"They were sweet and meant well"

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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Kim2s70-77
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:55 pm

By the way, what was the name of the teacher who was there at there, in the early 70s at least, who was somewhat lame and walked awkwardly?? There was also a (?)history teacher (Miss ?Cole?) who tore her Achilles tendon during a Staff skit called "Jimmy Orange Pip" (instead of Johnny Appleseed) when she fell off the stage. Does anyone remember her?

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:59 pm

Kim2s70-77 wrote:
Jo wrote:Church Times? Was Mr Upton ordained? .

I think so! We used to call him "The Reverend Dante Gabriella Socrates Upton" - don't remember who started that one.

OK - now I've seen the Obit. I remember that he was known as Rev. D.G.S. Upton - which is why we made up / guessed at the names.

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Jo » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:24 pm

Kim2s70-77 wrote:By the way, what was the name of the teacher who was there at there, in the early 70s at least, who was somewhat lame and walked awkwardly?? There was also a (?)history teacher (Miss ?Cole?) who tore her Achilles tendon during a Staff skit called "Jimmy Orange Pip" (instead of Johnny Appleseed) when she fell off the stage. Does anyone remember her?
Oh yes, Miss Coles was one of my favourite teachers. It was Miss Mercer, followed by Miss Coles, who inspired in me a love of history. Thanks to Miss Coles I did well in my history O Level and went on to take A Level. She left at the end of my LVI year and was replaced by Miss Marter, who married a year or two later, well into middle age, and became Mrs Roxburgh. I know Mrs R died a couple of years ago, and Merce's obit was in the last Old Blue, but I would love to know what became of Miss Coles. She had a wonderfully dry wit, and rather a crude mind when you got her going.

I was trying to think who you might have meant by the lame teacher who walked awkwardly, and I wonder if it was Miss Griffith-Williams, the French (? & German?) teacher? She came up in another thread a few months ago and someone said it was her first job out of university. She had rather a boring voice, but actually she was very nice as far as I remember.
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by chaosriddenyears » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:03 pm

You are right Jo, Miss Griffith-Williams was lame - she also sniffed alot and seemed to have a permanent cold. She not only sounded boring, I think she really was truly bored!

Miss Coles was a fabulous history teacher and inspired me as well with a great love of history. She taught with passion and wit and people in history literally came to life before my eyes- she knew details about clothes, living conditions and just everyday life that made everything so very vivid. Her knowledge of her subject was breathtaking and she would pace up and down in her fervour!
It was always a good story! Which is what history should be I think.

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Fjgrogan » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:25 pm

I think I have been blessed with a series of good history teachers - Miss King in the junior school, then Miss (Dr) Page, Miss Mercer who had the knack of putting everything into ten easily memorable points. Later in college I had a wonderful man called Mr Benjamin, who used to leap about the room illustrating Victorian Social History with relevant music hall songs. To be honest I was never much good at history, but I have certainly enjoyed it, particularly once I got into family history research and could relate conditions to the lives of my ancestors.
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by MaryB » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:17 pm

Jo wrote:
Kim2s70-77 wrote:By the way, what was the name of the teacher who was there at there, in the early 70s at least, who was somewhat lame and walked awkwardly??
I was trying to think who you might have meant by the lame teacher who walked awkwardly, and I wonder if it was Miss Griffith-Williams, the French (? & German?) teacher? She came up in another thread a few months ago and someone said it was her first job out of university. She had rather a boring voice, but actually she was very nice as far as I remember.
Copied from my post on the O level results thread earlier in the year..... (it would be easier to find things if we stayed on topic, but much less fun!)

