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With digital objects English
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Jane Orr

How did you come to attend Westminster School (WS). Went to Francis Holland School (FHS) Sloane Square – an artsy school so not sufficient to study Physics and Chemistry A-Level. At Sixth Form girls often went to FHS Regents Park or St Paul’s Girls School. Relationship with WS for drama. Came on her own in 1967. [1,29] Brother was in Wrens 2 years below. Still studied maths at FHS. [1,44] First impressions. Much larger. Boys seemed very young, with 13 and 14 year olds in the class as they were scholarship. [3,00] Reaction of boys to have you in lessons. Good relationships with ones in class. College Hall - others who didn’t know her would show off, naïve. [3,46] separate table for Jewish boys. Sat with them to have intelligent conversation at lunch. [4,15] Treatment from masters. Good chemistry master. Some peculiar characters. [5,03] top set Physics, flamboyant teacher D. Hepburne-Scott. Keen on trains. Liked him at the time. [5,27] Old reports. Reveal he was quite damning of female capability, made disparaging misogynistic comments about her intellect and female domesticity. [6,56] Housemaster Mr Ross was embarrassed by this. [7,48] some positive comments, eventually acknowledged her potential, but still made allowances due to her sex. [8,58] academic standard. Teaching style was completely different. [9,46] whole a-level syllabus in 1 year. Exploring things that were interesting outside of the syllabus. Nuffield Chemistry. [10,43] teaching was eye opening. Responded to it well. [11,00] preparation of WS for university. Went into medicine. Accepted institutional sexism – 70 places for boys and 7 for girls. Gained confidence at WS, and got a scholarship at medical school. [12,13] joined the army after qualification. 350 medical officers, 9 women. Learnt to be gender-blind. [13,05] other characteristics gained from WS. Enjoying learning for the sake of education. Appreciated the leeway. [14,45] didn’t spend much time in school outside of lessons, as was only half at the school. Used 4 Barton Street sitting room and bathroom. Would spend half a day at each school. [15,35] time in St James’s Park in summer. Went home to Holland Park. Didn’t socialise much with the boys. [16,44] no facilities for girls. She was attached to Wren’s. Used staff toilet. School was experimenting with having female pupils, after she left, a couple of FHS girls arrived. Didn’t work financially to be under this setup. [18,00] fees at FHS were £90 per term. £150 per term at WS. Parents had to pay both schools. [18,53] would recommend it to girls at the time. Teaching is invaluable. Put into practice. Comfort being in an unusual situation, pushed the boundaries. [19,48] friendships with the boys. Didn’t last. Never invited to be an Old Westminster – institutional sexism. Didn’t feel fully part of the school. [21,01] met some who did medicine. Nearly all 3 years younger – started later as even though they’d got their qualifications they were too young. [22,38] difference between hers and her brother’s experience. Brother expelled for trying to set the school on fire and went to Marlborough. Similar friends. Didn’t compare experiences much. [23,41] no uniform at FHS Sixth Form, and none at WS. [24,26] WS customs. The Greaze. Unique slang to other schools. [25,19] difference to FHS atmospherically. Change in Sixth Form environment in itself at both schools. Only girl doing A-Level Maths at FHS. Good teaching, different as learning with people who were doing subjects they had chosen and had a passion for, as opposed to that they were forced to do. [26,42] assumption at WS that you were quick learners and would understand. Take things to a greater depth than required. Assuming interest. [27,46] Boys more politically engaged. Intellectual conversations at meals, but this was at FHS. [28,50] Didn’t show off their wealth, but also a lot of wealth at FHS. A level of class was assumed. Image proposed by the school changed in recent years. [30,49] pleased that WS accepted girls. Good for both sexes. For girls, especially in the 60s, beneficial to compete healthily in academics. [32,06] school reports. [33,36] impromptu trip in Physics to see the Flying Scotsman make its last ever scheduled run from King’s Cross. Went by tube, packed platform. More liberal teaching.

