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For the last 12 years POSA has produced an annual Newsletter which is sent out to all current members. The Newsletter contains articles from members on a range of topics under the headings of:


News A-Z; Archives; Memories; Staff Corner; Letters and E-mails; Obituaries;

 History of the School; Where are they Now? and others.


The annual newsletters have proved to be a very successful forum for sharing reminiscences about our school days and a tool for putting ex-students in touch with long lost class ‘mates’ through the ‘Where are they Now’? section.


Committee Members hold some back copies of previous Newsletters and some of these are available at Reunions, though we must ensure that some copies are retained for the POSA Archives Cabinet which stands in the entrance hall of the North Building of Plashet School.

Sue Foulsham (nee Wingrove) EHGS 1956-63

EHGS Staff 1968-71 and Plashet Staff 1973-2000

 Items for the next Newsletter should be posted to:

Mrs Sue Foulsham


Rattlesden Road


Bury St. Edmunds


IP30 9TL

or e-mailed to: suefoulshamster@googlemail.com

(deadline for 2012/13 edition - Mid November 2012)


Updated February 1st 2012






Newsletter 2011/12 Chairman’s Report  

2012 promises to be an exciting year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to celebrate and the London Olympics to be held in our ‘home town’ of Newham. POSA will also have its very own significant events to celebrate in 2012, namely the 80th Anniversary of the opening of East Ham Grammar School for Girls in Plashet Grove and the 40th Anniversary of the amalgamation of EHGS and Plashet County Secondary School to form Plashet Comprehensive School (now simply called Plashet School) 

Our recent Reunions have been all been very special, with an average attendance of over 200 ex-students, but we would really like the 2012 Reunion, to be held on Saturday 30th June in the Hall of the South Building (old EHGS building) from 12.30 – 4.30pm, to be extra special, so please make a note of the date in your diaries and contact all your old school friends in order to make sure that they all come along to the Reunion with you. Why not have a clear out of your cupboards and dig out any photographs and items of memorabilia that you might still have, to bring along to share with us all? All of our photograph albums, and the wide range of other items of memorabilia, which are normally displayed in the POSA Archives Cabinet in the foyer of the Plashet School North Building, will be out on display for you to view.
There will also be refreshments served during the afternoon. If any of you are able to come along early on the day to help with the setting up (from about 11am onwards) there is always plenty of preparation to do and extra help is always appreciated. 

On the subject of ‘help’, we are very aware that the POSA committee is in dire need of some ‘young blood’ to come on board in order to work alongside us and ensure that POSA has a long-term future – (please don’t panic – for the time being we are all very happy to continue with our current roles!) Over the last 15 years or so we have worked really hard to build a successful Old Students Association which is the envy of many, and it would be really sad if it was to come to an end in a few years time because of a lack of personnel. If POSA is important to you, perhaps you would think seriously about offering to get involved as part of the team and ensuring its future. Please contact either myself, or Margaret, if you are able to join us. 

We are extremely fortunate that we continue to have very strong links with the current management of Plashet who are always extremely supportive of our association in so many ways. The current staff are totally dedicated to ensuring that their students receive an outstanding all round education and ensuring the school’s reputation as a centre of excellence. It is very obvious from newspaper articles, copies of the Esthamian and the memories/accolades from former students (now spread all over the world) young and old, that this has always been the case for over a hundred years since the early days of the East Ham Secondary School which pre-dated our family of schools. Personally I treasure so many wonderful memories of my school days at EHGS, the fun that I had and the friendships that I made. Like many others I probably did not realise it at the time, but we were extremely privileged to have been Miss Mitchell’s charges and so many of us were so affected by her that we have spent a big part of our lives trying to live up to her example. I’m sure that I speak for you all when I say that I am extremely proud to have played a very small part in the history of our schools. 

The current students of Plashet continue to do us proud and the POSA student awards are always extra special for me as an ex-member of staff.

The Citizen of the Year Awards (for outstanding services to the Community) for 2011 were as follows:

Year 7:- Eimen Qureshi

Year 8:- Harmeet Kaur

Year 9:- Shannon Haslam

Year 10:- Thekshayeni Thanabalasingham

Year 11:- Khadeeja Patel

The Barbara Vincent Award was awarded to Sarah Mirza 11S for her excellent work in OCR Nationals ICT.  The External moderator said her Database unit was the best she has seen.  

In addition to these annual awards we also made a special sports award to celebrate the Olympics. £500 was donated from POSA funds to Bolagi Anthonia to assist her with the purchase of her kit and fees for a special Barking Abbey Sports Academy training camp.
We look forward to a very successful Reunion this year. Hope to see you all there.

Sue Foulsham (Wingrove) EHGS 1956-63 & Staff 1968 - 2000

POSA Chairman  2011/2012


POSA Reunion 2012
Saturday 30th June
12.30 pm to 4.30 pm
in the Hall of South Building
(former East Ham Grammar building)
All ex-pupils and staff welcome

On the pages below you will find a selectionof items which appeared in the 2011/12 Newsletter.


