School History

HISTORY OF CCHS

While writing my own personal memories of CCHS, I got interested in its earlier history. It is an integral part of Chelmsford and I became interested in the history of my home town (a city since March 2012) after dismally flunking my third form "Chelmsford and Basildon Project" in Integrated Studies! While queuing in the corridor on the way to morning assembly I often admired the photos of former headmistresses that hung on the wall near the school offices.

The 1940s and Second World War

The 1940s are overshadowed by the Second World War which saw rationing, shortages and women playing a greater role in the workforce. There was a culture of "make do and mend" and self-sufficiency, including allotment gardening, knitting and recycling. During this decade, the rigid class system could no longer be sustained. More women were going out to work and more households saw themselves as middle class. The below-stairs style of domestic service was on the wane.

During the 1940s, adverts pertaining to domestic servants vanish from the CCHS magazine reflecting changes in society. The school embarks on a number of war efforts. CCHS is located dangerous close to Chelmsford’s industries such as Christy Bros, Marconi, Hoffmans and Cromptons.

1939-1945: School continues to operate during WW2. Chelmsford suffers numerous air raids due to its engineering companies and CCHS suffers air raid damage on 4 occasions in the form of numerous broken windows. Examination candidates get their own air-raid shelter. During one term, a quarter of the school hours were spent underground in long damp trenches lit using car batteries. All pupils and staff carried their coat, gas mask and a bag of essentials around school with them. There was some relaxation of the summer uniform - gingham dresses costing fewer clothing coupons during rationing.

Corridors are full of gasmasks, galoshes, warm clothing and rucksacks of essentials for air-raids. They are also full of salvage and recyclable items for the war effort. Care packages are collected for wounded soldiers. There is much knitting of blankets and mending of garments for wartime "relief" organisations. The school magazines are produced in small print on greyish paper and there are articles about each form's contribution to the war effort. Miss Cadbury is inspirational, visiting the trenches and shelters during air raids with gifts of boiled sweets to keep up pupils' morale.

1940: School resumes in January. A triple ring of the school bell is the signal to take shelter. Nets are put over windows and some walls are reinforced.

1941: An Allotment Club is formed as part of the war effort and sells vegetables to the school kitchen. Daytime air raids mean dinner is often served in the relative safety of the lower corridor.

1944: School has continued to grow - there are now 400 pupils. Almost all pupils are staying for lunch at school rather than risk going home. The Allotment Club is producing a large amount of food. All of the school's windows are broken on the final night of one term. Staff do fire-watches. Bombing raids on nearby Hoffmans cause damage to the school. Examination discipline has to be maintained during air raids - if an examination is interrupted, the pupils must sit in silence in a shelter attached to the main building until they can return to the exam papers. Butler Education Act means entrance to Grammar School is by 11-plus examination.

1945: New Hut and Canteen are built.

The Essex Chronicle, February 16, 1945
DOCTOR AND HIS BRIDE
The following announcement appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Feb. 3. Mr M. Henry and Miss D. Moncur. The marriage announced between Mr. Martin Henry, of East House, Chelmsford, and Miss Dorothy Moncur, of Greenhill Stairs, Moffat, will take place quietly in Chelmsford, on Friday February 9. [. . .] The bride is a mistress at the Chelmsford County High School.

1946: Three admission forms for first years. Two new temporary form rooms are built and the canteen and kitchen are completed. Mr & Mrs Brundle retire (Mrs Brundle ran the kitchen and dining hall). Commemoration Day and Carol Service return to Chelmsford Cathedral. The air raid trenches are filled in by a naval squad.

The Essex Chronicle, May 31, 1946
PUBLIC SPIRIT AWARDS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS ANNOUNCED AT PRIZE DISTRIBUTION
To encourage "public spirit" among the pupils of Chelmsford County High School, Mr, W. C. C. Turner has made the school a gift of £50 as an endowment for two annual awards. Mr. Turner, who lives in Chelmsford, made the gift at the end of the last school year “to award and inculcate good citizenship in the school.” The first awards will be made this year, probably to the senior members of the school, although that is so far not definite. The prizes will take the form of books. Mr Turner has already made a number of gifts to other schools in the town.

This announcement was made in the annual report of the Headmistress, Miss G. Cadbury, at the prize-giving of the Girls’ County High School on Wednesday afternoon, when the Bishop of Chelmsford distributed the prizes and certificates. He had come at short notice, as Alderman Mrs C. B. Alderton was unable to be present owing to illness.

Miss Cadbury also spoke of the activities of the school in the past year. Fifty-eight girls sat for the General School Certificate, 51 of whom passed, 35 gaining matriculation exemption, and of the five candidates for the Higher Certificate, three were successful. The school had obtained good results in the National Savings Movement, and in its support of a number of charities. The sports enthusiasts had enjoyed a fairly successful hockey season, and many clubs and societies, such as the Social and Literary Societies and the Greek Club and Drama Club, have flourished.

Miss Cadbury mentioned with regret the resignation of two governors, Mr. Leonard Christy and of Mr Hales, and of Mr H. W. Alston from the position of clerk to the governors. At the same time, she welcomed the new governor, Mrs J.P. Roberts.

Two of the Sixth Form, she said, have got vacancies at the University, two are going to do courses of physiotherapy, two are taking up nursing, and seven obtained entrances to Teachers’ Training Colleges.

The Headmistress concluded with the words: “War has left us uncertain aims and distorted values. I hope as its horrors recede into the background, the girls growing up in the school will feel more fully that inner serenity which comes from a quiet, ordered life, with unity of purpose.”

In his address, the Bishop of Chelmsford said he was very glad to be speaking to a school of girls, and remarked “My eldest daughter is the second nicest person I ever met. I have some granddaughters, too, and a whole wagon-load of nieces.”

Speaking of the different sides of life which had to be cultivated, the Bishop said: “The world It full of endeavours to make life full and rich and happy for all people. And that’s quite right. But you must go deeper than that if you are to meet all the needs of human nature. Here you have the musical, the scientific and the artistic sides of life developed. But there is another world with which we have to try to establish contact.”

The Bishop gave his audience a motto which he said he hoped they would remember all their life. "It is one of the greatest things that has ever been said." he remarked. “It is what the Prophet said when he was asked the right way to live, and replied: ‘To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.’ I spoke just now of my granddaughters. I want them to grow up in a happy world, and they can't without high moral principles, and that's why I want to set all you youngsters on my side to make the world happy for my granddaughters. So, you see, I'm selfish. Always be absolutely straight; never be in the least bit crooked. Say what you mean and mean what you say, even if you're going to be shot at dawn for it. Finally, speak kindly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.”

