- GB 2014 WS-02-ORA-049
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.