Chairman’s Report 2011/12

Looking back on the 2010 Reunion makes me realise how far we have come with POSA since I, and two colleagues, were given the task, of re-vitalising the Old Students Association, as part of our one-year posts as Plashet School Community Co-ordinators, some 20+ years ago. The idea was to try to breath some life into an ‘Old Girls’ association which in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s had been extremely successful, but had become non-existent by the 70’s and 80’s. At first we tried all sorts of ideas, even holding evening meetings and though this initial format eventually ‘gave up the ghost’ it left me with a feeling that we should move forward with the idea. Luckily it also left me with a small team of like-minded ex-students and staff, and we continued to meet regularly and gradually started to put our ideas into practice. We started small and some of the initial Reunions were very demoralising as attendance was occasionally pretty poor. At this point it would have been very easy for all of us to call it a day, but I must pay tribute to that small band of stalwarts who were determined to ‘hang on in there’ – without their perseverance POSA would not exist today. So very gradually the situation improved, and, once this Newsletter became an annual event, things eventually started to ‘take off’.

So to the present day – we have a thriving association, an annual newsletter which, as you will see from this edition, is packed with news and memories, and are extremely fortunate indeed to have the active support of the Head and senior management of the present Plashet School. Their support has been crucial to our success as it enables to base our Reunions (held once every 2 years) in the school buildings, a privilege which many other Old Students Associations would give their eye-teeth for!!  On our part we sponsor the present students of Plashet School through our annual awards system and from time to time use some of our funds (when they are looking healthy enough!!) to make a donation to the school for a specific project.  We have also built up very detailed databases of contact details for our members and a system which members can use to trace old friends. I have also designed us a POSA website containing all the basic info. re POSA + articles from past Newsletters and a photo gallery. I’m afraid that some of the info. on this is website is a bit out of date but once I have finished this Newsletter I will work on updating this.  

The 2010 Reunion was based in the hall of the Plashet building and once again was extremely well attended (approx. 250), despite the fact that the public transport system around the East Ham area was totally grid-locked for most of the morning. We were delighted that Kathleen Steele, Kathleen (Dorothy) Davey (nee Parker) EHGS 1929-1935 and Irene Poole (nee Rusling) EHGS 1934-1939, three of our very senior members, were able to battle their way through the traffic chaos to be our guests of honour. We were also delighted that Kathleen Steele (nee Quinn) EHGS 1931-1937, brought along her miniature cups, gained for her athletic achievements, to donate to the POSA archives. 

We owe a big thank you to Eileen Cruttenden and Winnie Curtis, for their very generous joint donation of a whole range of EHGS memorabilia. I have been able to almost fill two complete albums with the photos, info. Another of their exciting donations was a published book entitled ‘I was a French Mistress’ by Anne Z. Moore, which is a factual account of a year in the life of an exchange teacher at EHGS. All of these donated items were in high demand from members on the Reunion day.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to all members of the Committee, both Margarets, Jill, Deidre, Jenny, Doris and Christine for their ongoing hard work and commitment. It is a privilege to be working alongside such a great team of committed people, and I am very pleased to say that we have recently had a couple more members offer to join the committee this year (we are still always open to offers!!) Special thank-you’s are due to: Jenny Fink for her IT expertise at the Reunion (and a big welcome back to the committee, Jen); Ruth Watts for providing us with such an excellent buffet once again; Doris Goodchild who stepped into the breach to take over the setting out of the food when Ruth had to leave; Bushra Nasir and Sue Rosner and the Plashet Staff for their support, and to the Plashet School pupils for hosting the tours of the buildings. 

A final very special thought for Bushra, who was taken into hospital at the start of the Christmas holidays to have a double heart by-pass operation. I have been keeping in touch with the school and I understand that the operation went well and that Bushra is recovering well at home and will be off work for some months. She and her family are very much in our thoughts and I am sure that you will all join with me in wishing her a very speedy recovery.  

Sue Foulsham (Wingrove)  POSA Chairman   EHGS 1956-63 + Staff 1968-2000.


