had their first opportunity to entertain us on Speech Day, when they gave an enjoyable performance. The Orchestra, too, delighted everyone with a Brahms Hungarian Dance, an Air from Handel's Water Music, and a Minuet and Trio by Lully. At Christmas the Choir added much to our pleasure by their choruses and carols in the Nativity Play. An informal concert arranged by Miss Railton was given in the Spring Term, the programme including songs by all the Choirs, instrumental solos, and again the Orchestra. We hope for many more of these concerts. GAZETTE, 1943
One particular musical occasion made a vivid impression on one Old Girl: I remember the performance of the "Messiah" conducted by Dr. Reginald Jacques in December 1943. It was a three-part arrangement for girls' voices. It was organised by the new young music mistress who became Dame Ruth Railton (founder of the National Youth Orchestra and now Mrs. Cecil King), NANCY ILLINGWORTH 1943 was marked by several special war efforts which involved both the School and the City of Leicester: We returned to School on May 4th and immediately set to work to collect books for Leicester's Book Drive. The week beginning May 22nd was Leicester's "Wings for Victory" Week. The School surpassed all expectations by saving the extraordinary sum of ÂŁ11,066 3s. 6d. The following week was the School's "Empire Week". A period every day was devoted to questions and discussions about the Empire, a different country being taken each day. Throughout the war years, VI formers continued to go on to various forms of higher education, although certain restrictions were imposed:
Examinations A larger number of girls sat for scholarship and entrance examinations this year. Not only did the Thirdyear Sixth enter as usual, but members of the Second-year Sixth were forced by the regulations of the Ministry of Labour and National Service to take their examinations a year earlier than is customary, so as to be able to take a two-year degree course at College. We congratulate these girls, especially since they met with intense competition. Summer holidays were still spent at the harvest camps: Most girls cycled to farms nearby, two or three together, but sometimes larger groups were taken further afield in "War Ag." lorries. How anxious we all were to know what our work would be each day, and how big our group was to be. How busy we were when we arrived -stooking corn, picking peas, gathering fruit, lifting potatoes, weeding, hoeing, and in general turning our attention to whatever needed to be done. Who will ever forget wondering why our hands suffered when we pulled flax for a whole week-it was so much easier without gloves----or why our progress in weeding strawberry beds (out of season, too) seemed so painfully slow. Whenever I see a strawberry plant now, a reminiscent shudder runs up my spine. The farmers were friendly and helpful, although it took time before some would admit that girls are capable of doing hard work! Back in camp we all appreciated a hot "tub", the water carefully carried across the playground from the kitchen. Then to dinner, of which we ate plentifully, despite the fact that we had already eaten a good lunch at mid-day in the field or barn. We thank the kitchen workers very much indeed for the food they provided for us-abundant and appetising. There were one or two occasions, it is true, when the porridge was burnt, but more pleasant events are well remembered-and that rich caramel, which Miss Johnstone used to make! Table tennis was the most popular entertainment at night: more than once we had a party. Fancy dress was often very original; King Alfred's burnt cakes found it rather hard to get the shoe polish off their faces afterwards. It was pleasant to go into the village in the evening, to visit the interesting old church, built chiefly between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, and to spend Sunday afternoon by the river at King's Mills, or Trent locks. Sometimes midnight feasts took place, and there were strange happenings. Once the gong by which we were awakened in the morning was missing-and was found later in an unused room; and a broom handle was so arranged that one morning the inmates of the staff room could not get out. The organisation of the camp was excellent; the maximum amount of enjoyment was obtained with the minimum amount of trouble. For this we thank very warmly those members of staff who arranged our stay, especially Miss C. Richardson and Miss Rawlinson. It is because of their unselfish and devoted hard work that our camp has always been such a success, and they more than deserve a real holiday themselves now. We feel our harvest camp has accomplished what it set out to do-to help the farmers during the years when labour was scarce; moreover it has taught all of us the meaning of community spirit. RUTH E. BRYAN, Upper VI, 1948
1944: The Wyggeston Munition Factory The piece of war work we were proudest of as a school was becoming a Munition Factory, or more accurately, a Packing Station, from January to March 1944. We knew that something serious was in the wind. For a whole term, girls from the VI to the Ill's gave up a morning or afternoon half-session to packing small parts-cleaning rods, trigger pins, springs, bottles of oil, brackets, gauges, muzzle covers and what not. It was literally by the million, for by 31 March we had packed 1,998,496 items into 113,248 cartons-a term of good, solid, hard work. Then when we realised that we had been packing these things for the Invasion of the Normandy Beaches, we felt doubly proud and glad that we had helped to the best of our ability to equip our soldiers. D.M.A. The Gazette was not published in 1944, but we do know that that year was the first since the war began that the Senior girls were able to enjoy dressing up for their Christmas party in the evening. Many of these older girls spent their Christmas holiday working at Campbell Street Post Office. The Education Act of1944 introduced by R. A. Butler made secondary education compulsory for all children and raised the school leaving age from 14 to 15 years (to become 16 years as soon as practical). Until 1944 admission had been by competitive examination and the winning of a scholarship or by paying fees. The Act abolished tuition fees in secondary schools maintained by the Local Education Authorities. Religious worship and instruction was made compulsory, though parents might contract out. Other provisions were included in the Act which led to the setting up of the Ministry for Education which immediately began to consider the re-organisation of the country's examination systems. As a result of the Act, the Junior School was phased out over the next five or six years, and it seems appropriate to include here a series of "snapshots" sent to us by Mrs. Mager, who saw life at the Wyggeston as both a Junior and Senior pupil: BEGINNERS (Miss Uffen)
Lumps of grey modelling clay slimily stored in a dustbin. Small balls of wool, rainbow-piled, encircled by cross-legged five-year-olds busily making "porn pom" balls.
PREPARATORY (Miss K. B. Lee)
A woodland wall chart whereon your own green frog progressed from toadstool to toadstool as each difficult word was mastered. The ultimate "should", "would", "could" and "marvellous" landed the clever amphibians at the door of Miss Gadsby's thatched cottage ... and the owner at Miss Gadsby's office, there to be presented with a Junior School Hymnbook. These were halcyon days of canvas and raffia kettle holders, glass-beaded milk jug covers and kindergarten art forms (I still remember the smell of wax crayons making a masterpiece of spiky-petalled Michaelmas daisies!)
TRANSITION (Miss D. S. Whitehead)
Coloured balloons on a wall chart here, with golden, silver or red stars to stick thereon for good work; remember the unique taste of that gum and the shimmer of coveted gold stars? Each week the holder of the greatest accumulation earned the right to wear a small silver medal.
LOWER IA ... (Miss Collier)
Life was becoming more serious. English replaced Composition, and foundations of History were laid with plasticine embodiments of lake dwellings. Purple and yellow crocuses were enfriezed on grey paper; in the Craft Room we toiled to produce rickety orange-painted stools, or to convert coils of sink-soggy cane into frail baskets for besotted Mums to cherish and treasure.
IA ... (Miss L. G. Pearce)
Miss Pearce was a great favourite and a wonderful teacher-music was her speciality. We had Music and Eurhythmics in the Junior Hall. But Miss Pearce died very suddenly and for a while we were shattered and heartbroken.
IIA ... (Miss Harding)
Now we found out that the dark blue bar badges that two elected girls wore for a term said "PREFECT" and not "PERFECT" as we in the Kindergarten had previously supposed! There were narrow gold stripes to be stitched across a box pleat of our tunics and these were awarded for prowess in the gym and for correct deportment!
III PAR ... (Miss Bithray)
Senior School at last. The new girls who came from Elementary Schools outshone us with their excellence at tables and mental arithmetic!
IVA and beyond ...
Alongside our school life, indeed closely affecting every facet, was War. Fathers and brothers were called up, blackout descended over the land. Trenches were burrowed into the "hump" and records were set up and broken for the time taken by the school to evacuate the building and fill those dank, claustrophobic tunnels. We were burdened by overcoats, shoes, gas masks and haversacks of iron rations; fortunately there were no bad raids during school hours. As Upper V formers we took our share of fire-watching. We rested (sleep was a rarity!) on camp beds as moonlight shone through the Library windows with their criss-crossed paper strips. We made "utility" chocolate truffles in the Housecraft room, played badminton in the gym, cycled along the corridors, imagined Anthony hanging in his coffin-box in the General Science lab ... and even entered the Holyof-Holies (Staff Room!) Greatly delinquent we played a kind of netball, involving small balls of paper and the bowls of the Library light fittings. The Big Gym became a packing station for various bits and pieces of small arms; for a time we shared our school with sister schools, thus making room for Leicester's quota of evacuees. We knitted long khaki scarves as we patrolled the terrace in dinner hours. We picked peas and potatoes and went to Harvest Camps. We lived through patriotic days, terrible times ... Dunkirk ... bombs ... then D-Day and the joyous, bonfire-celebrated VE Day. Still we kept to our routines whenever possible. We took our School Certificate and observed silence on the stairs. We played rounders and took work into the Green Quad on grass-chewing, summer days. There was mark reading at term's end, with coloured glass trophies for form room tidiness, silver cups for games and red girdles for "work done in the gymnasium". At last I handed in my School Prefect's silver shield. The final "Lord dismiss us" wrapped like a constriction round my throat. For the last time the School marched out of the Great Hall. Tears came with the realisation that I was now one of "those that here shall meet no more ...... MRS. K. BRENDA MAGER (nee SHIPMAN), 1932-1945
The Gazette of1945 gives us the first report of the Inter-Schools' Sixth Form Club's activities although it had started in 1943:
Inter-Schools' Sixth Form Club The Sixth Form Club held its first meeting at the City Boys' School in the form of a Brains Trust and Social. At Christmas we had a party in the Hall of the College of Art and Technology, and during the Spring Term a Lecture by Mr. Kenneth Allot and a Social both at the Collegiate Girls' School. A Drama Society has been formed, and will produce two plays this term under the direction of Mr. Russell, of the Wyggeston Boys' School. Tennis has also been arranged, and those who wish to play may do so on the Collegiate School Courts on Saturdays. There will also be a Lecture on India and a Social at the Wyggeston Girls' School on May 30th. We feel now that the Sixth Form Club has really established itself during its two years of existence. J. F. ROBERTSON, VI, 1945 and the following article comes from an Old Girl who was a founder member of the Club: I went into the VI Form in 1943. At the time the VI consisted of only two forms: VI Alpha and VIA. I think
that the scientists, under Miss Rawlinson, all belonged to VI Alpha, while Miss Bird had VIA who were all more artistically inclined. (Those two forms included first and second year Sixth, although obviously they split into years for lessons.) One of the things I remember was the Inter-Schools' Sixth Form Club, of which I was a founder member. It started in about 1943, and we used to meet once or twice a term in various venues including the old Wyggeston Girls' School in Humberstone Gate! I remember that we had a Christmas party once in the Collegiate gym! We also used to have dances, lectures, debates, etc. The Sixth form used to have one double period a week just for pleasure (by this the School meant things like cooking or gardening!). During the war, each form had its own bit of garden which they had to keep neat and tidy in the absence of any permanent staff, and one mistress (I can't remember who) was put in charge of the gardening. MRS. AUDREY COOPER (nee WESTON) School Diary, 1945
School Diary, 1945 On March 23rd a Dancing Demonstration was held in the De Montfort Hall. The whole School took part, and it was a great success, thanks to the untiring efforts of Miss Selby and Mrs. Tanser. Our thanks are also due to the Leicester Philharmonic Orchestra, who provided such delightful accompaniment. We were able to give a hundred guineas to our Lord Mayor's Fund for the Leicester Branch of the British Legion. On April 27th and 28th the School gave a performance of "Much Ado About Nothing". It was extremely successful, and the School Guild of Service has benefited by £86. The Guild has continued to make garments and toys for people in need. September 12th-The new School year began with the School numbering about 750 girls. September 24th-We had a holiday, it being the occasion of the city's third V(J)-Day. October 8th to 12th-The city's Savings Week. We invested £7,423 10s. 0d. through the School Savings Branch. October 10th-Colonel Halkyard presented the Head Girl with a Certificate of Merit for the School's production of food during a time of national crisis. December 14th-The Upper Vth and VIth Forms had their Christmas Party in the Great Hall of the School. This was followed by the Junior School's Party the next day, and by the Party for the IIIrd and IVth Forms on the 19th December. It was the first time since pre-war Christmases that the whole School had been able to have "real" parties, out of school hours and in party frocks.
League of Pity, 1945-1946 SENIOR SCHOOL BRANCH During last year the membership of the League of Pity increased to 266, and the total amount sent to London was £68 14s. 0d. Last December it was possible for the Upper Sixth to go out carol singing to various members of the Staff, and we thank both girls and Staff for their generous contribution to the League funds. JUNIOR SCHOOL BRANCH The sums saved by the 64 members of the Junior School Branch of the League of Pity during the year 1945-1946 amounted to £47 0s. 8d. As life returned to normal, travel became less difficult, and Wyggeston girls were quick to take advantage of this fact: We broke up for the Easter Holidays, during which a party of girls from the VIth Form performed the formation waltz (which was performed a year ago at the De Montfort Hall in our dancing demonstration) at a Tea-Dance given by Miss Selby in the Lincoln Assembly Rooms. Also, during the holidays, Miss K. E. Richardson accompanied a School party on a Youth Hostel holiday in the Lake District. The end of the Summer Term was marked by festivities such as the Victory Celebrations (6 June), which took the form of a sports afternoon complete with jellies, ices and lemonade, Commemoration Day itself, the V Form party for the old people of the Wyggeston Hospital, and the party given by the prefects und the Upper VI to the Staff On 30 October 1946 the girls had a special treat when they were allowed to line up in Victoria Park to see King George VI and Queen Elizabeth go by on the occasion of their visit to Leicester.
Many of the pre-war societies began to resume their activities in the school year 1946-1947, and one or two others started as well: the League of Nations Union was replaced by the Council for Education and World Citizenship; the Science Society was rejuvenated after a break of many years; and the Geographical Society was formed. The Guild of Service continued to meet, but owing to the new societies springing up and the shortage of wool for knitting, their activities were somewhat curtailed. Some wool was obtained through the Aid to France Committee, which the School had supported for some time by a penny-a-week collection, so they were able to make some small garments for children in need as well as gifts and toys for the School's Christmas collection. We were amazed to note the amounts of money involved in the following article:
National Savings Association The School branch of the National Savings Movement was started in 1916 and has continued without a break for 31 years. During this time the sum of ÂŁ59,584 has been saved by members of the School branch. The largest sum raised in one week was ÂŁ13,096; this was during "Salute the Soldier" week in May 1944. The need to save is greater than ever before and we hope that every member of the School will realise her responsibilities and help to raise our total to over ÂŁ60,000 before the end of the year. C.M.H., 1947 The School was already becoming well-known for its proficiency in dancing:
Dancing March 14th and 15th-Two performances of the School's biennial Dancing Demonstration were held in the De Montfort Hall. It was an outstanding success. We would like to congratulate Miss Selby on a production in which it was an honour to take part, and to thank Mrs. Tanser and Mr. and Mrs. Thornley for the music which added so much to our enjoyment. At the request of the Director of Education, a third performance, at which the Staff at Leicester Schools made an appreciative audience, took place on March 25th. GAZETTE, 1948 We could not resist this next article and the pictures (and sounds!) it conjures up:
The Fifth Form Double-Bass Classes During the Autumn Term it was suggested that a small group from the Fifth Form Pleasure Music class should learn the double-bass in the hope that at some distant date one or two of them would be proficient enough to play in the School orchestra. Miss Coombes very kindly agreed to teach us and at the beginning of the Spring Term the lessons began. The class consists of seven of the rather larger members of the Pleasure Music class (those members of the School who have seen the instrument will realise that it is quite impossible for a small person to play it). When we were first introduced to Ebenezer (or Eb for short) as the double-bass is called, we found him a rather large and unwieldy instrument, and even now we are still inclined to let him wobble about a little when we are playing. When we first started we produced some most peculiar sounds, even on the open strings, and we found it very difficult to press hard enough and evenly enough to produce anything like the right note. Before very long we were all suffering from aching wrists but this, however, has worn off now. We found it impossible to practise for a complete dinner hour without a break and also we found the instrument difficult to manage single handed especially as we usually needed (and still need) someone to play the notes on the piano. We therefore decided to practise in pairs and to have the instrument one dinner-hour a week, which arrangement proved to be very successful. When, after a few weeks, we tried to find notes other than those produced on the open strings we found how very thick and strong "Eb's" strings were and how very painful was the job of pressing them down. Later, we discovered it was equally painful to insert a new string, which we had to do to replace a particularly rough one that had before produced an unpleasant growling noise. After we had managed three or four notes on each string we procured the double-bass parts of the music which the Junior Orchestra was doing and practised them diligently. We always found it difficult to judge accurately the position of the highest note in this piece and one day "Eb" appeared with the position of this note carefully marked with chalk on the finger-board.
