Letters from the distant past

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Jenny Pardington
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Post by Jenny Pardington » Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:10 am

Just for a change, one from an ex-member of staff - Miss (?) Coveney, who had been wardmistress for 8's. Does anyone remember her (or the two Pamelas she met at the theatre)? My, as usual, rather vague memories, picture her as a rather quiet, mousey person, who did her best to make us ladylike in our behaviour. Why I am the possessor of this letter, I don't know, but I was always something of a squirrel! Shamefully, I have no memory at all of replying - maybe someone did, but I don't think it was me.....

"19.5.59,

Dear Girls,

I have received an invitation from Miss West for Speech Day and can't resist the prospect of coming down and seeing you all again and so I have accepted! So now I shall be seeing you before Old Girls Day after all! I am so looking forward to the Concert.

Have you all had a lovely holiday over Whitsun? I do hope so, for I know that exams are soon looming up for many of you, and I wish you all the best of luck and nice papers.

The other night I went to the theatre and who should come next in the same row, one seat away, but Pamela Foster and Pamela Webb (I have forgotten her married name). We were able to chat in the interval, it was so nice seeing them again.

I wonder if you are having Sports Day this term, if so the best of luck for that too. Oh dear, there are so many things I want to know but must be patient until May 30th, I suppose. Please all be well so I can see you although there may not be much time for us to talk together, I hope there will be some opportunity on June 27th.

Looking forward to seeing you and with all good wishes and love from J. Coveney."

I think this the Speech Day in which I "starred" as Maggie Tulliver in The Mill on the Floss, with false hair carefully pinned on and some rather nice costumes....
Jennifer Bore, 5's and 8's 1953-1960

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icomefromalanddownunder
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Parting words

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:16 am

Finally remembered to bring my autograph book in for scanning.

Image

Aarrgghhhh - I've lost my ability to import correctly from Photobucket, and just can't get the image large enough to make the words legible.

Alex wrote

Wherever you live, don't forget to come and see me
lots of love
Alexandra
xxx
25/6/70


Sorry it's taken so long. Fingers crossed for next April.

xx

Jenny Pardington
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Post by Jenny Pardington » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:08 am

Caroline - are you going to see Alexandra or is she coming to see you? Have you kept in touch all this time - if so, that's wonderful!

Today's letter is less about CH than about GCH, from my friend Caroline who'd moved on, but I still think it's a nice one. I'd spent some time with her and her friends in the holidays.

"Tuesday morning

Dear Jennifer,

Many many thanks for your lettr. I got it this morning and it cheered me up greatly. We've just had our last exam, but I'm not a bit joyful, just as depressed as can be. The exam was English History. It was only 2 hours but that's quite long enough for torture. I did it absolutely terribly, as I've done all these exams, and I shall fail most of them. What a life.

I'm very glad you like Barbara - I like her ever so much. I didn't know you even saw Paddy - if it's the person who was standing in the doorway you're thinking of, that wasn't her. I thought she'd gone when you came. Actually, she doesn't look much like Hamlet when she's normal, as she's very attractive and not an insane melancholic. But when she's acting it she's very good indeed.

She has invited me to go away with her and the family for a week at Easter, to the Lake District or Wales, but I'm not sure if this will come off - I do hope so. Barbara and Shirley hope to go to Paris - anyway they're all going abroad for 3 months in the summer.

On Friday evening we all stayed at school till about 6 o'clock and sat and were very, very melancholic and depressed which was rather nice. It is very comforting to be miserable in company.

Yesterday we had our Latin Unseen exam. Paddy made a gorgeous howler - for "lux mea", meaning "light of my life" or "my loved one" she put "O lucky me"! This afternoon we are seeing a film or something on World Refugee Year. Paddy, Angela, Shirley and Barbara all have got French Scholarship level so they won't see it.

I hope to continue this tonight, when I am in a better frame of mind, or spirit rather, and can answer your letter properly. Till then, ring off, hang up, or throw the whole caboodle at the furthest wall.

Yours depressedly, Caroline.

Wednesday morning, Feb 17 1960
Dearest Jennifer,

As is now only too obvious it is months and months since I wrote that first bit and I beg your forgiveness, which must be everlasting, for the inconsiderate delay.

Exams are now over and done with and I passed them all, although I didn't do very well. Work is not my cup of tea, as you know only too well, so I am going to write per usual when I should be doing Latin Prose, ditto Unseen, also History essay, 2 English dittos and an English criticism. I am yours unchanged. No doubt you yourself have now undergone a metamorphosis like all good girls (or should I say grubs) and are now a lovely cabbage-white wot does its prep on time.

