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Loughton County High School for Girls
Loughton High School
"The Utmost for the Highest"
a site for former pupils to enjoy
A few former teachers
The children's writer, Winifred Darch (1884-1960), taught at Loughton County High School for Girls 1906-1935,
as did the hymnodist and poet, Emily Chisholm (1910-1991), who lived in Loughton at 3 Lower Park Rd. Miss Chisholm was teaching at LHS in the early 1930s (she taught French and German) and was still teaching in 1970 (and looking pretty good on the panorama photo) -
an impressive career of over 40 years. Amongst other poems and hymns, she wrote a modern variation on The Holly and The Ivy.
Miss Darch wrote schoolgirl story books, several of which are available on Amazon and eBay.
Mostly pitched towards teen and pre-teen girls they nevertheless emphasized the importance
of schooling for girls and the possibilities for educated women both in the school environment
and outside and may well have attracted an adult readership too. There is a blue plaque to
Miss Darch, erected in 2000, on a wall of the old Loughton High School building at
Roding Valley High School
Miss Florence James took over music teaching in 1946. Christine is putting together some information about her. Meanwhile there are references to the impact she had on music at school on the Music page and the Christmas page.
Miss Tatiana Wolff joined the staff of LHS in 1951. She continued to work until her retirement in 1984. She is remembered by her colleague, Dorothy Henderson. There is also a scanned copy of an article about a book that she co-wrote called "Lines on the Underground" which is shown here by kind permission of Choice Magazine.
Miss Gadd joined the staff in 1957 and, like Miss Wolff, retired in 1984. She joined as Head of Physics, later becoming Head of Science. Her time at LHS is remembered by colleague Miss McLellan.
There are farewell addresses to two other teachers who also retired in 1984, Mrs Dorothy Henderson and Miss Loynes
You can also read tributes to two teachers who retired in 1982 - Miss Leigh and Miss Slingerland
Mrs Marjorie Daniel (nee Hammersey) taught PE at LHS in the early 1950s. She also played hockey for England in 1952 and 1953 and got seven caps. Jean Parle (nee Burns) - LHS 1952-57 - remembers the whole school being taken to Wembley to watch her play against Holland in 1953. There is more information about Miss Daniel's hockey career here
She had two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, who also attended LHS. In her spare time she was Brown Owl of the 1st Chigwell Brownies
thanks to Jean Parle (nee Burns) LHS 1952 - 57 for bringing Miss Daniel's career to light,
the National Hockey Museum for the information on her sporting career and to
Mary Lewis (nee Redfern) for the info about her daughters and the Brownies
Miss Madeleine (Mollie) Heald M.A, joined the school in September 1945, having previously worked at Howell's School in Denbigh, North Wales, a school which apparently had links with Bancrofts. She was headmistress for 26 years, retiring in the spring of 1972, and was awarded the OBE in 1971 for her distinguished services to education. Miss Heald gained her M.A. at Newnham College, Cambridge, having learned Spanish in just one term in order to gain entrance. She reputedly knew every current pupil at LHS by name and had the orator's talent of being able to clear her throat while still speaking normally to a large hall full of people. She was a very kind lady and took time to speak to individual pupils whenever she felt they were in need of guidance. Miss Heald died in March 2003 at the age of 93. Long serving school secretary Faith Neville attended both her funeral and the later memorial service only months before her own death in January 2004 at the age of 90.
Miss Heald was succeeded by
Mrs Winifred Jean Delchar, a 40 year old mother of two boys. Previously she had been senior mistress at Mayesbrook Comprehensive School in Barking and had 20 years experience of teaching at both grammar and comprehensive schools. She lived in Upminster. Sadly, Mrs Delchar was not destined to be head for long, though she apparently made a significant impact on the school during her short reign. After illness and major surgery she appeared to recover well, only to fall ill again during the summer holidays of 1976. Although she returned to school after the holidays, she died in hospital, just a few weeks after the new term started.
School survives risk of demolition
It was during Mrs Delchar's time that there were plans to demolish the lovely old school buildings with the intention of rebuilding on a site adjacent to Buckhurst Hill County High School for boys, since the two schools were to combine as a co-ed comprehensive. Fortunately local residents took up the call to arms and the old buildings were saved.
Deputy head steps up
Deputy head, Mrs Dorothy Henderson, who had been teaching English at LHS since the late 60s, temporarily took over the duties of headmistress after the sudden loss of Mrs Delchar, until her replacement could be appointed.
There is a tribute to Mrs Henderson's time at LHS and to her sense of humour. You can read it here.
