Old Uffingtonians Association (1994)

   Willesden County Grammar School                         Ex-Pupils 1924-1967                    


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Some Recollections of Extramural Activities

Camping at Princes Risborough
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.

Christmas parties
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.

Laboratory duties
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 money.

Field course at Ruislip Manor July 1954
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.

Assorted Trips
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)