THE 1930's


On the whole, we weren't really badly behaved. I think we were mischievous more than malicious. However, some of us got into more scrapes than others!

We were rarely kept behind for detentions. When we were, it involved having to go to the office and ask the school secretary if you may phone your mother to explain why you would be late. Other detentions involved being sent to the Crush Hall, were one sat in silence for a long while. Sometimes, if the offence warranted it, the long sit was followed by an interview with Miss Longworth.

For being disruptive in class, one was told to stand outside the door until the lesson ended.

For not wearing your hat outdoors, you were condemned to wear it around school for a given period (one or two days, I think). That included wearing it in assembly for all the school to see.

“I hated wearing hats and gloves but it was a punishable offence to arrive or leave school without them, and if a pupil had the temerity to do so they had to wear the neglected items all the next day.” Hilary Steeple ’44-’51

“I think I perhaps wore my hat in school more than I did outside, and I can feel that band tight around my forehead now.” Val Hill ’56-’61

For talking in assembly, you had to remain standing when the other girls sat on the floor. (As we’ve already said in Morning Assembly, this left you very exposed, and the girl behind always tickled the backs of your legs!)

Fortunately, there was no penalty for 'forgetting' your gym kit, other than being told to wear some disgusting spare kit that was kept on a shelf just outside the gym. No one knew who had worn it previously or if it had ever been washed!

Were you kept behind for detention? If you feel that sharing your secret shame would be cathartic, please contact lhs.alumnae@gmail.com.
(Group therapy is said to be helpful!)

“The discipline was great and grew out of respect. We all stood aside as Miss Holden and Miss Stowell glided by in their black gowns.” Sheila Fingret ’41-’47

“Do you recall those stentorian voices of prefects calling “Don't Run down the corridor!” Their room was to the right of the main entrance.” Hilary Steeple ’44-’51

“There were ‘full Prefects and Junior Prefects. Usually there would be about three full prefects in the Junior VI, and it was noticeable that one of these would be the next year’s head girl. Others would be appointed as junior prefects and I think there were also promotions during the year. By the Senior VI I think they had all been promoted to full prefects.” Pat Thompson (Tommy) ’53-’60

“Each class had a board monitor, door monitor, etc. Also a Form Leader (and a Deputy Form Leader?), but I can’t really remember what the Form Leaders did or how they came to be Form Leaders.” Sandra Baker ’59-’64

“Except for our first term at LHS, when we were all from different primary schools and allowed some time to get to know each other, I'm fairly sure that the Form Leader was elected at the beginning of each term. In our 1A, I think Janet (?) Cocksedge was the first to have that honour. I can't remember whether we had a show of hands or little slips of paper. Maybe different form mistresses had their own methods?” Margaret Collie ’59-’66

“We definitely voted for Form Leaders as I remember this following episode very clearly. I was in the 5th year and Mrs Brierly was my form teacher. In the first term I was voted Form Leader. In the second term myself and another girl, Merryll Francis, both received the same number of votes. Mrs Brierly proceeded to let the class know what a hopeless Form Leader I had been! She then asked the class to vote between us two girls and I think the whole class voted for me! She obviously knew nothing about psychology!” Rachel Hoare ’59-’65

“In 2A, 3A, 4A and 5.17 we always chose Pat Thurston as our Form Leader. Later on she became Head Girl when we were in the Upper 6th. These elections must have taken place every term. I know this because at the beginning of the summer term in the 5th form I was absent from school as I was still on a trip to Germany. When I returned they told me I had been elected as Vice Form Captain. This is the only time this happened to me.” Margaret Bradbrook ’59-’66

“Form captains were elected by the pupil members of the form. Prefects were chosen by staff and the Head girl was chosen by staff only, until my last year, when there was such a to-do about their choice that they allowed us to have our choice as well as theirs.” Pat Kelly ’57-’64

“Sorry to disagree with Pat Kelly 57-64 but in 1960 the sixth form voted for Head girl at end of summer term for forthcoming Sept term. Results were not announced until the first assembly on first day of term and it was a surprise to everyone including the head girl who then had to make an impromptu speech to everyone. Quite an ordeal for the person elected!” Rosemary Jordan ’54-’61

“Our prefects’ room was a small room next to the large room in the SE corner of the upper floor. It contained grubby armchairs in dark brown corduroy and an ancient gramophone which had to be played by moving one’s finger round on the 78 rpm record of which we only had one.” Pat Thompson (Tommy) ’53-’60

“The years that I attended LHS ( 1946 – 1951) Form Leaders were voted for. The year I was Form Leader Miss Kelsey was our Form Mistress – and I am not so sure that I would have been appointed, had she done the choosing.” Mavis Webster ’46-’51