It comes from the 1985 LHS magazine, following her retirement in 1984
Mrs Henderson wrote a wonderful appreciation of Miss Wolff which you can read here
She also wrote and produced Miss Wolff's scrapbook, given to her on retirement. It is reproduced here
New Head moves in
Miss Patricia Smith had been headmistress at Leyton Senior High School for 13 years before she was appointed as head at LHS. She began her duties after the Easter holidays in 1977. She was chosen in part because she had already overseen the changes at Leyton from its status as a grammar school to that of senior high. These changes were due to take place at Loughton in 1979, during her tenancy as head teacher. These changes included the new combined sixth form with the boys from Buckhurst Hill County High. As far as I have been able to determine, Miss Smith left (or retired?) at the end of the summer term in 1985 (please let me know if this is incorrect).
And on the changes go
Miss Christine Manning joined LHS as head teacher in the autumn of 1985 as the changes continued apace. The name Loughton County High School disappeared completely in 1989 when the school became Epping Forest High School and later Roding Valley High School, a school which, for a few years, specialised in teaching the performing arts. How times change!
Much of Christine's research has been thanks to the help of the school librarian, Julia Martin, and the kind agreement of the headmasters of Roding Valley High - Mr Paul Banks to 2014 and the current headmaster Mr James Luck (2014/5)
Mary E. Hall M.A. 1876 - 1962
The first headmistress of Loughton County High School from 1906 to 1936
Miss Hall gave the school its motto - "The Utmost for the Highest"
This statue of Miss Hall still stands in the entrance hall of the present school surrounded by the LCHS honours boards even though the school name has changed and the honours boards probably mean very little to the current generation of pupils at Roding Valley High School.
Christine informs me that the bust was a gift to the school in 1935/6 by Miss Picot, who she believes was a former art teacher at LHS
She was born on 12th January 1876 in Greenheys, near Oldham and educated at Manchester High School for Girls from 1888 to 1892 and then gained an MA at Owen’s College (later to be known as the Victoria University of Manchester) in 1903, studying mathematics, economics, Latin and French. Her former headmistress at Manchester High, Miss Burstall, persuaded her to take up teaching. After teaching English at North Manchester HS, Miss Hall started her own, very successful, school at Long Mills, Derbyshire, then at the age of twenty-nine she became headmistress of the first High School for Girls in Essex - our LHS. She invited Miss Burstall to be Guest Speaker at LHS in 1914 and 1921.
sources: : Loughton High School magazine No 42, Autumn 1963
Manchester High School Archives
Many thanks to Christine Spencer for the research
Miss Eleanor Margarethe Verini took over when Miss Hall retired. She was born 19th May 1894 in Exton, Hampshire, where her father was Rector and she was educated at Queen Margaret's School, Scarborough and at the Cheltenham Ladies' College, then became a student at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. She worked as senior English Mistress at Edgbaston High School, Birmingham and later as lecturer in English at Cambridge Training College for Women (Post Graduate), before taking up the position of headmistress at Ely High School in 1929. She left there in 1936 to become headmistress at Loughton High. She left Loughton in 1945 when she was appointed as Principal of the Cambridge Training College for Women.
Many thanks to Christine Spencer for researching this. There is more information in the link below
Loughton County High School for girls was opened in January 1906 in a house in York Hill. There were then 29 girls, under a headmistress and one assistant mistress, and there was also a visiting science master. In May 1908 the first part of the present building in Alderton Hill was opened, and in 1912 the average attendance was 118. Temporary buildings were added in 1917. In 1922 a swimming-bath was added and in 1923 the first part of a new permanent wing was built. By 1929 there was accommodation for 450 girls. In 1930 a new assembly hall was built and the final part of the new wing added. Playing field space has been increased from time to time. There are now (1954) approximately 550 pupils and the staff, including the headmistress, numbers 30.
In 1927, a 7 year old girl named Pauline Burborough and her new friend Rosemary Tharp, joined Loughton High as juniors. The junior school was housed in a single storey wing to the left of the main entrance hall as you face the school from the road. (This wing later gained an extra storey). At this time there were four classes in the Junior section - Infants and Form 1 had Miss Coombs as Form Mistress. Miss Moore was Form Mistress of the next class up - 2b. At the age of 10, girls moved into Form 2a with Miss Waugh.
Miss Cowmeadow took care of the top Juniors. Form 3 also took in girls who had passed the age eleven entrance exam.
Forms 4a and 4b were for 12 year olds, 4a being the top stream. Miss Mather had one of these classes. 5a, 5b and 5c were for age 13 and Miss Bachelor took one of these.
Lower 6th was age 14 and Upper 6th age 15/16 which was normal leaving age though it was possible to stay on at school beyond Upper 6th to take further exams for college entrance.
Pauline was chosen as Deputy Head Girl and together with the Head Girl, Winnie Bavin, they attended a function at Buckingham Palace as representatives of the School, in the summer of 1936. She left school that same summer, aged 16, having taking Matriculation exams in the Upper 5th and Highers in the Upper 6th.