Memories of Miss Constance Frances Mitchell

From Deidre Morris, nee Rowney   EHGS 1956-63

It was a huge privilege to have had Miss Mitchell for my headmistress during my first four years at EHGS, and she had a lasting influence on me.  I fully realised this a few years ago.  I was at a conference and, for the final session, someone said we couldn’t sit on the front row ‘as it was for the important people.’  I looked at her, and said ‘No.  It is for those who have an important role in this session.  No one person here is more important than anyone else.’  She looked amazed, and said, almost wonderingly ‘You really believe that, don’t you.’  Which gave me pause, and then I replied very firmly ‘YES.’  That view stems from my time at EHGS under Miss Mitchell, and I have always been grateful for all that she did for myself and for the school.
Another lasting influence came from an incident when we were in the fourth form.  Someone in the school had got up a petition about something – I have no recollection of what – and a number of our form (thought not myself) had signed it.  Miss Mitchell came in to speak to us about it, asking if we realised what it actually meant to put one’s name to a document: that it meant we agreed to what was written above our signature.  She asked how many of those who had signed the petition had actually read it before signing it, and not many had.  Miss Mitchell then pointed out that before signing anything, we should read it, understand it, and only sign it if we agreed to it all, because by signing we were, in the eyes of the law, agreeing to it.  Ever since then, I have never signed anything lightly.  The small print on contracts is actually read – our double glazing contractor had a long cup of coffee while that happened!  I read petitions, and have been berated on more than one occasion for refusing to sign: when I pointed out that what was written did not make sense I was sworn at for being against them.  Asked to sign a hospital form agreeing to my operation, I inserted ‘local, not general’ before the word anaesthetic – and then had the anaesthetist coming up to see me and demand why I’d done this (apparently no-one else had ever amended the form before!).  
Another lasting influence was having classical music played at the start of every assembly, which introduced me to a whole range of music I would not otherwise have heard.  Going to Robert Mayer concerts at the Festival Hall enlarged my musical experience even more.  Not being good at singing or playing music, I was unenthused by the spring term Music Festival, but the summer term Drama Festival showed just how varied the classes’ offerings could be, and gave me chance to really join in.
Having a School Council was unusual in those days.  I found it a practical way to learn how democracy could work in practice: you spend all year lobbying for an improvement in your form room – a cupboard, or blinds – and when you return in September you find they have arrived, but you are now in a different room!  However, you are probably benefiting from what the previous class lobbied for.  I do recall one year when the staff asked for increased representation on the Council, and it was finally voted down with the argument that they already had proportionally twice as much representation as the girls, and a Headmistress with a casting vote.  
An abiding memory of Miss Mitchell is of her standing outside her office – tall, upright, grey hair escaping from a bun, grey-green dress with soft folds to mid-calf, and those bright eyes that missed nothing…..  She called, by name, a girl who was further along the corridor and who looked totally shocked by this.  I realised it was because, only a few days into the new school year, Miss Mitchell could already name some, if not all, of the new first year pupils.  Her memory was phenomenal.  She also cared about her girls.  I was asked to see her one day, and couldn’t think of anything I’d done that merited this.  But she had called me in to ask if, in view of my mother being a widow, we needed some financial assistance with a forthcoming school trip.  We didn’t need the money – but the fact that it had been offered mean a very great deal.
Miss Mitchell gave out an unusual notice in assembly one day: that one of the older girls had to wear a plaster cast for a few weeks, so would not be in school uniform, and we were not to comment about this.  We couldn’t work out what she meant, until we saw the girl.  She had presumably had spinal surgery, for the cast was round her torso, so she was wearing what would otherwise be viewed as a maternity smock …..
Those end of term / start of term assemblies with Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, the reading from St Paul on being members of one body, Tagore’s prayer ‘Father of all …’, and singing  Jerusalem, they stay with me to this day. 

Eileen Cruttenden (EHGS / Plashet Comp.) Staff 1948-83

Best wishes for the Reunion and my apologies for not being able to join you this year.

 Carol Francis (Fryatt) EHGS 1958-63

I found my old school reports recently. I remember vividly joining Miss Hocking’s class in September 1958 and can still recall the leather smell of my new satchel! Miss Hocking was a lovely lady and encouraged me no end in my English.

Thereafter my Form Mistress was the formidable Miss Finch (Science). In the 4th year Miss Mumford, the French Mistress, was our form mistress – she was very encouraging, despite my difficulties with the language. My 5th year was spent having Mrs Simmonds (German) as form mistress. I’m sorry to say that we did torment her no end!! Very happy memories though.

Mary Haque EHGS Staff 1955-62

I keep in touch with Miss Cruttenden – now suffering mobility problems, but in good spirits otherwise.

Connie Jensen (Roberts) EHGS 1956-63 + Staff

During the week following the reunion, I was pleased that I at last managed to arrange a meeting with Kathleen Herbert, who has been a good family friend now for many years. She had a very severe stroke some years ago, which has meant communication with her has been very difficult. She has fought her affliction with all of her considerable strength, but could not manage to gather herself to get her fourth novel published. However, she did manage to meet me in Burnt Oak with two immense carrier bags containing the manuscript of what will sadly be her last novel. Mike and I have managed to to sort it and scan it, and it is now ready for publication. Posting comments on a blog about historical fiction has led to some interesting support & suggestions for publication & agents. Follow the story here:

http://readingthepast.blogspot.com/2010/09/update-on-kathleen-herbert-and-her.html  and here: http://conswords.blogspot.com.  I am looking for ways to link these easily, as I guess ex EHGS students would like to know about how the eccentric Miss Herbert became a writer read all over the world!

 Ed. Note: If members from any year group have any memories about Miss Mitchell, or any other members of staff, that you would like to share, you can contact Connie by email via the conswords.blogspot.com site mentioned above. 

