The Post-War Years

The years immediately after the war reflected in many ways the problems of the future. Rationing continued, and so did the shortage of domestic staff. The spring term of 1947 also brought a minor fuel crisis, although the beauty of the School gardens in the March sunshine with trees decked with snow and glittering ice, was a sight that some of us will never forget. There was a growing need for more freedom, a realisation that the old order was changing. Life was more mobile (there was petrol once more even if it was rationed) and horizons were widening both in tile literal and meta­phorical sense. Girls were now allowed to go out in buses on Sunday afternoons, in small groups and within certain limits, so that Grovely and Pepperbox Hill became popular areas for walks. This seemed a far cry from the days when the Ascension Day picnic to Grovely involved about as much organisation as would now be needed for a cross-Channel expedition. One of the great joys of 1945 was the first entertainment in the Hall, the prelude to many others. 1 n the December of that year a production of The Gondoliers was staged, with a small string orchestra, and an astonishing number of people took part both behind and on stage. There was in the music and acting a vitality released from the years of frustration and difficulty. Other productions followed including Staff plays such as The Ghost Train and Pride and Prejudice, and many will remember Twelfth Night, and Victoria Regina in the year of the Coronation, and perhaps most memorable of all, Housman’s Bethlehem, when the new stage lighting was used for the first time. Interspersed were the House Dramatic and Music Competitions, held in alternate years. Another new development was the Sixth Form dances to which boys from Marlborough and Canford came, schools to which we in turn were invited.

On July 3rd 1948, after an appeal to all its supporting schools by the U.S.S.S. Settlement Committee, Godolphin held a huge enjoyable Midsummer Fair which raised a grand total of £320 for the Mission.

Lest it should be thought that life in School during these years was mainly one of country walks, entertain­ment and dances, it should also be said that they were also years of encouraging academic successes. There was a sprinkling of State Scholarships, entries and awards at Oxbridge and other universities, besides a steady level of achievement in the routine examinations. At the end of this post-war period everyone was discussing and preparing for the new General Certificate of Education which was to replace the old Higher and School Certificate examination. In the long run the change was welcome, and the examination in the new form was held for the first time in July 1951. At the end of the war Nelson House and Rose Villa were given back to us. The latter was quickly prepared to receive Forms 1, 2 and 3, but Nelson presented a more difficult problem. It was too small and inconvenient to be used again as a boarding house, but some of its old dormitories were useful as overflow accommodation from Methuen and School House. Other rooms were now available for Staff, as Melbury was closed.

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