In proposing a vote of thanks, the Mayor (Ald. A. E. Hodge) supported the Bishop's words on the importance of the youth of the country when he said: “We can’t treasure our young people too much. They are the treasury of our life."

Subject Prizes — Biology, Frances Deal; English, Margaret Cooper; French, Mary Roe; mathematics, Sheila Longman; music, Mary Roe.

Scholarships and Awards. — P Howe, County Major Scholarship; S Longman, County Major Scholarship, Bancroft Scholarship, and State Scholarship; Hasler, Major Award; J Fuche, Ashdown Scholarship; B. Gannon Campbell Clarke Scholarship (at the Royal Academy of Music).

Medals. — Bronze, hockey, Betty Miller, Ruby Miller – Tennis, Janet Lawrence, Irene Penfold — Silver, tennis Betty Miller, Iren Penfold.

Cambridge School Certificate with matriculation exemption - S. Amery, H. Broadway, B Cass, H Clyne, D Cole, M. Cook, A. Cowell, M. Drake, J Drakeford, M Elkington, J Fuche, L Hughes, D Hurrell, M. Jenkins, P Joslin, P. Kine, J Leslie, J Lewis, M MLidbury, S Lovelend, B Miller, P Mitchell, J Pease, E. Penkman, E. Puddicombe, A. Reed, A Reekie, J. Sampson, B Shaw, P Sheldrick, M. Stapleton, G Tozer, S. Warren, O Wood, I. Mallinson.

Cambridge School Certificate - B Bowdidge, R Bower, P. Cutts, E. Firman, B. May, R Passmore, P Purdie, B Roper, M Snelling, G Springett, C. Stone, J. Taylor, J Thirkettle, K Thorp, A Turner. Supplementary Certificates - J. Lawrence, I Penfold.

Cambridge Higher Certificate – L. Baxter, P. Howe, S. Longman, F Deal, L. Hasler. — Subsidiary: M Kelsey, J. Lawrence, I Penfold, Y. Mason.

The Essex Newsman - Herald, Friday, March 22, 1946.
CHELMSFORD GIRL FIRST G.I. BRIDE IN ILLINOIS
First G.I. bride to arrive in Aurora, Illinois, U.S.A. is Mrs. Pamela Mushrush, daughter of Mrs. E Beeton. of 22 Marconi Road, Chelmsford, and one of five sisters. She was educated at Chelmsford County High School, from where she joined the staff of Marconi’s. She served in the W.A.A.F.S for four years during two of which she was corporal. Her marriage to Larry Mushrush, of the U.S. Army, took place in April, 1945, and in February of this year she sailed from Southampton to New York aboard S.S. Washington to join her husband and begin her new life in the United States. Mrs. Mushrush, in a letter to a sister, speaks regretfully of the luxurious food on board, which she and her fellow G.I. brides could not enjoy because of seasickness on a rough voyage! “If it were not for this, she says, it would be a luxury cruise.” Of the scenery in America she says: “It looked just like England, although there were miles and miles with no houses.” She also says: “America isn't all glamour as we think. Most people are just ordinary, although some of the older women wear a lot of make-up, which they don’t in England.”

Essex Newsman, 14th November, 1947 – Today, Friday – 7 p.m. – Sheridan’s “Rivals” - Chelmsford County High School (also on Saturday, 2.30 and 7 p.m.)

The Essex Chronicle, November 15, 1946
Girls' Homework isn't easy when the home's crowded
“Special time and suitable conditions” for homework was a plea made to parents by Miss Cadbury, headmistress, when making her report at the Speech Day of Chelmsford County High School on Friday. Miss Cadbury said she realised the difficulties of crowded houses and shortage of fuel, but parents should understand the importance of homework, which taught a child to work on her own and develop her power of thought. Outside activities during the week should be organised so that the child was not overburdened and had plenty of rest She was sure the parents became weary of hearing of the daily routine at school, but it helped if the child knew her life was of importance and interest to the home circle, and that the school rules were upheld at home.

The Cambridge School Certificate had been gained by 53 of the 56 girls who entered for it, and six out of seven girls got the Cambridge Higher Certificate. Among the old girls, Margaret Gratze, who last year obtained a prize as the best theatre nurse in London, had this year received the Gold Medal for the best all-round nurse in Middlesex Hospital.

Certificates and prizes were distributed by Mrs. Winifred Parsons, M.A., chairman of the Cambridgeshire Secondary Education Committee. Special prizes included: Biology, Pat Humphrys; English, Mary Roe; French, Margaret Cooper; mathematics, Molly Jenkins; music, Barbara Gannon; public spirit, Ethel Dannatt, Kathleen Hilliar, and Clere Baker. - Games medals: Hockey, Ethel Dannalt, June Matthews, Sheila Warren, Andrea Collins and Betty Miller. — Games shield : Tancock House.

Mrs. Parsons, an old girl of the school, spoke with feeling of her early association with “this dear county,” and recalled that when she first arrived as a pupil in black woollen stockings and boater — there were three forms only and staff of the same number.

1947: The Preparatory Dept closes. There is a three-form intake again due to a shortage of grammar school places around the county.

The Essex Chronicle, December 5, 1947
“WOMEN HAVE A BIG PART TO PLAY,” SAYS MRS. R. A. BUTLER
Speaking to 300 girls after distributing the prizes at the annual Speech Day proceedings at Chelmsford County High School for Girls on Friday, Mrs. R. A, Butler, M.A., wife of the Conservative M.P., for Saffron Walden, said: — “Your school days are only the beginning of your education. Women to-day have a much wider field of public work and the professions open to them. Make sure that you start right. This excellent school is the beginning to your careers, in whatever direction they may lie. Make the best possible use of it. Women have a big part to play in their country's future."

The Headmistress, Miss Cadbury, in her report, said there were 418 girls at the school at the beginning of the term. In July the preparatory department was dosed. The four girls remaining - who were too young to qualify for admission to the main school, had joined a small group of boys in the Grammar School preparatory department. It was hoped they would be able to enter the main girls’ school next year.

Additional buildings were greatly needed, and they hoped it would not be long before they were available. The number of girls staying for dinner had risen to 375, and the price of dinners had been reduced to 5d., or 2/- a week.

Commenting upon the examinations, Miss Cadbury said: “The results have again been satisfactory on the whole, though the School Certificate results were not so outstandingly good as in recent years. I think there is a danger, greater since the end of the war, that girls working for this examination, have too much of their time occupied with outside activities after school. They do not always realise that steady application over a period of years, rather than last-minute cramming before the examination, is necessary if they want to do well. It is, of course, much harder nowadays to do homework peacefully, when so many homes are overcrowded, and all are trying to save fuel.”