Elizabeth Hasler (nee Joynes) EHGS 1950-1957
I do recall – vividly! – Miss Moore, our French Exchange teacher from America. Fascinated by her accent, we were also intrigued by this dynamic personality that had burst onto our academic scene, complete with exotic Z, of which she was extremely proud. We pupils had a busy time researching names – no internet in those days – in an attempt to discover what it stood for. Miss Moore was an energetic teacher, who gained our respect for her authority, knowledge and skills, but in her lessons she also allowed a relaxed atmosphere, occasionally allowing us to guess her middle name. She promised that all would be revealed at the end of her final session with us, which it was as we had never alighted on ‘Zoe’.
Anne Z. Moore was indeed a ‘wonderful lady’, her writings displayed her wit and humour and I am sure that the Staff of EHGS enjoyed her visit as much as we did.
I am equally sure that the school that hosted our usual French teacher, Miss Elsie Smith, was delighted with her. She, too, was an inspiration and I was fortunate in having her support, energy and language skills through A level as well.
A bonus to that Exchange was a dynamic shadow puppet drama, presented and voiced by Miss Smith herself in her newly-acquired American accent. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed that show which had been prompted by Miss Smith’s visit to America.  
How fortunate we were, my contemporaries and I, to have two such inspiring and memorable French teachers; I salute them both, together with a whole range of other influential staff at EHGS 1950-57.
I cannot fail to mention an abiding role model, Miss Mitchell. Formidable she might have appeared, especially as Headmistress, but she could also be kind, tactful and percipient. Knowing that families in the area, raising and education several children, would not be able to afford concert tickets, having called me to her office (Help! What had I done!) she asked if I would ‘help’ her by using two Royal Festival Hall tickets to a concert of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, played by Rosalyn Tureck no less.
I took a friend and that perceptive act by a truly great lady, Miss Mitchell, set me on the path to a lifelong love of classical music.
In conclusion, I should like to thank the Committee for all the hard work involved in developing and constantly extending the reaches of POSA to make it such an interesting, enjoyable and dynamic society.

Gladys Read (Anderson) EHSS / EHGS 1929-34

I remember with affection Miss Rosalind Bennett the Gym Mistress when I was at school, but I haven’t seen any reference to her in the Newsletters. I would be interested if anyone has any information about her? For example – how long was she at the school? 

Yvonne Tovell (Johnson) EHGS 1948-53

It brought back many memories to read all the names Joyce Watling listed. I would like to add our two wonderful French and English teachers, Miss English and Miss Herbert plus our own Blondie (Miss Robinson) and Mrs Howard who taught us to love music. Miss English was our Form mistress from 2nd – 3rd until she went off for a year on the first exchange programme. We got Miss Moore, a very tall Australian, who taught P.E. but did not take our form as it was considered too much. We got our adored Miss English back for the 5th year though.  Miss Herbert used to take a small group to different plays at the Old Vic and I remember well going to see the lovely Claire bloom there in Romeo and Juliet. (I also remember how hard the seats in the ‘Gods’ were!)

My memory of Miss Robinson, other than her teaching, was the day she was called out of our lesson and came back in tears to tell us that our beloved King George V1 had died. She had us all in tears as well. We had no TV at home then so went into school to watch the funeral on the schools TV. Many years later I found out that my husband was in the RAF contingent lining the road as the funeral procession passed.

Mrs Howard ran the Senior Choir and they appeared on radio and at the Royal Albert Hall, plus every year at the School’s Christmas outing at the Central Hall.

Miss Mitchell was our strict headmistress but Miss Clifford would always try to intercede and soften her. I suppose now we would recognise ‘good cop/bad cop’. I was in her office a few times and I guess I learned a few good lessons.

It did seem strange going back 16 years later to meet the teachers when my daughter started to find my old geography teacher as Headmistress, and to know how my own mother felt when Miss Bishop recognised her at my open day. 

Mr Robert H. Gillender and Miss Irene Tozer

From Robin Sharp – EHGS for Boys

Having acquired some copies of the School Magazine (EHSS) dating from just after the First World War and from the early Thirties, I was intrigued to find several references to one of the masters at the old school, Robert Henry Gillender Head of Mathematics (1914-1939). During the Great War he served as an officer with the South Staffordshire Regiment and was badly wounded during the final weeks of fighting in France. It appears that he lost more than one limb as a result and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions. King George V presented the medal to him and Mr Gillender was granted a private audience with the monarch. Despite his injuries, he was able to return to teach at the School in 1920 and he continued on the staff for another 19 years – a remarkable achievement in view of his physical disadvantages.

Thanks to the internet and access to some of the ‘family history’ source websites, I have managed to piece together some other aspects of his life, which are fascinating. One of the unusual items I have discovered is a ship’s passenger list for September 1933, for a passage between Lisbon and Southampton, which includes RH Gillender’s name. The name of a fellow passenger also caught my attention and rang a muffled bell …. And, on checking the school staff list on Jim Briggs’ EHGS history website, I found the name there too. It was that of Miss Irene M Tozer, who taught English at the old Secondary School and then EHGS for Girls, between c.1917 and the 1950’s(?). It would be presumptuous to speculate that the two had any kind of ‘relationship’, other than a friendship between colleagues. However, for an unmarried school mistress to undertake such a trip in the company of a male counterpart (even though by then the girls section had moved to a separate school in Plashet Grove in the previous September), most certainly would have raised eyebrows at the time, had this been common knowledge.  

