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Denmark Road High School

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1958 - 75th Jubilee

 

1883 - in the forty-sixth year of Victoria's reign, in Gladstone's second ministry, a year after the British occupation of Egypt, the year before Gordon's arrival in the Sudan, the year after Charles Darwin died, the year before the Third Reform Bill, the year of the Parcel Post, of the new Forth Cantilever Bridge, of the death of Fitzgerald of Rubiyat ame, a year when Tennyon (busy on "The Idylls of the King) was Poet Laureate and Browning and Arnold, the Rosettis, DG and C Morris and Swinburne, Meredith, Hardy and Bridges were, First and Last Victorians together all alive - 1883, when Denmark Road was Hangman's Lane and our present grounds, farmland, when Worcester Street was a stately thoroughfare and the coach for the North set off from The Coach and Horses in Hare Lane, in a memorable year for Gloucester, its citizens took a step that links them to us and founded The Girls' Lower School in Barton Street.  Seventy-five years later, on 1st May 1958, se, in our violent, yet vigorous, age, bridged that span of time from the building erected seven years before the First World War shattered the clam of the early Twentieth Century.  That we could sense, despite the catalysm of two World Wars, a continuity of purpose and spirits reflects our debt to those who laid a fine foundation and to those whose wartime sacrifices preserved their traditions for the young of the next generation.

 

 

The morning of the 75th Anniversary - May 1st 1958

Written by Jane Willson, Upper Sixth form (Taken from the Jubilee Journal)

May 1st was a day everyone present will remember.  It started in brilliant sunshine at 9 o'clock.  Pupils, mostly in summer dress, streamed through the School gates.  The building stood out sharply against the briliant blue of the sky, and the two flags on top of the School fluttered gaily in the breeze.  Once inside, the noise was tremendous, everyone questioning as to what was to happen and how the day was to be spent.

At a quarter past nine, we had a short service of Thanksgiving in the hall.  After this, Miss Jewsbury gave a short, but interesting, account of the history of the School while the photographer took photographs.

The the big moment arrived, Judith Travers, the Head Girl, presented Miss Jewsbury with a money-bag containing the contributions of the Sixth form.  She explained that the School wanted to surprise Miss Jewsbury by each form's presentation of a bag containing money with which to buy a present for the School.  All the Form Prefects and Miss Green, on behalf of the Staff, went up amidst loud applause and Miss Jewsbury gratefully accepted each contribution.  She then said all this had, inded beeen a great surprise and that we had done very well in keeping it a secret from her.  Her own gift to the School was a picture - a print of the 'Place de Tertre' by Utrillo - for the new library.

Miss Crombie, the Canteen Supervisor, and Ethel the assistant Cook (who has been at School for over 30 years), then presented Miss Jewsbury with the birthday cakes they had made for the Houses.  Each House Captain received a large cake, elegantly decorated and adorned with a ribbon of the House colour.  After this, the assembly dispersed and special, and now eagerly anticipated, House Meetings took place during which the cakes were cut and everyone had a piece.

Next, recreation came.  A great treat was to sit in the front gardens and notice certain trees dear to the School - the May tree, the Magnolia tree given by Dr White, and the little grove of fir trees.  Once again, the gay, unending chatter reflected everyone's high spirits.

At 11 o'clock came the concert in which Janet Richardson sang a solo, Jennifer Gardiner and Adrienne Thomas played a duet on the piano and several other people helped to entertain the rest of the School.  Everyone enjoyed the community singing under Miss Burden's helpful guidance.  Shortly after 12 o'clock, the concert ended and we went to dinner, looking forward to what promised to be a thrilling afternoon.

 

The Afternoon of the 75th Anniversary

Written by Janet Buttling, Upper Sixth Form

Miss Monica Sims wrote this piece in the Jubilee Journal, about her memories of school:

"Many of my memories are of wartime but some date from before the war.  One of the first things I remember is of chasing upstairs to the top floor for mid-morning lunch and thinking it was quite an achievement to manage to run up two at a time!  (It didn't seem such an achievement later when in the Lower Fourth I had my  form prefect's badge taken away because I disobeyed a School Prefect who told me to walk up one at a time).  The reason for our haste was so that we could get there in time for the penny chocolate bars or penny buns.   During the war, out mid-morning snacks were jam sandwiches and I can still remember the taste of the margarine.  Sometimes, we evolved complicated schemes for taking it in turn to bring dripping cakes to school but we always seemed to be hungry.

All my contemporaries must have many wartime memories; leaving notes in our desks for the girls from Birmingham who shared the school when they were evacuated to Gloucester; air raid practices, first aid classes, the nuisance of always carrying gas marks about; but the most vivid of all to mee was due to the "Grow more Food" campaign when on wintry afternoon, instead of thee enjoyable gym lesson we had looked forward to all day, we were driven by Miss Durston to pick the caterpillars off the cabbages in the allotment on the playing field.   The atmosphere of seething injustice while we put the shining yellow things into jam jars was of an intensity which starts revolutions in more practically minded communities.

A much pleasanter experience was fire-watching at school, partly because it made us feel grown up and responsible.  Not only had we arrived in the Sixth Form but we were alo capable of fire-watching!   We took it in turns to sleep on camp beds but were usually too excited and too conscious of the empty echoing school all around us or the hard army blankets touching us to get much sleep.  The best part of it was sitting up in Dr White's room gossiping and trying one of the Woodbines (or were they Stars?) which she left on the mantelpiece.  I suppose now that these must have been intended for the Staff but we assumed that they were for us and took them as another sign of our adult status.

I cannot think of any one reminiscence which sums up the atmosphere of life at school in my day, only an assortment of pictures, sounds, and especially, feelings; the shiver of guilt when Miss Higgins said "Upper Fifth, I'm waiting"; the excitement of running flat out down the hockey pitch; the envy inspired by watching Susie Goscomb and Gwen Hudson play tennis; the pride in wearing high-heeled shoes as Light in "The Blue Bird" (to make me look taller than Elizabeth Logan); the exasperation of working for yet another term at the gathers on my greying cooking overall; the apprehension of waiting outside the Staff Room door for examination results; the  pleasure of a word of praise from Miss Tatham; the shame or smugness atg hearing one's name called out in the reading of Grades after Prayers in the Hall.

It's strange how many of the things I think of when the word 'school' is mentioned centre around the hall.  My outstanding visual memory of school is of acres of slippery polished wood block floor in an enormous clean and clinical space.  It is still slippery but not nearly so big or awe-inspiring and I wonder whether Old Girls have the same impression.

Old Girls' News

Congratulations to Jean Goodman who has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool.

Jean Foyle (nee Kingscroft) has been appointed to the Gloucester City Bench of Magistrates.

Elizabeth Wyman is reading Modern Languages at thee University of Wales, Cardiff.