October 16th, 2010
It took me just a few days to copy all of the names featured
in all of the photos in the albums and whole school pictures (1947 and
1955) and put them all together to create a
database of over 1,100 Old Girls, showing which photos each of
them was in! This is probably more than a third of all the Old Girls who
attended the school between 1922-75. A few name duplications have been
noticed and some spelling mistakes corrected, and there are even grid references
to the whole school photos. (This is attached to this e-mail as an Excel
file – SGHSNames.xls – down to my first class maths degree, crowned by
a master’s.) Would have looked even better with the inclusion of that front
row of 1950 Form 4R!
In the 1930s (when the school had a prep department),
the normal progression from main school to sixth form was Forms 2, 3, 4,
Upper 4, 5, Lower 6 and Upper 6. Though there were A and B forms then (implying
streaming by ability), it seems rather ironic that, of the 10 girls in
both the 1939 second form (first year) and 1945 sixth form (upper sixth)
pictures, 7 were members of 2B and only 3 were in the A stream! The girls
in the ‘1936 Form 2?’ photo tended to be in the ‘1939 Form 5?’ pic (as
if there was no Upper 4; a number of these were in 1938 Form 2B to really
confuse the matter!). The ‘?’ Forms may have been house groups instead?
(There was no streaming after the war – forms were based on surnames and
‘O’ level choices. I think that the small 1950 Form 5I may have been a
‘general sixth form’ group.)
The most common Christian name among the Old Girls in
the database was Margaret (1 in 18 had that name). The rest of the top
ten reads as follows: Ann/Anne, Patricia/Pat, Jean, Joan, Barbara, Mary,
Gillian/Gill/Jill, Kathleen and Dorothy. Maureen featured 7 times (1 in
162 Old Girls).
Other sources of names of Old Girls are old school magazines
and speech day programmes. Some other old school websites do have scanned
copies of examples of these on their webpages, including Lawnswood High
School for Girls (which was a grammar school in Leeds).
I read in an education book that only around 1 in 6 children
in the North Riding of Yorkshire passed the 11 plus to get into grammar
schools in the 1950s. In the 1940s, around half of the North Riding’s 11
plus failures did not even go to a senior or secondary modern school, but
remained in ‘all-age’ schools until they left school to go to work. The
only technical school in the North Riding was the Scarborough Technical
Institute (boys’ school with 13+ entry), which closed in the 1960s. Some
other local education authorities had (in addition to grammar and secondary
modern schools) selective central schools for the second layer of ability
at 11 plus (those who missed the grammar school standard by a certain margin),
and various types of technical school that one could enter at age 13 (e.g.
engineering or building for boys, commercial or housewifery for girls,
art schools, even schools for boot and shoe manufacture!).
I remember I e-mailed you 18 months ago (see Message Board
– doesn’t time fly), in which I wrote that I ‘sort of’ did my ‘A’ levels
before my ‘O’s (GCSEs), despite my Asperger’s Syndrome and special schooling,
and won two Daily Mail ‘Letter of the Week’ awards in 2005 (including a
picture of myself in the paper with one of those letters, ain’t fibbing).
Since that time, I’ve had a couple more letters published in the Mail,
with a second photo of myself in their letters column accompanying an article
on "Grammars Get Top Marks For Boys" (state grammars get 40% more working
class boys into law or elite financial jobs than comprehensives, and even
more into Oxbridge). I’ve also been on six cruises with my retired parents
(including Alaska, both East and West of Canada, and New York twice). I’ve
now been on 16 cruises and visited 30 countries (including Panama, Israel,
China and Vietnam).
You mentioned corporal punishment at your primary school
– girls got the 'slipper' (a flexible gym shoe) and boys the cane. The
special school where I spent 9 years also had the slipper (also a flexible
gym shoe), and I think I had the schools’ record of most visits to the
office (8 occasions, 14 strokes in total). Did convent schools beat their
girls like they did on the Aussie drama series Brides of Christ?
I look forward to receiving any replies.
[link to database HERE]
April 1st 2009
E-mailed to point out a few possible errors/ambiguities
regarding the photo galleries of 1940s and 1950.
. . . Main differences between boys’ and girls’
grammar schools – many of the former (especially direct grant schools)
had express streams (e.g. 4 years to ‘O’ level) and third year sixth forms
aiming at Oxbridge entry, and virtually all of the boys’ schools had used
corporal punishment. It was not unknown for a boy to achieve the Higher
School Certificate in three successive years! On the other hand few of
the academically selective girls’ schools had fast streams, and physical
punishment was virtually unheard of in these schools. The drive for a broader
education meant that few schools were still running accelerated courses
for their abler pupils by the late 1970s. I believe that Tiffin Boys’ School
(Kingston-upon-Thames) was the last state school to abolish the express
stream, in the late 1980s.
The name grid for the front row of SGHS Form 4R (1950) was
missing. Was this because all of the 10 girls in that front row were unidentified?
- just webmaster error]
Perhaps the strangest finding was that most of those in the
Lower Sixth (1949) photo were in the one for Form 5I the following year!
How is it possible to ‘move down’ from L6 to 5I? For the record, June Bayley
was in 4H in March 1948, followed by L6 and 5I. [Lower
6th (1949) has now been removed]
There were really two school uniforms at around this period
(and that’s just the winter uniforms!) – older girls could choose to wear
skirts instead of gym tunics. Numbers in each of the 1950 form photos (with
numbers wearing skirts in brackets) were as follows: First 53 (0), Second
49 (0), Third 63 (5), Fourth 57 (26), 5H/5S 61 (42), 5I 13 (10), L6 15
(12), U6 17 (17). A few of the girls weren’t wearing ties (I wonder why?).
Very impressive school pictures though.
Most schools were streamed around this period. SGHS forms
were named after the surname initials of the form mistresses – was the
school unstreamed? If not, what were the ‘A’ forms and the ‘B’ forms in
the 1950 set? Of the 15 girls in Lower Sixth (1950), 3 were in 4H in 1948
– was the 4H of 1948 the ‘B’ stream (they were pictured doing Domestic
Science instead of Latin)? [A was for Ashton; B was
In the 1940s set, there is a photo of ‘Ball Boys at the Yorkshire
Lawn Tennis Club, Filey Road, Scarborough 1949’. Were all the girls pupils
of SGHS? If so, were all the girls members of house or school tennis teams?
. . . [ Well? Does anyone know?]
I look forward to receiving any replies.