Monday, 13 August 2012

Photographs and Memoirs

On Wednesday I spent much of my day cataloguing the photo albums in Godolphin archive. They have come mainly from O.Gs' collections. The albums often follow friendship groups right through school years. A girl called M. Virtue (a pupil in the early 1920s) left behind many albums showing her friends at Godolphin. Some photos are solemn and serious whilst others show the playful spirit of the girls and their teachers...
A bit before M. Virtue's time this picture of the Lacrosse team features the beautiful and stern Miss Westlake the sports teacher. The school building backdrop remains architecturally unchanged in the last hundred years

This picture of Miss M. A. Douglas and the upper sixth formers in 1913 show how the sixth formers' dress differed from that of the younger girls, as it does today
Miss Ash and Miss Noakes (headmistress and second headmistress) captured on a summer's day by one of the students

Miss Evelyn-Smith
The mistresses too partook in many activities, such as tennis and play productions. The above image shows Misses Suffield, Taylor, Ashford, Phillips, Penny and Keer in their sporting attire. Below an image of Miss Evelyn-Smith shows her dressed as the part of nurse in Pride and Predjudice.
This collection of 4 images shows school girls outside one of the boarding houses, taking it in turns to hold a kitten. One of the things I particularly liked going through these albums is how often pets were captured as part of Godolphin everyday life. 
The photograph below is one of the best examples of the mistresses of Godolphin. All these ladies worked at Godolphin at the turn of the century and many of them are mentioned in the memoirs of Kitty Kenyon (which are in the archive).
Miss M.A. Douglas and her collegues in the early 20th century 
The memoirs of O.Gs tell interesting tales of what it was like to be at Godolphin, highlighting the differences and similarities between the generations.
Jilly Cooper an O.G describes (above) how her experience of Godolphin was a little different to that of today...
Looking at these photos we notice one thing that has obviously changed: the uniform the girls wear... However they are not beyond recognition. Margaret Sinclair was a pupil at Godolphin School from 1913 to 1917. Her account of the uniforms is informative as well as amusing.
'We all wore pinafores in school...the pinafores began life a bright blue, but the more faded they became the better pleased one was, for the status that it gave. We wore traditional straw-hats, dead straight, as always, with the eyebrows.'
Godolphin girls with their straw boaters Autumn 1920
The boaters are still a feature of the Godolphin School uniform and will continue to be so after the uniform changes of September 2012. The pinafore, so loved by the students will also remain as part of the girls' outfits.

The pinny is not for formal occassions, but a useful item as Margaret Sinclair's account expresses. Having been part of the uniform for decades it has become something of a tradition, as the newspaper extract below explains....
'blue cotton pinafores, which nothing would induce them to discard...' - It appears that the Godolphin students have always been fond of the pinny!
After the current headmistress (Mrs Price) completed her first year as head of Godolphin, the head girl and deputy - representing the students - took it upon themselves to present Mrs Price with a pinny - a sign that she was a true Godolphin in their eyes!

This final image shows a list of clothes required by each student. Though it is undated, the items on the list perhaps suggest the age of it. The girls were required to wear Godolphin collars in the time of Miss M.A. Douglas.

I would hazard a guess that not many uniform lists today contain items like warm frocks and pocket handkerchiefs...