MRS. WHITEHEAD (her Speech at the School on 18th Sep­tember 1926)

As the oldest of the Old Girls present, I can carry you back almost to the time when the last scenes of the play which you saw last night leave off. The Miss Polhill in the play, the lady in the crinoline and the beautiful black curls, was my mother. The school, in her time, was at Milford Grove, at the bottom of Shady Bower, at the left-hand side. That house was afterwards my home. When my mother married, in 1857, she was succeeded by her sister, Miss Emma Polhill, and the school was moved to Fawcett House. When I was about nine years old I was sent to the Godolphin School as a boarder-there were no day-girls in those days. We had a terribly dull time at school, every day alike. A walk in the morning, another in the afternoon ; no games that I can remember. Our meals, too, were all the same. After every meal, as we filed out one by one, we had to turn round and make a bob curtsey, which you saw in the play. We had a good education, and the school was probably all that Elizabeth Godolphin meant it to be. We learnt some things, I think, better than they do now-I am thinking more especially of needlework, about which I am very keen. Another thing we learnt very well was French. We had to speak French from the time we came down in the morning till five o’clock, walks excepted. I have no very happy recollections of my time at the Godolphin School, beyond the fact that there I made a very great friend-one of the scholars, and she is my greatest friend to this day. She was Head girl in Miss Andrews’ time. I was only a short time with Miss Andrews-a term or two-and then I went to a school near London. After that it was some years before I came in touch with the Godolphin again, and then it was a very different school. About 1903 my daughter came here; some of you may remember her. Now her little daughter is in the school, and I have also another grand­child here and two daughters-in-law amongst the “Old Girls.” When I think of the school as I first knew it and as it is now, the contrast is amazing. The little school of which Elizabeth Godolphin dreamed is now known to be one of the best in the kingdom, and through the O.G.A. we are still members of it. In whatever part of the world an O.G. finds herself, she is still a Godolphin girl, and through the Association she can keep in touch with all that is being done for their welfare. As the oldest of the Old Girls I wish the Association the success it deserves.


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