“Miss Kelsey used to hand out Barnardo's boxes in the shape of little cottages and we were also encouraged to raise money for charity by way of the Guild of Help, with a couple of girls per form being in charge of that.” Margaret Collie ’59-’66

“Once some of my friends and I were - illegally - on the staff room corridor in the lunch hour. All of a sudden 2 girls from the form below us came staggering from the side corridor, dressed in one cardigan. One had her right arm in the right sleeve and the other her left arm in the left sleeve. We screamed with laughter and they were in fits when Millie's [Miss Holden’s] side door opened!! She looked about 6ft 6ins and terrifying. My friends and I leapt into the side corridor to beat a hasty retreat - BUT - not before we saw 3 buttons fly off the cardi and bounce and ricochet off the walls and floor.” Janet Ball ’56-’61

“I was in trouble almost from day one with old Hilda ...” Jocelyn Laws ’59-’65

“I was always in trouble. On more than one occasion, when my mother had been summoned to school to discuss my bad behaviour, Miss Longworth suggested that I was the type of girl who ought to be in some sort of reformatory. I am pleased to say she was proved right, I ended up at H M Prison Leeds, but only as a member of staff I hasten to add.” Margaret China ’61-’66

“I was frequently in trouble with Ms. Longworth who also had occasion to call my parents on my behalf.” Sue Hudson ’68-’71

“Wasn't the crush hall a good place for detention? I know it was always warm in winter and I didn't seem to mind spending time there.” Jocelyn Laws ’59-’65

“Another memorable curtailer of bad behaviour was having to sit in the entrance hall under the school motto – “Nonquam non Paratus” - waiting for a summons from Miss Holden and walking across what seemed like acres of carpet to reach her desk. She was strict but fair and I admired her. Her office was beyond that of the secretary, to the left of the panelled main entrance.” Hilary Steeple ’44-’51

“I remember having to walk across the acres of Miss Holden's room because I had refused to eat a boiled egg for lunch. I also remember her coming to visit my home to try to persuade me to stay on in the sixth form.” Pat Winn ’52-’57

“One April Fool’s Day our form and another arranged to change places for one particular lesson. We thought it very funny – the staff didn’t.” Pat Thompson (Tommy) ’53-’60

“I was once to have my art lessons in Miss Longworth’s office on the instructions of the ‘other’ art mistress of the time (not Mrs. Precious) because I had refused to move from my usual seat at the back of the class. Predictably I spent most of the double lessons sitting in the crush hall whilst Longworth took private telephone calls. I entertained myself with the thought that she was talking to her married lover.......but I always did have an over-the-top imagination!” Glenis Smith ’60-’65

“I remember being given a special exercise book in the First Form and having to rule it out into columns. I think stars were recorded on one side and black marks on the other. As far as I can recall, these were only for work and were added up at the end of each school year to see which house had won the Work Shield.” Margaret Collie ’59-’66

“Black marks were for bad work and order marks for bad behavior. Don't think I got any of either.” Margaret Anderson ’59-’64

“Somebody once etched "AGGIE" on the grand piano with their compasses - or is it compi? Each and every pupil had to donate 1d for it to be French polished out.” Janet Ball ’56-’61

“I remember always being in trouble for talking - still my downfall according to nearly everyone who knows me - and having to stand at my bench throughout Biology lessons.” Veronica Skirrow ’59-’64

“I remember not wearing my hat to school one day and horror of horrors Miss Walker spied me from the lab. window. As I was a prefect at the time she was not amused! I can't remember what my punishment was! I saw her about twelve years later in Wetherby Market but didn't dare say anything to her!” Carol Peacock ’55-’61

“And if we were seen outside without the beret on it was detention. I copped it a few times.” Gill Crossley ’59-’66

“I remember Rachel Hoare once deciding that as she had [hat] detention she would wear it in the swimming pool too and her diving in gave us all a hoot!” Joyce Latto ’59-’64

“I remember Katy Brady once getting into trouble for wearing rollers in class after a swimming lesson.” Margaret Collie ’59-’66

“Also remembered that people carved things like, “All the teachers in this school are sex starved idiots,” on the loo doors (4th form loos I think). Anyway it was discovered and there was a big hoo ha — the upshot was that we went in the loos one lunchtime and there stood Miss Gill, arms folded, and under each door protruded a pair of feet and the only sound was the shhhh shhhhh shhhh of sandpaper. Who was picked to do it and why I don't know but it WAS a laugh. Mind you, most things at school were a laugh.” Janet Ball ’56-’61