That's right. Brenda Griffith Williams came straight from Oxford in my last year to teach French- she was only a few years older than us, and would have liked to be friends had the conventions allowed it. I did get to know her a few years later when I started work in London - she had left CH and teaching, was working as a librarian, and lived round the corner from me in Crouch End. I also know that some years later she was a librarian in the Home Office but though I worked there for 20 years I don't think I ever used the library and we never ran across each other. Probably much of what I know about staff room politics and hierarchies comes from Brenda - she certainly found CH difficult.
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by fra828 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:07 pm

I have asked before, but on a different thread: does anyone remember Mrs Oliver, Biology teacher in the early 70's at Hertford? She had long dark hair, was young and trendy, often dressed in a midi-skirt, and was so different from other staff at that time. Another really nice Bio teacher around that era was Mrs Beck (poss in her 30's/early 40's) She was kindly and motherly.

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:08 pm

I simply don't remember a Miss Griffith Williams at all.

This is strange, because I should have felt an immediate sympathy for a girl not that much older than we were, who would have liked to be friends, who was a victim of the staff room politics and heirarchies. Furthermore I did French 'A' Level - or perhaps she just didn't teach our set.

(My last year was a solitary struggle of a) no friends in House and feeling a total loner, b) not knowing what the hell I was going to do on leaving, c) just surviving the scathing scorn and scoffing of Miss Jukes, and d) maintaining my accustomed comedienne role. I don't remember a lot about that year.)

This Miss G W sounds rather nice. I'm really tempted to ask Mary if she remembers any observations of being a new member on the staff side as told to her subsequently by Miss G W - but perhaps this would be a betrayal of confidence.

Yes,perhaps "sweet and meant well"?
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by fra828 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:22 pm

I think Miss G.W. started at the school in autumn of 1970. Our class gave her a really hard time I am sorry to say; the poor young woman never got through a lesson without snide comments from certain members of the class. I wasn't a ringleader, but I did follow I am now ashamed to say. :oops: My 14 year old CH Hertford self could be unkind-but I remember having an underlying feeling of sympathy and fondness for Miss G.W, but I wouldn't have shown it at that time, for fear of not being 'one of the crowd'. Cowardly and weak I know. We had Miss Riddiford for French before that, and in the second year, we had Miss Rutherford, Nellie's housemate (certainly couldn't play HER up, or Nellie for that matter!!) . The aforementioned Mrs Oliver can have only been in her early 20's too.
Last edited by fra828 on Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:30 pm

Isn't it funny how age is meaningless to a young person? I had no more idea of Miss Griffith-William's age than I did Betty Juke's! I think that, for me as a youngster, the position of authority totally outweighed any objectivity. They were all teachers - with little regard to any real life they may have had outside that! What a little snot I must have been!
I remember Mrs Oliver - I think I had her for A level biology. I also had a total B***h forPhysics A level - name long since blocked out - with whom I had such a fierce personality clash, that I quit Physics A level at the end of LVI and crammed so that I could switch to Geography for UVI. That woman was the reason I never applied to Medical school - which had been my intention since about the age of 4 - asI no longer had the required 3 science A levels. I ended up going to read Microbiology, which I lost interest in etc etc Actually I guess at this point in my life, I am very glad I didn't become an MD - I much prefer what I do - but at the time, it was yet another grievance I felt (unjustly) toward CH and the 'unfairness' of it all!!

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Jo » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:35 pm

fra828 wrote:I have asked before, but on a different thread: does anyone remember Mrs Oliver, Biology teacher in the early 70's at Hertford? She had long dark hair, was young and trendy, often dressed in a midi-skirt, and was so different from other staff at that time. Another really nice Bio teacher around that era was Mrs Beck (poss in her 30's/early 40's) She was kindly and motherly.
Yes, I remember Mrs Oliver, although I don't think she ever taught me. I did Biology O Level so I assume she came when I was in the VI form. She was very kind to a friend in my year who did Biology A Level and had emotional problems - this friend took an overdose and rang Mrs Oliver for help. I vaguely remember Mrs Beck, and I think when I first came the Biology teacher was Mrs Lewis.

There was also Mrs Frearson, who was lovely. She was a good teacher, obviously planned her lessons very thoroughly, and I remember her panicking when we were given a day off for something and missed her lesson (it was the first time I, as a naive pupil, realised that staff actually had to prepare lessons!). She was worried we wouldn't cover the whole O Level syllabus and would therefore be at a disadvantage. It was a measure of our respect for her that we volunteered (without her asking us) to give up some free time (as obviously she did too) to fit in an extra lesson. She was so grateful.