At last, one of our more skilful players attended Junior Orchestra and enjoyed it. A few weeks later another accompanied her. Three of us have now been and we all hope to do so by the end of term. Though we are all a long way from becoming skilled double-bass players our class has accomplished one of its objects since we now have a double-bass player in the Junior Orchestra and perhaps at some future date we may even have one in the Senior Orchestra. MURIEL NEWMAN, V Science, 1948 Several entries in the School Diary for November 1947 are of interest: November 7th-The School Prefects sold Poppies for Earl Haig's Fund. November 10th-The School was photographed. November 20th-The School had a holiday to celebrate the wedding of their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. A collection of about ÂŁ40 was later taken with which to reset the Green Quadrangle in commemoration of this event. Spring Term 1948, and the School faced a change in Headmistress for only the third time in its history. On the last day of the term (2 March) the Head and Vice Head Girls presented Miss Caress with some table silver and a brooch on behalf of the School. The Gazette paid the following tribute to Miss Caress: After being Headmistress of the School for 21 years, Miss Caress retired at the end of the Easter term; and it is difficult to find words to express our immense appreciation of all her work at the School during her time here. For some of us it is possible to look back over the whole of her distinguished career here, and to remember that even on her arrival she seemed filled with a tremendous enthusiasm for the School; and that enthusiasm never left her. Whatever we were engaged in doing, celebrating the School Jubilee, opening the new School, taking refuge in trenches and coping with parties and functions innumerable, never forgetting the work and behaviour of the girls, Miss Caress always inspired us with the feeling that nothing but the best was good enough to carry on the traditions of the great School. Her capacity for hard work was quite amazing and even when one knew she must be quite exhausted no appeal to a slackening of the pace would be heeded; she would persist in pursuing a task to the end if she considered it essential to do so for the good of other people. We are grateful to her for her work and example, and wish her comfort and enjoyment in a happy retirement. GAZETTE, 1948
Miss Nora Caress DIED 11 JULY 1961 It is with great regret that we have to record in this issue the death of Miss Caress, who left in 1948 because of ill-health. Miss Caress retired to one of Britain's prettiest places, Lyme Regis, and we are glad that she enjoyed for part of her retirement the beauty of the coast and of her garden, and visits from many old friends. Unfortunately, she was in and out of hospital a great deal; she bore her long final illness with the fortitude and courage we all knew in her during the difficult war days at School. Miss Caress succeeded Miss Heron in 1927 and in 1928 the School moved from Humberstone Gate to its present site. Here her devotion and enthusiasm made themselves felt: her interest in developing science in the School (she herself was a biologist), and especially the Pre-Nursing Course in the VIth; her zeal for all branches of physical education and dancing; her keenness and personal delight in widening the girls' horizons by encouraging foreign holidays and tours; her ability to learn and know the names of all the girls in the School-and faces, too-will be remembered by many. She was an indefatigable worker and expected the same fine standard from us all. We have reason to be grateful for her high ideals of service and rectitude. The same spirit carried her through the war years. Miss Caress was one of the first to show us how to use pick and spade in those early, fantastic days when we were called on to begin digging our trenches. Her own work doubled; she was one of the Founders of the Girls' Training Corps in Leicester, becoming Chief Commandant in 1942, holding this post until 1946, when she was made Chief Commandant of Leicester and the Leicestershire Area. On Saturday, July 22nd, a Memorial Service was held at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Clarendon Park Road, where Miss Caress had attended. The Vicar, Canon Harris-Evans, officiated, and many old friends attended, past and present girls of the School, and Staff; representatives of the Wyggeston Hospital; representatives of the Girls' Training Corps, and some of our present girls who formed, for this occasion, the choir. EDITOR. 1962
The School under
MISS MYRA E. PEDLEY
Welcome to the new Headmistress It was with pleasure that the School heard of the appointment of Miss Pedley as our new Headmistress, for we felt that she was not a complete stranger; we had already heard very pleasant things about her from the Alderman Newton's Girls' School, where she had been Headmistress for two and a half years, after leaving the Manning School, Nottingham. We offer Miss Pedley a warm welcome and hope that she will spend many happy years with us. GAZETTE, 1948 Miss Pedley took up her position as Headmistress on 13 April 1948. A fortnight later, the School had a half-holiday on the occasion of the King and Queen's Silver Wedding, and Miss Pedley had an early opportunity of seeing the Senior Choir at work when it took part in a non-competitive Festival at the De Montfort Hall in honour of the occasion. I bad rather feared everything would be so fixed and organised that there would be nothing for me to pioneer, but it was not so we did. M. E. PEDLEY
School Officers One of the first changes Miss Pedley made was in the system of School prefects. Hitherto the School had had a Head Girl, a Vice Head Girl and a number of assistant prefects, but from the beginning of the Autumn Term 1948 the system was changed. Four Senior Prefects replaced the Head Girl, so that more than one person could benefit from holding a position of responsibility in the School. A number of School Prefects were also chosen from the UVI and Junior Prefects from the LVI. The following year a further change was made so that there were four different Junior Prefects each term. By the time Miss Pedley arrived at the Wyggeston, the Junior School was in the last stages of being phased out following the provisions of the 1944 Education Act. As it took several years for this to be completed, the numbering of the forms was left unchanged, so the girls who entered the School after passing the Il-plus went straight into the Third Forms. Under Miss Pedley the support for School societies and charity work was as strong as ever, and interest in music, drama and dancing came to the fore. School expeditions, both at home and abroad, were encouraged but they did not overshadow other events in the school year:
School Diary, 1948-1949 th
October 15 -Girls, from the Upper IVth, Vth and VIth Forms, went potato-picking. November 10th-The prefects sold poppies to the School, for Remembrance Day. November 13th-A party of senior girls went to London to see a production of "Medea". November 15th-Mrs. Thomley's quartet gave a concert in the dinner-hour for all who were interested. November 19th-A whole holiday to celebrate the birth of the Infant Prince. November 29th-An occasional holiday. December 2nd -The Annual Toy Collection, organised by the Guild of Service. December 8th, 10th and 11th-The School gave performances of a Nativity Play in the Great Hall. December 14th, 15th and 16th-The School Christmas Parties. December 18th-The Staff entertained the prefects to tea, and the prefects entertained the Staff with carols. December 21st -We broke up for the Christmas holiday. As usual, senior girls assisted with sorting and delivery at the G.P.O. th January 11 -We returned to School. January 13th -Monsieur Rasmussen judged the Spoken French competition. January 18th -Dr. Powell judged the Spoken German competition. February 14th-18th-School Examinations. February 25th and 28th-Half-term holiday. March 3rd -Prize Day. This was held this year in the De Montfort Hall. th March 5 -A party of senior girls went to London to visit the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral and St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
March 22nd -Senior Gymnastics Competition. April 1st and 2nd-Dancing Demonstration in the De Montfort Hall. April 11th -In the morning the whole School went to see the film, "Scott of the Antarctic", April 12th -We broke up for the Easter holidays. During the holidays Miss Knowles took a party of girls to France. May 4th -Summer term began. May 7th -A party visited Stratford to see "Macbeth" at the Memorial Theatre. May 11th -The choir was given an audition by the RB.C., who hope to make some recordings in the future. May 18th -The Third forms visited the Memorial Theatre, Stratford, to see a performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", May 22nd -The School Choir took part ill a Service in Peterborough Cathedral at the beginning of the Arts Week there. May 25th and 26th-Senior Orchestra and Junior Choir took part in a Music Festival in the De Montfort Hall. May 26th -Sports Day. May 28th -A party visited Whipsnade Zoo. st May 31 -The Singing Competition. On going to Press we have the following events to take place: June 17th-Founder's Day Service and Vth Form Party. June 25th -Historical Expedition to Derbyshire. July 26th -Swimming Sports. The editors of the Gazette have always been willing to include items on those aspects of life which did not appear in the official records:
The Charge of the Bun Brigade
Down the stairs, down the stairs, Hurrying onward, Into the dining hall Dashed all the hungered. "Forward the Bun Brigade! Charge for the puffs!" they said: Into the dining hall Dashed all the hungered. "Forward the Bun Brigade!" Was there a girl dismay'd Save when the Prefect knew 'Twas not her bun-day? Hers not to make reply
Hers not to reason why Hers but to sink slow by Bunless and hungered. Prefects to right of them, Prefects to left of them, Prefects in front of them, Guarding the bun-tray. Volley'd with word and look, Threaten'd with record book, Into the Buns' Abode, Treading the Heavenly Road, Dashed all the hungered. JANICE PARSONS, V Latin, 1949
If (With apologies to Rudyard Kipling) If you can do your French when all about you Are listening to "Ignorance is Bliss", Or concentrate upon that English essay, When all the house is filled with noise like this; If you can span the centuries to Caesar, Or fix your mind on distant lands and seas, While dulcet voices claim "Dh. what a geezer!" And yet not fret or frown, nor ask for peace; If you can understand the laws of Newton, Or reason clearly with Pythagoras, While others meet Paul Temple or Dick Barton, Or listen to the strains of orchestras; If you can do your prep in such a babel, Without your brain completely in a whirl, Yours is the chance of showing that you're able, And-what is more-you're worth a prize, my girl! MARGARET ALLCOCK, V Science, 1950 In 1949 the Art Club was revived:
The Art Club This year an Art Club was formed and it has proved a very happy and flourishing venture. Our activities have been numerous, ranging through Fabric Printing, Weaving, Glove-making, Scraper-Board Work, the making of a Model Theatre, and many other crafts. Our Pottery group was particularly pleased to welcome several members of the Staff whose skill at this craft proved quite remarkable. We are at present experimenting with Oil Painting, which we are finding a new and exciting medium. L.W., 1950 Art spread its wings more widely through the school including the famous "return to Art" of many Sixth Formers. M. E. PEDLEY and the School's musicians were particularly busy:
Music Music after Miss Railton's brief reign had rather wilted, but Staff were keen and eventually there developed the enlarged Senior Choir, Junior Choir, Senior Orchestra, Junior Orchestra, Military Band, Chamber Music Group and Recorders. There was no standard we would not tackle including Broadcasting. M. E. PEDLEY The first musical event of the Autumn Term was the Senior Choir's first broadcast, which came from the Great Hall and was a group of songs sung for the programme "Children Singing". We thoroughly enjoyed being on the air for what seemed a very short twenty minutes, in comparison with all the time we had spent practising. No sooner was this broadcast over than we were working for another. On December 18th we sang Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols", in which we were accompanied by Madame Korchinska on her harp. This time the broadcast came from Birmingham, and we were interested to learn something about studio broadcasts. During the week before the broadcast we gave two performances of Christmas Music in the Great Hall. This included a group of Carols sung by the Junior Choir, a performance of Alec Rowley's "Christmas Suite" by the Senior Orchestra, and the "Ceremony of Carols". In the Spring Term we again worked hard, this time on the music for Prize Day, which was on March 23rd. At present the Choir is rehearsing a programme of religious music to be broadcast in Children's Hour on June 11th and the Orchestra, especially the Vth Form members, are practising the "Toy Symphonies" of Haydn and Gurlitt, which the Vth Formers are to play at the annual Vth Form Party to the inmates of Wyggeston's Hospital. Joy Burbage, June Povoas and Patricia Morris have played the organ for us on several important occasions, including the Christmas performances, the Carol Service, the Easter Service, Prize Day and the School Play. MARY CHETWYN, Upper VI Arts, 1950 96
1950: The School Play provided entertainment on both sides of the curtain! "Richard of Bordeaux" How many happy memories will come back to us when "Richard of Bordeaux" is mentioned! Memories of the Art Room: here at 5 o'clock each evening were welcomed Wyggeston schoolgirls, to be sent away an hour later as fourteenth century aristocrats; here were other visions, varying from tomato...coloured uncles to death-pale ladies whose skill in making-up increased as the nights went on, until grease was donned with a professional hand, and necks were no longer white about the gills. Memories of the corridor behind the stage: here after the first rise of the curtain glided ghosts; medieval military men flitted to and fro, holding on for dear life to refractory beards; gallants dubbing each other knights with the only two swords the royal house of Richard possessed; behind closed doors court ladies practising the samba; and one or two misguided pages struggling with French or Algebra. Miss Appleyard with needle and thimble hopefully waiting for an emergency, and Miss Hawkes behind a table of powder, paint and gum, alone looked business-like. Memories of the intervals: then were heard cries of "Ten years older, please", or "I have to look sour and relentless in the next scene, please", or "Anxious and miserable, please"-and as the plastic surgeons transformed our faces, we were enlivened by such remarks as-"The audience is lovely"; "The audience is deadly"; "My mind was a blank"; "My dear, did you hear me say ..."; "Packed to the very back"; "'Back rows empty." Or else we were cheered by agitated cries for the King's garters, lent to a forgetful page who had disappeared. Memories of the stage behind drawn curtains: fireplaces dropped into position, royal thrones conjured up. St. Peter hurtled down the stairs, and black looks at a luckless intruder impeding Miss Whitehead who, paper in hand, muttering "Gobbets and cushions", cunningly transformed a council chamber into a prison. The never-to-be-forgotten memory of waiting in the side room for your cue: you listened to the subdued murmur coming through the curtains and you muttered that first line yet again. With knees visibly knocking and the first line gone completely from your head, you took a deep breath and staggered into the glare of the footlights, giving a sickly smile for your fellow sufferer, who had entered opposite. A small distant voice floated to your ears and with surprise you recognised it as your own and, miraculously, declaiming the correct line. The last memory: lining up at the final curtain and gazing into the well of darkness; remembering all the fun of rehearsals and incidents behind the scenes-and every member of the cast feeling terribly sorry that it was all over. DELIA RUSSELL, Upper V Latin, 1950 Regular visits to the Vestry Street Swimming Bath were organised for the younger members of the School, but full use was made of the School's own sports facilities, and on 28 February and I March the School gave the first of its Physical Training Displays in the De Montfort Hall. On 18 October 1950, Wyggeston Girls' team (Wendy Thompson, Wendy Batten, Mary Dennison and Janet Green) took part in the B.B.C.'s "Top of the Form" competition for the first time. They competed against four boys from Nottingham High Pavement School, but unfortunately lost the match by 29 points to 32. This disappointment was soon forgotten, however, in the excitement of preparations for Christmas. The Toy Collection this year was set out in the Great Hall so that everyone had the chance of inspecting the contributions. A large number of girls were involved in the end-of-term production:
Christmas Programme, 1950 December 13th, 14th and 15th-We presented our Christmas Programme which this year took the form of carols and readings, followed by an excerpt from "The Boy with a Cart" by Christopher Fry. The whole production, aided by dramatic lighting effects and a beautiful setting, was extremely moving, and we would like to take this opportunity of thanking Miss Pedley for all the hard work she put into it.
March 12th-A most exciting (if chilly!) day. Everyone except the Upper Vths and the VIths went home at break because we had no coke. Those remaining muffled up in coats, and worked by small electric fires, or the meagre heat of Bunsen burners.
Changes in Examinations The 1944 Education Act had set up a Ministry of Education which in 1946 had announced its intentions of taking full responsibility for external school examinations and in 1951 it introduced the examination of the General Certificate of Education (G.C.E.) in place of the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate examinations. Education had become a political issue in England and central planning allimportant. Although the new examination was still to be conducted by the university bodies, they were deprived of any part in framing it or in advising the Minister on the way it should develop. The G.C.E. is a subject examination-a candidate may offer any number of subjects at one time, and her performance in each is judged independently, with no overall requirement or assessment. Subjects may be offered at one of two levels, ordinary ("0" level) and advanced ("A" level) although in the latter case the candidate may also attempt Scholarship papers ("S" level). The "0" level was designed to be equivalent to the School Certificate, to be taken at about the age of 16 years, and the "A" level to correspond to the Higher School Certificate. At first there were only "pass" and "fail" standards for the G.C.E. examinations but the demands of universities and professional bodies led to the introduction of various systems of grading the results. Gradually excursions and field trips became important as aids to study, and many subjects benefitted from such trips including biology, geography, geology, English and, of course, the Languages.