Other points were:—
The health of the school has been good on the whole.
Many girls had broadened their outlook by visiting places on the Continent.
The police have twice examined all bicycles, and advised on points needing attention.
During the year savings by the girls were just over £670.
Last autumn they picked and sold 13 cwt. of rose hips. This year they have collected only 8 and a half cwt. In the recent salvage drive the school sent off 8 cwt. of paper.
They have also raised over £130 for charities in the last school year.
Enough food was collected to send 25 7lb. parcels to the families of prisoners of war.

The Mayor, Ald. A. W. Andrews, moving thanks, said the town was justly proud of its secondary schools. They were likewise proud of the fine standards set in their elementary schools, enabling many of their scholars to gain higher grade education.

Mrs Butler presented the prizes as follows:—

Cambridge School Certificate Form Upper V., with exemption from London Matriculation : Gwenda Banks, Dorothy Broad, Margaret Campen, Barbara Coates, Rita Cogdale, Iris Collis, Winifred Davis, Elaine French, Margaret Green, June Harvey, Janet Heard, Patricia Hollick, Josephine Horn, Elizabeth Hunter, Eunice Jackson, Christine Kelsey, Jeanne Kentfield, Elizabeth Mason, Margaret Murphy, Brenda Parsons, Olive Perry, Audrey Powling, Pamela Richardson, Jean Sawdy, France Taylor, Patricia Thornhill, Sheila Warminger, Angela Whitehead.

Cambridge School Certificate: Pamela Battins, Christine Beer, Patricia Brown, Dorothy Cartwright, Jean Cooper, Sheila Durand, Daphne Dyson, Maureen Evans, Betty Herries, Maureen Holdstock, Julia Humphrey, Pamela Leeds, Maureen McShane, Daphne Millidge, Pamela Moodey, Eileen Noble, Anthea Ollett, Elizabeth Price, Muriel Seabrook, Ruth Shelley, Jean Skinner, Muriel Wiffen, Mary Wright.

Supplementary Certificates: Clere Baker, Marion Duffield (with Matriculation), Bridget Green, Patricia Humphreys, Eileen Suckling.

December Examination, gaining Matriculation on last year’s School Certificate : Pauline Mansfield, Mary Pitts, Eileen Suckling (already up), Mary Tamkin.

Cambridge Higher Certificate Form Upper VI., Full Certificate: Hazel Clyne, Ann Cowell, Joy Fuche, Molly Jenkins, Mary Lidbury, Patricia Poole, Audrey Reed, Barbara Shaw, Gillian Tozer.

Part Certificate: Joyce Pease, Patricia Purdie — Biology prize (presented by April Catelo), Joy Fuche; English prize (presented by Tillie Cahn), Audrey Reed; French prize (presented by Miss Cramphorn), Patricia Poole; Latin prize (presented by Miss Grigs), Patricia Poole; Mathematics prize (presented by Miss Howes), Yvonne Salmon and Kathleen Sydenham; Music prize (presented by Mr. Bush), Mary Upton; Music prize (presented by Mrs Brandon), Mary Tamkin; Public Spirit prize (presented by Mr Turner), Patricia Purdie, Brenda Parsons.

Games medals - Bronze : Cricket, Heather Broadway; cricket. hockey, tennis, Rita Cogdale; cricket, hockey, tennis, Barbara Cottey; tennis, June Knight; cricket, tennis Maureen McShane; hockey, cricket Patricia Purdie; hockey, tennis Jean Rankin; tennis, Barbara Shaw. — Silver : Heather Broadway, Barbara Shaw,

House Trophies — Drama Speech and Song Shield, Chancellor House (House Captain Eileen Crick); Games Shield, Hulton House (Games Captain Rita Cogdale).

1948: The Sixth Form comprises two forms and has its own uniform.

Essex Chronicle, 29th October, 1948
WON THE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE
As a result of the examination held in July the Cambridge School certificate has been awarded to the following: Chelmsford County High School for Girls. C. Alston, M. J. Amoss, D. L. Archer, J. Blackwood, S Blenkin, S. I. Boulter, E. Bowtle, A. M. Bragg, M.K. Canham, J. M. Carr, H L Carter, E Castell, D. Cattlin, B. A. Clark, A. P. Clemens, J M Crosby, M. J. Day, O. M. Death, D. M. Doe, J. P. Edmunds, I. R. Ersser, M Evans, P W. Fleuty, C I Gant, D M E. Green, M. E Halls, G. V Hanneman, M J. Hodge, C K. Horn, F. Hutchings, J J Jamieson, J. M. Joyce, S P. King, J K Kullman, V. L. London, D F. Mansell, M McCarthy, E. M. McKnight, B M Mills, E. B Mason, J A Naylor, A. Parker, B P. Petch, E G Powling, F Rankin, B. Rayner, E. M Rice, H. M. Rice, J.C. Richards, J Rogers. E. R Rogers, K. M Rudkin, P J. Sanders, A Shuttleworth, P B Simmons, E A Smith, J. E Snowden, I. M Spilsbury, F A Thomas, S J. Thorrington, D. M. Tucker, M E Ward, K. D Wardell, I. M. Whittimore, M C Whybrow, M J. Wiffen, M E. Wilder, E J Wright, E M. Moon.

1949: The forms are renamed. Upper III become Form I. Work begins on the Bancroft Wing to the north-east of the main school building.

Essex Chronicle, 30th September, 1949
SCRIPTURE TEACHER DIES
The staff, pupils and old girls of the Chelmsford County High School are sending flowers for the funeral of Miss H. T. Ball, of Cranleigh, Surrey. She had taught scripture at the school since 1940. Miss Peers will represent the school at the funeral to-day. Miss Ball had been ill for some time and died on Saturday.

The Essex Newsman-Herald, October 18, 1949
Popular headmistress Miss G. M. CADBURY, who recently wrote to the Essex Chronicle about the gift of a 1001b bag of rice from America to the Chelmsford County High School, has now been headmistress of the school for over 14 years Most of the girls whom she first saw from the platform in 1935 will be married by now. Miss Cadbury has the gift of teaching her subjects are science and scripture. Both in the classroom and on the platform on speech days she is a capable speaker. She is very proud of the school, and takes an individual interest in each girl. Also, she has one of the most admirable qualities in any schoolmistress — a sense of humour.