From my searches on the internet, I've found a reference to an Irene Madeline Tozer being born in September 1895 in West Ham. In the 1901 Census, there's an Irene M Tozer (aged 5) living at 118 First Avenue, Manor Park with parents (George & Alice) and elder sister Edith, but with place of birth given as Manor Park (the anomaly could be an error by the census collector?). There is an Irene M Tozer listed in the Torquay telephone directory in 1955 and 1956, living at 'Algoa', York Crescent, Babbacombe and there is also reference to the death of an Irene Madeline Tozer (born 2nd September 1895) in Torbay during the first quarter of 1970, so that could be her. If she retired at 60 and went down to live in the West Country? Maybe your archives for around 54/55 might record her leaving the School (after possibly 36 years service!!!).

Incidentally, when she joined Robert Gillender for the voyage back to Southampton from Lisbon in September 1933 (what scandal! - or is that just me?), her age was recorded as 38 and her address as 16 De Vere Gardens, Ilford. 

I've had a quick look through my back copies of the School Magazines and have come across a couple of references to Miss IM Tozer:

October 1919 - Miss IM Tozer was included on the subscription list of those who had contributed to the East Ham Secondary School War Memorial Fund. She subscribed 2 guineas, not a small sum in 1919. According to the list of staff on Jim Briggs' (EHGSforBoys) Website, she joined the staff in 1920. This could be wrong (see also below), or she may have contributed before she joined the staff? Maybe she was an 'old girl' of the school too? If she lived and was brought up in Manor Park, this is quite possible. 

January 1920 - Under an item entitled 'The Girls' School Houses', it says, "The Houses are each under the supervision of a Mistress, and have a Captain and a Committee. The House-Mistresses are Miss Brown, Miss Halse, Miss Roberts, Miss Tozer". Again, this would suggest that she had joined the staff earlier than 1920 - it's possible but unlikely she had joined 'new' in January 1920, a third of the way through the school year, and immediately became a house mistress.

June 1932 - A poem (in English) by IM Tozer entitled 'Ab Virginibus Pueris' (using my Joe Whiteley Latin, I take this to mean roughly 'from the girls to the boys') on the parting of the ways of the boys and girls schools, was published. Funnily enough, the response from the boys was penned by Robert Gillender. In the same edition, both Miss Tozer and Mr Gillender were listed among the staff attending the Ninth Annual Dinner of the Old Esthameians Society on 27th February 1932, held in the Crown Suite of the Holborn Restaurant.

July 1933 - Miss Tozer and Mr Gillender were listed among the staff attending the Tenth Annual Dinner of the Old Esthameians Society on 25th February 1933, held in the Crown Suite of the Holborn Restaurant.

March 1933 - Miss Tozer was congratulated on her expertise as co-producer of the play 'Oliver Cromwell' at the School Speech Day, 21st December 1932.

 I've had a chance to look through the back copies of the POSA Newsletter (2003, 2005, 2008, 2010) that I have, and have found some references to Miss Tozer and also to some contemporary photographs, which may include her?

 2003 - Grace Trevvett (nee Mathams) 1935-40 writes of reminiscences with Elsie Cottrell (nee Stoten) and Gladys Connell (nee Jones) of “our much-loved Miss Irene Tozer, who taught us English in a most inspiring way”.

Christine Watkinson (nee Turville) 1943-47 says “I remember........ Miss Tozer” (among others) ~ so she must have been teaching at EHGSfG until at least 1943.

2005 - Jean Huddlestone Staff, 1946-50 -"Miss Ramsden was my fellow English teacher and Miss Tozer was our Head of Department" ~ so she must have been teaching at EHGSfG until at least 1946.

Gladys Connell (nee Jones) 1935-40 "I look back with pleasure on lessons with Miss Tozer (English)".

2008 - Gladys Read (nee Anderson) 1929-34 donated a set of photos showing pupils and staff in 1933/34 + memories to archive.

2010 - Ethel Buvyer 1931-39 and Joan Jackson (nee Buvyer) 1933-39 donated items including photos to the archive.

Fascinating stuff! It certainly seems that Miss Tozer was quite an important figure in the Schools' history, well liked and a very long stayer. I have sent you a photo for the Archives taken from the School Magazine of November 1932, which shows our 'couple' sitting next to each other at the Old Esthameians' Dinner. By amazing fortune, the previous owner of the bound set of magazines has added names around the photo to identify some of those in attendance, including Mr Gillender and Miss Tozer.

 If you have any further info in the POSA archives or any of your members can add anything it would be of interest to me. I'm sure that POSA members and your archive can reveal more!

PS. I have also sent you a picture for your archives of Miss Cross, another long-term mistress at the Tec/EHGSfG, which was taken at the time she became Headmistress of the Girls Grammar School (from the November 1932 school mag.)

 Ed. Note: if you have any further info for Robin please contact me and I will put you in touch – we live in the same tiny Suffolk village – another amazing co-incidence!!