Visits We pioneered visits to Stratford as regular occasions, Wimbledon, Field Centres; also Language Courses and big expeditions to Italy, Oberammagau, and Easter festivals in Spain, Greece, Norway and Holland. We were never "behind the door" when anything was "going on", M. E. PEDLEY The International Society was becoming well-established and the interest in foreign countries, their literature and language was also shown by the revival of the French Club.
Coughing in Assembly was always frowned upon'
Charge of the Choke Brigade [With acknowledgements to Tennyson; also to Christopher Fry, who records his admiration of the member of an audience who would prefer to choke rather than cough before the curtain falls] Half a yard, half a yard, Half a yard onward, Chokers to right of them, All to Assembly Hall, Chokers to left of them, Trod the Seven Hundred. Chokers in front of them, "No coughing here," they said. Choked with their faces red. "Silence! Hold up your head Frowned at by Mistresses, Into Assembly Hall Clenching their fissesses, Stole the Seven Hundred Speaking in hissesses: "Remember-no coughing! "Silence Seven Hundred!" And hold up your head!" Was there a girl dismay'd? Not one had disobey'd When can their glory fade? The order thunder'd! Oh, the restraint they made! Theirs not to make reply: All the world wonder'd. Theirs not to argue why: Remember the coughs repress'd. Theirs but to choke and die Lungs bursting in each chest: Gallant Seven Hundred. Noble Seven Hundred. ANNE HEMINGRAY, IV Parallel, 1951
Magnolia: Green Quadrangle One of twenty-seven flowering trees planted by pupils and staff in 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain
The School joined in the Festival of Britain celebrations in 1951: February 2nd and 3rd-We gave our Dancing Demonstration in the De Montfort Hall, which ended with the entry of Britannia and her retinue, and the handing down of the Torch of Tradition, to mark the Festival of Britain. March 8th-Speech Day, which this year was a musical occasion in honour of the Festival. Our guest artiste was the harpist, Marie Korchinska. who accompanied the Choir and played two groups of solos. Both Choir and Orchestra, directed by Miss Niblett and Miss Chamberlain, gave admirable performances of music by Saint-Saens, Holst and Brahms. The girls joined in mourning the death of King George VI by holding a Memorial Service in the Great Hall of the School on 15 February 1952.
Foundation Gifts These years saw the excitement of the Foundation Gifts. Frozen for some years, the income was unleashed to our benefit in furnishings (such as the entire Dining Room), musical instruments, Sixth Form Common Room, expeditions abroad and grants to further studies. M. E. PEDLEY
The new Dining Room furniture In 1952 there were changes in the structures of the Wyggeston Foundation, and the Gazette set some of these out as follows:
The Charity of the Wyggeston Foundation This charity as affecting the Schools has now been reorganised to the great benefit and privilege of the scholars and the school community. Of the new scheme made by the Minister of Education under
the Charitable Trusts Acts 1853-1925, two clauses may be of especial interest to pupils: (I) Special Benefits for Schools: A yearly sum shall be applied in the provision of special benefits of any kind not normally provided by the Local Education Authority, for the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls. (2) Application of Residue of Income: The residue of the said net income shall be applied for the benefit of pupils who have for not less than two years at any time attended the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys or the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls, as the case may be, and who are in need of financial assistance, by assisting their education or training, including postgraduate study, at a University or other place of learning, to enable them to prepare for or to assist their entry into, some profession, trade or calling, and for that purpose the said pupils may be provided with outfits, clothing, tools, instruments or books. Provided that awards consisting of the payment. or part payment, of fees shall be called Wyggeston Exhibitions. It is perhaps fitting to close this statement by recognition of the unusually favourable position in which the School as a community and its pupils separately are placed by the generosity of the Wyggeston Foundation: this is a practical manifestation of a connection to which we are already proud and privileged to belong. The two schools were linked in other ways: March 28th-Members of the Staffs and Upper VIth Forms of the Wyggeston Boys' School and the Wyggeston Girls' School joined in a Square Dance Party in the Great Hall. GAZETTE, 1952 The School often received visits from the representatives of overseas countries, including one on 5 November from a Vietnamese delegation which was organised by the Foreign Office. These visits did not disrupt the daily running of the School half as much as the presentation by the Staff in December 1952 of a play entitled "1066 and All That" which took a light-hearted look at various episodes in English history. The mood of the occasion is suggested by the following:
Notes to Patrons 1. It will be observed that the cast throughout this sequence remains anonymous; identification is a matter for the audience. 2. A common man will be perceived hovering about in most scenes and taking part in several. 3. Similarly, slung between each scene is a compere: the ability of this character to clear matters up a little is much to be doubted. 4. The audience is respectfully reminded that this is a piece of pure nonsense undertaken at odd moments-no acting ability is claimed. Scenery is negligible: properties home-made: wigs by wig creations: nylons avoided at all costs: lighting by Leicester Corporation: no smoking: telephones by G.P.O.: music by D.P.T. 5. Everybody possible has had a hand in this: no one therefore can be blamed. 6. We would quite seriously wish to express appreciation of your interest and support. The collection taken at the close will be used to cover expenses and to purchase platform equipment for the Great Hall. PROGRAMME, 1952 It was on occasions such as this production that the Staff and pupils appreciated the great amount of work Mr. Haines, the caretaker, undertook. His Wife also helped at the Wyggeston as a door-maid. The Art Club had a very busy year that year:
The Art Club This year the Art Club has been very enterprising. Before Christmas, again much time was devoted to the drawing and painting of murals depicting various carols, which decorated the Dining Hall. Then all thoughts began to centre on the Highlights of the year; our Seventy - Fifth Birthday. and the Coronation, and by the end of the Spring Term two more murals appeared on the Dining Hall walls in readiness for the Seventy-Fifth Birthday Party. GILLIAN TINDALL, Upper VIA,
1953 The Birthday Cake
Finale of the Dancing Demonstration-E.R.
1953 Perhaps the most encouraging assurance of this present year has been the re-emergence of a sense of continuity: against previous hazards and haphazards, threats and uncertainties the purposeful strength of tradition linked with progress has been once more recognisable. Within the celebrations attendant on the solemn historic ceremony of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we have been privileged to rejoice in the 75th birthday of the School; to pay respect under the wide awning of history to our own comparatively young tradition. M.E.P., 1953
The Coronation and 75th Birthday of the School February 13-14-The Dancing Demonstration was given at the De Montfort Hall, in which the theme was the School's Seventy-Fifth Birthday and the Coronation. Mar. 27-A Seventy-Fifth Birthday Party was given at the School by Miss Pedley for the Staff, the Upper VIths and Visitors from other schools. Most of the guests wore costumes of 1878. May 12-I3-A Coronation Pageant organised by Dr. Saunders was presented at the De Montfort Hall. One scene was arranged by Miss Pedley in which Queen Elizabeth, her Courtiers, four dancers and the Madrigal Group, all from School, took part. The Junior Choir also sang,
The Coronation Everywhere the bells are ringing, Ringing out a joyous peal, Everywhere the crowds are singing For the happiness they feel. Why this mighty jubilation? 'Tis indeed the Coronation Of Her Majesty the Queen.
Down the Mall and Whitehall wending, Comes the glittering coach-and-four, Like a stream they flow unending Toward the towering Abbey door. There inside, a solemn silence Reigns with awe and majesty, There will knights swear their allegiance As was done in days gone by.
Now another era beckons; Shall Peace hold her sway o'er all, And the tyrant as he reckons On aggression earn his fall? Let the swords be turned to ploughshares, Let us prosperous be again; Be the verdict of those good years: "Twas indeed a happy reign." MARIANNE PAGE, V Science, 1953 September 1953:
The New School Year The tiny Thirds with shining faces Hasten on with eager paces: Angels in disguise.
Excited Fifths already there Stand talking of each other's hair: "I wonder if it's permed."
The Fourths more slowly come to school, Thinking how to break each rule, And on the Thirds to glower.
"More study," sigh the Upper Fifths, Who make the most of nature's gifts: "Examination in July."
The Upper Fourths are old hands now, And think: "My Goodness, what a row Those juniors are making."
The Lower Sixths with posture grand, Return with legs and faces tanned: "I've been abroad this year."
The Upper Sixths in all their glory Are the last chapter of this story: Careers, next year, for them. ROSYLIN SYMONS, Upper VA, 1954
This year also marked the extension of the School's library and studying facilities:
The Sarah Heron Reading Room This room provided by the generous benefits of the Sarah Heron Jubilee Fund, The Wyggeston Foundation, The Agnes Fletcher and the Warner Bequests, was opened by the Foundation Governors in July, 1953. Members of the Sixth study in this room and it is open to the whole school in the dinner-hour and after school. The oak clock was presented by the Upper Sixth Leavers of 1952 and the room contains the presentation photograph of Miss Heron who was Headmistress of the school 1903-1928. Everyone expected this academic year to be much quieter than the last one had been, and indeed it was, but the Senior Choir still had plenty of practising to do in preparation for their first involvement in the Leicester Schools' Carol Concert at De Montfort Hall on 21 December. The Debating Society began meeting again after a break of several years, and a Senior Play Reading Group was started. Several School trips were organised including the IV's to Whipsnade, UV Latin's to Stratford and a party of older girls to the Costa Bravo, Spain. Further developments in School societies took place in the academic year 1955-1956 with the formation of a Chess Club, the beginning of a Junior branch of the Geographical Society and the amalgamation of the Historical and International Societies. Spring 1957, and music and dancing still figured prominently in the School's calendar. In February, a recording by the Senior Choir was broadcast on the B.B.C. in their programme "Let the People Sing", and the Dancing Demonstration took place on 19 and 20 of that same month with the theme "Life of a Wyggeston Schoolgirl". In 1958 a new inter-school group was formed in the City:
The Inter-School's Debating Union Although this is the Union's first year, the programme has been full and well supported by the senior members of the City's six grammar schools. During the year we have regretted the discovery of America and also have failed to be proud to be citizens of Leicester. We do not think that the British Press is irresponsible and we even approve of party politics. Naturally we do not consider men to be the equals of women! This free exchange of opinions and ideas with students of other schools and the training in logical expression is particularly valuable to those of us who are hoping to go to Colleges and Universities. WINIFRED WARD, Upper VI Arts, 1958
New Navy Dresses During the School year 1958-1959 both the national press and the B.B.C. took an interest in the Wyggeston Girls' School. The cause of this was the VI Form and their new navy dresses! For the first time the VI were allowed to choose whether they wore the conventional uniform or dresses of navy blue material with or without a white trimming. This experiment was a resounding success!
These Navy Dresses Members of the Sixth in the Needlework Room Some muscular ladies of the Sixth really did look rather exposed in those sky-blue tunics so in no time at all sky-blue summer dresses of free style were made available to the Sixth. Some Staff said the polkadot spots jazzed up their eyes so we went to plain pale for summer: and soon freelance navy and white for the Sixth-a real pioneer effort showing we were not as rigidly bound to uniform as some people seemed to think. In due course this principle of navy and white with choice was running from third years upwards. M. E. PEDLEY
Sixth Form Games My revolutionary "P.E. activities to be 'voluntary' at Sixth Form level" was not received well in all quarters but by then I had learnt to take less notice of W.G.S. and more of "getting my own way!" And we continued with great achievements in all games and athletics. M. E. PEDLEY
Fashions Do you think that the "trapeze" To you would much appeal? Or would you wish to have the "sack" With high "stiletto" heel?
Men's fashions now the girls adopt, They wear long socks, flat shoes; In leisure time they shun a skirt, Preferring "drain-pipe" trews.
In Grandma's day, long, long ago, What did the girls abhor'! Why, those very long black stockings, which Today we all adore. PAULINE LAWSON, Upper IV, 1960
At Last Oh, shed a tear! Oh, heave a sigh! First signs of "haute couture" are nigh. The "sack" our mothers held so dear Is out; at last the "shape" is here!
Now trim and neat and waist-ed all, With collars large or collars small, With stylish Sleeves and buckled belts, We appear less like the Ancient Celts!
With box-pleats jutting front and back, With girdles tight or girdles slack, A basic Jack of shape remained, Whatever figure was contained.
Goodbye, to all those shapeless bags! Our uniform no longer sags And droops along the corridor, We've brought school fashion to the for! PRISCILLA FOULKS, Upper IV Alpha, 1960
That Christmas the Staff entertained the girls with a repeat performance of their version of "1066 and All That":
To the Mistresses The scene is set, the die is cast, The audience is arriving fast; The mistresses their make-up fix, All ready for "1066".
Henry the Eighth with his six wives, Did then appear before our eyes, Anne Boleyn was full of charm [Her head was not tucked under her arm.]
The hall is quiet, the curtains part, The play is now about to start. "The Hall of Fame" the first scene shows, Miss Newman with her duster goes.
Twelve little Maids from school were there, Which made us all sit up and stare. Not in "Mikado" style were they, For they were dressed the Wyggeston way.
And so the scenes go on and on, Until at last we meet King John; At Runnymede. after reading the "Charter Miss Mallison signed amid much laughter.
The Grand Finale now we reach; And to all who do us teach, In admiration we do say, "Thank you for a lovely play." (Scenes from "1066 and All That", Wyggeston Version.) CHRISTINE MERRICK, IV, 1959
The number of Christmas parties were reduced this year. Only the III's were given their usual treat, but the VI form were invited to a coffee party by Miss Pedley and the Staff We quietly dropped Christmas parties except for the new entrants who were still children enough to enjoy them-so were the Prefect helpers! M. E. PEDLEY
1959-the Summer Term ended as it had never done before! End-of-Year Events I thought you might like to know that it was I who master-minded the very first "Big Production Number" end-of-year event, way back in 1959. I felt that the passing of such excellent young ladies, as the Upper VI had produced that year, should not be allowed to go unnoticed. The occasion should be marked by a spectacular, but decorous, event. (We were, after all, products of Enid Selbyâ€™s dancing and deportment classes!) So, no bloomers flying from the school flagpole for us. After much discussion I came up with the following plan: 1. Confront Miss Pedley with an unheard-of request, i.e. could the main gates of the School be open on the last day of term. (The main gates! Wow!) 2. Book enough taxis, the black limousine type, to carry all participants, seven taxis in all, for the shortest journey possible; I think we were picked up by Victoria Park. 3. Co-opt the help of the Display Manager of Marshall & Snelgrove to design and produce a scroll to be presented to Miss Pedley, thanking her and the Staff for their help and care over the years, and signed by us all. (My grandmother worked at Marshall & Snelgrove and was a friend of the Display Manager-useful!) 4. Collect money for an impressive bouquet to be presented at the same time. 106
Miss Pedley was superb. She never batted an eyelid as seven taxis swept down the middle of the drive that last morning. She, and Miss Durnford (the then Deputy Head), came down the main steps to greet us, accompanied by the Staff. The sidewalks were lined with cheering girls. I had a huge lump in my throat as I handed over the scroll. I believe there have been many weird and wonderful events since then, but I thought you might be interested to know of their origins, 20 years ago. Looking back now, I think perhaps we marked the end of a very special era in the School's history. VALERIE GREEN (nee CRANE) Certainly the end of the year has never been the same since!
"Noye's Fludde" On 14 December 1959 the School gave the first performance of the Chester Miracle Play "Noye's Fludde", set to music by Benjamin Britten with Dr. Saunders as guest conductor. Over 150 girls took part and a tape recording was made of this performance.
The Full Cast The whole School was involved in the preparations for the production: the Needlework Department made the costumes; the Art created the scenery and animal headdresses; the Orchestra, augmented by a most enthusiastic kitchenware department, provided the music; and the combined School Choirs provided the soloists and chorus. The production was a tremendous success. Christmas Programmes became a tradition and we counted several "first" performances in a girls' school: "Noye's Fludde," "Amahl and the Night Visitors," "Ceremony of Carols", etc. We took "Let's Make an Opera" to Strasbourg. M. E. PEDLEY Everyone who has been involved with Senior Choir over the last 20 years might be interested to know that special mention was made in the 1960 Gazette of the anthem the Choir were preparing to sing on Founder's Day: "How lovely are Thy dwellings" by Johannes Brahms.