Essex Chronicle, 21st October, 1949
GIRL’S LOST BLAZER, MAN FINED FOR LARCENY
A school blazer lost by Miss Jean Mary Crosby, bank clerk, of Millbridge Road, Witham, when she was cycling through Feering, and picked up by John Ernest Crane, 31, fish merchant, Church St., Witham, led to charge of larceny against Crane at Witham Court on Tuesday. Miss Crosby said the blazer bore the badge the Chelmsford County High School and her name was on a tab. It was worth 30/-. Crane was seen to pick up the blazer, and when Det.-Con. Sewell questioned him he produced the garment from a cupboard at his home, saying his intention was to send the blazer to the Chelmsford High School, but he forgot all about it. Crane was found guilty of larceny, but in view of his good character, both civil and military, the Bench imposed a fine of £2.

Essex Newsman, 4th November, 1949 – Today, Friday – 7.30 p.m. – Chelmsford County High School presents “The Rose and the Ring” (and tomorrow).

Essex Newsman, 8th November, 1949
'ROSE AND RING' IS SUCCESS.
Some fine acting by many of the cast made the Chelmsford County High School's presentation of Thackeray's “The Rose and the Ring" on Friday and Saturday a great success. The princes and princesses were particularly good. Patricia Sayers, who played the part of Prince Bulbo, was outstanding as the blubbering fool who wore the rose. Others taking part were: B. Clark, as Countess Gruffanuff; Cynthia Horn, as King Valoroso; M. Westmoreland, as his queen; and G. Fewings, A. Roberts, and G. Edwards, from the Prep. School, who played the princesses as children, and Jacky, the page.

The 1950s

Post-war reconstruction continued into this era, the Iron Curtain came down between the East and West Europe and the Cold War (and fear of communism) began. Women have more freedom to go out to work, but society still expects them to become wives and mothers rather than career-women. More homes are getting televisions, telephones and cars. Local industries such as Marconi, Hoffman (later to be RHP - Ransom, Hoffman & Pollard), Christie and Crompton Parkinson were expanding and needed administrative and clerical staff.

During the 1950s and 1960s there is much expansion of the school buildings (some of which had previously been demountables or temporary buildings). The (re)building includes a caretaker's house, swimming pool (at the far end of Bancroft Wing), school hall and canteen (beside and behind the gym) and the library and art block (above the Quad). The three-form intake remained.

1950: Science building called Bancroft Wing is completed. It is named on Miss Bancroft's 80th birthday.

Essex Newsman, 10th January, 1950
GIRLS RETURN FROM CONFERENCE
Seven 17-year-old girls from the Chelmsford County High School returned to-day from the conference organised by the Council of Education for World Citizenship, at the Central Hall, Westminster. They were in London for a week. They are: Heather Carter, Betty Clark, Joan Edmunds, Marilyn Evans, Sheila King, Margaret McKnight and Ruth Rogers.

Essex Chronicle, February 3rd, 1950
TOO MANY HELENS. BEAUTY CHALLENGE DECLINED.
Twenty year old Audrey Reed of Mills Crescent. Chelmsford (pictured here), now a student at Southampton University College, has led her fellow students in a refusal to enter the town bathing beauty contest, sponsored by the College in aid of charity. Said Audrey: “We are all so attractive here that we realised the town girls would never stand a chance against us. So we backed out. Audrey, who was a pupil at the Chelmsford County High School, is studying social science, and has another year at the college. She is the vice-president of the College Students' Union. She is the daughter of Inspector Reed, chief officer of the radio department at the Essex County Police Headquarters. (After Helen of Troy, whose face was reputedly so beautiful that it launched a thousand ships.)

Newsman Herald, May 2nd, 1950
WRITTLE GIRL TO SING AT EDINBURGH
April Castelo, daughter of Mr and Mrs Herbert R. Castelo, of Richmond House, Writtle Green, has been invited to sing with the Glyndbourne Opera Company in this year’s Edinburgh Festival. A former pupil of Chelmsford County High School, Miss Castelo has been trained as a professional singer and has often been heard on the radio — in particular on the Third Programme [BBC Radio Three].

The Newsman-Herald, July 7, 1950
80TH ANNIVERSARY
Much-loved headmistress of Chelmsford County High School for 25 years, MISS EDITH BANCROFT, received a special presentation from the girls when she celebrated her 80th birthday on Monday. Each form made a page of their favourite poetry selections which were illustrated by one member of the form, and made into a complete book. She also received flowers from each form captain when the presentation was made in the new wing, which is to be known as the Bancroft wing. Your diarist understands that a further surprise is in store for Miss Bancroft from the Old Girls' Association on July 15tb.

The Newsman Herald, 28 July, 1950
WINNING SMILE
Charming Rita Cogdale was one of the victorious team from Chelmsford County High School who helped to bring back the Aberdare Cup from Wimbledon. The team won the Girls’ School tennis championship of Great Britain.

Chelmsford girls win Aberdare Cup. High School tennis is best in Britain. Chelmsford County High School tennis team, competing for only the second time, became the Champion Schoolgirls' team In England by winning the Aberdare Cup at Wimbledon on Saturday. To do so they had beaten nine schools on their way to the finals. They also won a smaller cup for taking the Eastern Area Championships. On Saturday they beat the three other area champions — Sutton High School (South) (last year's winners), Merchant Taylors, Liverpool (North) and Cheltenham Ladies' College (West). The Sutton School team included Lorna Cornell, British Junior Champion. The Chelmsford team was: Diana Green (18), present Essex Junior Champion; Rita Cogdale (18), Essex Junior Handicap Champion; Margaret Green (18), Diana's twin sister; Jennifer Jamieson (18); Vera Lloyd (16) and Yvonne Haddock (16). Jennifer Jamieson, playing with a strapped-up sprained ankle, was on Sunday beaten in the Evening Tournament, in which she had reached the last sixteen. It was the first year that the Chelmsford girls had received regular coaching from a professional coach (Herbert Brown). The Chelmsford High School is the second High School to win the trophy.

Chelmsford Chronicle, 11 August, 1950
Heybridge and Langford W.I. - Mrs. B. A. Whitford presided. Miss E. Bancroft, former headmistress of Chelmsford County High School, gave an interesting talk on “England, our rich heritage.” She had lunch before the meeting with om of her “old girls,” now a married member of the W.I. The president of Mundon W.I. was welcomed and, with. Miss Bancroft, judged the competition. Best knitted garment, the winner being Mrs. Raymond.

1951: Christmas parties are replaced by Entertainments. O Levels and A Levels were introduced, replacing the School Certificates and Higher School Certificates.

1952: The garden gains Festival of Britain Seats.

1953: The number of pupils reaches 500. A Coronation Oak is planted. The new Chairman of Governors is Mr J Cameron Pawson.

1953: Miss Bancroft publishes a book of verse "The Land of Memory" for the Old Girls' Society. Miss Cadbury, president of the Old Girls' Committee, writes the introduction. Some of the verses had been published in Punch, The Spectator and other journals. Others were accounts of her holiday travels. See the foot of this page for the poems.