We are having lots of stunts to raise money for refugees - guessing marbles in bottles etc. It makes it much more interesting and exciting. Tomorrow evening I am going with Barbara to see West Side Story again, it is so good. Half-term is tomorrow - we get 3 days and we break up early this afternoon at 3 p.m. All day tomorrow we are spending at Paddy's house, rehearsing our play for the dramatic competition. We are going "Romanoff and Juliet" by Peter Ustinov and yours truly is The Spy. Type-casting?

Our Youth Group at church are having a weekend together at a gorgeous conference house in Amersham. It is not going to be serious, just social, and Paddy and Barbara are going to come so it should be fun. We are trying to think of schemes to earn some money, but we are afraid that if we advertise as "girls willing to do anything" in the papers, we might get some undesirable answers, and we are not prepared to go to those lengths in order to increase our finances!

I hope all is going well with you. I am sorry this is such ages and ages after your letter. Please give my love to all. Could you get Ann Wilkinson's address for me? Our temperaments didn't clash like yours did. I was quite fond of her and would like to hear from her. Tell everyone who is out for my blood that I will write as soon as I possibly can.

Yours with lots of love and best wishes for your exams (you may be having them now, I suppose) and good luck for Shrove Tuesday. Caroline"
Jennifer Bore, 5's and 8's 1953-1960

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icomefromalanddownunder
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Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:10 am

Jenny Pardington wrote:Caroline - are you going to see Alexandra or is she coming to see you? Have you kept in touch all this time - if so, that's wonderful!

Hi Jenny

I am very much hoping that I can secure some funds from the Australian Grape and Wine Research Development Council (who are partially funding my PhD) to attend a conference in Beaune and then visit wineries in the South of England. If this comes off, I hope to visit Alex among many other friends that the forum has put me back in touch with.

After leaving CH at the end of UV, I visited Mary once at Cambridge, and visited Hertford with her at the end of Christmas Term 1972.

I saw Alex once, completely by chance, in about 1976. I drove past a bus stop that she was standing at, somewhere in SE London. I pulled over, she hopped in, and (for me, at least) it was as though we hadn't been apart.

Also saw Cathy Ennis once at RFH. She looked wonderfully glamorous, and was on the arm of a very sophisticated looking gentleman. I was in my green uniform (worked for the catering department), looking seriously less than glamorous or sophisticated :wink:

So, fingers crossed, please, everyone. And Phil, if you are reading this, a couple of spins of the prayer wheel would be very much appreciated :)

xx

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Post by Ajarn Philip » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:42 am

muttermumblemoangrumble Do people think I've got nothing better to do than spin and bang all day long? Don't they realise I'm a hardworking man with commitments? Anyway, can't stop now, I'm off to the beach.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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icomefromalanddownunder
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Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:53 am

Ajarn Philip wrote:muttermumblemoangrumble Do people think I've got nothing better to do than spin and bang all day long? Don't they realise I'm a hardworking man with commitments? Anyway, can't stop now, I'm off to the beach.
Cheers Phil :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
xx

Jenny Pardington
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Post by Jenny Pardington » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:09 am

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:I am very much hoping that I can secure some funds from the Australian Grape and Wine Research Development Council (who are partially funding my PhD) to attend a conference in Beaune and then visit wineries in the South of England. If this comes off, I hope to visit Alex among many other friends that the forum has put me back in touch with.

After leaving CH at the end of UV, I visited Mary once at Cambridge, and visited Hertford with her at the end of Christmas Term 1972.

I saw Alex once, completely by chance, in about 1976. I drove past a bus stop that she was standing at, somewhere in SE London. I pulled over, she hopped in, and (for me, at least) it was as though we hadn't been apart.

Also saw Cathy Ennis once at RFH. She looked wonderfully glamorous, and was on the arm of a very sophisticated looking gentleman. I was in my green uniform (worked for the catering department), looking seriously less than glamorous or sophisticated :wink:
First, lucky you - what a wonderful PhD to be doing! I love the area round Beaune and go wine-buying there every spring (and in the Cotes du Rhone in late summer).

I kept in touch with some of my letter-writers for a few years and one recently contacted me through FRU - we met for lunch and gossipped as if 40-odd years had never happened. But oh, I do miss S.A.W. now I've found her letters and notes. I wonder where she is now? This note from her is very torn and battered - I must have stuffed it into my pocket.

"JMB,
I escaped your 'orrible grimaces this morning. But really I only exchanged them for an equal torture - a music lesson. I don't know how long that woman thinks I practice but now I have got 5 whole pieces (that sounds a bit daft). My trade union is very soon going on strike.

My writing is rapidly deteriorating due to a stiff finger gained in yesterday's hockey. I had a head-on collision with E.P. Cull brandishing a hockey stick. Other than that I am in one piece (I kept well out of Phillipa's way). We are playing 2's in the match and no doubt we will be knocked out 1st go as always. Who are you playing? Not 6's I sincerely hope for your sakes. It is to be prayed for that it will pour with lots of delicious rain so that I don't get practice at break and dinner and then a game at Ashbourne.

