Margaret Wilson, RIP

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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Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by kerrensimmonds » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:07 pm

I am sorry to report that Margaret Wilson, revered teacher of Geography at Hertford for generations (1950-1985) died yesterday (10 November), after a long illness.

When we were at school she lived in the same staff house as the teacher of Domestic Science, Betty Jukes, with whom she spent school holidays on many overseas adventures where the interesting details were never known to their pupils and, when they both retired, they together bought a house in Hertford – where Betty still lives.

The funeral will be in Belfast, and her body is to be moved there within the next three days. I do not know the details (Betty Jukes, at 87, blind and disabled – is unable to be there [even with offered help] but if anyone really wants to know I could find out and pass on the information).

The end of another era, I fear...

Kerren
Last edited by kerrensimmonds on Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by englishangel » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:41 pm

It certainly is the end of an era.

Ref the holidays, I remember her telling us at the end of the 60's when such places were becoming available to the masses, that she had been to Majorca in the 50's.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by kerrensimmonds » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:57 pm

Betty Jukes tells stories about the two of them 'hitch hiking' across continents and finding safety in each other's presence. Including riding in some sort of van in which there was a mattress in the back on which one of them slept, whilst the other sat alongside the driver, fending off wandering hands. The mind boggles.....
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Vonny » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:37 pm

Sad news. I rarely saw Miss Wilson alone (other than in the classroom) - she and Miss Jukes seemed to go everywhere together.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:10 pm

Thank you Kerren for the sad news.
Yes, Miss Wilson and MissJukes were 2 great characters - both could be very sarcastic but also very kind and funny if you got to know them.
I had cookery on Saturday mornings, when I often arrived clutching my mother's weekly letter. Betty Jukes once saw the envelope which Ma in her usual dizzy way had actually addressed to my brothers, but CH Hertford instead of Horsham...(The boys were very embarassed to get mine..). We often used to get letters with a mixture of addresses, Miss Gamble, DR's secretary , just used to bring it round to me. Betty Jukes was very amused and let me open them in her lesson, on condition that I gave her a bulletin about my large family.(7 of us who all went to CH, over more than 20 years!). Ma wrote wonderful, long detailed accounts of what everyone had been doing, often very funny.
Betty Jukes obviously told Miss Wilson who usually made a comment in Geography or when on playground duty.Also I have Wilson as one of my middle names, but we did decide we were probably NOT related! In fact when my youngest sister was born in 1961, they sent a card and hand-knitted cardigan -I think it was Miss Wilson who actally knitted it. Also when I had dropped Cookery BJ once gave me her demonstration Christmas cake to take home for the family.
So mention of Miss wilson has brought back a lot of memories...
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Ajarn Philip » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:14 pm

Nice post, Angela. You don't still have those letters from Ma, by any chance?
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Miss Wilson; Extraordinary Mistress of Geography

Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:36 am

I can see Miss Wilson in my mind's eye as though it were yesterday. A very little woman dressed in neat skirts and jumpers, dark, set hair, relentlessly brisk and brusque in an efficient smiley way.

"Don't give up Geogo!" older girls would say to the LV fretting about their 'O' levels. "Miss Wilson gets everyone through 'O' level..." She certainly did. Even me!

Geography as taught by Miss Wilson was incredibly thorough. With, say, Miss Mercer (History) or Miss Morrison (English) there was a certain joy in luring them onto other subjects, just to hear their interesting opinions. There was none of that with Miss Wilson - although she may have revealed more of her personality to her 'A' level students? I don't know. From the minute we sat down at those scrapey-noised Geogo room desks, there was no hesitation or deviation from the lesson she'd planned. Forgotten a book? Order report, no excuse valid. And on the one day that I'd risked wearing a little slick of clear nail polish? Miss Wilson spotted it as quickly as if I'd put on Rouge Noir. Disorder report! Oh well... :roll:

Oh dear. I have the report somewhere in which she described my appearance as "slovenly".

The aspect of Geogo I really loved was Physical Geography - I found it so interesting as I reproduced Miss Wilson's diagrams of ox-bow lakes, the passage of scree through the glaciated landscape, a cluster of roches moutonées - all immaculately presented on the blackboard - I was frequently startled and sorry when the lessons ended so suddenly after 40 minutes!

I have since broken up many a whining chorus of "Are we nearly the-re?" from the back seat by being able to cry excitedly "Look! Interlocking spurs!"