The Senior School had a decided literary bent that year:
"If" (You're a Wyggestonian) (A long way after Kipling) If you can keep your shoes, when all about you Are losing theirs, and blaming it on you: If you can pay the ransom penny for them, Or, if un-named, then you can pay the two: If you are brave, and so admit you've lost them, And yet can talk of other things than shoes: If you can formulate your own opinion, And still respect the other person's views; If you can learn, nor yet be tired by learning; If you can work, nor lose the zest for play; If you can find the time to do your homework; And carry loads of books to school each day: If you can bear to see the work you 've written Crossed out in red, nor waver,-nor lose heart; If you can struggle with yourâ€˘ French and Latin, Your Science, Maths., Geography and Art; If, when the break bell rings, you're in the fore-ground; And so can buy a two penny-halfpenny bun; If you can take the milk the city gives you, And smile, as if to drink this "wine" is fun; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, When in the Gym., nor fracture leg or arm; If you can stand the strenuous rough-and-tumble Of outdoor games-and still retain your charm; If you can carry on, nor lose your reason Until the day you take the G.C.E.; If you can pass this test with flying colours, And then accept success with modesty; If you can go to Oxford or to Cambridge, And not disgrace the name of Wyggeston, Then you will surely be the perfect pupil, And-what is more-you'll be the only one!! DIANA M. BERRIDGE, Upper V Languages, 1960
Ruthless Rhymes Miss Hubbard, deep in Exodus, Was hit by an approaching bus Commiserated by us all. (We have her notes upon St. Paul
V.S. in speaking of the "aural" Found it rhymed too well with "oral". She died despairing. Meanwhile, we Postpone these ills of G.C.E.
Miss Clark declaiming loud "Macbeth", Emotion rising, choked to death. Our grief was overcome by gleeWe had the next two lessons free.
Miss Mould, explaining "amabat", Tripped upon a rubber mat. Though we regret she slipped a disc, We learnt that "amo" brings a risk.
Miss Brooks, expounding monast'ries, Fell by chance upon her knees. Although we grieved for bruises sore, We liked her monkish posture more.
Miss Barton, busy with a sum, Stuck a compass in her thumb. Though we lament her swollen joint, We all agree she'd made her point.
Miss Richardson, at Whipsnade Zoo, Showing us what not to do, Fell into the lion's jaw. We liked the way the lion chaw.
R.R. an orchid plucked in haste, A nesting wasp thought this poor taste. We miss her daily. hour by hour, But never mind, we saved the flower. 108
Miss Jones a Bunsen burner lit, And skywards to the heavens it Blew her. Loud was our lament~ It ruined our experiment.
Miss Rice, her baton waving high, Poked it by chance in her own eye. We had our entertainment free~ She really sang delightfully.
L. W. creating Art, Used real jam to paint a tart. Miss How from off the highest bar, She sucked her brush too often-still, Her sticky end caused quite a thrill.
Miss How from off the highest bar, Dropped with a rather nasty jar. Said Goodwin, passing near the door, "You've gone and spoilt my nice clean floor".
Miss Findley, cutting up some steak, Carved herself in sheer mistake. We're sorry she was deeply grooved, Still, the gravy was improved.
Mrs. Thornley's obligato Shook so much with her vibrato, She and fiddle split in twain; But violins will mend again.
Miss Selby, doing "quick, quick, slow", Through the floorboards fen below. Though startled, we had no regret She ends our rhyme for the Gazette. EDITOR AND THE SIXTH They were also concerned to hand on the knowledge they had acquired over the years:
Hints for Third Forms Having almost completed seven years in this school I have for six years watched the entrance of the year's batch of new girls come, with some self.-consciousness and much trepidation, through the main gates and down the main drive. I should now like to pass on the following hints; some, recollections of my own year in the Third Form, some, observations from noticing succeeding generations. While the Wyggeston does not believe in making life too easy for you, your first temptation has been overcome for you: the stair-rail has been thoughtfully embellished with murderous little knobs, which will wreck (in every sense) any thoughts of a speedy way to the cloakroom. Never leave your pudding on the plea that red jelly is not your favourite flavour or you would prefer to eat the cherries and leave the sponge. This will not be appreciated. Never set out on safari to the Chemistry Lab., or the Geography Room without at least two companions: this school has a deceptively simple lay-out, and to be conversant with your whereabouts a lightning tour conducted at a silent gallop by your Geography mistress is not sufficient. HINTS ON INDIVIDUAL SUBJECTS English The apostrophe is after the "s" in "Girls' School". Other than suggesting a sing-song in the library, to place the apostrophe wrongly is the worst "faux pas" you can commit. On no account announce that you have read your term's set-book before-this will do you no good -so has your English mistress. Latin This is a subject you will not start until your second year, but advice is still needed. Never question the incredibly high mortality rate of the Gauls. For purposes of recognition, all Gauls are on the wrong side-in fact, anyone who is not a Roman, is on the wrong side, as Romans are Top People. Not everyone at Rome, however, though Caesar would have you believe otherwise, was interested in the tripartite division of Gaul. There are Latin authors too numerous to mention here, whose life's work was writing passages and extracts of poems containing obscure and sometimes downright faulty constructions, and completely untranslatable phrases, which they carefully collected and sifted and then left in a conspicuous place for posterity to find and posterity's children to translate. History This is your Headmistress' and Second Mistress' subject-it will thus avail you nothing should you persuade your parents to write a letter explaining that history is not for you and you would prefer not to start it. History is being made and added to all the time, so that should your dislike be strong, be sure to lead a quiet, uneventful life, thus in some small way helping your successors by ensuring that you personally do not make any. 110
Geography Geography mistresses cannot be fooled by maps outlined with the reverse side of a fountain pen: invest in a mapping pen. Geography, like history, is an extremely comprehensive subject, and should you feel about Geography as you feel about History, do not go out and discover anything even for a dare or by mistake; there is quite enough to outline on the already charted areas. Mathematics This is concerned with numbers. Should you advance beyond this stage, I am in Room 22 and always willing to learn. Science A worthy subject. Having now a smattering of knowledge you will come to your fourth year. In this year you will be divided into those who are good at Arts subjects and those who are not. Bear in mind when deciding, that the Science forms are satellite groups of disappointed girls banded together after being rejected by the Arts Form. In an effort to obliterate from their minds this social stigma they immerse themselves in Science until they emerge at sixth form level, eventually departing well-nigh radio-active. I am not, of course, prejudiced against science or scientists. I merely wish to clarify matters at this stage in your school career. By this stage, you will naturally need no more advice; you will have found your feet. and your spare moments will be spent helping tearful Thirds back to the ground floor and thinking up ways to saw off the knobs on the stair rail. CAROLYN POLE, Upper VIA, 1960 The VI Form leavers of 1960 followed the example set the previous year, and went out in style:
The collecting of toys and presents at Christmas, which had been a feature of School life for many years, was slightly re-organised in 1960:
Christmas Collections Dec.1-The IIIrds, IVths and Upper IVths made the traditional Toy Collection. The Vth made individual food parcels for lonely old people; the Upper Vths sent Christmas presents to the residents of the Wyggeston Hospital (to be followed at the appropriate times by birthday presents); and the Vlths made food parcels for families suggested by the Welfare Service.
The Dancing Demonstrations in the De Montfort Hall continued with costumes which were as splendid as ever.
Dancing and the biennial "Demonstrations" continued, holding the particular fun of "everybody in"-no mean feat with some 700 girls dancing the light fantastic in the De Montfort Hall. M. E. PEDLEY Changes were still going on in the School: 3 May 1961-0ur own brass band played for the School for the first time at Assembly under the tuition of Mr. Shaw.
The Work in Archway Quad On all the quad's four sides now lie Great piles of bricks all stacked high. New walls now tower to reach the sky, Where once our teachers' cars ran bv, In ever-changing Wyggeston. And round the Archway pupils trot, Gazing where the workmen hot Build (and grumble at their lot) A kitchen new for Wyggeston
Faces whiten, fingers quiver, Doors all shake and windows shiver Through the noise which runs for ever Of shattering drills, all ceasing never To change the shape of Wyggeston. Bang and crash in unison, And noise without comparison But still the work in class goes on, For no-one slacks at Wyggeston.
The work we hope will soon be done, Then we no longer must go home For lunch, no longer have to run To catch the bus in rain and sun, For we may stay at Wyggeston. Next September, I am sure There'lI be relief on every floor As peace rests o'er the school once more O'er ever-changing Wyggeston. JUDITH MORRIS, V Languages, 1961 112
The year 1961-1962 was most successful both in athletics and music:
Athletics Report, 1961 We had a very strong athletics team this year, a team of fifty girls, all of whom worked very hard and enjoyed considerable success. It was because of this whole-hearted support that the team carried off three trophies. We had several girls who achieved first place in their event, which was pleasing, and I should like to add a word of praise for those who were runners-up, who took part and gained valuable points towards our winning the championship.
Senior Choir This has been an eventful year for the Senior Choir. During the autumn we were invited, by audition, to take part in the B.B.C. contest "Let the People Sing", and an entry of three songs, including the compulsory "Old Macdonald had a Farm", was recorded in Birmingham. We came successfully through two rounds and now await competition on a national level.
1963: A Short Guide to Wyggestone This, one of our most stately homes, is set in charming surroundings, and the noble facade is approached by a sweeping drive. The gracious house, whose history dates back further than anyone would like to remember, is built round two picturesque old courtyards, one of which is particularly delightful in spring, when the sun shines on the delicate blossom of a beautiful magnolia tree. As the visitor enters the entrance hall, he will find on his left the curator's office, where guide-books and postcards may be bought (the proceeds go to charity), and on his right the drawing-room of the Lady of the House, according to circumstance a charming or a depressing room, of little architectural value. In front, the great ballroom is reached by glass-panelled doors. Here the discerning visitor may remark certain curious holes in the parquet, found similarly in the impressive old library. These may be attributed either to a death-watch beetle coming up for air, or else to the heeled dancing-shoes of young ladies. For Wyggestone is essentially a place for young people. They flock in and out daily for more than thirty weeks each year, and derive a certain amount of education from their frequent visits. During his tour, the visitor is recommended to inspect the fine commodious furniture to be found throughout the building, and to approach apartments marked "Staff" with awe; for behind those doors a great work for the future of the Nation is daily being done. The great banqueting hall, elegantly decorated and furnished in an unknown but revered style, is worthy of a visit, particularly when the Family is in residence, and may be observed enjoying a mid-day repast. For the summer visitor, a walk round the Great Park is especially recommended. There is a charming lake in the grounds, inhabited by fish and other fauna of the British countryside, and one may also admire a delightful rose-garden, where sunbathing may go on in semi-privacy, semi-unobserved from House and road. It is to be hoped that this short guide may be put to good use when Wyggestone is open to the public for two days in July. PAULA FIELD, Upper VI Arts, 1963
School Charities We did not drop the charities-numerous and generous, they continued to be so, from enormous Christmas parcels to yearlong interest in the old people of the Wyggeston Hospital, Penny-a-week and Prevention of Cruelty to Children, not forgetting our two Guide Dogs for the Blind. M. E. PEDLEY Once again the School has contributed nobly and very generously to the many charities. Possibly the most spectacular effort this year was the collection of £31 for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Autumn "penny-a-week" charity. Our first dog, "Penny", was actually paid for after the 1963 collection, but this collection will, we hope, go towards the purchase of our second dog. The picture of "Penny" is in the Library corridor, and we are sure that she is a great help to her owner. The Spring Term's collection was for Oxfam, and the total amount was £28 18s. Id. This total was swelled by the special appeal and the retiring Assembly collection. The Summer Term collection will be in aid of the National Spastics Society. for which £12 was raised by the sale of Christmas seals.
The sale of Oxfam Christmas cards realised over ÂŁ24-an excellent effort on behalf of the School and Staff. The Autumn collection of toys, the gifts to the old people of the Wyggeston Hospital, and the family parcels were gratefully received and admired. We should like to thank all those senior girls, who have given their time to help on flag days, and indeed the whole School for its generosity and co-operation in these efforts. WENDY MAUGER, ALISON PALMER, Upper VIS, 1964 Wyggeston was not immune to events that were taking place in the rest of the country:
An Incurable Disease There was no great news flash about it. Only the North of England knew what it was and what its consequences would be if it should happen to spread. There was no long Latin name for it although many, such as Coleoptera Liverpudlia have been suggested. There is no mention of this highly contagious disease in any medical reference book. Millions all over the world suffer from it and yet no cure has been effected. Here are all the known details of the disease. Symptoms: Violent shuddering followed by all the symptoms of an epileptic fit (see Everyman's Pocket Medical Reference Vol. 21 Ch. 52). This is accompanied by screams and utterances which sound vaguely like ÂŤGeorge, John, Paul, Ringo". This is always followed by the loss of consciousness. Cause and Carriers of the Disease: This varies all over the country but mainly the afore-mentioned gentlemen are the carriers. The cause of the disease is uncertain but the symptoms become most obvious when the gentlemen are heard to utter, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" or "Oooh!" These utterances are accompanied by sundry chords on the electric guitars and pounding on the drums (one set of which was actually made in Leicestershire). The disease can be contracted in any place where the recordings of this group of musicians (debatable) are played. The worst kind is contracted at one of their concerts. Suggested precautions: None, the disease is uncontrollable. Name of Disease: In medical terms, a severe psychological upheaval of the cerebellum, or in layman's terms Beatlemania. Post Scriptum: I have suffered for twelve months. MIRIAM BIRRELL, V Languages, 1964
The Wyggeston Election Meetings in the little Gym, a political forum in the Great Hall, crudely painted posters and blatant bribery and coercion by at least one member of staff heralded our contribution to the General Election. The three candidates, armed with agents, pamphlets, a little knowledge, some hope and an intentness of purpose, lied, cajoled and with blind faith tried to explain their respective party policies, promises and mistakes. The School was alarmingly well-informed and the degree of seriousness of the campaign was severely underestimated by the local press. The Conservative candidate compensated her party for its loss of government by winning the seat; the Labour candidate was consoled for her third position by the common sense? and political perception displayed by a small majority of the country as a whole; and the Liberal candidate manifested true non-doctrinaire radicalism by coming neither first nor last. The campaigns and election were very successful and we polled on October 15th in an orderly imitation of real voting. The Recording Officer was Mrs. Pertwee and the results were announced to the assembled School. The candidates would like to thank their agents and supporters, Mrs. Pertwee for her help in the organisation of the ejection, and Miss Pedley for permitting us to hold it. JANET IRWIN Conservative 222 CHRISTINE GOUGH Liberal 188 MARGARET M YERS Labour 112 GAZETTE, 1965 1965 marked the end of an era: Mar. 25-Speech Day. Alderman Harold Heard presided and awards were presented by Miss Isobel Durran, an "Old Girl" of the School. Special guests were the four retiring staff, Miss Adams, Miss Barton, Miss Selby and Mrs. Tanser and twenty-five "Old Girls" who were taught by them. The vote of thanks was given by Claire Cross.
