21 November 1920

18 William Street  ,

Cowley Road,



                My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for the shortbread, and for your letter with the enclosed note.  Please thank Max for his letter.  I will certainly change the socks.  I hope Daddie is home with you by now.  Is Auntie Lucy coming to us for Christmas?  I hope she will have a good rest before she goes back to work.  I am sure that she needs it.  I am glad the inquest1 passed off so quietly – it must have worried Auntie Lucy terribly.

This has been on the whole a quiet week.  I like the Central School much better than Milham Ford.  There is an air of absolute peace about the place which is delightful.  I took two lessons there last week – one on the Dutch Wars with Miss Frost, one of the Cherwell Hall staff, in the room, while the head mistress of the school was present at the other.  They both gave me the benefit of their opinion afterwards.  Miss Chadwick2, whom I saw first, said my manner was too calm for small children, and that I mustn’t be afraid of being funny.  Miss Frost said my manner was too excited and that I did not always show becoming gravity!  Which only shews how much such criticism is worth.  Of the two, I have more respect for Miss Chadwick’s opinion.  She is a very interesting woman, and talked to me a long time about education in general, and her own views and plans in particular.  She is going to Birmingham after Christmas to organise one of the new Continuation Schools there, and is looking forward to a lively time.

On Thursday we had the one really interesting seminar of the term.  Miss Talbot read us a very clear paper on sex education.  There was a certain amount of discussion afterwards, within definitely prescribed limits!  Still even within those limits we had some interesting points of view put forward, especially by Mr Weir and Mr Otway.  Mr Weir is an Irishman of fairly mature years who in his time has played many parts, including that of curate to your Mr Wright, of All Saints, New Park Road.  He has now taken up education with great vigour.  He also does psycho-analysis in his spare time.  Mr Otway, is an Australian clergyman, who put the question from its ecclesiastical side.

The said Mr Weir has invited me to a dance he is giving on the last Friday of term at Manchester College, with Principal and Mrs Jack as host and hostess.  It never rains but it pours!  The C.U. gives a special subscription dance for the Glasgow fund next Saturday – fancy dress.

Doris has a friend staying with her at present, Joyce Addyman.  She was at Reading during Doris’ last year, has just taken her finals in science, and is now substituting at the Oxford High School.  She was also at Manchester High, and knew Nancy Harker, Jean Batcham, and Doleen.  Her people used to live at Bramhall, and she knows Miss Hooley, and Auntie Nellie by repute – i.e. has heard of her from a friend.  She is an awfully nice child, and likes walking.  This morning we had a topping walk across  Shotover to Wheatley, round by the road, and then up through the avenue of Shotover Hall to the top again.  It was a frosty morning, but brilliantly sunny, the only drawback being that it was too misty for views.

We had a lovely Eight on Saturday.  Violet stroked and I rowed seven.  Gilbert came down to watch us, and afterwards he criticised us thoroughly and most constructively to Joyce.  We were also photographed by the Oxford Times, and filmed by the Cowley Road Cinema3, which last was great fun.  We were filmed crossing to the barge, entering it, getting into the boat, coming forward, actually rowing, getting out again, etc. etc.  We are all going in a body to the cinema next Thursday to see it.  We had what Best called the best gig four of the term on Thursday (N.B. no pun intended!).  Hughie was stroking.  However bow dug so deep that she found the bottom in one place, and stuck her oar so firmly that she nearly overset the boat.  However that was but a momentary aberration.

Much love to Daddie and Max, and also to Betty and Alison Mary next time you see them.  Take care of yourself.

Your loving daughter


1Now there has been an inquest.  Does this refer to the death of Grannie Collinson and was the wheelchair accident implicated?

2Miss Chadwick, Head Mistress of  the Central School, Oxford.

3Such a film of the 1920 St Hilda’s Eight would be a wonderful archive record.

Next letter to be posted on 29 November 2017.


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