When Miss Wilson enjoyed a place name, she'd repeat it twice. As in

"The Irrawaddy Delta!" (Beaming smile, extra emphasis) "The Irrawaddy Delta!!"

When Miss Wilson really, really loved a place name, she'd repeat it three times. As in

"Lake Titicaca!" (Radiantly, head cocked on one side like a little bird) "Lake Titicaca!!" (Ecstatically) "LAKE TITICACA!!"

When we were in the LIV, Miss Wilson invited us to make a model or a picture of a subject of Geographical Importance. I teamed up with Jasmin Ansar (clever mathematical girl) and we attempted a working model of an Archimedean Screw. The shallow cardboard box in which the House fruit was delivered seemed an appropriate base, and the body of the Screw was formed from Jasmin's Coconut Oil special shampoo - a round plastic bottle. My bottle of Sunsilk for Normal wasn't the right shape... Trowelfuls of soil from the House garden messily formed a lower level for water to be transferred up into an "irrigation ditch". The box began to sag a little in the middle and we bolstered it from below with an old copy of the House Daily Telegraph. But would it work? We thought carefully and decided we just might test the Screw with a very little water before its triumphant demonstration for Miss Wilson. Alas the application of even a small amount of water caused an inevitable blending of House garden soil with the Screw itself and the fruit box base - well you know how soggy cardboard begins to disintegrate? With some feelings of anxiety we managed to transfer the Archimedean Screw to the Geogo Room, deciding to risk further water once it was in position. I cast worried looks at the opposition. There was a tasteful interpretation of a Mediterranean tree Warmed by Westerly Winds in Winter. Somebody had drawn a beautiful Desert Landscape being crossed by a Tuareg *(?) Desert Dweller. Other magnificent creations! At the sight of all our offerings Miss Wilson was animatedly excited to an extreme degree, although a shadow of anxiety did cross her face as we offered to show the Screw in action...

We all got Stars. Everyone was awarded a Star! Never before could so many Stars for Geography have been given out in one go! DR must have been astounded. Although, I have never since needed to raise water from a low-lying body of water into an irrigation ditch; and neither, from the mess we made, would I want so to do. Although I reckon I could still reproduce the alluvial deposits of the Nile as an artistic "installation", providing that it were out of doors. Same method.

Miss Wilson! Thanks for enabling me to recite the Rivers of Yorkshire. Thanks for being the embodiment of efficiency which I've never forgotten and should try harder to emulate, even now!

*It was a Tuareg Desert Dweller! I've just looked it up.
Last edited by Angela Woodford on Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Mid A 15 » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:16 am

That is an obituary Angela.

I feel almost as if I was in the lessons with you.....
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by kerrensimmonds » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:12 am

Ditto re obituary Angela. We must make sure that John Hopgood gets it into the Old Blue.....
Your memory is fantastic!
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by englishangel » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:50 am

That is wonderful Munch. I hope someone reads that, and the other Angela's comments to Betty Jukes, so evocative.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:52 am

kerrensimmonds wrote:Betty Jukes tells stories about the two of them 'hitch hiking' across continents and finding safety in each other's presence. Including riding in some sort of van in which there was a mattress in the back on which one of them slept, whilst the other sat alongside the driver, fending off wandering hands.
How superb to think of the two of them hitching across continents.

Brave indeed the van driver who allowed his hands to wander! :shock: :shock: :shock:
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by kerrensimmonds » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:17 pm

That's a good idea, Mary. I am just about to write to Betty so I will cut copy and paste from the Forum. I am sure she will be pleased.....
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:32 pm

Oh, oh! Terrifying!

Miss Jukes hasn't read anything written by me since I was her nightmare student of Home Economics 1969 - 1971. I believe that the last comment she made on my leaving report was not optimistic.

Perhaps she will return the cut-and-paste with red corrections in the margin? Now I'm worried.
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by kerrensimmonds » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:37 pm

Poor Betty is 87, disabled and virtually blind - though her marbles are as bright as ever. She will not be able to apply a red pen to anything, Munch, so you can stop worrying! She, however, is worried that she will be unable to reply to any cards or letters, but I hope she gets LOADS.
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Re: Margaret Wilson, RIP

Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:42 pm

Nonethe less, I did a hasty correction of a typo!

Would you remember me to Miss Jukes and send my love? Now I have a huge lump in my throat at the thought of her "disabled and virtually blind". Oh...!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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