The March 1938 school magazine says:
“ ………….the coronation comes within the period covered by this magazine. The Head Girl and the Deputy (1937Winifred Bavin and Pauline Burborough) were given places by the Essex Education committee to see the procession from the stands on Constitution Hill, and later several of us took part in the Youth Rally at the Albert Hall.” - thanks to Christine Spencer for this additional info
In addition to the Form Mistresses, some other members of staff at that time were Miss Chisholm, Miss Morris (Latin and Greek), Miss Wiseman (Latin), Miss Darch (English - became a childrens' writer - see below), and Miss Morrell (English).
Miss Cowmeadow was still teaching in the 1950s and Miss Morrell in the mid 60s and Miss Chisholm was still teaching in 1970.
Many thanks to Mrs Pauline Bartholomew (nee Burborough) for her amazing memory and to her daughter, - Frances Fielding (nee Bartholomew), also of LHS, for sending me her mother's story.
June Farrell MBE (LHS 1944 - 49) also remembers the earlier days at the school. June is married to Colin Harbott who was at Buckhurst Hill County High School. They married in 1954 so will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2014. June's story is here
Thanks to changes in Government policy, state grammar schools were being closed in favour of comprehensive education and so in 1989, Loughton County High School for Girls disappeared and following a difficult merger with Epping Forest High School (formerly Luctons), it became Roding Valley High School. During the changeover, the 6th form combined with Buckhurst Hill County High School for boys which was suffering a similar fate to LHS.
If you can name any others, please email me email@example.com Thanks
DEPUTY HEAD GIRL
Annie Tee (Acting HG)
Betty Tubby (Head Prefect)
Shirley P Jones
(from March) Judith French
Doris Burrows & Joan Gilbey
Valerie Grist &
From 1982, instead of Head Girl, Deputy and Prefects, there were teams of girls (and boys from the combined
sixth form with Buckhurst Hill County High), in the form of a School Council
1982 1985 1986/7
Coordinator : Heather Hinkley Cathy Andrews
Chairperson (main school council) : Anita Dighe Alison Dwyer
Chairperson (6th Form council) : Sally Eden Paula Berrisford Jane Cooke
Secretary (6th Form council) : Karin Field Isobel Black
Priscilla Mary Ellingford born 1902 married Keith Warner 1934, died 1994. She was a pupil at LCHS and won the Essex County Art Scholarship. She went to the Royal College of Art and is known to be an illustrator of 14 books (according to the British Library Catalogue). 3 of them are - Stories of Missionary Saints 1926, High Days and Holidays - stories, legends and customs(1931) Welcome Christmas - legends,carols, stories and riddles (1932).
Priscilla designed this school magazine cover for 1923.
As you can see, she included the school motto - "The Utmost for the Highest" in the design.
She also drew some pictures that are included on the Christmas page
You can read a tribute to Mrs Delchar and her time as Head of LHS here.
It was written by Mrs Henderson and comes from the 1977 LHS magazine
Jane Malyon (nee Norris) - LHS 1968 - 75 - managed to get into the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records with her Guinness World Record for the largest tea party ever held in one location.
Jane runs The English Cream Tea Company supplying afternoon tea and picnic hampers and gifts UK-wide - as well as providing food and etiquette training for events.
You can see a photo of her tea party here
Gay Singleton is the stage name of former pupil Gabrielle Shingleton - LHS 1956 - 63
Her close friend from the early years of her career, Geoff Blyth, remembers her here
June Farrell MBE who attended LHS between 1944 and 1949
Her memories of school and of receiving her MBE can be found here
Jill Barklem (nee Gaze), author and illustrator of the Brambly Hedge series of childrens books was a pupil at LHS from 1962
Linda Newbery was educated at Epping Junior School and Loughton County High School (1963-1970). She has won many awards for her children's books, including the Costa Children's Book of the Year prize for her young adult novel Set In Stone.
She also writes for younger children - her Cat Tales are favourites with younger readers. Her website is here
Christine Still (nee Ashton) is a gymnastics coach and BBC sports commentator. She attended LHS from 1964 to 1969
Perhaps the most famous pupil to emerge from LHS is
Ruth Rendell, (nee Graseman - LHS 1937 - 1948 - Ruth began school in the Preparatory department aged 7) Baroness Rendell of Babergh (born 17th Feb 1930, died 2nd May 2015), who lived in Shelley Grove, Loughton, was educated at Loughton County High School for Girls and subsequently worked as a journalist in Loughton at the West Essex Gazette
Some former pupils
Read more about Miss Darch, including a lovely letter she wrote, here on the teachers page
A bit of history
Ruth Rendell visited the school
and signed copies of her books for the girls
DBE, PhD, BSc (Hons), FIMA, AcSS
Professor of Mathematics Education, UCL
See here for more information about Celia and her work
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