M. A. DOUGLAS – The Staff

The question is: shall an attempt be made to say any¬thing, when it is quite impossible to say anything adequate? In the first place, there is the difficulty of numbers! The list of the people who have given their ability and their goodwill in the service of the School, and without whom there would be no School, is so long; and the gifts con¬tributed by each one are so various, that a volume might be written about them, whereas a limit has been set to the size of this book. Some noted members of the staff have contributed reminiscences of great value to these Godolphin records, and other distinguished names have been men¬tioned, but these are just the people who will eagerly look for references to friends and colleagues who have served the School with distinction and zeal equal to their own. The girls, too, will look for their special friends on the staff, their House Mistresses, their Form Mistresses, and for those who gave them special help in their work or in their very lives. Many who were once in the Lower School and Kindergarten will look for Miss Marjorie Powell, and many past members of Sarum House will look for her and for Miss Ralph, both now Head Mistresses. Miss Steer will be looking for Miss White and Miss Hancock, and Miss White and Miss Hancock will be looking for Miss Steer! Miss Steer’s record, by the way, is of twenty-eight years’ length of service, and how much her many pupils have gained from her well-stored mind, her scholar’s taste, her original “touch” and true friendship, will never be known; and for some months the Head Mistress and the whole staff depended upon her as Second Mistress. We should also like those now far away to find a personal message in this book. Miss Hancock! Now a missionary in China. Her name need only be mentioned to touch a chord of appreciation of her masterly teaching and her genius for individual consideration, which vibrates in the mind and heart of every one of her pupils and of the members of her Form. Miss White! Far distant in quite another sense, for who can judge what must have been the change of climate when she passed from a School packed with youth and cheeriness and vigour-and where she always seemed to be one of the youngest, the happiest, and the most vigorous-to being a policewoman ? She served first in Salisbury, and now she is the only policewoman in Birmingham-surely because of the undaunted courage and depth of human sympathy which we knew so well when she lived and worked amongst us.
But now to return to the staff as it is-those “veterans” who still remain united with those who have come to the School more recently, and all joined together by loyalty and a common service. Miss Noakes, Second Mistress, with the unique responsibility which is attached to that position, and director of the history and geography work of the School, herself a distinguished scholar and teacher of both subjects. And again all the many others, seniors and juniors, each one of them in charge of the piece of work which is her very own, and which goes to promote the true progress of a school which shall always be filled with the very spirit of truth and courage and kindness.

The Domestic Staff.

When our thoughts turn to the domestic staff, do we think of our favourite pudding or of the plates set out to receive it, or again of shining morning passages-always a little dingy in the evening ? I fear these and the hundred other things done for us are taken much as the air we breathe. But if at the time we are enjoying the fruits of the labour of the staff, we do not think much about it or them, the common membership in the life of a school or a school House forges a bond which sooner or later is felt to be very strong. Some of our friends on the domestic staff seemed, from long and devoted service, to be fixtures which would be sorely missed if not found in their familiar places, and somehow the very newest comers seem always to run about the School with willing feet and jolly faces which certainly con¬tribute to a cheery spirit of work on the part of the whole School. Some old friends appear only in the holidays, but the Head Mistress is aware of the transformation scene they and the regular staff produce, in which every brass knob has a special twinkle in its eye for the first day of term.

The Gardeners.

Have you seen the picture of Brooks and his onions? Hundreds and hundreds of them, rank after rank in endless rows. He is standing like a commander-in-chief, well satis¬fied with their smart “turn out.” But how did they come there? The soil, the sun, and the rain no doubt did their part, but even they did not arrange them in those rows. No, the onions-and, better still, the peas and apples, and, best of all, the glorious flower borders-are there where the weeds are not because Brooks and his staff give unremit¬ting care and labour to making the gardens both fruitful and beautiful.

Speakers and Visitors.

