26 April 1920

S. Hilda’s Hall

Oxon.

26.4.20

                My dear Mother,

I arrived quite happily – but with some difficulty – my back tyre having punctured on the way up, so I had to wheel the blessed thing all the way home, as the Oxford taxi refused to take it on.  However I got all my “impedimenta” taken for me in Una’s cab.  I hope Mr Broadbent didn’t bore Daddie over much at Paddington.

I have left simply heaps of things behind – my green cotton frock with the Paisley trimmings, my gray straw hat, two pairs of tennis shoes, one pair of bed room slippers, and a pair of white canvass slippers! Also my rain hat, and the dark blue jumper with the gray collar.  The dress and jumper are in the cup-board in Max’s room, the shoes in my wash-stand cupboard.

Please tell Auntie that my dresses travelled beautifully – they were marvellously packed.  The pink coat looks quite unruffled, also the yellow frock.

The double cherry is still in bloom, though of course it is past its prime.  The lilac is just bursting.  The garden is already collecting its unique smell.  The river is over the garden steps but has gone down a bit since yesterday, so we hope for a possible level for May morning.

Did Daddie tell you that I left my bank-book behind?  You have had it since I went to Lyme Regis.

It is quite fine to-day, but rather windy.  Dorothea is up for this week, as original as ever.  I shall have to ask her to tea.  Had a letter from Mr Bower this morning, quite nice.

Please give my love to all the family.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

The next letter to be posted on 2 May2017.

18 April 1920

at Bow House,

Lyme Regis, 1

Dorset.

18.4.20

                My dear Mother,

Many thanks for the parcel.  I sent one off to you on Friday, containing all I could spare for the wash.  I hope it reached you on Saturday.

We had a bad spell of weather in the middle of last week, which resulted in a violent wind and some magnificent seas.  The Cobb was quite impossible – the sea just treated it as if it were not there, and produced Niagara effects – and the waves sprayed right over the front and that part of the town where the buildings come down to the sea.  Yesterday we had a glorious morning, which we took advantage of to go along the under cliff path which landed us very deep in the mire.  After that – more rain!  This morning began hopelessly but resulted in a really fine day, which we spent on the Cobb, watching two boys and their mother manipulate a ripping little sailing vessel with red sails.  I think Max and I must acquire one some day!

On Friday we ran across Hughie and her father.  We manage to dodge R.O. pretty successfully.  I have had a letter from Phyllis, who wants me to join her and Ethel Salter at Keyham, where Jack has offered them his house for a fortnight from July 22.

We return home via Salisbury in order to inspect the cathedral.  Train arrives at Waterloo at 4.15 p.m. on Thursday.

Much love to Daddie and Max,

Your Loving daughter, Margot.

 

1Surprisingly she does not mention fossils as Lyme Regis played a great role in the evolving understanding of fossil remains.

The next letter will be posted on 26 April 2017.

15 April 1920

at Bow House,

Lyme Regis,

Dorset.

15.4.20

 

My dear Mother

Many thanks for the stockings, the costume, and the knitting, and also for your letter this morning.  I am sending you a few primroses which we gathered this morning.  I hope they will travel safely.  They are mostly buds, so they ought to last quite a long time in water.

We are quite comfortable here – considering.  The food is plain, but quite good, if unvaried.  The house is quite a nice old building that might be made very attractive.  It is composed of two houses, joined together, one of which has a series of bay windows running up the house, the other a series of bow windows.  The dining room and drawing-room have bow windows overlooking the sea, so they are quite nice for sitting in.

The house was full of elderly ladies when we arrived.  Now only two remain, and one of those is off tomorrow.  They were not so uninteresting as they seemed.  One was a Miss Fawcett, B.Sc.1, principal of some London College, but we did not discover which.  There were also two rather tiresome girls, aged 17 and 11, who have now departed, much to everyone’s relief.  We have left a mother and daughter, both very uninteresting.

We were walking along the front on Monday with a friend of Gwen’s who had come over from Charmouth to see us, when we ran into the Head2, her companion, and Miss Carter, followed by a man bearing three suit cases.  Quite a procession, in short.  We have christened R.O. and the companion Dr Johnson and Boswell, as Gwen says the latter always blows the great woman’s trumpet, which makes it easier to talk about them in public, as with B.Sc. and things [?] about one can’t be too careful with names.  We can’t find a suitable appellation for Miss Carter.

We have done a fair amount of walking, in spite of the weather, which makes field paths pretty impossible, but the roads are so pretty here that we don’t really mind.  The Devon and Dorset countries are quite distinct, but both are beautiful;  I think perhaps Devon is fairer.  The primroses just cover the hill-sides and banks of the road, growing in bunches just as they do at Nonnington.  I never saw them so decorative.  The bluebells and cowslips are not quite out yet, but the gorse is in full bloom.

We get quite a lively sea here if there is a wind.  It is great fun walking along the Cobb at high tide and dodging the spray, which comes right over it.

Please give my best love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

PS I have written to Mr Brooker.

1Philippa Fawcett, presumably, whose mother, Dame Millicent, was the campaigner for women’s rights whom Margot had heard speak in her first year at Oxford. As a Newnham College student, Philippa Fawcett caused consternation in the Cambridge Mathematics Tripos by gaining the highest mark at a time when the subject was considered unsuitable for women and women were not members of the university.  She was classified as ‘above the Senior Wrangler’.  When Margot met her she was working for the London County Council Education Department as assistant Director of Education (remarkably at the same salary as a man would have received), developing secondary schools and training colleges, and she took a particular interest in the London Day Training College which became the London University Institute of Education.  What a pity Margot did not realise what an interesting person she had met and perhaps not as old as she took her to be!

2‘The Head’ is the head mistress of her old school, Streatham Hill High School, GPDST, and her name was Reta Oldham.  The Girls Public Day School Trust provided affordable academic education for girls at a time when this was not generally available.  The Trust has dropped the ‘P’ on going completely private.

3B.Sc and things(?):  what this refers to is not known.  The word transcribed ‘things’ is one word written over another and difficult to decipher.

The next letter will be posted on 18 April 2017.

11April 1920

at Bow House,

Lyme Regis,

Dorset.

11.4.20

My dear Daddie,

Very many thanks for the telegram and your letter this morning, and also for the purse and money, etc, all of which arrived quite safely.  The sum of money is quite correct – the odd 10/- is the one you gave me.  I am so thankful the purse turned up all right.  I will certainly write to Mr Brooker.  I suppose he picked it up at Clapham Junction Station.  It is lucky the food forms were in it.

We have had some very nice walks, in spite of the weather, which has been distinctly on the damp side, but with fair intervals.  Yesterday afternoon and evening were, however, beautifully fine.  We have been to Uplyme and Charmouth.  The country is glorious – covered with primroses – the bluebells are not quite out yet, but the cowslips are.  I will send Mother some as soon as they are dry enough to pack.

We get a lovely view of the coast from here, when it is not shrouded in cloud.  We can see Portland Bill quite clearly in the fine intervals.  Our favourite walk is along the Cobb – a quaint kind of harbour which serves the same purpose as a pier, without being so  banal.  There is very little sand here, I shouldn’t call it a good children’s place, except for an Easter holiday.

I haven’t done much work up to date.  Gwen won’t let me.  Also we have to take the fine weather when it comes, and walk while we can.  Still I hope to do some more this week.

Please give my love to Mother and thank her for the parcel.  I will write to her tonight, if I can, or if not – tomorrow.  Much love to Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

The next letter will be posted on 15 April 2017.