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News > JAGS Journal > Shirley Partridge (nee Godden) writes

Shirley Partridge (nee Godden) writes

I started at JAGS in 1946 travelling by tram or bus to Townley Road and walking through to East Dulwich Grove, remembering not to embarrass my brother who was at Alleyn’s by walking on the boys’ side of the road.  He would only acknowledge my existence after we got off the tram (boys upstairs, girls down) in Catford.  Often in snowy weather the tram could not get to the top of Hornimans Hill and on one occasion as no replacement buses had appeared, I was so thankful to meet a prefect at the same bus stop who told me to go home.  I felt glad that on that one day I did not to go to school.
I’ve been remembering our excellent teachers – Headmistress and Maths Miss Edwards;  Geography Miss Skinner;  Biology Miss Fogg; Music Miss Deveson;  French Miss Hodgkiss (one lesson when the heating broke down on a very cold wintry day, she made our day by marching us round the dining hall singing the French anthem to keep warm – one very enterprising teacher); Gym and Games Misses Knott, Skinner and Ross (freezing on the hockey field or netball pitch/ hot in the sun on the tennis courts, cricket field or rounders pitch);  gardening, double digging, picking cornflowers and bunching them up to wear on
Founder’s day – morning in Christ’s Chapel and the afternoon for Sports Day and in between perhaps hiring a canoe on the pond in Dulwich Park, trying not to get our white gloves dirty.
I remember sitting with my class under the willow tree, learning lines for drama (well, I was more likely checking lists for props etc).  When I was in 1st year Sixth, “Androcles and the Lion” was that year’s production.  Not being much of an actress, I was helping backstage – costumes (great fun cutting up our hated velour winter hats to make Roman helmets and armour) and props, when I was asked where we could get a bugle from.  Pleased with myself I offered to borrow one from our local Boys Brigade and proudly brought the treasured silver bugle to school.  The producer promptly asked if I could play it and if not, LEARN.  So off I went to the band rehearsals and duly learnt.  My parents were not so enthralled with me practising at home, so I practised in school in the lunch hour.  But I didn’t realise that the Sixth form common room was above Miss Edwards’ study – outcome I was sent to practice at the other side of the hockey field!!  One result of being involved in that production was laying the foundation of a love of amateur theatre.   
Although there was not much official connection between Alleyn’s and JAGS, there were numerous family connections with siblings attending both schools. I recall my brother’s best friend had a sister in the form above me and a friend from primary school who was in the year after me married my brother, with another form member as a bridesmaid with me.  Alleyn’s put on plays and in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” my brother was a fairy – you can imagine what fun I had teasing him.
Shirley Partridge (née Godden) year of 1952


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