First of all the bishops! Old and New Sarum naturally suggest bishops, and bishops from the beginning suggest education. So we are not surprised to find that when the Godolphin School was a very small seed, it was not too small to escape the eye of Bishop Edward Denison-and probably of other bishops before him. At all events, on 25th January 1854 we find Bishop Denison presiding at a meeting of Trustees of the Godolphin School, held at the Palace just before his death. We do not know whether he or Bishop Hamilton or Bishop Moberly ever spoke at the School itself, but we do know that there never was a time when kindness and encouragement did not come from the palace to the little school. When we come to Bishop Wordsworth, himself the founder of the school which benefits so large a number of scholars, we cannot speak too gratefully of what that great bishop gave to Godolphin by his visits to it and his interest in it. Bishop Ridgeway, always especially connected with the War and with the camps, found time also for the Godolphin School, and at the time of the National Mission offered to devote one whole day to it. He gave four memorable addresses during the day, to the younger children; to the elder ones ; to the staff; and to the servants from all the Houses. Bishop Donaldson, who was enthroned in the Cathedral on 21st December 1921, visited the School first in July 1922, and asked for a half holiday! From that day forward his appearance at the School has been hailed with delight, and his words listened to with eager attention.
The special ministry of bishops to the young is, however, in Confirmation, and in this connection, besides the diocesan bishops, we think of Bishop Webb, Bishop Joscelyn, and Bishop Abbott of Sherborne. Addresses were indeed given on the Confirmation Day, and an account of one such day is given elsewhere in the book.
Besides the bishops there are the deans! And if we draw a veil over the encounter between Elizabeth Godolphin and the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, we have nothing but gratitude to record for all the help that has streamed into the School from the deans and canons of the Cathedral. In the list of Trustees and Governors given in the Appendix will be found the names of many deans and many canons. These visited the School frequently, and its life would be far poorer without the value of their speeches and addresses. Others besides the Governors came from the chapter many a time to give lectures and other help to the School, and amongst these was Archdeacon Carpenter, whose lectures on Church history and on hymns stand out as of special value. Archdeacon Bodington was once “on the Godolphin staff,” and the girls were fortunate indeed who studied English literature with him. I have not yet mentioned Canon Bernard-a theologian, a classical scholar and a student of Dante-with a generous nature dis-tinguished by a sympathy with any sincere desire to learn, be the learner ever so ignorant. Several members of the Godolphin staff owe him a debt of undying gratitude for the many Greek Testament and Dante readings round the table in his own house.
But I must go on to recall some of the many distinguished visitors from a distance who came to the School since January 1890. Two came in that very year. Professor Poulton of Oxford, who gave the first lecture to the School on geology, and Miss Ottley, the maker of the Alice Ottley School, who delighted every one by her ” talk ” in the Hall. In 1891 Miss Maynard, the first Mistress of Westfield College, visited the School and gave one of her addresses, which are always stimulating both to thought and action. She was soon followed by Miss Gray,(The first Head Mistress of St. Paul’s Girls’ School.) who gave a lecture on “Greek stories by pen and chisel.” Earlier in this book, in Miss Edwards’s interesting paper, reference has been made to the speeches of Lady Frederick Cavendish, Bishop Walsham How, Professor Hughes of Cambridge, Miss Wordsworth, first Principal of Lady Margaret Hall; Miss Paget, Sir John Middlemore, and Sir Reginald Palgrave. It is a great enrichment to a school not only to hear what the “Big-wigs” say, but to look at the ” Big-wigs” them¬selves and realise that they have done and are doing big things. We cannot forget Dame Millicent Fawcett, who gave a lecture on “Two visits to South Africa,” or Sir Henry Newbolt lecturing on Milton and reading to us lines by the poet, or the Archbishop of Armagh, who gave an address of great distinction and homeliness on “Friendship.” He was introduced by Canon Sowter, a Governor and a friend, who has helped the School a countless number of times by his talks to the School, his great sermons in the Cathedral, and his affectionate interest in all our concerns; and many a time of late years Lady Hulse has provoked the School to laughter and endeavour by her wit, her wisdom, and her courage.