To the Audience The dancing demonstration is a Wyggeston affair, The girls, all seven hundred, perform with skill and care. The display is quite spectacular, I'm sure you will agree, The theme each time is different, to believe you'd have to see. The costumes, very colourful, are made by girls and staff; If you knew how much we schemed for them 'Twould surely make you laugh. With cotton wool and paper crepe, With cardboard, paint and glue, We cut and sew with all our hearts To make things gay for you. We work so conscientiously; routines and steps to learn Until we are quite perfect in every spin and tum. With little thirds as flowers and fifths as debutantes, The other forms all play their part, it's all shown in the dance. The theme this time is "looking back" across the years gone by. From the opening of the school, until the present time. So when the show is over and you've seen our dancing dem., You'll know just why we're sorry it will be the last of them. This year Miss Selby's leaving, Mrs. Tanser's going too, It's they who've taught and trained us, to bring this show to you. PENELOPE SQUIRES, Upper IV, 1965
Finale This year sees the last of the Dancing Demonstrations. Future generations of Wyggestonians will not experience the excitement of dancing in the De Montfort Hall (or the boredom of waiting backstage in the dressing rooms). All they will know is the information gleaned from past copies of "Gazettes" or pearls of wisdom that they overhear from those mystic beings -"Old Girls". They will never know the agony of being the one whose balloon bursts in the middle of "Carnival Time", or whose elastic goes in their pyjamas whilst dancing "Christmas Eve" with a red crepe paper stocking. Not for them the agony of trying to keep on an outsize cowboy hat, whilst attempting to keep their gun from sticking into their partner and dancing the right steps of the "Bam Dance". They will never have a sudden urge to kick their shoes off in the middle of the finale or get sore hands at the end of the show from applauding Miss Selby for a full five minutes. I am sure that there will be nothing in their schooldays that will correspond to the "Dem". MARY WILFORD, Upper V, 1965 Also in 1965 the Photographic Club was reformed and the following year play-reading was encouraged further by the new Shakespeare Society. This began under the guidance of the English Department, as did the Fifth Form Paperback Club:
Fifth Form Paper-back Club This venture was started at the beginning of the Autumn Term at the suggestion of Mr. Sandford, especially for Fifth formers. Each member who joined had to donate a paperback. Some generous people donated more than one and for this we are very grateful, as it gives us a wider choice. Many thanks must be given to Miss Pedley for presenting the Club with several books and to other members of the Staff who have donated some of their own paper-backs. The 68 members meet every Wednesday lunch-hour in the Junior Library to exchange their books. Those who go home to lunch or have previous engagements, may go at four o'clock The Paper-back Club is very popular and can be highly recommended to those Fifths who are not yet members. JUDITH HILL, V Latin, 1966
Presentation of Awards, 1966 This year, as its changed title underlines, speech day altered its form becoming much more of a musical occasion. Alderman Harold Heard, Chairman of the Governors, emphasised the general feeling when he
said what an admirable idea this was, as it eliminated the need for speeches. Thus, after a short first half when the prizes were charmingly presented by Mrs. Harold Heard, the afternoon turned into a delightful musical entertainment. None of us will forget the elegance and power of Marie Korchinska's harp playing. She played two solos and also accompanied the Senior Choir and Orchestra. Other items included Vaughan William's "Running Set" played by the Senior Orchestra, a lively Calypso by the Band and songs by the Junior Choir. There was also the unusual "Geographical Fugue" performed by the Senior Choir; itâ€™s obvious ingenuity appealed immediately to the audience and they will certainly always remember that frequent reiteration of "Trinidad". All in all the celebration was a fully enjoyable occasion. No one could possibly regret seeing the speeches go out of speech day with this as the alternative. Speech Day was not the only long-established tradition to change at this time. In 1967 a new-look Dancing Demonstration was staged by the School:
An Evening of Dancing This year's Dancing Demonstration was, in many ways, different from anything which had been attempted before. It was the first since Miss Selby's retirement, and the most noticeable change was that it was held in School, not at the De Montfort Hall. Although this brought about some sentimental reminiscences from the senior members of the school, it was clearly better for rehearsal purposes. The demonstration itself was a great success, and it was evident that a great deal of hard work by everyone had gone into the production. The first part of the programme consisted of various national dances from France, Sweden, and the Slavonic countries by the Thirds, Fourths and Upper Fourths and a short scene from Denmark by IV Alpha. In Section II the Fifth and Sixth years performed Scottish country dances and modern and Latin American ballroom dances. Finally members of the Upper Sixth moved sedately through several dances from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The dancing throughout was of an extremely high standard, and Mrs. Dawes and Mrs. Fryer succeeded in making the new style of Dancing Demonstration a success, and one which we hope will be repeated in future years. KATHERINE PICKLES, Lower VIV, 1967 The Upper VI adopted a whole new way of life with the opening of their common room:
Upper VIth Common Room This year's Upper VIth Form has been lucky enough to have been allowed use of the quad room as a common room. It might interest old girls and the future members of the Upper VIth to know a little about the way in which it is run both financially and socially and to learn something of the way in which the room has been developed from an uninteresting class room into a comfortable, homely common room. When the room was first allotted to us, we were fortunate enough to find it furnished in a fashion not wholly suitable for a common room but nevertheless quite serviceable, until our own furnishing scheme was put into operation. Rugs, curtains, pelmets, dart board and record player were speedily procured or removed, as the case may be, from willing or unwilling homes, together with sundry cushions for the maintenance of tender bases. The School kindly provided two cupboards, one for the storage of food and drinking mugs and the other for the keeping of valuables and other items, under lock and key. The purchase of five armchairs provided four members of the VIth with some gruelling hours of hard scrubbing and filing (the chair arms having been badly gnawed by a rabid Alsatian, or so we were given to believe!) but after renovation they, together with the two other armchairs (unnamed), provided by another member of the Upper VIth, have lent a very friendly and relaxing atmosphere to the upper end of the room. The lower end is reserved for "gambling" and other such sport befitting young ladies. The walls have been decorated with tasteful posters and advertisements in order to alleviate any depression that might be caused by glaring yellow paint, while the hot pipes have proved invaluable as a source of heat for the drying of tea-towels and other coffee drenched articles. The room is tidied on a basis of rota, which is strictly voluntary, but various pressures from officials ensure that everyone joyfully takes part. Each Friday the rugs are beaten in the quad and rolled up and the floor cleared to enable the caretakers to perform their duties. Thus having given the reader some insight into the way things have been progressing, we, the Upper VIth, would like to extend our gratitude to Miss Pedley who has made this extension of our privileges possible and to Mrs. Cramp who has been patient enough to allow us to use the Craft Room as a kitchen. STELLA BERRY, TREASURER, Upper VIE, 1967
The facilities for the study of science subjects in the Regent Road building had always been greatly appreciated and used by the School, and in 1966 the enthusiasm and proficiency of the "0" level girls was such that they entered a biology project in the Nottingham Science Fair:
Biology Project The Upper V Science biology project, exhibited at the 1966 Science Fair at Nottingham, was begun a year before in September 1965. Entitled "Urban Wildlife" it was a study of the flora and fauna found within a 21 mile radius of the Clock Tower. Each member of the form was assigned an area, usually near her home, in which she was to look for specimens of any form of wildlife. All information such as common name, proper name, and numbers per square yard was carefully recorded on specially duplicated sheets. Everyone collected something, and a great many specimens were also contributed by younger members of the School. During the Easter holidays of 1966, under the guidance of Miss Rawlinson, we began to build up a herbarium, and sort out the records. Collecting continued throughout the year. and by July the project had really begun to take shape. Some of the artists among us painted a map of the city showing the areas, and in the weeks after the G.C.E. others of us prepared symbols for the map to show the location of each specimen. Again we were assisted by members of Miss Rawlinson's third form biology class. The bird and animal charts were begun on Open Day, though they were subsequently changed considerably. Much more work was done during the Summer holidays, mounting specimens, finishing the chart and map, and painting the stands lent by the University. The completed project was packed ready for dispatch to Nottingham about a week before the beginning of the Autumn Term. The Science Fair was held from September 1st to September 6th and on each day of the exhibition two girls acted as stewards and were responsible for the project, which by this time also included some work done on the School pond by two former pupils. The project was put on display for a short time in School, and afterwards the animal chart and map were given to the Leicester Junior Science Centre. VALERIE KINGREY, Lower VIP CELIA DEVENISH, Lower VIV, 1967 Open Days had been regular events at school since the end of the preceding decade, when parents had the opportunity to look round the building and see the sort of work that their daughters had been doing. In 1968 someone decided to put their thoughts about these Open Days into verse:
Open Day at the Wyggeston, 1968 (with apologies to George R. Sims) It is Open Day at the Wyggeston, And the fathers and their ladies, And the classroom walls are bright Although the night is cold, With posters of cities, and charts, Have come, in their furs and wrappers, And the place is a pleasant sight: To watch their darlings bold; For with clean-washed hands and faces, To see them modelling handwork, In a long and orderly line In nightwear, and half dressed states, The girls stand at their places To see the education For this is the day they shine. They've paid for-with the rates.
The parents gaze in wonder, The pupils faces are bright; "Did a first year make this apron?" "Could their ears believe aright?" Then the parents go to the classrooms, To see the work on display. A proud and happy gathering Leaves school on this Open Day. JUDITH A. ANDERSON, Upper IV, 1968
At this point we ought to pay tribute to the sterling work done by the School secretaries over the years. In 1968 Miss Coxon retired after 40 years' service to the School leaving Miss Carpenter, a relative newcomer after only 20 years at the Wyggeston, to carry on as Head Secretary. In 1969 the School was involved in two inter-school competitions: television's Top of the Form when the Wyggeston Girls' Team (Anne Cockcroft, Anna Cybulnyk, Wendy Proctor and Judith Windle) met a team from the Crypt Boys' School, Gloucester, but were unfortunately beaten by 45 points to 60; and Radio Leicester's "Knock-out" competition Who are the Champions? The team (Lynne Halliday, Hilary Walters, Katherine Price and Annelte Weaver) managed to win three rounds before they were eventually beaten in the final by the Wyggeston Boys' School. Nobody can say that the School has not moved with the times, as the formation of the following club proves:
The Upper VIth Form Motoring Club During the year the Upper VIth Form Motoring Club has met each Tuesday afternoon. We have discussed various aspects of the mechanics of a car and have made closer study by examining Mrs. Priestnall's Mini. We were also able to examine the new Ford Capri which was shown to us by Mr. L. Wilkes of the Leicester Mercury. In March we were fortunate enough to visit the B.M.C. works at Longbridge where we saw the various components of a car assembled to produce the finished model. We would like to thank Sergeant Hume who has visited us throughout the year giving us some invaluable advice. LINDA WRIGHT, Upper VI, 1969 Ever since 1911, debating has been one of the most popular extracurricular activities, and this was crowned on 22 March 1971:
The Leicester Mercury Debating Competition The school was represented by Jane Stewart and Jennifer Stone. In the first round, the school had a bye. In Round 2, the girls met Loughborough High School, when the motion was "That, in education, this house prefers freedom of choice to equality of opportunity". The girls were opposing this motion and won by a small margin. The semi-final was against Wyggeston Boys' School, when the motion was "That this house applauds the present healthy disrespect for politicians". The school again had a narrow win, proposing this motion. In the final the team met Guthlaxton School, which resulted in a decisive win for Jennifer and Jane, who opposed the motion that "This house agrees with Adam, 'Nothing lovelier can be found in woman than to study household good'." The school received The Leicester Mercury Debating Cup for the first time. GAZETTE, 1971 Many types of music had been used in Assemblies, including the traditional anthems and hymns, modern records and folk music. Rising directly out of this came the formation of the Lower VIth Folk Club which met once a week and became very popular with both pupils and Staff! The following articles from two relatively recent Old Girls reminded us of many things we had forgotten about the School: A B Absence slips Biology labs, and pond Assembly Band Anthems Benches in the Grounds Amen-Seven-fold Badges Athletics Bibles Artrooms Bells (3 for Prefects) Blocks in Great Hall Break, biscuits, buns
C Cloakrooms Craft Room Common Room Christmas productions, Corridors-no running Chemistry labs Careers alcove
Lost property Labels-different colour for each subject Lining up for assembly Last Day in Upper VIths cakes
display M Madrigals Music Rooms Military Band Memory books Magnolia in Green Quad
D Dining Hall Dinners, lining up in Great Hall, and tickets Dinner hour-in at 1.10! Dais in some rooms Drive
N Noteline Notice boards--4 drawing pins to each piece of paper Navy blue Needlework Rooms Netball Numbering pages in exercise books
E Entrance Hall English speeches "Excellents" Exams F Form rooms Form Prefects Fifth Form party French poems for competition
O Outdoor shoes Open Days Overalls-blue and white Orchestra Organ voluntaries
G Great Hall Green Room Gym Games Girdles Gallery Grand piano Gazette Geography Room
P Prizes Prefects Platform Pigeon holes Parents' evenings Poppies Penny-a-week Physics labs Q Quads Queues Quiet on stairs and in the Libraries
H Headmistress Homework, notebooks, collected in with a slip Hair-tied back Hats "Hump" Hymn books Hockey Housecraft Rooms
R Record Book Returned lessons Rough Note Book, checking to make sure they were used up Rose Gardens
I Indoor shoes
S Singing Hall Senior Choir Senior Library Senior Prefects Showcases Stationery Room and queue Stock Room Staff Room Staff! Shoes Second dinner Speech Day Swimming, letter if not going
J Junior Hall Junior Choir Junior Library K Kit for games with initials embroidered on the lapels of blouse Kilts in the Ill's L Lessons 119
Familiar at Morning Assembly The Platform
The School Organ
T Text books Tidiness Training we received Terrace X Tennis X-too many in an exercise! Ill's party
W Wyggeston Waitressing X X â€“ too many in an exercise! Y Yellow chairs in Great Hall Z Zips in games shorts that would not do up by the time you reached the Upper IVths! ANON
U Uniform V Velours Voting in mock elections
My first day at Wyggeston was only my second day in Leicester and I had no idea of where I was going or how I would get home. Along with all the other new thirds, I had to run the gauntlet of walking along the terrace to the small gym through rows of apparently mocking senior girls. Typically my uniform was too big and the front of my velour was not turned down. The building seemed so big then, and it took at least a week to understand it. That first week was quite troublesome. We were not allowed to use biro, which was the only pen I had with me, and Miss Walker of the P.E. Department put me in the record book for not having any short white ankle socks. Once we got down to lessons, the salient memory was the first miracle of the Physics and Chemistry lesson, when a beaker of water was turned upside down and the contents were held up by cardboard. When Mr. Brailsford tried to emulate this, something went wrong and his brown lab. coat got soaked! There were lighter moments like playing pirates in the gym lesson at the end of term-it was a great advantage to be one of the few who could climb a rope! During the first winter, I was severely told off by Miss Hopkins of the meticulous sewing stitches for wearing black leather ankle boots in the worst of the weather instead of the regulation "outdoors". Actually, they were a good way of preserving the building and keeping feet healthy-the boats we called "indoors" were the most comfy shoes that I have ever worn. As an energetic third I was always frustrated by the slow pace of the senior girls in the corridors. The courtesy of stopping on the stairs when staff went by had disappeared by the time I left school. We were almost drill experts after practising walking in and out of the De Montfort Han on Speech Day in the correct order and lining up in the darkest recesses of the building. I think we had a similar procedure on the first day of term for getting into the Senior Dining Hall. There are so many memories of this happy time. We had an all-round education for which we should all be very grateful. My lasting impression is of Miss Pedley at the helm, imperiously in command of a noble vessel. She knew and loved every inch of it and commanded the respect and awe of her crew, both volunteers and conscripts. I remember my school days with affection and pride, and know that I and all past pupils owe the School a tremendous debt. HILARY J. SHAW, 1966-1973 Considering the number of clubs that had been formed over the years, we were surprised to discover that there had not been a Chemistry Club until 1972. The common-room facilities which the School had provided for the Upper VI in 1966-1967 were handed over to the Lower VI in 1972 on the completion of the mobile unit in the Green Quad for the older girls:
The Upper VIth Unit Amidst endless streams of black coffee and despite the onslaught of a seemingly endless series of warped and ancient records (Spring Term favourite being "The Charleston" by the Temperence Seven), the Upper Sixth are making good use of the cardboard-and-sticky-tape edifice which you may have
recently noticed in the Green Quad. A series of minor breakages including exploding water heaters and consistently disintegrating door handles seems to have been overcome now, and the two rooms are suitably adorned with a variety of posters, text-books, notices and coffee mugs. The curtains are colourful, the furniture comfortable, and both, we understand, are superior to those of the Staff Room. The Upper Sixth would like to thank the Foundation Governors and Miss Pedley for enabling them to benefit from the unit. The VIth Formers also benefitted over the years from the broadening of the curriculum: The even balance between Science and Arts studies at senior level was enhanced by a wider study of German, Greek, Classical Studies, Economics, Geology and Statistics, Religious Knowledge and History of Art, with a fashionable thing called General Studies (in the Sixth) at which we did not feel quite so clever: could it be because there was something forced and artificial about it? There was always an annual connection with Oxford and less regularly with Cambridge, and many girls went on to Universities, Colleges and specialist courses. We have been accused I believe of "academic snobbery", whatever that may mean; but surely there is such a thing as love of a study for its own sake and perfection. Moreover we never believed in going to "higher places" unless it was the right and true thing to do: better a sincere, more simple, calling well done than falsity. We hope we kept a civilised standard. M. E. PEDLEY Since the Gazette was not published in 1973, we have no written record of the events which surrounded the retirement of Miss Pedley at Christmas that year, but the following year an article appeared which we feel admirably sums up her devotion to the School and her concern for the well-being of all who were put in her charge:
Miss M. E_ Pedley At Christmas Miss Pedley retired after nearly 26 years as Headmistress of the school. Alderman Heard spoke at Speech Day and again last December of her devotion to the school, her sense of purpose and the high standard she established for all. In the day to day running of the school we appreciated this and we also have as our special memories Miss Pedley's verve and energy. She was keenly interested in all aspects of the work but equally determined that departments had freedom to develop as they chose: She took a real interest in innovation and new ideas and was ingenious in financing expansion, for modern syllabi are costly. One felt that Miss Pedley immensely enjoyed helping with school productions. Her love of poetry and drama and her talent with colour and design all combined in an effective and unique way. She maintained she was only part of a team and was especially pleased to point out how many girls in the school took part. A special mention must be made of the two staff productions of "1066". Girls speak of these with bated breath and staff remember Miss Pedley's indefatigable energy as a producer and as an actress. The navy dresses, first for the prefects and afterwards for the whole sixth, were a real innovation and Miss Pedley never failed to note new interpretations of navy and white which kept abreast of fashion. Equipping the Sixth Form unit gave her real pleasure and she was always thinking of new ways of enhancing and enriching the facilities of the school. She strove in many directions until she obtained the colour TV! Miss Pedley had a prodigious memory and many a form mistress has been amazed at her knowledge of a girl's doings of long ago, or her sister or cousin, or some related event. However, girls need not worry about this for the deeds (or mis-deeds) were recounted with real affection and Miss Pedley was delighted to hear from Old Girls. She was proud of the range of activities undertaken by girls both locally and afar and perhaps had a special affection for any "black sheep" who wrote and said they knew they had been a pest at times but now were grateful for the training they had received. As many Old Girls did in their letters, we wish her well in her retirement and feel she deserves the leisure to pursue her own interests after putting our school life first over a good span of years. J. E. STAPLES, 1974 The great thing was a sense of community-this we built for and succeeded in experiencing. Each one counted, a very real contributor to the whole by work, service, gifts and talents, inventiveness and vitality, decorativeness and courtesy. There was always a readiness to help, a feeling of purpose, security and belonging. M. E. PEDLEY
