Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Gazettes Galore!

Having now catologued all 285 copies of the Godolphin School magazine I have become aware of the changes it has undergone over the years. 

The earliest copy in the collection dates from 1920 however it is the 72nd issue. So far none of the 71 earlier issues have been found.
The most obvious changes are those on the front cover and the magazine's name.
GSM Issue no. 72 Autumn 1920 & GG Issue no. 144 February 1947
At first the magazine was called 'Godolphin School Magazine'. It's crest changed to a colour copy in the mid '20s. 
In 1947 the Old Godolphin Gazette publication and the Godolphin School Magazine combined efforts to create the Godolphin Gazette which featured news from the present school and the OGA. Instead of having an editor, sub-editor and a treasurer in charge of the production of the magazine: a general editor, an OG editor and a school editor became responsible.

GG Issue no. 177 Autumn 1975 & Issue no. 194 Autumn 1992

 In 1975, the layout changed dramatically - the size increase to an A4 magazine and many advertisements suddenly appeared at the front and back of the magazine.

In 1981 the headmistress' note in the Gazette alluded to the reinstatement of an OG newsletter. The Gazette therefore, once again, became mainly a report on the present school (as it had been before 1947).
By the 1990s the magazine increased in size again and more coloured images were introduced throughout the magazine. 

This should be issue no. 214 but the magazines are no longer numbered

The most recently published Gazette displays the new logo on the front. One particular feature that seems present throughout the magazine's history is the emphasis placed on the girls' achievements in extra curricular activities. Sport, poetry and school trips among other things often feature. This photo (above) of a West Side Story drama performance  puts me in mind of many drama pictures I've seen in the Gazette. For example a photo of the performance of The Boy David is on the first page of the Summer 1941 issue. Some things never change!

A page from a Gazette of the '90s
This page is from an early '90s issue of the Gazette. 20 years on I'm sure lots of the present girls would agree with many of the comments written here.

The Gazette in WWII

Through the years of the second World War the Godolphin School Magazine (as it was still called at  that time) became a rather slimmer publication and the front cover was removed.
Left: the magazine in wartime Right: the magazine's cover with the school crest returned after the war
In the editorial of the 1945 Summer Term issue, the editor points out that the reappearance of the front cover is a result of the return of peacetime conditions.

Issue no. 141 Summer 1945
Issue no. 142 Autumn 1945
In the next edition of the magazine, Autumn 1945, the editor explains that for many of the girls this is in fact their first term at Godolphin School in peacetime. That's quite a thought! For many of these girls a lot of their secondary education was affected by changes brought on by the war.

A few of my favourite things (so far)

Whilst sorting the boxes I have come across some wonderful items. Some of the highlights have been:


- a French exam paper circa. 1930

- an order of service for the school's bicentenary service held in Westminster Abbey in 1926 

- a book of excellence from 1890-97.

This particular booklet belonged to a J Barber
The French exam paper fills an entire booklet (perhaps because it was used for several years?). Having glanced at some of the translation exercises, I am amazed at how much language has changed! The vocabulary is probably more difficult compared to what I was expected to learn when doing French GCSE, but the sentence structure is really what struck me! Much of it is written in a very convoluted way. Was this really how people spoke? Or was it just a test of one's ability to construct a difficult (and bizarre) sentence in another language?!

Westminster Abbey is a very special place for all Godolphins. Every year a commemoration service (known affectionately as commem.) is held here. It as a service of thanksgiving and a chance for the girls to pay their respects to their founder,  Elizabeth Godolphin, whose tomb lies in Westminster.

The school crest is proudly displayed on the front
This order of service from the 1926 bicentenary service is not the only copy in the collection. Many of them have found their way back to the school. It was clearly a memorable service for all the Godolphin girls and Old Girls (ex-students) who were part of the school's life at the time. Hence so many held onto their order of service and didn't see fit to throw them away even after a clear out. They are safely part of the collection now.

 The book of excellence or the 'excellent' book, as described on the front, contains the names of girls who exceeded regularly in a particular subject. Dating from the late 19th century, it is the oldest item I have found in the collection so far...

It is interesting to note the different subjects the girls did: arithmetic, algebra, grammar and drawing to name but a few. This is an item that may be of great interest to those who know a relative that studied at Godolphin between 1891-97 as they might find a familiar name among the pages and pages of names in this book. 
My hope for the electronic record is that it will make items like this easier to find. A researcher will be able to search for a particular date and find the exact locations of all the items with that date. Something that has not yet been possible with this collection.

Monday 30th July: Boxes and Boxes

Yesterday I arrived at Godolphin School to begin sorting the archives. I visited in early July to assess the situation but arriving yesterday I was a little nervous at what I'd let myself in for... there are so many boxes!
I took all of them down from the shelves in the library - I think the best way to do this is probably to have an idea of the whole collection. 
I have begun to extract things from the boxes and place them together according to what they are: all loose photographs together, newpaper cuttings together, service programs, prospectuses etc etc.. Luckily the OGA (Old Godolphin Association) have made my job a lot easier as some of the members, some while ago, put lots of the collection into certain categories. However, as the collection has grown, things have become a little muddled - some boxes contain all sorts of treasures! Lots of boxes contain lists of what's inside the box, however there's no electronic copy of these.