|Camping at Princes
I went with what must have been one of the last groups to camp at the hut
at Prices Risborough. It was probably the early summer of 1952 when
Mr. Madin and Miss Barbara Thomas took a group of us from form 3x.
There was Greta Johnston, Mavis White and I together with about nine boys.
I remember that we three girls slept on
the floor of the hut for some reason rather than in a tent as intended.
I have no idea what we did during the weekend but I remember the walk back
to the station on a lovely evening and the overall impression was of great
fun and a close rapport with the staff, which made a great difference when
Miss Thomas became our form mistress the following year.
Prefects were invited just before Christmas each year to Dr.
Roberts' house in Wallington. It seemed a long journey across
London, which we made by tube in a large group. As you would expect
from a head master, he devised mentally demanding games. Initially,
I think I viewed it as rather an ordeal but Dr. Roberts and his wife were
very welcoming and it showed how keen he was to create a good working
relationship with us.
The prefects at that time also
organised a party of their own each year and that was a different story.
For some reason, when I was in the first year sixth, the
science departments decided to ask pupils to take on these duties. I
was one of about three that acted as lab. assistant for the biology
department, working before or after school or in the lunch hour.
It entailed such tasks as preparing
equipment for experiments, clearing up after practical lessons, feeding
the hamster and searching for botanical specimens.
I can remember feeling very pleased
with myself when I achieved a piece of glass blowing for aerating a fish
tank. Needless to say there were times when things didn't go right
and I had to admit to the odd breakage.
We were paid for this work, my first
job, and I had to go to the caretaker to collect my wages each Friday
(1/11 an hour for 4 hours a week), which amounted to 37.5 pence in today's
Field course at Ruislip Manor July
At the end of the fifth form, those of us who were going on to A-level
Botany and Zoology went for a week's field course led by Miss Moffat and
Mr. Pollard. Ruislip Manor was a large house overlooking the
reservoir with laboratories and large grounds offering a range of habitats
for us to study. I can remember that we worked hard but it was quite
a new way of approaching the subject, which was a great experience.
Once again, rapport with the staff was great and set up a good working
relationship for the sixth form course.
I can remember various trips such as those into London to visit the Houses
of Parliament and to Sadlers Wells for a performance of Hansel and Gretel;
a walk from Hambledon to Henley during Regatta week, I believe, to
celebrate the Queen's Coronation; a geographical trip to East Sussex when
we held up the coach by climbing down the cliffs to Fairlight Cove and a
theatre visit to Stratford upon Avon to see Othello. I suspect there
might have been others but these stick in my memory.
Looking back, I am grateful to the
staff that organised these activities and gave me a great deal during my
time at school.
After I left, I came to understand
and appreciate Dr. Roberts' views on self-discipline.
Isobel Palmer (nee Miller)