Pam Adams (Goode) Monega Modern 1947

I moved from Wales to Forest Gate in 1947 and had just failed my 11+. My parents wanted me to go to school immediately and there were still some weeks of the summer term to go. We met Miss Carter and I was put in 1B just in time to do some of the end of term exams. Having been given a Welsh education I was not bad on music and maths but hopeless at everything else. I remember Miss Carter telling me that my writing was like a spider who had drunk too much gin! My enthusiasm for Welsh hymns was wasted on Miss Potter and I soon dreaded her classes and learnt to mime instead of sing.

The following term I was put in 1A and began my Monega Modern schooling for real. I loved Miss Flecher and her French; my class teacher was Mrs Dickenson, who encouraged me to enjoy acting but sadly Miss Potter and I never got on; she taught me I was not musical.

I remember the 4th year girls putting on the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’, which I adored, and the seed for my love of amateur dramatics was planted then. Mrs Edwards, firm but fair, may have been instrumental in developing my interest in science and when I grew up I became a nurse and a midwife.

Sadly I had to leave Monega because my parents moved to Walthamstow, but my school memories linger around my experiences with girls such as Joan Cottee, the Doree twins, Sylvia Major, Jean James, Shirley Kinney, Brenda Ball, Wendy Crump, Leah Vine and Mavis Barratt to name but a few.

Norah Anderson (Drew) EHGS 1933-39

Thank you for another interesting newsletter. I apologise for being unable to attend the reunion, which I hope went off as well as always. I wonder if I might be allowed to recount some exciting things that have happened in the last year.

As a wartime member of the WRNS I wrote an article, which appeared in the Feb. 2010 edition of ‘The Wren’ magazine, together with photographs, which told of me being rescued from the North Sea on 2nd February 1943. I was on the plane, a walrus amphibian aircraft of the fleet Air Arm as a Leading Wren Air Radio Mechanic, to test the wireless equipment, which I had serviced in the hangar workshop. In the crash I received massive bruising and a blow to the head, causing concussion, so my memories were fleeting. I have never known the reason for the crash nor how I managed to be in the water out of the plane which later sank. So we have been in touch and I believe that she has also become a member of POSA.

To cut a long story short, my story was seen by another ex-Wren who immediately contacted me. Her name was Mrs Lorna Woodward (Wise) an old school friend from Salisbury Road Primary School and EHGS

Last year I read an article in the Royal British Legion magazine, about the ‘Goldfish Club’, which was set up in 1942 for people who had ditched in the sea and had been rescued. On contacting them, I was welcomed and made a member, describing me as a ‘rare commodity’ – a lady Goldfish.

I recently had the honour of being invited, as one of six Goldfish members, to the ‘Not Forgotten Association’s’ 90th anniversary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. I was presented to HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who was kind enough to show great interest in a brief account of my accident. The whole event was glorious and it was a day I shall never forget. I counted myself lucky to be able to make the journey on my own and certainly found it well worth the effort. I wonder if there are there any other ex Wrens amongst the POSA members? I should be most interested to hear from them.

Betty Barr (Holloway) EHGS 1953-60

Thank you to the committee for all their hard work.

Maxine Bonner (Steinberg) EHGS 1957-62

It is a good strategy to continue sending Newsletters to lapsed members. I must admit Reunions make me feel like a naughty schoolgirl again and I lost interest in attending. However I realise that I had overreacted and hope to attend this years Reunion.  Thanks to you all.

Dawn Bridge EHGS 1953-60

 I live in Essex with my husband and two cats. We have two grown-up daughters. I was an infant teacher but am now retired and enjoy gardening, writing and sight seeing. Last year I had a romantic novel published, entitled ‘Supermarket Saga’, which can be purchased from Swan Books in Upminster, Amazon.co.uk and other online booksellers. I am currently working on a sequel to ‘Supermarket Saga.’

Margaret Clarke (Gilchrist) EHGS 1960-66

I fondly remember a youth hostelling trip to Switzerland led by Miss Vincent. There were 6-8 of us, and we stayed in 3 different hostels: near Lake Geneva (I think!); Lugano (the Italian speaking area, and by far the most comfortable); and Lucerne (German speaking). I have some interesting photos taken from ski lifts. We were under orders to keep close together in Milan Station, while waiting for the next train! I can see why now! Watch this space…….!

Margaret Cole (Kinch) PCSS 1954-58

I received my copy of the P.O.S.A. 2010 newsletter yesterday and read it, as I always do, as soon as it arrived; memories of "the old days" and all that! Now, writing letters is not really my forte, but here goes.  I felt quite disappointed that there wasn't a single item from any Plashet County Secondary School folk.  My thoughts were, "somebody ought to write." Then I thought, "perhaps, it ought to be me." 

I attended Plashet from 1954 to 1958.  Prior to that I was at Shaftesbury Road Junior School and, even earlier, at Monega Road Infants’ School.  I was then Margaret Kinch.  I’m now married to John Cole -- an EHGS boy. Both my sisters, Janet and Susan, were at Plashet, also my sister-in-law, Jennifer (nee Retter).  Unlike Jill Johnson-Biggs ("food for thought") we had to walk home at lunchtime for our dinner, then back for the afternoon.  I'm sure the exercise did us good! 