Angela, possibly the reason you don't remember Miss GW - at least from our description - is that despite her youth she could have passed for middle age. In fact I was amazed when Mary said she was straight out of college. She was nice, but despite her best attempts I remember her as dowdy, rather boring, and I'm afraid we used to laugh at her makeup because she tried hard but there was always a tidemark round her neck where here foundation finished. I remember (and this is an observation, not a criticism - who am I to talk?? :oops: ) that she was sort of normal sized from the waist up but had very large hips and an awkward clumsy gait.

On the other hand, I remember being fascinated one time when half the class was out on an outing but the rest of us still had to have lessons - she was learning Russian and taught us some. I think I was also amazed that teachers went on learning after they'd left college - I was a very naive child!
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Kim2s70-77
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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:58 pm

Jo - I can SO relate to a lot of your comments! I had no clue that teachers were real people!! I was also desperate for attention and had Miss G-W's walk down to a fault - for which I could get many {cruel} laughs. That was why I was feeling rather guilty when I tried to remember who she was! Lampooning people continued to be something for which I could get attention when craving it - not necessarily the best way "to win friends and influence people"!!
Miss G-W might as well have been in her 50s for all I knew!

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:00 pm

Kim2s70-77 wrote:Miss G-W might as well have been in her 50s for all I knew!

Which, of course, is getting younger and younger all the time........................

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by fra828 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:57 pm

[quote="Jo


.[/quote]

Yes, I remember Mrs Oliver, although I don't think she ever taught me. I did Biology O Level so I assume she came when I was in the VI form. She was very kind to a friend in my year who did Biology A Level and had emotional problems - this friend took an overdose and rang Mrs Oliver for help. I vaguely remember Mrs Beck, and I think when I first came the Biology teacher was Mrs Lewis.

There was also Mrs Frearson, who was lovely. She was a good teacher, obviously planned her lessons very thoroughly, and I remember her panicking when we were given a day off for something and missed her lesson (it was the first time I, as a naive pupil, realised that staff actually had to prepare lessons!). She was worried we wouldn't cover the whole O Level syllabus and would therefore be at a disadvantage. It was a measure of our respect for her that we volunteered (without her asking us
) to give up some free time (as obviously she did too) to fit in an extra lesson. She was so grateful.

Mrs Frearson, yes I remember the name now, maybe I am getting her confused with Mrs Beck! Mrs Oliver WAS kind-she saw me off on the train on my last day, after taking my Biology O level retake. I left early - not expelled, but it was the next thing to it- for running away a few weeks previously (with a friend mentioned in another thread) !

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Re: "They were sweet and meant well"

Post by englishangel » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:38 pm

Kim2s70-77 wrote:Isn't it funny how age is meaningless to a young person? I had no more idea of Miss Griffith-William's age than I did Betty Juke's! I think that, for me as a youngster, the position of authority totally outweighed any objectivity. They were all teachers - with little regard to any real life they may have had outside that! What a little snot I must have been!
I remember Mrs Oliver - I think I had her for A level biology. I also had a total B***h forPhysics A level - name long since blocked out - with whom I had such a fierce personality clash, that I quit Physics A level at the end of LVI and crammed so that I could switch to Geography for UVI. That woman was the reason I never applied to Medical school - which had been my intention since about the age of 4 - asI no longer had the required 3 science A levels. I ended up going to read Microbiology, which I lost interest in etc etc Actually I guess at this point in my life, I am very glad I didn't become an MD - I much prefer what I do - but at the time, it was yet another grievance I felt (unjustly) toward CH and the 'unfairness' of it all!!
What DID you end up doing Kim (Elizabeth)?

I had a similar experience, DR had put on my UCCA (as it was in those days) form that I would nor be a very good doctor as I was not caring enough. (as if she knew) so I did a Joint Honours Biology and Chemistry, then became a midwife which I did on and off for over 20 years.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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