The School under
MISS JOSEPHINE E. SPENCER
Regent Road Building-Main Entrance
Miss Spencer became Headmistress of the Wyggeston Girls' School in January 1974. Her arrival was accompanied by many changes both inside and outside the School. Local government reorganisation took place in April that year and plans for a major reshuffle of the city's educational system began to be implemented. Many parents were concerned about the effect these changes would have and so supported the setting up of the following group:
The Parents' Association The Parents' Association was formed in 1974 following a suggestion by Miss Spencer and the following objectives were agreed at the first Annual General Meeting: (1) To foster more extended relationships between the Staff, Parents and others associated with the School. (2) To engage in activities which support the School and advance the education of the pupils attending it. (3) To assist in the provision of facilities for education at the School. The Association is managed by a committee of eleven parents, plus the Headmistress, who is the President, and three members of the Staff. The meetings held so far have been well attended, and the committee are delighted to see parents, staff and students socialising together in an informal atmosphere. We have tried to uphold the objectives of the Association in its first year, and whilst we are not primarily a fund raising organisation, we were soon in a position to present to the School, on behalf of all the parents, a public address system with a stereo amplifier, for the Great Hall. The School has expressed its real appreciation of this equipment, of which it makes frequent use. JOHN ASHTON, CHAIRMAN, 1975
Some of the girls also became involved in a new society:
Christian Union On Tuesday, March 5th, Miss Spencer gave the inaugural talk to the newly formed Christian Union open to Upper IVths and Vths. The aims of the group are to teach and learn about practical Christian living today, We hope to hire films, hold discussions and invite speakers to talk to the group on a variety of subjects. SALLY BAUM, Lower VIR BEVERLY CHARLTON, Lower VIR JANEEN DENNIS, Lower VIJP, 1974 The Christmas programme 1974, although a repeat of a Miracle Play the School had performed nearly 15 years earlier, was nevertheless unusual in that it was the first time that the Girls' and Boys' Schools had joined forces for a Christmas production:
Christmas, 1974 The School's main musical production this year was the Christmas presentation of "Noye's Fludde", a Chester Miracle Play set to music by Benjamin Britten. The School was joined by pupils of Wyggeston Boys' School for our first joint production. In all, over 150 people were involved and the two performances proved both successful and enjoyable to all. The opera involves audience participation in the three hymns and as Britten suggests, actors, orchestra and audience are seated on the same level. GAZETTE, 1975 Helping others less fortunate than themselves has always been a characteristic of the pupils of the School, and this is something which did not alter with the change of Headmistress. In fact, the number of activities in this field greatly increased with sponsored walks, silences and, for the energetic (?) Sixth Form, a sponsored swim:
The Sponsored Swim for Leukaemia Research On Saturday, September 21st, 1974, a small band of sixth formers congregated at the bus stop. It was the day of the great swim. The protective doors of our drab double-decker had been flung open, and we were stranded opposite the ominously calm exterior of Northfield House Primary School! We walk in, grim and determined. Our names are marked off, directions pointed out and fate sealed. We find the classroom in which we all have to change in embarrassment and bath-towel contortions. Finally we emerge from this doubtful refuge and dither along a muddy path to make our great debut-cowering under our towels and trying to look both dignified and inconspicuous. Our first glimpse of the swimming pool. It is very small, very shallow and very crowded. As we draw near, the heat assails us on all sides and the stench of chlorine fills the air. We queue up for our turn to splash through twenty lengths as best we can. Mrs. Priestnall offers to hold our towels-but all to no avail. I hang back till last, suddenly realising that I haven't swum for two years! The others go in one by one, and I watch them gasping for breath and floundering in the deep after the first length, with growing trepidation. Parents and boyfriends of pupils from all over Leicester crowd on to the three small benches that surround the pool, and each crashing belly-flop soaks their clothes more thoroughly. Their smiles remain painted on, but the paint begins to run amid so much moisture! It is my turn to swim. The first couple of lengths are swum rather stylishly, but my stamina seems to have declined with the declining years, and I feel rather desperate as the number of lengths still to be completed is yelled at me every other minute. The end comes at last and I attempt to climb out. However, my limbs fail me and I have to struggle up the steps and stumble away, a piece of soggy paper clutched in my hand. When we have changed and the formalities are over, we drip into the canteen for free coffee and drip back to the bus-stop. Somehow more than 40 girls from Wyggeston completed this strange ritual and the school raised ÂŁ229 for Leukaemia research which is ample compensation for our ordeal. BONITA MORSON, Upper VIP, 1975 Events were also organised to raise money for Shelter and the Leicester Children's Holiday Homes. The School branch of the League of Pity, which had supported the N.S.P.C.C. strongly for over 60 years, organised a Sale of Work much as their predecessors had done.
While we were preparing this book we were very sorry to learn of the death of Mr. Goodwin, the Head Caretaker, who had been a great favourite of the girls until his retirement in 1976.
Mr. Harry Goodwin HEAD CARETAKER 1954-1976 DIED 14 APRIL 1978 Many will remember him with esteem and affection especially perhaps the Upper Sixth as they prepared their "end-of-school-life" parade and entertainment: it was the sort of occasion in which he revelled, as in the two Staff productions of "1066 and All That". Many big occasions would never have reached such a peak without "Goodwin's" help: I needed his height for Christmas decorations and Speech Day floral branches: whether at the De Montfort Hall or School he ensured everything was meticulous. "Goodwin" not only did a job-he saw jobs lurking. He gave fully of his time, energy and interest and his loyalty was unswerving. In those years we really were well "cared-for". M. E. PEDLEY In 1976 the proposed changes to the Wyggeston Girls' School began to take effect. From now on the school was to be known as the Wyggeston Girls' Sixth Form College and the following report by Miss Spencer sums up what that meant:
Wyggeston Girls' Sixth Form College THE FIRST YEAR AFTER SECONDARY REORGANISATION In September 1976 we accepted the challenge of reorganisation and our new status as a Sixth Form College with great enthusiasm. We are mindful of the tradition of the old grammar school and the affection and esteem in which it is held by many in the city. We have endeavoured to fulfil our promise to parents of pupils under 16 years of age, that their education and school life would be as little affected as possible by the changes in the Sixth Form. At the same time we are enthusiastic about our role as the Sixth Form College, seeing this as offering the very best opportunity to provide the fullest range of courses for students of all abilities. We believe that the more adult atmosphere of the college gives an ideal preparation for those going on to university or further education as well as for those going straight into employment. We should like to allay the fears expressed by parents and others interested in the college. On the one hand it was suggested that because our academic standards are high, we would be unable to help the less academic; and on the other that the academic standards for those already in the school might suffer. The results for this year show the excellent achievements both at Advanced and Ordinary levels of students of all abilities. The Advanced level results are as good as in previous years and in addition to the usual pleasing results of the fifth year grammar school girls at Ordinary level, the new Sixth Form Ordinary level candidates have done very well. This shows that the college is fulfilling its promise to do its best for candidates of all abilities. However, life in school and college is very much more than examination results. During the 1976-1977 academic year the school teams won the Leicestershire under 18 and under 14 hockey tournaments as well as the Leicester under 13 hockey tournaments. Three girls playing for the Leicestershire under 18 team were also chosen for the Midlands under 18 team and it was a Wyggeston girl who captained both. Our three netball teams won the Leicestershire under 18, under 16 and under 14 tournaments and the Wyggeston teams for these three age groups represented Leicestershire in the East Midlands Netball Tournaments. Four girls were chosen to play in the county junior (under 18) netball teams. There have been very generous contributions to different charities and a vast amount of community work has been undertaken willingly by many girls. Perhaps this gives some insight into the quality of life and work at Wyggeston Girls' last year, the first year after secondary reorganisation. So what of the current year 1977-1978? We have 618 girls on the roll: 260 in Years 3-5 and 358 in the Sixth Form. Apart from girls from the Wyggeston, students have been drawn from nineteen other Leicester schools, and from private and public schools and it was pleasing to see how quickly they settled down. All members of the college are busy with academic work; sports results are exceptionally good; the choir, instrumentalists and the band are preparing for a musical programme at Christmas, rehearsals for a play
are taking place and new societies are being formed. A few boys from the Boys' College join us for some Sixth Form courses. Parties of girls are looking forward to the cruise to West Africa at Christmas, to a Mediterranean cruise in the Spring and to a skiing holiday at Easter. There is a carefully planned, on-going programme of careers guidance, and the students can discuss their future plans with our own careers' mistress or with the County Careers Officer who visits weekly. There are regular visits to universities, the School of Nursing, etc., so that students can gain some firsthand impressions of life in other institutions. A lively College Council plays an increasing role in decision making. We have considerably strengthened our links with Collegiate School in preparation for the merger in 1979 and have already held a joint staff conference this term. Eleven members of the Collegiate staff teach for a few periods weekly at Wyggeston, and two Wyggeston staff do likewise at Collegiate. Two major events face us in 1978: the school celebrates its Centenary and the Sixth Form College will become coeducational. We shall look back with pride and gratitude and forward with confidence. JOSEPHINE E. SPENCER 1 DECEMBER 1977 The occasion of the Centenary of the Wyggeston Girls' is a time for looking back as well as forward, as Miss Spencer shows in the article she wrote for us: Generations of "Wiggy" girls look back to 1928 with gratitude and yet nostalgia for 1928 was not only the year of the school's jubilee but also of the move from the much-loved but crowded premises in Humberstone Gate to the present building with its spacious grounds. In this our centenary year, we are mid-way through another change-the transition from girls' grammar school to coeducational open access Sixth Form College. It seems fitting to me that these two great landmarks in the history of the school should thus be so closely linked with change. For if I read the records of the past century correctly then, whilst on the one hand the qualities for which the school has always been respected have remained constant, there have been many important organisational changes which have enabled it to respond more fully to the challenges of different generations. The school of today must in some ways be different from that of even a decade ago if it is to be sensitive to the needs of the students as they face the changing pressures of the society of which they are part. But unchanged will always be the tradition of good manners, of courtesy and consideration for others, of respect for property and person and of steady work aimed at developing the full potential of each student. In the past few months many old girls have written appreciatively of their years at the Wyggeston; grateful for the quality of the education they received, of the pursuit of excellence that has always been encouraged, and more particularly for friends and mistresses. Yet whilst they have so much in common, each generation is looking back to a different educational experience, to a different "Wyggeston" that so ably prepared them for life in 1916, or 1946 or 1976. I believe that only in the recognition that over the past century there has always been both this continuity of purpose and yet external change do we begin to see "Wyggeston Collegiate" the coeducational Sixth Form College of the next decade as the natural and right development of the Wyggeston Girls' School of the last. Certainly the past four years have been marked by so many changes that one is tempted to look back and imagine that in the preceding ninety-six, school year followed school year serenely with but minor modifications. Perhaps in another hundred years our changes of today will appear but minor modifications! Local government reorganisation in 1974 and our new status as a county rather than city school was followed by the controversy that raged over the different schemes for the reorganisation of secondary education in the old city schools. August 1976 marked the beginning of our transition to a sixth form college and since then we have not admitted any girls at eleven years of age to the school, whilst accepting many more students into the Sixth Form. Some forty-five boys are expected to join the Sixth Form this autumn and in 1979 we amalgamate with Collegiate School and their Fifth and Sixth year girls and Staff will join us on the Wyggeston site. These changes loom large at present, but so must the altered status from private high school to maintained girls' grammar school in 1909. We welcome the move to coeducation in the Sixth Form next year but we are not pioneering. For very many years the school had a most flourishing mixed junior school and many senior, influential men in Leicester today began their education there. Last year we began a Commercial Studies Course in the Sixth Form and considered this a major new innovation; only recently have I learnt that in the 1920s the school ran a Secretarial Course for some girls to whom shorthand, typing and bookkeeping were taught.
This is surely why the Wyggeston Girls has been, and is, so respected: it has not been afraid of the challenge of change, but has stood for something far more important than an outer framework. It is the people within a school-the pupils, their parents and the staff that determine the quality of the education given. School inspection reports from 1906 onwards speak in glowing terms of the dedication of the staff, and it is in the calibre of the staff over the past century that the school has been so blessed. It is their aims, their principles, their intellectual ability and integrity, above all their willingness to give and to work that has contributed so largely to the intangible spirit that typifies the "Wyggy". It is in this confidence that we face the beginning of the next century, looking to maintain and build upon the reputation of the past. The transition to Sixth Form College will not be completed until 1980 but already we can see how the more adult atmosphere of the College is welcomed by the students, providing as it does, the necessary bridge between school life on the one hand and the freedom of university life and society in general on the other. In 1978-1979 we expect to have at least 450 students in the Sixth Form and of these over 300 will be following Advanced GCE courses. Another hundred will be taking Ordinary level courses, many with a view to Advanced levels later and the remainder following the City and Guilds Foundation Courses in Commercial Studies, Community Care and Science Industries. The 30 Advanced level subjects from which students can choose include Latin, Greek, French, German and Spanish whilst Russian is offered at Ordinary level. Five different Advanced level Mathematics syllabuses are available and design courses aimed at preparing students for Polytechnic entry and industry include Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Photography, Textile Printing, Structured Textiles, Embroidery, Fabric and Fashion, Calligraphy, Printmaking, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Woodwork. All the conventional subjects are available at Advanced and Ordinary level whilst new subjects offered include Sociology and Ancient History and Literature. This very great flexibility is balanced by a policy of careful individual guidance and our new Careers Area with three separate interview rooms is much in use. The college now has four well-furnished common rooms with an adjacent snack bar and well equipped kitchen. Individual private study areas and tutorial rooms have been provided, whilst work on the new design area is progressing. Many students choose to spend an afternoon weekly on a wide range of community service projects. In his book Modern Leicester published in 1881 Robert Read, writing about the school, said "and I have only further to repeat the hope that this most admirable seminary may, as the years go on, become less and less exclusive". To begin with the barrier to entry was financial although girls from both city and county enjoyed life at the Wyggeston Girls' School. The abolition of fees led to different restrictions; only girls from the city who had performed well in the 11 + examination were admitted. Now and in the future far more Leicester students will have the opportunity to come to Wyggeston Collegiate: albeit for a shorter time. By 1981 our entry will be fully comprehensive and we are glad that the wish of a century ago will be fulfilled. We look forward to the next century with confidence as we look to the past with pride and thankfulness. J. E. SPENCER
The life of a school is not merely the life in the school. The true history of the Wyggeston Girls' School is to be read in the lives of the women who have passed through it; who are working in the world more or less influenced in their aims by the spirit of their school life. GAZETTE, 1885
General Information from the Prospectus 1912 Tuition Fees (payable in advance) For Girls under 10 on the first day of the Term £1 16 0 For Girls between 10 and 12 on the first day of the Term £2 2 0 For Girls over 12 on the first day of the Term £2 10 0 These fees include all charges for School Books, and for Stationery used in School. Extra Subjects Pianoforte Lessons from MISS BEATRICE FOSTER, A.R.C.M. Violin Lessons from MISS E. H. ELLIS, L.R.A.M. Pianoforte Lessons from MISS N. MILLS, L.R.A.M. |for girls over twelve Pianoforte Lessons from MISS M. TAYLOR | Pianoforte Lessons from MISS G.M.COOPER | for girls under twelve Superintended Practice Use of Piano for Private Practice Dancing Lessons from MISS HUDSON (Autumn and Spring Terms)
£2 2 0 £2 2 0 £1 11 6 £1 1.0 £0 10 6 £0 5 0 £0 10 6
The Governors require a FULL TERM'S notice (which must be given in writing to the Head Mistress) before the removal of a pupil, or her withdrawal from any Extra Subject. Admission-New pupils must pass an Entrance Examination, and before a pupil is entered, an interview with the Head Mistress is always desirable. The School Course includes-Scripture History; English, Latin, Greek, French and German; Arithmetic and Mathematics; Natural Science; History and Geography; Drawing, Class singing, Needlework, Physical Exercises, Cookery, Housewifery, and Laundry. Pupils are not allowed to attend any classes outside the School without first obtaining the permission of the Head Mistress. Junior Branch. The Junior School at 17 Friar Lane is under the direct personal supervision of the Head Mistress, and the children have the same advantages as in the Senior School in receiving instruction from experienced Form mistresses, as well as from Specialists in Drilling, French, Singing, Drawing, etc. The course of instruction is carefully adapted to the capacity of beginners, and it is most important that children should enter the school as early as possible, as it has always been found that those who do so make the most rapid and thorough progress. There is a class for little girls from five to seven years of age, under the care of an experienced and qualified Kindergarten Mistress. These children are taught to read and are prepared gradually for the regular work of the School. The School Year begins in September, at which time new pupils are usually admitted. Girls are not expected to leave School except at Midsummer, when the school year closes. Attendance must be regular and punctual. Prayers are read at 9 a.m., and Pupils should be at the School at 8.50 a.m. No cause except illness is considered a sufficient excuse for absence or unprepared lessons. In every case a note of explanation must be brought on the day of the Pupil's return. All communications should be addressed to the Head Mistress. Health Every girl must bring a Health Certificate (a form of which is supplied), signed by her parent or guardian, on the first day of Term. In case of absence through infectious illness or contact with infection, a Certificate, on the same form, signed by a medical man, is required before the pupil is allowed to return to School. Examinations-The work of the School is tested annually by a University Examiner, and is inspected by the Board of Education. Girls in the Upper School are prepared for the Oxford Local Examinations, and the Cambridge Higher Local Certificate. Pupils may pass on from the School to the Universities, and there are School Leaving Exhibitions, concerning which information may be obtained from the Head Mistress. Girls are also prepared for Open Scholarships at the Universities.