Sometimes speakers have taken us to far countries. Bishop Phillips, a C.M.S. native bishop of Nigeria, and Mr. Howells from West Africa-whose father had been a slave, and who, nevertheless, had the best manners of an Oxford undergraduate-took us to their country; the Bishop of Trinidad took us to the West Indies; Arthur Douglas, and later, Bishop Lucas, to Central Africa, first opened up by Livingstone; Dr. Turner lectured on the Balkan States; Miss Freire Marreco, Fellow of Somerville College, described her six months in an Indian village in New Mexico; Dean Page Roberts lectured on Sinai, Colonel Moore on Palestine, and Mr. Shibly Jamal, an Arab gentle-man, on Jerusalem. Mr. Wilfrid Abbott gave a lecture on New Guinea, having been the first white man to live among the cannibals, and lie enlivened his lecture by dressing up some of the Godolphin girls as cannibals in their war-paint. Mr. Lloyd, director of the Fellowship of the Maple Leaf, appealed for teachers “to keep Canada British and Christian.” Dame Merial Talbot lectured at the School on the Victoria League, and Lady Edward Cecil (afterwards the Viscountess Milner) on the Battlefields in France.
Mr. Frank Stevens, of the Museum, has delighted and interested the School by his lectures on Early Britain and Prehistoric Animals, and Mr. Freemantle has lectured on the Cathedral, showing his beautiful slides; this is only one instance of his kindness and consideration, shown towards the Godolphin School on many occasions.
Dr. Percy Buck of Harrow, and Professor of Music at Sheffield University, has been a special friend to the School. He has judged the singing competition, and also shown how psalms and hymns should be sung, and, in fact, he made the School sing them in his way as he sat at the piano accompanying. He wrote a special tune to “Fight the good fight” for Godolphin.
Long ago, Dr. Foxley Norris, the present Dean of West¬minster, himself an artist, came to inspect the work in the studio, and gave a very interesting talk on drawing and painting to the School. In 1922 Mr.Urquhart lectured on Corot and Millet, and more lately still Mr. Heskcth Hubbard described the process of reproduction by lithography and woodcuts and exhibited specimens of his work. Mr. Laurence Houseman gave, recently, a talk about St. Francis of Assisi and read some of the Little Plays written by him.
School, life is very full, and it is a difficult matter to decide on how many outside speakers and lecturers to make room for. Probably a broadly safe rule is to try and secure the very best, and to refuse none of the very best who offer, be they many or few, and this with regard to every depart¬ment of school life. For instance, the School will always feel a pride in remembering that Mrs. Larcombe, when Ladies’ Champion Lawn Tennis player at Wimbledon, came to Godolphin to give, with Miss Pinckney, an exhibition game. In these last years great distinction of another kind has been conferred year by year on the School by the visits of Mr. Ben Greet and his company, who have made Shakespeare’s plays live for every one of the delighted audience, and Miss Ash also secured Forbes Robertson, who gave recitations of his Shakespeare parts. Many distinguished educationists have visited the School, and, amongst these, the inspectors from the Board of Education have been of great service by their criticisms and advice.
On the 10th and 11th June 1910 the Godolphin School was greatly honoured by receiving the Association of Head Mistresses for their Annual Conference. Miss Burstall, of the great Manchester High School, was President that year, and the Vice-Presidents who attended were Dr. Sophie Bryant, Miss Ottley, Miss Gadesden, and Mrs. Woodhouse. The following, who were to become Pre¬sidents, also came: Miss Escott, Shefheld; Miss Robertson, Christ’s Hospital; Miss Major (now mistress of Girton); Miss Fanner, Putney; Miss Gray, St. Paul’s Girls’ School; Miss Sparks, Colston School, Bristol; Miss Lowe, Leeds; and altogether some two hundred arrived and caused the greatest excitement, not only to Godolphin, but also in the city. Besides the business for which they had come together, which took place in the Hall (which, by the way, the Godolphin music mistresses were asked to tidy up between each seance), there was the great luncheon in the tent. Miss Lucy was the head butler and the Staff of the school was hers for that hour, and the Sixth Form waited at tea. Dean Page Roberts arranged for a special service at the Cathedral on Friday, at which he kindly consented to preach, and the Bishop and Mrs. Wordsworth entertained the Conference afterwards at tea at the Palace. On Saturday afternoon many friends lent motors, and Miss Parson (secretary) sprang about in her white dress compelling the Head Mistresses to get into the carriages assigned to them. Nothing could have been more inspiriting to the School than to have this most delightful gathering of Head Mistresses, not only repre¬senting one of the great sections of the teaching profession, but also the thousands of girls attending their schools.


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