I did enjoy my days at Plashet.  I still have a felt rabbit, made in Miss Elliott’s class, when I was 12. I also still have a cookery exercise book from those days.  During my last two years at Plashet I took up typing and commerce; the teacher was Miss Rook.  I've been glad of that typing experience -- especially now, with computers.  I didn't take it up as a career, though.  Instead, I went on to learn -- and later demonstrate -- the Comptometer. This I did until leaving work to have our family. 

Another thing I enjoyed every Wednesday until leaving school, was going swimming at East Ham baths.  I used to go with Maureen Laws (Hemsley) and Ruby Crane (I often wonder what happened to Ruby).  My closest pals at the time were Eileen Crisp and her sister Margaret, both of whom lived in Shrewsbury Road, almost opposite what was then the Memorial Hospital.  Again, I often wonder where they are now, and what they're doing. I also remember sports lessons in Plashet Park -- hurdle races and rounders, particularly come to mind.  I was in the 1st East Ham Girls’ Brigade Company till I left London, and then joined our village company, eventually becoming Captain for many years.  A lot of the girls from the East Ham Company went to Plashet and E.H.G.S. 

We re-located to Buckinghamshire 42 years ago when my husband's Company moved to Hemel Hempstead.  I've only worked part time since having the boys -- 15 years at Ivinghoe Youth Hostel, then as a carer.  Since retiring, we keep very busy entertaining the grandchildren and doing all those other things that make us wonder how we ever found the time to go to work.  I don't think we'll ever really retire. Thank you all for the good work you do for the Association.

Mavis Cornish (Page) EHGS 1944-51

I was interested in the letter from Jean Marie Munn in the last Newsletter (P.19) where she refers to Pat Manning (Everett) whose cousin she married. Pat was in my year at school and Jean Jopson (Copping) has written in past newsletters regarding members of our year. If Pat would like to get in touch with me I can arrange for her to have a copy.

Kathleen (Dorothy) Davey (Parker) EHSS / EHGS 1929-35

It is thanks to my daughter in Australia, that I became aware of POSA. She is an internet wizard and tracked it down whilst searching about her own long lost school friends. She attended Romford County High, when Miss Bubbers was Head, between 1947 –52 and her name was Elizabeth Facey.

Shirley Emmerich (Oakley) EHGS 1947-53

After my parent’s demise in the early 90’s I have very rarely managed to return to East Ham, which I am sure has changed so much that not even my parents would recognise it. Many plaudits/congratulations to all who do such a good job presenting and editing the newsletter.

Steve Derby EHGS for Boys

My name will mean nothing to you but my very dear friend, Norma Colwell (nee Lockwood) showed me the last four POSA Newsletters.  They make a great read, even to a 67-year old ex- East Ham Grammar School bloke!

I wanted to get a little advice from you, if I could.  I am in the closing stages of writing a book on growing up in Upton Park 1943 - 1959.  It has chapters on Shaftesbury Road School, 12th East Ham Scouts, East Ham Grammar (for Boys) 1954 -1959, West Ham United (1956 - 1959), Full Gospel Hall  (on the corner of Wakefield Street), Trainspotting (sorry about that!), radio shows, and the area around Walpole Road, Green Street, and Plashet Grove.  It's called "All Change for Upton Park."
I will probably have to do a self-publication, so what I am trying to do is find out the likely size of my market.  I'm cool about family and friends and I am also going to approach Stephanie Moore (the wife of the late, great Bobby).  I'm hopeful that she will agree for me to "advertise" the book to her cancer charity supporters, to which I will make a donation for every copy that I sell.  Would you be kind enough to advise your subscribers, once I have sorted out publication?  
I'd really appreciate your help on this - even though I'm part of the male EHGS population!  My cousin is a member of POSA, plus Norma and a number of other ladies that I have kept in touch with over almost 50 years.  
Kind regards - and thanks again for the mag.  It's a real good read.

Ed. Note: I have been in touch with Steve re his book and have invited him to bring some copies along to the next Reunion in 2012.

Margaret Freke (Mags Thorpe) EHGS 1947-51 ( perhaps 1948-52?)

Many thanks for the latest ‘blast from the past’. It is much appreciated, my grateful thanks to the committee members who help to make the magazine possible. I have a couple of photos from the school productions of ‘Noah’ and ‘Pygmalion’. They were official photos, so I suspect that they may already be on the database. I also have a couple of ‘snaps’, taken by Miss Nathan, of Form 3N and some French exchange students. I am computer and camera illiterate but will ask my husband to email copies to you. (Thanks Mags – look forward to receiving them – Ed.)


Elizabeth (Liz) Garbarz (Godfrey) EHGS 1949-56

Further to Jill Johnson-Biggs ‘Food for thought’ article in the last Newsletter: When I was at EHGS china vegetable dishes were placed on tables in the dining Room for girls to serve themselves.


