Writing letters home

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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Katharine
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Writing letters home

Post by Katharine »

Today’s news that stamps are going up in price brought back a memory of life at Hertford. We all had to write home every Sunday, this was almost always in the afternoon. The letters were then collected up and posted on Monday morning.

On at least one occasion when I was at CH the price of the stamps went up on the Monday, possibly from 2 1/2 d to 3d. The whole school Sunday was changed and we all wrote home in the morning so the letters could be posted that afternoon, saving us the cost of the increase.

Did you at Horsham have to write home every week? Was there a set time to do it?
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by sejintenej »

Katharine wrote: Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:50 pm Today’s news that stamps are going up in price brought back a memory of life at Hertford. We all had to write home every Sunday, this was almost always in the afternoon. The letters were then collected up and posted on Monday morning.

Did you at Horsham have to write home every week? Was there a set time to do it?
Yes, Katharine. Letter writing was compulsory, on Sunday afternoon and as far as I remember from 4.30 until 5pm

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Re: Writing letters home

Post by LongGone »

My memory is that it was after morning chapel, but this may have varied by house. I have none of my letters (a great loss to my biographers) but suspect they were all simply variations on “I am alive, please send food”. I can’t say the repetition paid off, I don’t think I wrote once a term at university and after, emigrating to Canada, even less.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Mid A 15 »

I agree with LongGone that letter writing took place on a Sunday morning after Chapel, probably a Maine A thing.

I came across some of my old letters when helping to sort through my late mother's possessions. It was a strange feeling reading them after all this time. I've hung onto them but I've no idea why as there is nothing of interest to anybody else.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by J.R. »

I can vividly remember letter writing home in Prep B, though cannot remember doing so in Coleridge B, though I'm sure we must have.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by jhopgood »

I seem to remember being chucked out of the house from 2.30 to about 4.00pm on a Sunday afternoon and then doing letter writing until going up to Dining Hall for tea. Sunday morning would have been out because we had Band practice from after morning chapel until just before 1.00pm.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Alex »

Yes, I clearly remember the weekly letter writing in the 50s. For my house it was done after morning chapel on Sundays. There was no compulsion however and most of course complied. If one finished early one read. Sometimes the housemaster came in with blank envelopes which had to be addressed to the parent/guardian and then they were used to send some official circular. But he always hand addressed the termly report.

Letters were collected and posted in the box at the entrance of the Masters’ Common Room. I suppose we were lucky to have a pillar box in the main quad into which, unlike for the girls, we could post anything at any time.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Otter »

Alex wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:25 amLetters were collected and posted in the box at the entrance of the Masters’ Common Room. I suppose we were lucky to have a pillar box in the main quad into which, unlike for the girls, we could post anything at any time.
This reminds me of a rumour/anecdote from when I was at CH, according to which a boy wrote a letter to a girl he liked, and posted it in that postbox. Apparently he regretted sending the letter and waited for hours for the postman to come so that he could reclaim it, but by law the postman could not give it back to him, alas the letter was sent.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Katharine »

Alex wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:25 am Letters were collected and posted in the box at the entrance of the Masters’ Common Room. I suppose we were lucky to have a pillar box in the main quad into which, unlike for the girls, we could post anything at any time.
The thought of a post box in the school grounds makes me go weak at the knees!!! As juniors we even had to leave our letters open for the housemistress to screen and post.

I’ve posted the story before that in my first term my OB aunt, a missionary nurse in Zululand, sent a crate of South African grapes to me. I was in her old Ward (house) and she was thrilled at that. I shared the grapes around the house, including giving the housemistress a whole bunch, and asked that someone buy me an airletter form. I duly wrote thanking her, apologising for the delay in writing as it had taken some time for anyone to buy the airletter. I was shouted at for that, how dare I, the youngest and newest in the house dare to criticise etc etc. As far as I remember the offending letter was sent, but had it been an ordinary piece of paper I’m sure it would have been torn up in front of me!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by rockfreak »

I read with horror the tales from some schools that letters home were left open and censored. Even Hertford? I knuckled down so quickly at age nine that I don't think I ever mentioned being unhappy (which for some time I was).You weren't encouraged to feel unhappy. "Dear Mum and Dad, this is a horrible, restrictive, repressive place where the housemaster is always trying to cop a feel up boys' shorts. Is this OK? Should this be happening? Does it happen out there in the real world where you live? And where I, happily, may again live at some time in the distant future?" Actually the fiddling wasn't the worst of it. Much worse in its way was the total absence of love and understanding. So my missives home were filled with the exploits of the house rugby team, cross country runs, and what my friends in the house were getting up to, some of whom had become familiar to my parents by now if only by letter.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Ruth »

Only once, at age about 13, I wrote home that I was not happy. Miss McTier (7s) refused to post it, gave it back to me, saying “you wouldn’t want to upset your parents”. After that I stuck to netball results and what I was learning on the piano.
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Foureyes »

I agree (as usual) with John Hopgood: "I seem to remember being chucked out of the house from 2.30 to about 4.00pm on a Sunday afternoon and then doing letter writing until going up to Dining Hall for tea." That was how it was also in Lamb B 1949-55. If I remember correctly one had to hand in a stamped, addressed AND SEALED envelope at the end of letter writing, but whether anything was in it, or what was written, was between the writer and the addressee.
As for Sunday afternoon 2.30-4.00pm, it was always referred to in Lamb B as 'HOOB' (house out-of-bounds).
David :shock:
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by sejintenej »

Foureyes wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:34 am I agree (as usual) with John Hopgood: "I seem to remember being chucked out of the house from 2.30 to about 4.00pm on a Sunday afternoon and then doing letter writing until going up to Dining Hall for tea." That was how it was also in Lamb B 1949-55. If I remember correctly one had to hand in a stamped, addressed AND SEALED envelope at the end of letter writing, but whether anything was in it, or what was written, was between the writer and the addressee.
As for Sunday afternoon 2.30-4.00pm, it was always referred to in Lamb B as 'HOOB' (house out-of-bounds).
David :shock:
I agree entirely! (Foureyes passes out with shock and horror!) Same in Col A but we were not trusted with stamps - someone else put them on.

How strange it was - on Sundays it never rained so we were forced out. When I was working it always seemed to rain on Sunday (when I needed to cut the grass etc.) In Africa it never seemed to rain on Saturday even during the wet season - I cannot remember a cricket or rugby game being wet or a party cancelled!
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by Katharine »

I'm glad that Ruth backs me up in saying that our letters could be read by our housemistress before they were posted. In some ways you had life easier at Horsham!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Writing letters home

Post by seajayuu »

I broke the rules and posted a letter on the way to Ashbourne - got a "conduct" for my trouble and wasn't allowed to see my parents on Long Sat. I thought that a bit unfair on my parents - they had no money and had travelled to Hertford by train.
A bit tangential but - we had "all out" every day. House doors were firmly shut and we had to stay outside. Mind you when the weather was awful we had country dancing in the Gym instead of "all out" - much worse!
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