Virginia Lindley

Family background. Parents were writers: editor for the BBC and poets. Older brother who was praefectus at Westminster. [1,00] Earliest memory of the school - being taken to plays, concerts, Little Commem. Enamoured by the buildings and the place – lots of activity. Had private English coaching with John Field. [2,30] Schooling before Westminster – Rye grammar school. When it was turned into a comprehensive her teaching suffered. Quality of the teaching at Westminster was amazing. [4,10] How she came to go to Westminster. Connected through her brother. Played violin in the College concert when there was a shortage of players. Spoke to Martin Rogers who informally invited her to come to the school, because hers didn’t offer university entrance. [5,30] Heard that she was going to Westminster via telegram whilst on holiday. [6,25] Logistics of being a girl in a boys’ school. Treated like a personal guest, stayed in the spare room. Abbey and Latin Prayers. Steep learning curve. Wasn’t told anything about where to go and what to do. Had to dine at the top table with College. Worked in her room. Stayed in the Master of the Queen’s Scholars house. [9,40] Lessons. First lesson was with John Field, whom she knew. Kept herself to herself. Intellectual side was very stimulating and hard work. [10,50] Browning with John Christie. Called her Miss Dickinson. [12,00] Janet Carleton – very fierce but a delight. Knew her and John Carleton. Taught Scott. [12,52] Music side with Mr Burt. College competition. Won as a soprano. [13,40] Thames rowing. Coxed the boat and won. [14,10] Martin Rogers. Oblivious to any of the school rules as she wasn’t properly introduced to them. Caught with Grant’s boys in her room at 11:30pm discussing Yeats. Able to use her familial connections with many of the teachers to get away with restrictions. [16,50] Did she feel she was a trailblazer for the beginning of a co-educational Sixth Form at WS? No, done by personal arrangement with Martin Rogers, father didn’t pay any fees. Had to overrule a statute of Elizabeth I to allow women to be educated. Yet not properly a pupil. Occasional girls came in from St Paul’s to do sciences because Westminster’s labs were better. Helped that she had an older brother and that she knew his friends. Never struck her that she was an only girl among boys. [18,50] Bizarre marking system. Generally treated as any other pupil. [20,05] Uniform. Nothing outlandish. No requirements dictated at all. [21,13] Station afternoons. Catching up on work, helping Jane Rogers, watching football at Vincent Square. [23,11] School services, the Abbey. Awe inspiring, beautiful, privileged. Loved compline, candlelit, special service. Appreciated it enormously. Felt part of Latin prayers eventually. [24,39] John Carleton. Incredibly easy, tolerant, smiley, trusting. Total competence and a big sense of humour. Unshakeable and liberal with rules. Good couple with Janet. [26,10] Little contact with rest of school apart from at whole school gatherings and at meals. Little time. Sometimes went to the theatre or the pub. [27,40] London in the 60s. Connections between bits of London she knew, having not grown up there. Went to Peabody estate. Never threatened. [30,00] Range of reading. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Browning, Tennyson, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth. Teachers had their areas of expertise. Like Oxford learning. [32,10] Taking the Oxford entrance exams. Unseens and essays. [34,14] Oxford interview. Had many family connections. [35,11] Discrepancies between male and female colleges. No overlap, yet they mixed a lot with boys in male colleges. [37,37] retained some connections with OW boys and friends from Somerville. [40,12] Musical activity at Oxford. Egalitarian setting met many people from varied backgrounds and subjects. [41,00] enjoyment of studying English as a degree. [42,30] English ran in the family, part of discussion. [44,00] Westminster Greek trip. Joined her brother on it when he was at the school. Went with 2 Paulinas. Theo Zinn: charismatic, eccentric, reading Agatha Christie. Loved all the ruins. Fan of botany. [46,10] Rome. Taken to see the Sistine Chapel. Wasn’t wearing the right outfit for a lady so posed dressed as a boy with short hair. [49,00] Educational quality of the trip? Instilled a feeling for the classics in pupils, more like a holiday. Appreciate the environment. [49,50] Ted Craven. Archetypal classics master, reserved. Not as characterful as Theo. [50,49] Felt a part of College. Even the staff living there overlapped with the staff who taught her. Not a real part of the school despite this. Lived separated in number 3. [54,21] Classrooms. Taught in mainly Ashburnham house, the library, Liddell's – very nice setting. Fewer pupils, intimate family atmosphere. Compelled to learn. [57,30] Teachers losing their temper. Jim never did so at her. John Field – a dramatist. Took the class to a performance of Hamlet with Ian McKellen. Was furious because not one of them had thanked him. Then carried on as if nothing had happened. A useful lesson. [59,50] Not much of a sense of rivalry between subjects. Healthy rivalry within the English Seventh. Tradition of having to read your marks out. From the arts perspective, the sciences were somewhat looked down upon. [01,01,00] 10 years earlier, superiority of the Classics dept. Classics was second nature in her family. [01,01,47] Didn’t do much theatre. [01,02,16] Carol Service. Held at St. Margaret’s. Asked to read a lesson by Field. Burt had asked her to sing soprano recitatives and be in control of descants. Challenge, wanted to make it audible. Heard people saying that it was an extraordinary voice for a boy. [01,04,45] Champagne parties and social events, centred around Martin. His Aunt. [01,05,59] Carletons as hosts. John and Janet were very sociable and well connected. Because of her own background, she never thought much of where people were from, encountered famous people everywhere. Daniel Day-Lewis. Made more lasting relationships with people who were interesting. [01,08,48] This attitude towards people helped her to thrive at Westminster. [01,09,17] Field and Carleton were very much a part of Westminster’s history. Field invited her and her mother on a private Abbey tour. Huge benefits. [01,10,43] Life after university. Obtained degree, could have gone to RCM. Ended up taking on a summer job housekeeping and looking after 6 children on a Scottish Island in the Hebrides. Full charge of a 24-bedroom house. Connection to the mother from Oxford choir. Household returned to London and Bath, the permanent housekeeper retired, and she returned to live on the island permanently. [01,14,00] Difficulties of old-fashioned homes and old telephoning. Telephone number was Colonsay 1. Still had to wind a handle to get the exchange on the island. Stayed there for nearly a year. [01,17,11] House cow. Not allowed to look after it herself. Given the produce of the cow daily: a huge excess of milk for one person. [01,18,37] Spent a few years doing antique restoration and china handling. Then got married. Helped with her children’s work.

College Garden by Richard Bankes Harraden

College Garden, looking north-west towards the Abbey. College is visible on the left side of the painting. Two gardeners are visible: one in the left foreground with a barrow and one in the centre with a roller. A woman and boy are to the right of the painting and the child has a hoop.

Harraden, Richard Bankes, 1778-1862

The Majesty Scutcheon

Dyed, painted silk, on a hessian backing. On the left the arms of the Commonwealth: the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew and the Irish harp and in escutcheon a lion rampant guardant for Cromwell. On the right are the quarterings of his wife. Inscribed verso with: 'this ensign was snatched from the bier of the tyrant Oliver Cromwell, when his waxen effigy, adorned with royal state, was being magnificently displayed in the Church of St. Peter, Westminster'.

One Mile/Half Mile Under 16 Challenge Cup

Inscription: 'Westminster School Athletic Sports One Mile. Under 16 Challenge Cup now Under 16 Half Mile'. Reascribed to Junior Athletics Sports Cup in 2008 but swopped with WS.TRO.0001.085 prior to engraving. Not loaded. No cover. Awarded: 1924-1990. Handles. Plinth.

Mappin & Webb Ltd

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