1955: Two more classrooms and a covered way are planned, but this modest plan will later turn into a more major expansion.

1957: CCHS's 50th Anniversary. Bancroft Wing comprises 2 new form rooms, sick room, cloak room and prefects' room. It is the school's Golden Jubilee and a Thanksgiving Service is held at Chelmsford Cathedral. There are various other events to celebrate this milestone. A further six and a half acres of playing field are acquired. However the commemoration service was marked by a tragedy that was reported at national level. The Head Girl, who was to have given a speech, died on the eve ofthe service while representing the School at the Old Girls' Annual Dinner. Those who knew her described her as a lovely girl.

1958: Almost 600 pupils. Finalisation of plans for extension at the back of the school - not only 2 new classrooms and a covered way, but a three storey block housing library, music, art and sciences rooms and a new hall and kitchen. The huts and pre-fabs would vanish as a result . Miss Cramphorn retires from the Governors. Whole school lines the road between Glebe Road and Rectory Lane when HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip drive past.


1959 Class Photo

1959: Chairman of Governors is Mr FD Holder MC, JP.

 

THE LAND OF MEMORY
BY EDITH M. BANCROFT

J. H. CLARKE & CO., LTD.
The Tindal Press, Chelmsford.

Made and Printed in Great Britain by J. H. Clarke & Co, Ltd.,

 

INTRODUCTION

Many Old Girls of the Chelmsford County High School will know Miss Bancroft’s gift in expressing her many pleasures and memories in verse. The Old Girls’ Committee have persuaded her to allow them to publish some of these verses for private circulation among Old Girls and Miss Bancroft’s many friends. As President of the Old Girls’ Society I have much pleasure in commending this small volume to all who will rejoice to have a permanent token of their love and friendship for Miss Bancroft.

Geraldine M. Cadbury.

 

FOREWORD

The issue of this small book is an act of Memory. For it was Memory which prompted those who were once Chelmsford High School girls to ask for these verses as a reminder of those days so full of eager interest, days now receding more and more into the past. And in return, I too was moved by the same prompting, for how could I feel other than pleasure in yielding to them what they desired to have?

I have made the selection as varied as possible. All save very few, which are dated, were written after I came to Chelmsford. I have included, of set purpose, verses which will recall memories of “Address” when I shared with the School the sights and incidents of holiday travel, of passages selected for reading each morning at Prayers, and of our shared pleasure in the pages, among others, of Shakespeare and Chaucer. In the lines on “The Land of Memory,” Old Girls have a special place.

It seems fitting, therefore, that this little volume should bear the name of that pleasant Land where so often and so easily I see again the faces I know so well.

Edith M. Bancroft.
October 1953

 

GO, LOVELY BIRD
(The “bullfinch hat” is in evidence . . . and a leading ladies’ newspaper tells its readers that this is to be a bird season - Daily Paper - Oct, 1903)

Go, lovely bird,
Speed from my lady warily,
For she hath heard
That finches dainty decking be,
And her sweet charms mean death to thee.

Cares she that’s young,
And seeks to have her graces spied,
That thou hast sung
In woodlands where the violets hide?
She loves thee better stuffed and dyed!

For at the sight
Of ruffled breast and stiffened limb
Her eyes grow bright.
A wreath of death will bravely trim
The circlet of my lady’s brim.

So fly! For she
Would claim in service all things rare,
Including thee.
And thy short life she will not spare
When Fashion says that thou art fair.

(Reprinted by permission of the Proprietors of “Punch”)

 

LAST WORDS OF THE TEMPORARY ANNEXE, WESTMINSTER ABBEY TO ITS ARCHITECT IN AUGUST 1902
(The Annexe built for the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902 imitated exactly in colour, style, tracery, the building of the Abbey itself.)

Pull me down, O skilful Master,
For my transient hour has run.
I am nought but Lath and Plaster;
My ephemeral task is done.
Fain I am to live, but nay.
Mushroom creatures of a day
Immortality must shun.

Cunningly I counterfeited
Britain’s greatest shrine and tomb,
And my shadowy walls repeated
Those nine centuries of gloom.
Fane magnificent and hoary,
I have shared thine ancient glory.

’Tis enough ... I wait my doom.
Day by day this English summer,
How my tracery was scanned
By the eyes of each new comer
As each praised the Master Hand!
“Grins of gargoyles, saints in niches,
Old and new, we know not which is
Which,” they cried, “though here we stand.”

Proudest I past all things mortal
When upon his royal way
England’s Monarch through my portal
Passed on that imperial day.
Mine that one brief hour transcending
Monotone of age unending.
Mine that bliss too bright to stay.

I have served a mighty nation
When she felt her need of me,
Reached my perfect consummation,
Justified my right to be.
Glorified is Lath and Plaster.
Let me perish now, O Master,
Thrilling with the ecstasy.

 

THE QUEEN’S BEASTS
(At the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953)

The Queen’s Beasts stirred in their sleep,
In their slumber so long and so deep,
In their dreaming of centuries past,
For there sounded a trumpet blast,
And a summons rang through the air:
The Queen will be crowned and the Beasts must be there.

Yes, the Beasts must be there.
So from den and from lair
The Ten Beasts mustered as lieges true,
For each had a devoir he must do
For the Queen on her Crowning Day.

Plantagenet Falcon of age-old name,
Edward’s Griffen of Crecy fame,
Bull of Clarence, unmatched in might,
Lion of Mortimer, silver-white,
Yale of the Beauforts, smiling grim,
Greyhound of Tudors, lithe of limb,
Cymric Dragon, breathing flame,
White Horse of Hanover. Called, he came.
Lion and Unicorn, comrades tried,
Dexter, Sinister, side by side,
Supporting the Arms of our royal pride.

The Beasts stood ranged in their panoply,
Erect in their proud ferocity,
Each with emblazoned shield, the sign
Of his service wrought for the royal line.
In watchful silence ’twas theirs to wait
On ward as their Queen passed by in state.
And she knew as she took her royal way
That her Beasts had journeyed through centuries grey
To pay her their tribute on Crowning Day.

But the hour draws nigh
When the silver trumpet again will blow,
And the herald will cry
The Crowning is past and the Beasts must go.

Yes, the Beasts must go, their brief day spent.
And back they will fare
To den and to lair.
But their sleep will be filled with a deep content;
For now in their dreams they will see
The look on a young Queen’s face,
A Queen with a heart of grace,
As she left her Crowning Place
When the Beasts were there as their rightful share
In the ranks of her chivalry.