Miss Robertson had her day out yesterday much to our delight. Results - my mending half done, my bed time 10 minutes late going up and 20 minutes late going into the dorm, and I spent the evening in the dark room developing with varying degrees of success.

I must end now so that you will get this this morning as we now have Church History.

Vale S.A.W."
Jennifer Bore, 5's and 8's 1953-1960

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Re: Parting words

Post by Alexandra Thrift » Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:30 pm

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:Finally remembered to bring my autograph book in for scanning.

Image

Aarrgghhhh - I've lost my ability to import correctly from Photobucket, and just can't get the image large enough to make the words legible.

Alex wrote

Wherever you live, don't forget to come and see me
lots of love
Alexandra
xxx
25/6/70


Sorry it's taken so long. Fingers crossed for next April.

xx
Hi Caroline ! (and all who post here )

I have only just seen this post Caroline ! I was 16 when I wrote that and it's actually quite poignant and funny (one could almost say "prescient" although you're not quite in the middle of the desert.....).
Don'y ya just "dig" my artwork .... its quite sweet I guess... but I can see why I didn't do "O" level :lol: The sad thing is I always enjoyed art even though I was hopeless.

DR told me that at my interview at Great Tower Street I had told her that my favourite subject was Art and she had accepted me at CH thinking I would be a great artist... Its very bizarre ....I still enjoy the idea of being an artist even though I have no natural talent whatsoever. :D

I'm so relieved that I hadn't written anything horrid !

Please keep me up to date with your plans as it would be lovely for us all to meet up.

Thanks for that little window into the mind of teenage me :D
Alexandra xx

PS We met at a bus stop in Herne Hill. I was living in South London at the time.You were driving a cute ,black vintage A6. I met your "intended"( a sporty type ) if I remember rightly.

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Leaving friends behind

Post by Liz Jay » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:15 pm

Hi Alex and others

Sorry I keep wandering off, but just been doing lots of catching up, having opted out of the village bonfire/firework display in favour of keeping seven dogs and one kitten company indoors.

You'll be pleased to hear that probably the ONLY thing I missed about CH was the friends I left behind! People make places. I guess having an Army background was both an advantage and a disadvantage as I had learned to make new friends fairly quickly, but most were friendships of convenience rather than built to last.

At one point (for about ten years starting from my last year at CH) I worked out that I had almost had a complete new set of friends for every year of my life, it was a rarity to know anyone for longer than a year or two!!! Needless to say, keeping in touch was an almost impossible task, and so I eventually gave up on it, though as Alex remembers we did write to each other for quite a few years. Marathon letters of ten pages (A4) or more with art work included, masses of detail about home and school life and food and pets and pop music and boys :oops: and all the stuff that teenage girls obsess over. We also put my younger sister Lin in touch with Alex's sister Kim so that they could do the same, we must have all had writer's cramp some days.

Sadly I have moved around so much that none of them survive, I guess my parents didn't regard them as the wonderful social commentaries they undoubtedly were, and binned them during one of the house moves.

I do still have an address book from CH days somewhere and Munch is definitely in there.
Liz (was Plummer now Jay)
Ex - Sixes ''66 - ''68

Jenny Pardington
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Post by Jenny Pardington » Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:07 am

This letter brings back a host of memories - I was going to stay with one of my best friends, Margaret Wells, and the weekend was to include my first (only?) proper grown-up dance. In some sense, a sort of passage from childhood parties with jelly and balloons to an occasion where I might actually dance to a live band with a boy. I loved dancing but, probably due to my bossiness rather than my height, I had always taken the lead.

" August 16th 1959

Dear Jennifer,
I am sorry I haven't written to you about your stay before - both Mummy and I have said we would dozens of times but neither of us have got round to it until now - when we have neglected the washing up in order to catch the post. I expect Mummy has told your mother about the tonsils - but I assure you, our doctor has a thing about tonsils - he's told Francis too, as well as another friend of ours, to have them out - and there's nothing wrong with mine. However I have got to see a specialist next Tuesday and I will then know the worst.

I do hope you can still manage the dates you suggested - having got as near to it as this, it would be just too Wellsy if it didn't come off.

The post apparently went one and a half hours ago, and as I will have to send this to Janey first, having lost your address, you won't get it till Wednesday or Thursday. I know I'm a mutt - don't tell me - I just didn't think about asking you on the hike. On 2nd thoughts I will go to the General Post Office tomorrow and look it up in the telephone book. I don't expect there will be more than one Bore in Barnes. Having said that what's the betting another Bore will receive this!

As regards the dance - evening dress is optional so a full-skirted summer dress will be quite alright - I shall either wear the dress I made for school needlework or a three-quarter length very simple sort of cocktail dress. I'm having one of my many (!!!) evening dresses shortened to three-quarter length - so if you would like to borrow any you're more than welcome - don't I sound patronising, but you know what I mean. They're all cast offs anyway!

