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Memories.....

A few people have submitted memories of their time at St Elphin's which are extremely informative – it's particularly interesting to hear of the olden days, particularly during World War II. We would also like to include images of some of the famous landmarks where we used to go for walks and are pleased to include our first photo – a picnic on 'One Tree Hill' in the 1960s.

Link to letter home1930 – First letter home
Stella Allen (a member of The Old Elphinians) sent a number of items to Mary Goodman including her first letter home from school in September 1930 and a list of those delivering speeches at a prizegiving in the Whitworth Institute 1935.

The letter is written with a fountain pen in black ink. It also includes Stella's timetable which is written in a mixture of black and blue ink. As the paper is extremely thin it is difficult to read the scanned images as the writing on the reverse side shows through so it has also been typed out – word for word – to make it easier to be read.

Click on the right image to see the full version (both the original and the re-typed).

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1930-1934 – About Time by Penelope Mortimer
Link to Penelope Mortimer's bookPenelope Ruth Mortimer (nee Fletcher) was born 19 September, 1918 and died 19th Ocober, 1999. From 1947 to 1983 Penelope wrote several novels and in 1979 wrote her first autobiography About Time 1918 - 1939 and in 1993 her second biography About Time Too 1940 - 1978. Further details of Penelope Mortimer can be found on Wikipedia.

Penelope Fletcher was a pupil at St Elphin's School from 1930 to 1934. Her childhood was clearly not a happy one and this reflected in her time at St Elphin's. There is a whole chapter devoted to the time Penelope spent at St Elphin's in her first autobiography About Time 1918 - 1939. In the photograph section there are three taken of Penelope at St Elphin's. Click on the left image to read the full chapter and also see some photographs of when Penelope was at St Elphin's.

Apparently there was outrage at St Elphin's when the book was published and it was banned from the school library! However, reading it now, 33 years since it was published, the contents, whilst they may seem controversial to some, seem quite tame!

Note: Liz Donlan has tried to contact the publishers on three occasions to obtain permission to reprint the chapter but hasn't received a reply. Source: About Time 1918-1939 by Penelope Mortimer. Published by Weidenfield & Nicolson, The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. ISBN 0 297 81397 8. It is still available from Amazon at 1p + p&p! (correct as at 2nd December, 2012).

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1939-1942 – The War Years
Avice Lee was a pupil at St Elphin's from 1939 to 1942 and was in Kennedy House. Avice has kindly given us permission (October 2012) to publish her memoirs of school life on the website. As the memoirs are hand-written Avice has agreed to them being typed out. This includes her time when she had to run across Orchards bridge to the old air raid shelters in her siren-suit, gloves and scarf, together with her gas mask. It is interesting to note that she also mentions "the hump" as this was still referred to in the 60s and 70s where many of the old girls were caught smoking – or not!

Please click on the right image to read the full story.

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1953 – Letter from Jennifer
On 7th June, 2014, Sue Springall contacted me to say she had been going through a box of items that belonged to her brother-in-law's late aunt who lived at Adderbury (?sp) Vicarage near Banbury, Oxon. The Vicarage is now Ivy House. An envelope was found which had, on the front, "Ivy House 1986. May. Found in top back room". Inside was an envelope addressed to Miss Elsy H. Fucher, Adderbury Vicarage, Banbury, Oxon. The postmark is dated March 1953 and inside was a letter to Elsy from Jennifer and it was written from "St Elphin's School, Darley Dale, Matlock" on 7th March - obviously in 1953.

Following a request in Newsletter No. 4 of The Old Elphinians, I am pleased to say that Jean Davies (nee Donaldson) was able to identify Jennifer as Jennifer Dearnley (? sp.). Jean has also been able to identify three of the people on the photo - left to right: Molly Barsby, Jennifer's father and Jennifer Dearnley (partially hidden). Jean isn't sure who the other lady is.

Please click on the images for larger versions

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Late 1950s – Letter from Miss Robinson to Jenny Lloyd-Moore
Letter supplied by Jenny Lloyd-Moore who was at St Elphin's from 1952 to 1960 in Wilson House. She had both Miss Stopford and Miss Robinson as Head Mistresses. Right, is a heart-warming letter from Miss Robinson to Jenny when her Father died.

Please click on the right image to read the full story

 

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1965 One-Tree Hill
Many of us will remember going for walks to 'One-Tree Hill'. This photo, sent in by Lindsay Morris shows a picnic at the top of 'One-Tree' Hill' in approximately 1965. From left to right, on the back row, is Miss Brown (with her back to the photo), Susan Fletcher, Veronica Taylor, Lindsay Morris, Elizabeth Scott. The two girls in front are Alison Hurlow and Lorraine Buton Berry and, lying on the ground, is possibly Elizabeth Russell.

Please click on the right image to read the full story

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1967 – Home Sick
Liz Bailey-Donlan went to St Elphin's from 1967 to 1973, starting in Upper III (aged 11) and was, initially, in Gresford House. She was extremely home-sick when she first started and this was the letter that Miss Edwards, Gresford House Mistress, sent to her parents in September 1967.

Please click on the right image to read the full story.

 

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1963-1968 – Memories of a School Teacher 50 years on!
Miss James (Heather) was the Chemistry teacher at St Elphin's from 1963 to 1968. In February 2013 Heather stumbled across this website and duly got in touch with Liz Bailey-Donlan. Liz was taught by Miss James for one year – 1967/68. As Heather had some photos and lives fairly close, Liz went to see her for a coffee and to borrow the photos for scanning for this website. Heather also offered to write an article of her memories of teaching at St Elphin's – 50 years on! It certainly makes for interesting reading to hear the other side!

Please click on the right image to read the full story.

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1963-1967 – Memories of a Pupil 50 years on!
Hannah Robinson-Mortimer was a Pupil in Powys House from 1963 to 1967. Hannah went to the 2012 Reunion at St Elphin's in October 2012. When Miss James (above) got in touch with Liz Bailey-Donlan in February 2013 she mentioned Hannah and, of course, Liz duly put them in touch with each other. Spurred on by Miss James' 'Memories of a School Teacher 50 years on!', Hannah also decided to put pen to paper on her 'Memories of a Pupil 50 years on!'.

Read more.....

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