 

A “SPECTATOR COMPETITION”
(March 1950)
“The theory is that there are three stanzas missing between the sixth and seventh of Gray’s ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’ — supply them”

Never on Sabbath morns with duteous heed
Will they again yon belfry’s call obey,
Gath’ring in fealty to their simple creed
Within those sacred walls to kneel and pray.

Their feats of prowess on the festive green,
Achieved amid the plaudits of their peers,
Are now but tavern-tales of what has been,
Dim legends of the far-retreating years.

Of circling seasons . . . Spring with fruitful rains,
Summer’s long day and opulence of bloom,
Autumn’s rich plenty . . . none to them remains
Save the dark winter of th’ inactive tomb.

(Reprinted by permission of the Proprietors of the “Spectator”)

 

THE WASPS’ NEST

Fantastic and amazing structure!
A rounded world, complete, a guarded hoard
Of living treasure in the darkness stored,
Abruptly brought to light
And to our startled, half-reluctant sight.

Thatching of woody fabric, fragile, fine,
Runs its grey bands in gentle curving line,
Spanning the whole in perfected design.
The roofing now unsealed,
Loosed from supporting pillars, has revealed,
Fashioned with faultless care,
Storeys of circling chambered cells laid bare.
A hexagon so true
Euclid with human fingers never drew.

See in each cradling space
A living gift, all dedicate to race,
Tended by instinct faithful, passionless—
Larva with spectral face,
Or a frail creature, moist and motionless,
Pale-hued and slight,
With folded wings unready for the flight.

Thanks to the cyanide’s swift act, no more
Will the marauders raid the autumn store.
Now will this horde of winging warriors cease
To mar the summer peace
With their alarms and their excursions, yet
A shadow of regret
Inevitably falls at ruin brought
On that which has been exquisitely wrought.

 

A GLASS OF WATER

Strange indeed it is to think
That this water which I drink,
Sipping from a modern glass
Has seen countless ages pass.
Myriad changes it has known—
Now a mist o’er mountain blown,
Foam upon a green wave’s crest,
Pool where quiet lilies rest.
Rising, falling, staying never,
Changing, yet the same for ever.
Haply these clear drops I see
Tossed amid the storming sea
Over which the galleys came
Conquering in great Caesar’s name.
And perchance, who knows but they
Rocked a cradle ark where lay
An infant Moses calmly sleeping,
Entrusted to the old Nile’s keeping.
But to-day I look on this—
(Latest metamorphosis)—
Protean form of flight and leap
Bid through leaden pipe to creep,
Subject to a plumber’s will,
Transient glass of mine to fill.

 

ON THE ROAD TO STRATFORD-ON-AVON

When April with her sweet and hurried showers
From the brown earth allures the waking flowers,
And bids the green buds burst from every tree,
Then folk begin dramatic revelry.
And specially from England’s farthest end
To Stratford on the Avon do they wend
To bow before the tomb in reverence low
Of him who helpeth us ourselves to know.
And so it chanced upon an April day
At an old inn I halted on my way
Where many a pilgrim paused for rest and tea;
Thus met I sundry folk in company.

A Pedagogue came first with rapid tread;
A manly man, full fit to be a Head,
For well he showed upon the playing green;
At many a noble scrimmage had he been.
Doubtless taut muscles and a love of truth
Are goodly marks on those who train our youth.
Laboratories claimed his working day,
Where powders in a mortar he would bray,
And, eye intent, strange liquids would he boil
In chemic, not in culinary toil.
Shakespeare observance kept he with the rest;
“For,” said he, “balanced faculties are best.”

A Man of Gentle Visage followed him;
Vague was his air and he was lean of limb.
He never ate of flesh or boiled or roast,
And thus it ever was his tender boast
That nought of living souls would he devour.
He savoured cabbage and the cauliflower.
Shakespeare had writ, he urged in accents mellow,
That hay, good hay, sweet hay, it had no fellow;
Foreshadowing thus the coming of a day
When glorious poets should be bred on hay,
Whose liquor, flowing through herbaceous veins
Would straight engender peaceful pastoral strains.

A coach drew up beneath the swinging sign,
And forth alighted damsels twenty-nine,
All clad in uniform of blue, not gay.
These maidens they were fresh as month of May.
Their youthful Mistress, bright and debonair,
Rounded her charges with a shepherd’s care.
Three goodly years at Oxford had she spent.
She knew and said exactly what she meant.
I marked that, even over cakes and tea,
These youthful pilgrims argued earnestly—
Which was the worse, Macbeth or his great spouse—
Why Hamlet would not, maybe could not, rouse.

The opening door of a luxurious car
Vouchsafed the vision of a bright Film Star,
Eager to see at Stratford her own part
Of potted Rosalind in sister art.
Tea-cup she handled with a film-born grace.
Many emotions played upon her face.
I let smiling was far ruddier than the cherry;
And then, with swiftest change from sad to merry,
Her large eyes filled—so mournful was her mien—
With wistful tears of purest glycerine.
English she spoke in curious way, for she
Entuned it in her nose full drawlingly.

Now of my pilgrims, last upon the list
There came a poet, Ultra Modernist.
In things contrasting we most clearly see
Nature of each, and how they disagree.
Thus thought he that Shakespearean Drama might
By dire example show how not to write.
The barbarous playwright of a barbarous day
Used words with meaning, with intent to say;
And thus his phrase, fraught with significance,
Would serve as fillip to inconsequence,
For to Verse Masters of the Latest School
Words are but hooks to fish in psychic pool.
In poetry ’tis death to think, to state—
Ferment within — and then Ejaculate.
He argued thus under emotion’s stress,
Pouring on us his stream of consciousness.

The sun declining, pilgrims on must ride.
“Aye flieth Time; it will no man abide.”

(Reprinted by permission of the Editor of the “Journal of Education.”)

 

TO SHAKESPEARE’S MOTHER
APRIL 23

Have we lacked mindfulness of one great debt
Beyond all quittance due?
With mind and heart intent
On homage to your son magnificent,
Have we forgotten you?

When on that April day,
Your firstborn in your arms, you took your way,
And to the church on Avon’s bank you came,
’Twas you who chose the name
That rings throughout the ages with his fame.

’Twas you, enchanted, heard
This Lord of Language utter his first word.
Yours was the joy to see His earliest gaiety;
You hastened to caress His first unhappiness.
Yet little dreamed you that your son, one day,
Was destined to portray
Man’s deepest anguish, highest ecstasy.

You with maternal look
Sent him each morning with his shining face
And lively boyish grace,
Spurring his lagging footsteps to the school
To con his Latin book;
To hear of Caesar; learn the grammar rule.

Thus for mankind you reared him, and to-day
The whole world claims the son who was your own.
A gift munificent!
Yet you, I think, would say
That you are well content.
Small need is there for thanks on sculptured stone.

