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Sylvia Coe

Does anyone remember Sylvia Coe - 81years young?

I am now 81 so it was a long time ago! When I was at Tormead I was Sylvia Coe, which because I was always sewing, got shortened to Sylko! I was there from 1951 until 1958 when it was a boarding school. At the time I lived in Bristol and because I was what they referred to as a half orphan (my mother had died the previous year) Bristol education authority gave me a scholarship to the school. My last 2 years I was boarder head girl.

One of the teachers ,Miss King, who taught Latin, also lived in Bristol so we met up with her at Temple Meads station, and she took us to Tormead by train. We had to change stations in Reading and I remember her taking us to a tea shop as we had an hour to spare before the next train. There were 2 other girls , older than me, with us. One was called Flossie Thomas.

Once at Tormead we were met by lovely  matron, Miss Harvey, who showed us to our dormitory, Mine was in the main building above the front door and was a room for 7 of us! We all had to queue up each term outside matron’s office to have our temperatures taken to ensure we were not coming back with some infection!

I did not have any siblings at Tormead. They stayed in Bristol.

I particularly remember Miss Clark(history) and Miss Thomas(French) who lived together: Miss Jones(art and needlework) and Miss Williams(music), another pair, and Miss Holdaway (English). Maths was taught for O and A level by the then headmistress, Miss Cole, who , with another lady founded the school. (I cant remember her name but she was very old and died while I was there) Miss Andrews and Miss Hargreaves taught sport and I remember walking down to Guildford swimming pool for lessons there and because I couldn’t swim Miss Andrews threw me in the deep end (an experience I didn’t enjoy) as I couldn’t swim.

As boarders we all walked in crocodile to church each Sunday morning, and got taken for a walk in the afternoon. Depending on who was on duty the walks varied in length, from a stroll around to Stoke Park and sometimes down to the river (no dual carriage way to cross then) ,to what seemed like a  a marathon ,up to St Martha’s church. On Saturday ‘s we were allowed in to town.

I really enjoyed Maths, and geography but not Physics lessons as the teacher, Miss Kennard, had 2 very protruding front teeth and if you sat at her end of the bench you were in for a shower when she spoke!!

We ha a house dance competition each year which the prefects had to organise. One particular occasion that I remember was when we(Nelson House)organized something on the lines of a Persian market, and I made a camel costume which 2 girls had to get in like a pantomime horse! We used some of the music from Peer Gynt and my friend Yvonne Hayes composed some extra music for the camel to move to! Needless to say Nelson won that year!

School trips were not common in those days, but I do remember  there being a trip to the continent when they travelled by train in very cramped conditions and one of the girls, Shirley Dawkins, who went, did a huge pen and ink drawing of them cramped up in a train compartment , even someone trying to sleep on the luggage rack! I think this drawing got various awards.

I went back to various old girls days for some years and was secretary of TOGA for a short while, so have seen the school enlarge and develop over the years, but have not been in recent years. Very different now I guess.

There probably are not too many people now who remember me, but would be pleased to hear from anyone who does. I trained to teach which I did until 2000, having only had a few years off when my children were small. They are now 52 and 49!

Please do get in touch if you remember Sylvia or if you would like to share your  own memories.

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