Prizes are awarded annually on the results of the School Examinations and of the University Local Examinations, and some are also given for special subjects. No marks are given for lessons, but the progress of the girls is tested by a short examination each week in one of their class subjects. Reports on the attendance, conduct and progress of the pupils are sent to their Parents or Guardians at the end of each Term. Home Lessons-Lessons may be prepared at School, under supervision, each afternoon. It is desirable that all new pupils, and those who cannot have a quiet room for working at home, should prepare at School. School Dinners-Girls who stay to Preparation or for Afternoon Lessons may dine at School. Pupils are never allowed to go out to a coffee-house or restaurant. The scale of charges for school dinners is as follows: PER TERM 36/PER SINGLE DINNER 9d All money payable in advance. Luncheon-Milk may be obtained in the middle of the morning at 1d per glass or at 3d per week for halfglasses. Girls who do not dine at School may have soup at one o'clock at 3d per basin. All payments for milk:, etc., must be made before 9 a.m. Physical Exercises form a regular part of the daily routine. Parents or friends of the girls, who wish to see the Drill, are invited to come on any Friday morning between 9.30 and 1.00 to the Senior School, and on Wednesday from 10.30 to 12.15 to the Junior School. Out-door Games are compulsory in the Upper and Middle School unless girls are exempted by a medical certificate or owing to distance from the playing fields. The Annual Subscription of 2/6, due in September, admits to all games. Hockey is played in the Autumn and Spring, and Cricket, Tennis and Croquet in the Summer. The school playing-field is at the Wyggeston Hospital, Fosse Road. The Head Mistress will be glad to see Parents of Pupils any Monday afternoon during Term between 2 and 4 o'clock, and at other times only by appointment. Parents are earnestly requested to bring all matters concerning the education of their daughters at once under the notice of the Head Mistress, that they may receive immediate and careful consideration.
1969 Tuition Fees-The School is a County Grammar School. No tuition fees are charged. Admission to the School-The School Year begins in September, at which time new pupils are admitted on the results of the City of Leicester Secondary Schools selection system. Consideration of the admission of older candidates is arranged, when need arises, by the Director of Education. A full term's notice of the removal of a pupil from the School must be given to the Headmistress in writing. Exception from this rule can only be made on the ground of removal of the family from the neighbourhood, or for other sufficient reason approved by the Governors. School Curriculum The School Course includes Religious Knowledge. English Language and Literature, Latin, Greek, French, German, Mathematics, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Geology, Art, Music, Needlework, Housecraft, Physical Training and Dancing. The Curriculum is planned for girls mainly between the ages of II and 19 years. The School presents candidates for the General Certificate of Education in accordance with the public examination arrangements of the Ministry of Education. No girl should leave School until she has taken this examination. The Certificate is valuable as evidence that a certain standard of general education has been reached and will be accepted, subject to certain conditions, as a qualifying examination for entrance to the Universities and certain professions. Subjects can be attempted at Ordinary. Advanced and Scholarship levels. Girls who enter the Sixth Form may specialise in Classics, in Modern Studies, or the Sciences. It would be difficult to over-estimate the influence of these final years at School on the general expansion of intellectual capacity and on the development of personality and character. Pupils may also be prepared for Open Entrance and Scholarships to the Universities and other places of Higher Education. Provision is also made for girls who are able to spend one year only in the Sixth Form: a choice of general courses is available to all Sixth Form pupils. Transfers-Pupils, who, after a period in the School are considered to be unsuited for academic work may be transferred to a secondary school of another type: such transfer is advised purely in the interests of the pupil. Similarly the Headmistress is pleased to consider suitable transfers into the School. Activities-All girls in the School are encouraged to take part in the various and numerous activities. The organisation of these is in the hands of various members of the staff. It is recommended that while a girl is at School she should devote herself loyally to the community life of the School; other activities and engagements should only be undertaken if they are no deterrent to progress in her general education. Pupils are required to obtain permission to attend classes outside the School and to enter for Examinations related to such classes. No pupil may take part during the term in public performances outside the school (e.g. Dramatic Societies, Dancing Displays, etc.) without special permission being granted by the Headmistress or by licence issued by the Local Education Authority. A pupil may only undertake employment by requesting written permission from the Headmistress. Attendance-Attendance must be regular and punctual. In every case of absence a note of explanation should be received by the Headmistress. Leave of Absence (other than absence through illness)-The Ministry of Education permits leave of absence to a pupil for the purpose of the parents' annual holiday only: such leave should be requested of the Headmistress in writing and will be granted. No other leave of absence can be taken for any purpose whatsoever except by consultation with the Headmistress. Correspondence-All letters must be addressed please to the Headmistress at the School. School Hours-Morning Session: 8.40-12.15; Afternoon Session: 1.55-4.00. Pupils should arrive at the School 10 minutes before each session opens. Home Lessons-Home preparation is required from all pupils. Every care is taken to see that the amount of Home Work required does not interfere with health and reasonable recreation. A Preparation TimeTable is given to each pupil with instructions to adhere to the time allotted to each subject. Parents are urgently requested to notify the Headmistress immediately if the Home Lessons present any special difficulty or if they frequently occupy much more or much less than the specified time. 133
Health Regulations-After infectious illness or contact with infection, a Certificate must be signed by a doctor before the pupil is allowed to return to School. Medical Inspection of pupils is carried out by a woman doctor of the School Health Service. Pupils may only be excused physical education activities for any length of time by production of a medical certificate. Discipline-The discipline of the School is in the hands of the Headmistress. School Dinner-As far as accommodation allows, dinner is provided for girls who require this in the middle of the day. The charge for dinner is 1/6 per day. In cases of financial hardship, the charge may be wholly or partly remitted: in such cases application should be made to the Director of Education. Milk and orange juice may be purchased at break. Maintenance Allowances-Maintenance allowances are not payable in respect of pupils who are of legal school age, that is until the end of the term in which they attain the age of 15 years. The Education Committee are prepared, however, to consider applications from the parents of pupils beyond this age for assistance in order to enable them to maintain the girls at school for the extended period. Applications for maintenance allowances should be submitted to the Director of Education, Education Offices, Newarke Street, Leicester. Transport-Pupils who live more than three miles from the School may be provided with free bus passes: application should be made to the Director of Education. Dressing Rooms-Whilst all reasonable measures are taken to ensure the safe custody of clothing or other articles deposited by pupils in the School Dressing Rooms, the Education Committee cannot accept any liability in the event of loss or damage. Interviews-The Headmistress will be available to see parents of pupils on Monday afternoons, between 1.45 and 3.30, and at other times by appointment. Parents' Evenings are held periodically for certain age groups within the School: parents are earnestly advised to attend these.
1978 WYGGESTON COLLEGIATE Headmistress: Miss J. E. Spencer, M.B.E., B.Sc. This Sixth Form College will become co-educational in 1978. It is situated near the University and City Centre, and its grounds with excellent playing fields offer opportunities for relaxation and sport. The College has four well-furnished common-rooms with an adjacent snack bar and separate private study areas. Whilst all students will be expected to work hard in college and at home our aim is that everyone will enjoy all aspects of college life, including the wide range of recreational and leisure-time pursuits. Over the last two years the College has extended its range of courses considerably and now caters for students of all abilities. Students can be accepted for: 1 year Foundation Courses, 1 year or 2 year Ordinary level courses, 2 year Advanced and Special level courses. The College has long experience in preparing students for University entrance (including Oxford and Cambridge) as well as for entrance to a variety of careers and different forms of employment. There is a completely free choice of examination subjects: the time-table is drawn up to meet students' needs and Advanced level can be combined with Ordinary level subjects. This very great flexibility is balanced by a policy of careful guidance so that each studentâ€™s timetable meets his or her interests, ability and future career. The subjects offered are as follows: The College for the most part uses the Joint Matriculation Examining Board, unless otherwise stated. G.C.E. Advanced Level Ancient History and Literature, Art, Biology: (a) Biology, (b) Social Biology (Cam.), Chemistry, Design" (Ox.), Domestic Science (A.E.B.), Dress (A.E.B), Economics, Embroidery (A.E.B), English Literature, French. Geography, Geology, German, Greek, History: (a) Brit. and European. (b) Brit. Econ. and Soc., Latin, Mathematics: (a) Pure, (b) Pure and Applied, (c) Pure with Statistics, (d) Statistics, (e) Further Mathematics, Music, Physics, Religious Studies, Sociology (Cam.), Spanish (no previous knowledge necessary). Computer Studies (Lon.) and Psychology (A.E.B.) if required by arrangement with Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth College. *Design: broad based course catering for whole range from Technology to Artistic Design. G.C.E. Ordinary Level 1. TWO YEAR COURSE: not more than six subjects chosen from: Art, Biology, Chemistry, Dress (A.E.B.), Embroidery (A.E.B.), English Language, Geography, History, Modern Mathematics, Commercial Mathematics, Nutrition and Cookery (A.E.B.), Physics, Religious Knowledge. 2. ONE YEAR COURSE: to be chosen from the above list plus Additional Mathematics, Computer Studies (Cam.), English Literature, French, Geology, Government, Commerce and Economics (Economics option), Human Biology, Music, Photography (A.E.B.) and Spanish. 3. Two year language courses in German, Greek, Latin, Russian and Spanish can be taken alongside other Advanced level subjects. Students who complete a one year Ordinary level course satisfactorily may then begin a two year Advanced level course. Foundation Courses One year courses, organised by the City and Guilds Institute, in two of 1. Commercial Studies 2. Community Care 3. Science Industries according to demand. These courses offer a general education with an emphasis on English and numeracy leading to a recognised examination.
All science subjects are taught in well-equipped laboratories with an emphasis on practical work. Newly revised syllabuses for the "A" level science subjects are taught. These include social and economic aspects (Chemistry), a choice of options (Biology) and a section on Medical Physics (physics), Also available is "A" level Social Biology which has a greater emphasis on the human aspects of Biology, As well as the various options in Mathematics at "A" and "0" level, service courses in the subject are available. There has been an increasing demand for these as Mathematics forms an integral part of many subjects and of general education. All first year students will follow a course in General English specially adapted to differing needs. In addition to the wide range of examination work in modern and classical languages, students may continue to study French, German and Latin for interest or in preparation for "Oxbridge" or General Studies examinations. The College offers a wide range of courses in design, both for general interest and leading to examinations, aiming to prepare students for Polytechnic entry and industry. Subject areas include: Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Photography, Textile Printing, Structured Textiles, Embroidery, Fashion and Fabric, Calligraphy, Printmaking, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Woodwork. It is hoped that music will appeal to many more than just examination students. In the past, orchestra, choir, choral and instrumental groups have been formed and concerts mounted. Games are optional: Hockey, Badminton, Fencing, Athletics, Cricket, Netball, Table Tennis, Archery, Tennis, Volley Ball, Soccer, Basketball, Gymnastics and Dance can all be provided if there is demand. Whilst match successes have been outstanding in recent years, all activities are available purely as recreation for those not interested in team games. Community service projects, including work in day nurseries, primary schools, schools for the handicapped and homes for the elderly, will continue. The well-established motoring course is linked with the R,A,C, Driving Scheme. The College has its own moped for the Schools Traffic Education Programme. A very varied programme of Liberal Studies will be provided and all students will be expected to select some courses from it. Such subjects as Typing, Cookery, Philosophy, Local History and Language Courses and many more will be available. The College hopes above all else to be a caring community. Each student will belong to a small informal tutor group and will remain with the same tutor throughout his or her college career. From the moment a student enters the college there is a careful programme of careers guidance, and the College has a very well equipped careers area. The College Council plays an important role in decision-making and co-ordinating student activities. The College will support students who wish to form and run their own interest groups. In addition, there are college organised societies, field courses and outside visits at home and overseas. Every student has the opportunity of participating fully in the life and work of the College.
School Rules and Regulations 1890s 1. Attendance must be punctual and regular. A girl is counted late for School if she is not in her Classroom by the time the bell rings at 9 a.m. and, in case of Afternoon Lessons or Preparation, if she is not in her place by 2, 2.30 or 3.30 p.m., as the case may be. No cause except illness is considered a sufficient excuse for absence. In every case a note, stating the reason of non-attendance, must be brought on the day of the Pupil's return. 2. No girl may enter the School before 8.45 a.m. without special permission, and everyone who is not staying for dinner must be out of School by 1.15 p.m. 1. Pupils must change their boots both morning and afternoon. 2. No speaking is allowed at any time after 8.50 a.m. in Classrooms, Cloakrooms, Stairs or Corridors, except by permission from a Mistress, but girls who remain to lunch or dinner may talk between 1 and 2. S. No excuses are taken for unprepared lessons, except in cases of illness. All communications should be addressed to the Head Mistress. 6. All Books, Umbrellas, Shoes, Schoolbags, Straps, etc., must be distinctly marked with the owner's name. 7. Desks must be kept neat, and all defacing of School property is strictly forbidden. 8. Girls are reminded that the books lent for their use must be kept clean and in good order. All books will be periodically inspected, and any that have been lost or carelessly used, must be replaced. 9. The Gymnastic Dress, which must be worn every Friday, consists of a plain navy blue skirt, a plain blouse of cream serge or flannel, with small turn-ever collar, navy blue ribbons for hair and necktie, dark knickerbockers, and black shoes and stockings. Indoor shoes must have very low heels. 10. All Storybooks, Albums, etc., are forbidden in School, and girls are not allowed to borrow or lend, nor to exchange anything with their companions at School.