SI QUAERIS MONUMENTUM — ILLUM RESPICE

 

SONNET
“I am a part of all that I have met" — Tennyson.

You tell me that in dreams you nightly stray
Back to behold the scenes you found so fair.
Again you wander down the lovely stair;
On through the pillared porch you take your way.
You watch the glory of the eastern ray
Rouse the still lake and lone swan sleeping there,
Touch the great cedars till their branches bear
The sombre splendour of the fuller day.

You wake and find that phantom dreams are vain.
Yet not as he who “cried to dream again”
Will you wake grieving. House and lake and tree
Have given themselves for ever yours to be,—
A gift most intimate, a power and joy
Time cannot harm nor can the years destroy.

 

ON AREOPAGUS

We climbed the crag-like hill, rugged and bare.
Below us Athens lay in golden light.
Above, high-lifted in the lucid air,
The Acropolis, temple-crowned, shone pure and white.

We paused in silence, thinking of that day,
Two thousand years ago, when hither came
A group of idle talkers, quick to play
Truth-guessing, as their nimble-witted game.

One they had found, a Wanderer, grave and lone,
Who spake strange things, and — for the novelty —
They bade him to this ledge of marble stone,
In curious, half-contemptuous courtesy.
Across the centuries we heard, .... "HE is not far.
“TRULY IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE. IN HIM WE ARE."

 

AN INVITATION

Come walk with me and pleasures prove
Within the garden that I love.

First gently touch this growing spray
Of rosemary to bless your way.
See hollyhocks, a stately band
As wardens of the border stand
Near yellow broom whose memories hold
Wild moorland all ablaze with gold.
Beyond, in groups of varying hue,
Rise lupin spires, delphinium blue,
White lilies of fastidious grace,
And fragrant peas that climb in space.
In their magnificence great poppies flare,
And wayward honeysuckle scents the air.
In quiet plot
Live cherished friends—dark bergamot,
Stocks and white pinks with spicy smell,
Sweet William, Canterbury bell;
Pansies with child-like face and lively mien,
And bright nasturtiums peeping through their green.
The roses wait
Our homage in their beds of state.
In tint, form, fragrance, each a thing
Full perfect in its blossoming.
Praise to the heavenly alchemy
That from the homely earth can free
Such lovely things as flowers to bless
Themselves and us with happiness.

 

THE ISLAND OF ARRAN
(Seen from the Kyles of Bute).

At dawn of day,
A mist-wraith delicate and grey,
Faint gleaming on a quiet sea.
An isle of phantasy it seems to be.

When noon is high
A crag set darkly ‘gainst the sky;
Sheer precipice and deep ravine
Where many a torrent hurls its flood unseen.

At set of sun,
When the great clouds flush, one by one,
Arran becomes a gem most bright,
Glowing in hues of amethystine light.

The colour slowly fades from sea and shore,
The changing pageant of the day is o’er.

 

FROM LAMLASH TO BRODRICK BAY
How we caught “ The Duchess of Argyle.”

“Three miles and a bittock to Brodrick Bay.
Ye’ve hard on an hour, and grand is the day.
The heather blooms fine,” urged the maid in blithe tone.
“Ye’ll hae need o’ your speed ” darkly murmured the crone.
Up the hill-road we started, both marching abreast,
With back to the harbour and face to the crest

The hill slopes were purple, a glory to see.
The blue sky was o’er us, the wind it blew free.
And Arran was lovely, to walk a delight.
So we stepped it forth stoutly with foot swift and light.
No wild flower beguiled us, no halt by the way.
Boats wait for no laggards at Brodrick Bay.

But hard was the climb as still onward we pressed,
And gravely we eyed the long road from the crest.
It wound like a ribbon for ever and aye;
Not a glimpse could we capture of Brodrick Bay
And few were our words as with resolute face
We girded our loins and we quickened our pace.

We cantered, then galloped, then flew through the air,
When woe to my comrade — down tumbled her hair.
At pins wildly clutching she pegged it in place—
But thereby we wasted three minutes of grace.
A rider passed madly — He cried, “Faster still!”
Five minutes to circle the curve of the hill!”

At Brodrick the waves were a-quiver with light,
And there sailed “The Duchess”, her hull gleaming white.
Hot, speechless and panting, we had won — we were there.
We dashed on the pier-head, one minute to spare.
We had run the great race on the hill-side that day,
In Arran from Lamlash to Brodrick Bay.

 

THE NEEDLE

A slight unnoted thing am I
Yet was I wrought with skill,
Steel-true, fine-tempered, clear of eye,
To serve some higher will.

I came beneath my lady’s sway;
Thus there awaited me
Unwitting, on that fateful day,
A shining destiny.

My lady dreamed of travel strange
Through Beauty’s realms of gold.
She traced the routes where we should range,
Adventurers swift and bold.

Through winding ways our path she steered
In lands fantastic, where
Dim shapes of wraithlike forms appeared,—
Birds, beasts, and flowers most fair.

She made of me a magic wand;
I thrilled to feel its might.
I touched the phantoms. Lo, her hand
Woke them to life and light.

Proud beasts superb in form and hue
Their lordly challenge flung.
Strange birds through tropic foliage flew,
Rich fruits in clusters hung.

A world of fancy unconfined
To sight made evident;
A flowering of my lady’s mind;
I was her instrument.

I claim no glory, vaunt no deed;
No guerdon I demand.
It is enough that at her need
I served my lady’s hand.

 

MY MIRROR

My Mirror’s magic glass
Makes brave things come to pass.
It doth a world reveal
Most moving and most real,
Where with rejoicing mind
What once I had I find.
Sights that of old charmed me
With quickened sense I see.
Friends’ faces that were dear
Are to my gaze most clear.
Till truly I am fain
To cry, “Naught’s loss, all’s gain!”
Such boon it bringeth me,
My Glass of Memory.

 

THE SILK FACTORY
(’After a visit with C.H.S. Sixth Form to Messrs. Courtauld’s Silk Factory.)

(1) At the Threshold—Arrival.

Vibration, clang and din,
Yet through the whole
Throbs a rhythmic beat,
Law in control.

(2) The Weaving Shed

As each whirling spool untwines,
Like gossamer the silken lines
Swing athwart the dazzled air,
Build fantastic structures there;
Passing, crossing, all converge,
Driven by the pulsing urge
Till the threads that gleam and glow
Are caught and laid in level row,
And the shining woof grows there
Delicate and firm and fair.
Then the human touch sets free
The mighty pent-up energy;
The looms in ecstasy controlled,
Lift and shudder, leap and hold.
The darting shuttle in its flight
Bears its line of silken light,
In and out, by let or leave,
Till its radiant Sittings weave,
Swift, unerring, every line
Of the intricate gay design.

