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Memories of Boarding Illustrated by Regina U4

Home from home

Gertrude Hardy, 1891

Red and white striped curtains.

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember Mrs Lowe promising to swim with us in the open air (unheated?) pool if it ever got to 90 degrees in the shade and the wonderful day she made good on her promise, floral swimming cap and all.

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember always feeling secure at school and being valued for who I was right from the start. I also remember the matterof-fact kindness of the older girls in particular, and how they looked after me if things weren't going well.

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

The fantastic trust and understanding that Mrs Brown afforded us despite our inability to make toast without burning it and regularly setting off the alarm in the kitchen in the cupboard, bringing the poor housekeeper out in her curlers!

Hannah Pilkington, 2001-2012

Rushing down to Mrs Leitner's living room for open house every Wednesday evening after roll call. We would just sit around eating and chatting. Eventually it would usually descend into us turning up the music and creating dance routines, some of which we can still crack out today.

Jacqueline Yu, current student

You feel as if you have one big family.

Mari-Liis Duglas, 2013 - 2015

The teachers, boarding staff, other girls, and even the cleaners become like your second family, and the school a home away from home like no other.


Susan Selwyn Khan (nĂŠe Selwyn), 1957 - 1964

Large dorms and the snoring (probably me too).

Anne Brook (nĂŠe Whitting), 1959 - 1966

Great big dorms; warmth and laughter.

Judy Oglethorpe (nĂŠe Hedgeman), 1967 - 1973

Big, freezing, dormitories.

Food glorious food

Alison Ney (nĂŠe Begg), 1954 -1967

Fried bread and marmalade on Sundays - a combination never bettered!

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember meals in the dining hall before the self-service came in and the tradition of the youngest being served last and having to clear all the crockery and it being a matter of honour that you had to do it in one go - 10 large china plates, 10 side plates, 10 saucers, 10 bowls, sugar, butter and marmalade on the top and a cup on each digit.

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember trips to the garage and village for contraband and being soundly told off for being seen walking down the High Street eating in public!

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember the tuck cupboard under the stairs where you could just about reach into without being seen after lights out if you had left your tuck tin open on the top shelf, not, of course, that I was ever brave enough!

Deborah Mason (nĂŠe Maltby), 1985 -1992

Having a point system for tuck, which was only allowed on a Wednesday evening and Friday evening!

Dr Alison Lavender (née Fisher), 1980 - 1987

I also remember us all being served a fair amount of “Pimms” at a cocktail party with the teachers to practice our social skills!

Annemarie Ko, 2007 - 2011

I miss those Sundays’ breakfasts and roast dinners!


Jean Haywood, 1948

Two baths a week in five inches of water.

Alison Ney (nĂŠe Begg), 1954 - 1967

I remember people doing illegal hairwashes so that they had clean hair for exeats and hoping no one would notice the wet hair on a day that Mr Goldring, the hairdresser, was not there.

Rosalind Philps (née Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember the dreaded drought when we were “hosed down” in a line standing in the baths to save water.

Freedoms & Restrictions


Only changing knickers twice a week - this really stressed me at the time (whites changed twice, navy blues once a week).

Philippa Mitchell, 1979 - 1987

Chapel - seven times a week when I first arrived.

Dr Alison Lavender (nĂŠe Fisher), 1987

We were allowed to have a fair amount of freedom and make our own mistakes.

Heads & Tales!

Lady Marion Morris, 1939 - 1948

I remember McWhirter the pig that lived in the School grounds.

Alison Ney (nĂŠe Begg), 1954 - 1967

Miss Stoner, the Head, invited us for hot chocolate and a film on the television, in her house, one evening.

Philippa Mitchell, 1979 - 1987

Spending hours removing a screw from a window so we could get down on to the arches to annoy the U5 who had a dance. Unfortunately we got caught on the test run!

Philippa Mitchell, 1979 - 1987

Playing games after lights out and mostly getting caught and told off. Life run by bells.

Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

I remember the endless black and white films that we watched or making reading dens in the piano practice rooms on a Sunday afternoon if it was wet outside.

Deborah Mason (née Maltby), 1985 -1992

At the end of Upper 6 – on our last morning waking the boarding house up to chaos loo roll strewn across from Keller to Bronte and running riot for an hour - it seemed like a rite of passage!” (St Cat’s Muck Up Day – a new tradition from the 80’s on!)

Katherine Kane, 1970 – 1980

Watching Starsky and Hutch in the common room, ‘square bashing’ and film club in the assembly hall on Saturday night.


Rosalind Philps (nĂŠe Hutton), 1975 - 1984

Lacrosse in the cold, scaring opposition teams with our gum shields as we were one of the first schools to introduce them, cross country up Chinthurst Hill in completely inappropriate footwear (awful!), sneaking out of school for bike rides to Winkworth Arboretum on a summer weekend, tennis in the summer after supper.

Illustrated by Regina U4

Do send us your memories: association@stcatherines.info

Dawn Pilkington - Association Director St Catherine’s School, Bramley, Surrey GU5 0DF 01483 899751 | association@stcatherines.info Registered Charity Number: 1070858

www.s tcatherines.info/association

Profile for St Catherine's, Bramley

St Catherine's Boarding Memories  

St Catherine's Boarding Memories