1912 1. Pupils must change their boots. Rubber shoes and shoes with high heels are not allowed. 2. All Books, Hats, Umbrellas, Shoes, Satchels, etc., must be distinctly marked with the owner's name, and every Girl must have a Satchel with handles and not with a shoulder strap. Canvas Satchels are preferred on account of their lightness. 3. No Pupil may enter the School before 8.45 a.m. without special permission, and every girl who is not staying to dinner must be out of the School by 1.15 p.m. 4. Books lent for the Girls' use must be kept clean and in good order. All Books will be periodically inspected, and any that have been lost or carelessly used must be replaced. 5. The Drill dress, worn every Friday, consists of a plain navy-blue skirt, with waistband of the same material, a plain cream blouse (made of woollen material), with small turn-over collar, navy-blue ribbons for hair and necktie, dark navy knickerbockers, and black shoes and stockings. Every girl is required to wear the Drill costume on the playing fields. No jewellery is allowed to be worn in School. 6. Hair must always be plaited or tied back, and white sailor hats with School hatbands are to be worn on the way to and from School by all girls after their first term. The band can be bought only at the School, cost price 2/.. Every girl must have in her skirt a pocket in which to carry her purse, as it is forbidden to leave money in the cloakrooms.
1969 1. Attendance must be punctual and regular. A girl is late if she is not in her Form Room by the time the bell rings at 8.40 a.m. and 1.55 p.m. For absence or unprepared lessons a note of explanation must be presented to the Headmistress. After infectious illness or contact with infection, a Certificate must be signed by a doctor before the pupil is allowed to return to School. 2. No girl may enter the School before 8.25 a.m. and 1.45 p.m. without permission. Girls not staying for School Dinner must be out of the building by 12.25 p.m. and those not detained by Mistresses nor staying for any recognised out-of-school activities must have left by 4.15 p.m. 3. Pupils must please change their outdoor shoes morning and afternoon. Slippers (with low heels, fitted with rubber tips) must be worn in School except for Gymnastics, Games, and Dancing for which special shoes are needed. 4. Recognised school wear must be worn on the way to and from School. 5. School Expeditions-Full school wear appropriate to the season will be worn on expeditions, whether undertaken in or out of school hours. Deviation from this rule will be allowed according to circumstances approved by the Headmistress. 6. No jewellery may be worn in School. 7. Hair must be dressed off the face and kept simple in style; with winter wear navy blue ribbons may be worn, and with summer wear the ribbons may be white, light blue or navy; slides should be dark. 8. Strap purses must be worn as an item of dress. 9. Purses, money, and articles of value may never be left in desks nor in the dressing rooms: they must be deposited at the School office for the day. 10. Books, hats, shoes, gloves, umbrellas, satchels, science and cookery overalls, and any other personal property including clothing, must be clearly marked with the owner's name. 11. Text and school books must be kept clean and used carefully. 12. In order to facilitate safe and unhindered movement about the building: (a) Talking is not allowed on the stairs; (b) Corridors and doorways must at all times have an area of clear passage.
School Uniform (The 1912 note about uniform is included under School Rules and Regulations.)
1943 We fully realise the difficulties created by the shortage of supplies and by the rationing of clothing through the coupon system which lie before parents, especially those sending their daughters to a new school. The principles which underlie the custom of requiring uniform clothing to be worn by the pupils of such a school as this are basically sound and must not lightly be abandoned even during a great war, but we are anxious to be as helpful as possible to parents and so have suspended as many of our requirements as possible for the duration of the war. At bottom, however, we ask parents to recognise that the most economical way of clothing children at this time is to let them wear their school outfit at all times and not to attempt to give them the variety of clothes which has become customary in recent years. By following the example of the big Boarding Schools in this respect we can make a substantial contribution to the war effort. Autumn and Spring Outfit A navy blue coat or lined navy blue mackintosh. A school hat with band or a navy blue beret with badge. A navy blue gymnastic tunic and girdle. Two white gymnastic blouses, made with square necks and long sleeves. Two pairs of woven knickers, black for girls of 8 years of age or over, black or navy blue for younger children. Black stockings, or black, grey, fawn or white socks, according to age. A pair of black outdoor shoes. A pair of black indoor shoes, with the heels fitted with quarter rubbers. (See note below.) A pair of black gymnastic shoes (preferably not rubber plimsolls). A pair of black dancing slippers or sandals, according to age. Optionally, a navy blue cardigan or pullover, or the School's blazer. The coat, tunic, and blazer are of regulation pattern, but if any new girl possesses similar garments which are or could be dyed navy blue, we are willing that she shall wear these out before buying others of the school pattern. The hat is of standard pattern, with a choice between black velour and black felt. Almost any school-girl's hat can be dyed black, and will then be accepted temporarily. Should there be difficulty in obtaining the school hatband, a plain black ribbon band of the correct width may be worn, with the school badge sewn on in front. If difficulty is experienced in procuring the correct kind of hat, a plain navy blue beret may be substituted, with the school badge sewn on in front. Coloured shoes can readily be stained black. For indoor shoes, during the war we ask parents to provide a second pair of walking shoes instead of the usual strapped house-slippers, so that if the Alert sounds on a wet day the children's feet will be dry on arrival at the trenches. The cardigan or pullover is useful either as a house-coat or for outdoor wear during games in cold weather. The blazer, which will be needed in summer as a school coat, makes an excellent house-coat during the winter but does not "give" as does a woven or knitted garment and therefore cannot be worn by the older girls when playing such games as netball or hockey, Senior School entrants will need science overalls. Any serviceable colour and pattern will be accepted. . Dancing tunics will not be required. It is difficult to plan for as far ahead as the Summer Term, as conditions may then be very different, but it can be said now that every effort will be made to continue the use of the present summer hat and band. Children in the Junior School will not be required to wear the summer tunic but may wear simple washing frocks with knickers to match.
1950 Winter Outfit A navy blue coat and/or lined navy blue mackintosh: a navy mackintosh of some kind is essential. A School hat with band. A navy blue gymnastic tunic and girdle. (Tunic to be of Wyggeston style.) Two white gymnastic blouses, made with square necks and long sleeves. Two pairs of black woven knickers. Black stockings opaque in texture, or grey, fawn or white ankle socks, for general wear. Black stockings are required by girls over 13 years of age for formal occasions no matter what the choice for general wear. A pair of black outdoor shoes. A pair of black, strapped house-slippers, with low heels fitted with quarter rubbers for wear in School. A pair of black gymnastic shoes. A pair of black heeled dancing shoes or heel-less pumps, according to age. Optionally, a plain navy blue cardigan with long sleeves; the School's blazer; School scarf (navy and white). The coat is of regulation pattern, but if any new girl possesses a similar garment which can be dyed navy blue, this may be worn out before buying one of the School pattern. The length of the tunic should be not less than 3t inches off the ground, when kneeling. The hat is of standard pattern, with a choice between black velour and black felt. Almost any school-girl's hat can be dyed black, and will then be accepted. Should there be difficulty in obtaining the School hatband, a plain black ribbon band of the correct width may be worn, with the School badge sewn on in front. The gymnastic shoes will be worn on asphalt courts as well as in the gymnasium, therefore thin canvas sandals with elastic straps and soft soles are inadequate. Plimsolls stand up to this double wear fairly well. Long-sleeved science overalls will be needed. Any serviceable plain colour and style will be accepted. Summer Uniform Short-sleeved white blouses (two required at least). A slip tunic of the correct School blue with flared skirt of six or four gores. Knickers to match. White or beige ankle socks. A summer straw hat of regulation style, worn with band. Sixth Forms Members of the Sixth Forms will require the normal summer uniform for games purposes but may otherwise wear a summer dress. This should be of a material and colour identical with that of the tunic, e.g. sky-blue moygashel, etc., and made in one of the four approved styles with self-colour decoration only. School Prefects School Prefects are requested to wear a dress made in one of the approved styles but darker in colour-a deep royal of which patterns can be obtained at the School. Decoration on prefects' dresses may be white but should apply to detail only, e.g. buttons, ric-rac braid edging. Further details and sketches of all uniform can be obtained at School. Materials of approved specification for the making-up of tunics, blouses and blazers may be bought and made up privately if preferred.
Code for Corrections X O
á´§ II ~~~~~~~ W _______X P [ ........... ] T Q L.C. Rec. M W.O. Rep.
through a word marks a Spelling fault. round a letter means either that a Capital letter is required, or that it was unnecessary shows an Omission. marks a fault in Punctuation. under a word or phrase indicates a fault in Grammar. in the margin means that the statement is wrong. under a word means that a wrong word or expression has been used. means that a fresh Paragraph should have been begun. enclosing a passage, shows a wrong construction, and the whole must be re-written. in the margin shows that a wrong Tense has been used, or that the Tense has been changed. means that an explanation must be asked/or in class. means "Look at last Corrections". means "Re-correct". means that the Method is wrong. shows that words or phrases are in Wrong Order. calls attention to the Repetition of some word or expression.
RULES FOR CORRECTING EXERCISES 1. Spelling-faults must be written correctly three times. 2. Any phrase containing a fault in Grammar must be re-written once correctly. 3. Omissions, capitals, and errors in punctuation may be corrected where they occur. 4. When a wrong expression or tense has been used, or an inaccurate statement made, the sentence must be re-written correctly. 5. Corrections in any subject must be given in at the next lesson in that subject. They should be fastened with a clip to the back of the new exercise. 6. The penalty for not giving in Corrections at the right time is an Order Mark; if they are forgotten again on the following day, a Conduct Mark will be given. 1915
Circular Reflecting War-time Conditions, 1939 The Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls, Leicester. 9th September, 1939. Dear Sir, I think everyone will agree it is desirable that the children shall have regular occupation and that their education shall be interrupted as little as possible. We are in a more fortunate position than most Schools, in that our trenches are ready. For a few weeks, therefore, we are offering hospitality to the Collegiate School and Alderman Newton's Girls' School, dividing the day into two long sessions, this School having the entire use of the building for one session and the two visiting Schools sharing it for the other. The sessions will extend from 8.00 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. and from 12.45 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. respectively, the separate Schools attending either in the mornings or in the afternoons in alternate weeks. For the first half-week, namely September 13th-15th, this School will attend in the mornings; for the week beginning September 18th we shall attend in the afternoons; and so on. Inevitably these arrangements will involve difficulties for parents, children and staff, but in the circumstances I am confident that everyone will recognise the need for them and be anxious to cooperate fully. Where difficulties of transport make it necessary, we are quite willing to allow girls to attend for such part of the session as their parents can arrange. If any have been sent away for a time, I shall be glad if I may know immediately. The short interval between sessions makes it impossible for any midday meal to be provided, but milk (hot or cold) may be obtained by those who desire it in the middle of the morning or afternoon. The charge will be 4/6 per term. Sandwiches, biscuits, etc. may be brought from home or bought at School to be eaten during either Break. In cases which would otherwise involve real hardship, arrangements will be made for girls to eat packed midday lunches in School, but permission for this can be given only sparingly, as it would involve overlapping with the visiting Schools and we cannot at any time have more girls on the premises than could find safety in the trenches. In the afternoons, if there must be a long delay before a girl can catch a train or bus home, packed teas may be brought. May I repeat that the need for all these arrangements should soon pass, and that when the other two Schools have protection on their own premises, we shall revert to normal hours. From the beginning it will be necessary to familiarise the children with the layout of the trenches, and trench-drill will be taken frequently. In the event of air raids, we may have to stay in the trenches for some time. I shall therefore be glad if each girl may come to School with the following equipment: her gas mask, a warm coat, a pair of strong shoes, a haversack or satchel containing-a pair of warm stockings, a half-pint water-bottle, an unbreakable cup or beaker, a 2d packet of plain water-biscuits, a 2d packet of Sunmaid raisins, a small bottle of barley sugar drops or a small packet of plain chocolate, a piece of mackintosh material 2 ft. square. A convenient type of haversack is the one used by Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, but almost any kind of strong bag could be made to serve. If a standard water-bottle is difficult to obtain, a household bottle might be an adequate substitute. The biscuits will keep crisp longer if packed in a small tin. The square of mackintosh is to sit upon if the seats in the trenches are damp. We fully realise that it will be difficult and may be impossible to assemble all of this outfit at such short notice, and all we ask is that it may be procured as quickly as possible. I should like to assure parents that all arrangements at School for the safety, comfort and happiness of their children are as good as forethought, expert advice and detailed planning can make them. Our trenches give excellent protection and within a very few minutes of a Raid Warning all children will be in shelter. In no circumstances can children be allowed to go home when a warning is received, nor can parents be admitted to the School premises. I am sure all will recognise the necessity for inflexible regulations about these matters. I am, Yours sincerely, (Signed) NORA CARESS, Headmistress.
Prizes as awarded in 1974 FORM PRIZES-presented by the Governors PROGRESS PRIZES-presented by the Governors SUBJECT PRlZES Art Originally presented by the Residents and Staff of Wyggeston's Hospital, now The "Ellen Leicester" Award (in memory of the first Headmistress) Biology The "Nora Caress" Memorial Prize for Biological Studies (in memory of the third Headmistress) Classics-The "Ellen Leicester" Old Pupils' Award (given by the Old Pupils' Association in memory of the first Headmistress) The Richard Hallam Prize for English Studies--endowed by Alderman Sydney Brown, J.P., T.D.' (onetime Chairman of the Governors 0/ the Wyggeston Schools) English Speech and Drama presented by the parents of a former Senior Prefect Geography-presented by Mrs. W. A. Evans (one of the first Governors) Geology History presented by Mrs. W. A. Evans Housecraft Originally given by Mrs. W. Borman, now presented by the Governors Mathematics Middle School Mathematics Prize (presented by Miss N. Barton) The "Alderman C. H. Harris" Award The "L. Freeman and Barbara Freeman" Mathematics Prize Modem Languages presented by the Governors Spoken French The "Marie Caillard" Awards (given by pupils in memory of the School's first French mistress) Music Originally given by Mr. Percy Wykes, now presented by Miss J. B. Niblett (taught music at the School in the 1950s) Needlework Originally given by Mrs. W. Borman, now presented by the Governors Religious Knowledge The "Mary Butler" Prizes (in memory of the first Mistress engaged at the School) Science Originally given by Dr. E. W. Goodwin, now presented by the Governors OTHER AWARDS The "'Florence Marston" Prize for Outstanding Scholarship (in memory of one of the School's first members of staff) General Efficiency Prizes 143
The "Mary Ellen Selby" Prize for Service (in memory of the School's first Miss Selby, a member of staff in the 1910-1920s) The "G. T. E. Chamberlain and Eileen Chamberlain" Prize for Service to the School Wyggeston Foundation Prizes TROPHIES Senior Hockey Shield Senior Netball Cup-presented by Sheila Rudkin Netball Shooting Cup Senior Tennis Cup-presented by Miss E. D. Lee and Miss A. M. Oxley Senior Singles Tennis Cup-presented by Jean and Betty Scott Senior Rounders Cup-presented by A. Randle and C. Boam Senior Sports Cup-presented by Miss E. C. Bolton Senior High Jump Cup-presented by Margaret Forsyth Senior Swimming Cup-presented by Lady North Middle School Netball Cup Junior Netball Cup Junior Hockey Cup Junior School Tennis Cup Junior Doubles Tennis Cup-presented by Form VI 1937 Junior Rounders Cup Middle School Swimming Cup Junior Swimming-Cup Middle Sports Cup Junior Sports Cup-presented by Miss D. Fawcett Junior High Jump Cup Long Jump: Cup Other awards mentioned in a programme for Speech Day in 1943 include: SUBJECT PRIZES Spoken English
Spoken French -
Senior: presented by Mr. Percy Wykes Middle: presented by Miss H. M. Spalding Junior: presented by Miss D. M. Adams Senior: presented by Mr. G. Tarratt Middle } "Marie Caillard" prizes Junior }
SPECIAL PRIZES School Certificate Prize-presented by Miss S. J. Carr The Chairman's English Essay Prizes Class-singing Trophy-presented by Miss E. H. Ellis and Miss N. Mills The "Constance Bruce" Gardening Shield-presented by Mr. A. H. Davy SCHOOL LEAVING EXHIBITIONS Wyggeston Exhibitions "E. M. Robinson" Scholarship "Eleanor Russell" Scholarship (in memory of a pupil who died in the First World War) "Hayne" Exhibitions
Appendix VIII A mathematical postscript:
Scholastic Statistics Recent reflection on my years at the Wyggeston School has produced some amazing results. These 13 years have meant: 2,600 days at School 18,200 lessons 39 reports 9 weeks two days non-stop playing games 16 days and nights continuously singing ÂŁ65 worth at least of School dinners 108 gallons of School milk 21-months sitting on a 'bus to and from School 31,200 bells BUT I have spent 3 whole years on holiday! BARBARA FREEMAN, Upper VI Arts, 1952 How about doing your own calculations?