(3) The Designing Room.

Sequestered in this quiet room
Far from jolt or thud of loom,
The artist’s hand has deftly wrought
Fair painted records of his thought.
Man thinks, and mighty looms obey,
For greater far is he than they
Which but repeat in drilled refrain
The utterance of his eager brain.
Though in attendant toil he stands
To serve the loom with patient hands,
They are the slaves, the master he;
Man spake the word, they came to be.

(4) At the Threshold — Departure.

Engine, roller, loom.
These most mighty things
Are labouring to express
Man’s own imaginings.

 

TO THE THREE MUSICAL LADIES
(Sent to a friend skilled in Music together with a reproduction of a sixteenth- century painting, “Three Musical Ladies!”)

Tuneful dames who love to be
Makers of sweet minstrelsy,
Would ye fair companion find
Of a true accordant kind?
One I know with singing heart
Sworn to serve high Music’s heart.
She can touch melodious keys
With a learned loving ease.
When soft strains commingling flow
Purest joy her soul doth know.
Ladies three, with this one more
Ye would make a perfect four.

 

NIMES

This then is Nimes, the ancient town,
Famed in the days of Rome’s renown.
Wandering, we gaze with eager eyes
Until we pause in swift surprise
Where in a quiet corner stands
A lovely work of Roman hands;
A gracious temple, fitly made
With fair Corinthian colonnade,
Columns o’er which the sculptor’s skill
Curved the acanthus at his Will,
Bestowing immortality
On the frail leaf he loved to see.
The joy he felt at that fair sight
Becomes to-day our own delight.
Over the gulf of centuries dim
We stretch our grateful hands to him;
And find that we with him can meet
Here in a busy modern street.

 

THE PERMIT
To W.D.P.

You passed, obedient to a sign,
Forth from the fields where children play.
Yet still your feet, by right divine,
Have access to the Children’s Way.

Thither you fare, and at a word
The guardian gates wide open stand.
On you for ever is conferred
The Freedom of the Children’s Land.

 

A BIRTHDAY VERSE
{Sent to a friend, skilled in embroidering, together with a reproduced Design for Needlework painted by a seventeenth-century Venetian artist.)

Artist living long ago,
Loving form and colour so
In golden bird and crimson flower
Illumined in a radiant hour,
Did you eagerly await
One whose fingers could create
Thread by thread in texture fine
The glow and grace of your design?
Did you seek and never find
Hand co-operant with your mind?

Had you waited till at last
Two long centuries had passed,
I could then have told you where
Dwells to-day a lady fair,
Dowered with gifts in lavish measure.
You would see how at her pleasure
Birds and flowers of many a land
Grow ’neath her creating hand.
Artist living long ago,
How much you missed by hasting so!

 

THE CAMPANILE OF GIOTTO AT FLORENCE

The flush of a shell,
The grace of a flower,
The sheen of a pearl,
The strength of a tower.
And the wonder of wonders how this could be,
That the hand of a mortal fashioned thee.

 

FANCY FREE
(Following the route of a friend on tour in Italy).

“Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind’s cage-door,
She’ll dart forth and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! Let her loose” - J. Keats.

I set the vagrant Fancy free,
And straight she sped to Italy;
Back returned, enchanting sprite,
With visions for my dear delight.

She showed me Rome, majestic, fair,
Viewed from a turret high in air;
I heard the tuneful rise and fall,
Of voices in the Capitol—
That site where once the ancient Romans heard
Cicero’s lucid phrase and golden word.

In silence I beheld
The glory of the woods when Autumn came
And set the Tuscan hillsides all aflame.

I saw in gracious dignity
Upon her heights Fiesole.
I watched the milk-white oxen go,
Drawing their loads with footing slow.
I marked the slopes where olives grow,
The fall of valley far below,
Where gleams, in sun or sudden shower,
Fair Florence with her lily-tower.

’Twas privilege to greet
Siena in her high retreat,
Siena, tranquil, self-complete,
In ancient walls where sun and shadow meet

In brightness shone
Venice, whose dreaming eyes behold
The glory of her days of old.
Yet will her birthright ever be
The splendour of her sky and sea.

In rapid scene,
Bologna’s charm, her towers that lean;
Trieste, beside her quiet sea;
And exquisite Sirmione;
Proud Genoa with age-long tale
Of “argosies with portly sail”.

All thanks to Fancy faring free
For her high service rendered me,
For all the entrancing gifts she brings
So lightly on her radiant wings.

 

THE ROAD TO DELPHI

“Will you come into my chariot?” said the young Greek charioteer.
“ ’Tis the finest swiftest chariot that ever man did steer.
For although it’s rather shaky as it isn’t very new,
It will bear you straight to Delphi to behold the wondrous view.

“It will run at least a mile without a stop and maybe twain,
With quite a little tinkering I can start it on again.
’Twill be rattle, bang and bumpity, and creak and jolt and sway,
But I’ll sing the songs of Hellas; they will cheer you on our way.

“Now we’re on the road to Delphi. Yes, the dust begins to blow.
Well, it stung our Agamemnon at Mycenae long ago;
And it choked our bands of pilgrims as they climbed the Sacred Way.
You will take it as an honour to be stung and choked as they.

“Hallo! my engine will not work. — I must collect my tools.
The passing cars are jeering; never heed them, boasting fools!
Just half-hour’s wait — you sit quite still beneath our glorious sun.
And I’ll bear you straight to Delphi before the day is done.”

 

THE CLOCK
(In acknowledgment of a tall chiming clock presented to me from the Chelmsford High School Old Girls’ Society upon my retirement from the School in 1935).

On ancient clocks the legend ran,
“Time fleeteth fast,” reminding man
His hours must bear their joys away;
Time fleeteth fast; he may not stay.

But my rare clock with silver chime
Calls me to bless the hand of Time.
He left me rich, so kind was he,
In joys no time can take from me.

 

BARRYMORE
(Change of Address)

A dark-framed gable,
Rose trees four,
A brown-tiled portal —
The open door.

Black-floored entrance hall,
Where the clock stands.
Then the warm welcome
With out-stretched hands.

 

THE LAND OF MEMORY

To-night the gates of Memory
Wide open stand,
And I have entered tranquilly
Within her land.
Wandering o’er this enchanted ground
Recovered treasures I have found:—
Old days that I had left behind,
Moments of laughter gay and kind,
Young faces with the candid gaze
I knew so well in former days,
Shared joys from many a printed page
Of poet, novelist and sage,
Youth’s simple feasts when hearts were light,
When glance and smile came swift and bright.
Ah, what a wealth has come to me
In this green land of Memory.

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