We feel a bit like the Bell family at the moment, addressing piles of envelopes - that's why my writinghas developed into a scrawl.

There's a general meeting of the Chameleons on 13th Sept - day after the dance - so you'd better think of some reason for being interested - though of course you're forming a society in Barnes, aren't you?

Still haven't done washing up and it's time for evensong. Must buzz off - but if there's anything you want to know about let me know - trains for Winchester go from Waterloo. A through train - Royal Wessex or Bournemouth Belle is the best to get - I don't expect such trains exist but they sound alright.

Bells ringing, must dash,

Love, Margaret.

P.S. There are more than 1 Bores in the directory but Ranelagh strikes a bell. Hope it's the right one. M"

I don't remember which dress I actually wore on the night - possibly my own school needlework. These were the days when a girl was judged by the number of inches round her hem - the skirts were very full, puffed out by net or paper nylon. I usually wore two, or even three, net petticoats which were a bit rough on the nylons and the back of the thighs when you sat down. So - Margaret's mother lent me a silk slip to wear under everything, with the straps carefully pinned so that nothing showed below the hemline.

I found the early part of the dance very odd - at school, of course, we had dance cards which we frantically filled with partners in advance, so that the floor was filled from the first waltz to the last. At this dance, which must have been in someone's rather grand house in the country, all the boys and men stood at one end and the girls at the other, while the band played to an empty floor. At last, the M.C. announced an Excuse-Me waltz* and picked on a boy to choose a partner and set the ball rolling. The poor wretch reluctantly crossed the room and grabbed the first girl he could see - ME! Off we waltzed, trying not to tread on each other's toes and him muttering "let me lead". We danced alone for what seemed hours and as we circled I could feel Margaret's mother's slip gradually slipping lower and lower, past my hemline to the floor. When the M.C. called "new partners" or whatever, I ran from the room in tears and locked myself in the loo, crying with shame. My first (though not my last) public humiliation!

I must have been persuaded out of the loo and back to the dance floor eventually, because I remember many more dances with a variety of awkward young men and "uncle-y" older ones, as well as "falling in love" with the band's drummer (at a distance, of course!). But my abiding memory is that awful slip ruining my finest hour!

*Excuse-Me Waltz - I'm sure it wasn't called that - maybe it was the "Progressive Waltz" though that doesn't sound right either.
Jennifer Bore, 5's and 8's 1953-1960

Angela Pratt 56-63
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Re: Letters from the distant past

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:48 pm

I've just been reading these all again. As someone involved, they brought back such vivid images of people, situations events etc. Isn't it strange how such old memories rouse such intense emotions - I really felt as if I was back there.
Jenny herself was such a great character, humerous, kind, sympathetic because we all had some problems at home (often more than at school). She also expressed her own ideas and feelings so fluently that it encouraged us to do the same - very theraputic. S.A.W and I were actually 3 years younger than her - a friendship that was greatly disapproved of by staff at Ch at that time, They assumed it was "CRACKS" on our parts - unhealthy...!!! ha ha. DR once sent for me and told me to stop "hanging around pestering Jenny as it could could cause embarrassment" I merely said I wouldn't dream of doing that to her and backed out the door. I found Jenny and S.A.W. sitting on a bench by by the field behind 8's and we giggled for ages at DR's attitude. Jenny was very reassuring that of course we were proper friends - age didn't matter one bit. Perhaps that why we wrote letters as chatting could have caused trouble.
During the holidays too we wrote nearly everyday(my mother was a bit bemused and wanted to know what we were writing about.)
I do wish I had kept all your letters to me,Jenny, they were brilliant.

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Re: Letters from the distant past

Post by Jenny_Pardington » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Hi Angela,

I've sent you a private message, so do look out for it.

I stopped adding letters some time ago as they were having a very strange effect on my mood. Partly nostalgia for days that are now so very far away, and partly frustration at not being able to remember things properly. I thought old memories were supposed to get clearer as one gets older? It sure isn't happening to me. Much more "the past is a foreign country" than old familiar territory.

But I do have one wonderful, very long, illustrated letter from you which includes a floor plan of the sleeping arrangements at 1 Ebury Bridge Road!

Hope to have a PM from you?!

XX

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Re: Letters from the distant past

Post by englishangel » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:57 pm

Jenny don't worry about being forgetful a friend of mine has just confessed this on Facebook - no-on on here by the way.

OMG! What a senior moment! I was busy making a lovely beef pie when Bonnie asked 'what happened to the chicken you were cooking?' I had completely forgetten I had already started dinner and was now cooking another ! lol

She is doing her nursing degree dissertation as a (very) mature student so I suppose she can be excused
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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