“[My sister] had sneaked into the classroom with some others at break (strictly forbidden) to escape the rain, and they barricaded the door against any interlopers. Next thing, one of the others came and banged on the door impersonating Miss Walker's booming voice, “come out of there.” Much mocking of the bad impersonation followed before the door was opened. It was not an impersonator. Detentions all round.” Janet China ’65-’70

“Does anyone else remember tormenting our long-suffering caretaker by pulling the plug out of the wall when he was polishing the floors? And because it was a long extension cord, he had to walk all the way back, poor man.” Maureen Whitehead ’59-’64

“... a Miss Harris who taught Latin and was one of the old school. She was always giving me lines for talking in class, so once I wrote them out in advance and gave them to her straight away. You should have seen the look on her face!” Janet China ’65-’70

“Janet Saville was a bit of a rebel, and I always felt privileged that I was allowed to be part of their group.” Maureen Whitehead ’59-’64

“There was a girl who danced to unheard music in the gym cloakroom and threatened me with a filed smooth, razor sharp ha'penny for looking at her!” Merryll Wheatley ’58-’61

“[I remember] we used to sneak to West Park or a local fish shop occasionally and once being hauled back by a prefect who saw us.” Veronica Skirrow ’59-’64

“Does anyone else remember sneaking out to the shops in West Park for potted meat sandwiches?” Sarah Sharp ’64-’71

“One day my mates and I were sitting on the table at the right hand side of the dining room door, backs to the wall, with the playing field on our right. On the menu were sausages - aka petrified chipolatas! We decided it might be quite fun to throw a few across the dining room. Mrs. Harris was presiding on the table at the Ring Road side and the windows were open. One sausage missed Mrs. Harris by a hairs breadth but she didn't seem to notice and several of the missiles in question flew out of the window.

... “Deciding to forego our sponge pud in favour of a jape, we legged it down the stairs and inched round the corner onto the drive that was STRICTLY out of bounds. There in resplendent glory lay several sausages. One by one we threw them upwards and they sailed majestically through the dining room window. We beat a hasty retreat but later learned that one poor soul was eating sponge and custard one minute and sponge custard and sausage the next!! We weren’t caught.” Janet Ball ’56-’61

“On my first day at Lawnswood, I turned up in long white socks (we weren't allowed nylons in 5th year at my old school), sat at the front of the class, and - HORROR OF HORRORS - put my hand up to answer the teacher's questions. Three deadly sins in the first half hour - it didn't last long though - I caught on quickly!” Sue Hudson ’68-’71

“I loved my time at Lawnswood, although I was a rebel and caused some disturbances in my time there, campaigning against the Vietnam war and staging a walk-out when the school's central heating broke down - but this was 1968, so it seemed the thing to do. I still have the letter Miss Longworth wrote to my mother about this: '17 fifth form girls have staged an ill conceived revolt....' is a line that has stayed in my memory.” Alison Dalwood ’65-’72

“I recall setting up a small folk group with Liz Smith and I playing guitars and Janet Parkin and Judith Reed singing with us. I remember getting a warm reception at one of the concerts - but my mother told me later that she was sitting behind Miss Longworth who applauded every performance except ours - when we had finished she kept her hands on her lap and told her companion that of course we were not worth recognition as what we did was not proper music and we were all troublemakers!” Sarah Sharp ’64-’71

“… and I remember a house music competition when one of our year, whose name I cannot remember, was forced to play the violin. She was a very good player but because she was forced to participate she produced the most awful sounds. We all thought she was very brave!” Jane Porter ’65-’72

“Eileen [Suthers], Anne [Johnson] and I seemed to court trouble and I’ll never forget the day we managed to avoid Miss Boyd, the gym teacher we were sure was ex-army (“Come ALONG girls! Don't shilly-shally now!”) and climbing in through a wooden hatch we discovered not far from the icy-cold, open-to-the-elements changing rooms (which opened directly onto South Drive) and discovering a warren of passages. We went back the next day with a box of matches as none of us had a torch, and some polony in case we were hungry.

... It was very dusty down there and there were little heaps of straw at intervals. When we had progressed a fair way along one of the tunnels and seemed to be lost, we set a bit of the straw alight so the matches would last longer as by then we were scared of being lost in the dark. The straw proved more difficult to control than anticipated and at that point the school was in severe danger of being burnt down! Eventually we could see glimmers of light and discovered we were actually under the school platform in the hall. Immediately above us we heard voices in conversation and were horrified to realise that Miss Holden was conducting a Staff meeting overhead and that our only way out would be right under their noses. We emerged: our navy gymslips and white blouses covered in dust, Anne’s and my plaits and Eileen’s short fair hair had collected cobwebs en route, our faces blackened by smoke from the straw, and altogether we were a “disgrace to Lawnswood” we were told in Miss Holden's carpeted office later. ” Hilary Steeple ’44-’51