Joyce Hemsworth (Cavalier) EHGS 1942-48

Thank you yet again for another interesting Newsletter. I hope to attend the Reunion.


Pat Holliday (Sandford) EHGS 1950-55

I much enjoyed my first School Reunion, but was a bit disappointed that there were no other girls from my year.


Audrey Kirby (Want) EHGS 1942-49

I found the last newsletter very interesting. I remember Pearl and the Tilmer twins joining the school when the new 3rd form was introduced in 1944.


Muriel Lege (Langford) EHGS 1933-38

I really enjoy reading the newsletter and appreciate how much work goes into producing it and running the association. I’m sorry that I was not able to attend the 2010 reunion due to age and distance.

One of the highlights of my time at EHGS was going to the school camp in Dorset in either 1936 or 7? The weather was terrible but Miss Bubbers and her friends and colleagues kept us occupied by running treasure hunts, etc. We had our pretend ‘camp fires’ in the loft of the farmer’s barn where we huddled together, wrapped in blankets’ singing songs and drinking hot cocoa.


Elizabeth Mehta Founder-Director – Muktangan  Mumbai, INDIA

Greetings from Mumbai, India!  It was great to meet everybody at the Old Girls meeting and to get an opportunity to talk about the work that I am doing in education through my project Muktangan. The donation that POSA gave me, along with the other kind donations, have all been put to good use. We used them towards the expenses for the up gradation of the eight libraries in our network of seven schools. We have purchased a number of open shelves for ease of access. We have appointed one professionally trained librarian who has fine-tuned the classification and cataloguing systems. Our other librarians are all teachers that we have trained ourselves and the librarian is now making plans to develop them further professionally. We will then attempt to raise money to initiate a six-month school librarianship course for schools catering to the economically disadvantaged.


We are now half way through the first term of the new academic year with an intake of 261 new children and 73 new teacher trainees. It is an exciting time with the government having passed new education laws under which all schools have to be inclusive, Primary sections should not have more than thirty children in a class (currently many urban schools have two shifts with 100 children in a class in both shifts). They are also attempting to introduce continuous assessment. We see it as an opportunity to get accreditation for our teacher training as the country will need a huge number of extra teachers. We have already been following many of the recommended practices and want to create training modules from our experiences.

I look back with fond memories to my years as a pupil in East Ham Grammar School for Girls 1958 to 1963. Many of the ideas I still cherish - the absence of competition, the music and drama festivals. The experiences of living with a local host family during my German and French exchanges certainly prepared me for my life in a different country.

Deidre Morris (Rowney) EHGS 1956-63

In April 2010 I met up again with Connie Jensen (Roberts) and Pauline Scuffell (Rackham). This time Pauline and I travelled from West Yorkshire to meet Connie in Carlisle, as she lives in Cumbria.

I took some of my old school memorabilia, which brought back mant memories. I had tickets and programmes for school plays, including ‘The Tempest’ in which Connie played Prospero, Pauline played Caliban and I was stage manager. Ther were 3 programmes from plays done at the Boys grammar, in which 6th form girls often took the female roles, and some programmes for other Girls school events.

I have some photos of girls, our 6th form room, and Miss Page, who taught English. Also a newspaper cutting of miss Finch with some first year girls planting up the new nature pond in the front garden of the school.

I have all of my O and a level exam papers – I wonder how they would compare to todays? – and my school reports. French, art and PE were always my poorest subjects.

I have the booklet from Miss Mitchell’s Memorial service, and the booklet of tributes to her from many friends and colleagues during her working life. It was a huge privilege to have had her for my headmistress for my first four years at EHGS, and she had a lasting influence on me. I fully realised this a few years ago. I was at a conference and, for the final session, someone said we couldn’t sit on the front row ‘as it was for the important people’. I looked at her and said ‘No. It is for those who have an important role in this session. No one person here is more important than anyone else’ She looked amazed and said, almost wonderingly, ‘You really believe that don’t you’. Which made me pause and then I replied very firmly, ‘YES’. That view stems from my time at EHGS under Miss Mitchell, and I have always been grateful for all that she did for myself and for the school.

I am providing the POSA Archive with copies of my memorabilia, which are of interest, and not already held by them.


Jean Marie Munn (Haskell) EHGS 1943-48

Thank you so much for sending on the letter from Irene Poole (Rusling) who knew my sister Marguerite (Peggy) It was such a joy to hear from her.

Janet O’Brien (Barthram) EHGS 1967-72

There is a small group of former students, including myself, now on facebook. 

Jennifer O’Connor (Smith) EHGS 1956-63

Perhaps when you get to a certain age you start reflecting. I think with me it must be the death of both of my parents in a relatively short time, mother in October 2008 and my father in July 2009. They had moved from Wanstead to Spalding in 2003 so the tentative links I had with the area were lost completely.

My mother always told me of her school days in Cleethorpes remembering her education with gratitude and affection. Her lessons were always well-taught, high quality and well remembered, according to her anyway. Thinking back to my time at EHGS I can see that much that she praised in her schooling was present in mine. We have a grandson living with us on a permanent basis and I find myself comparing what he is being taught to my own experiences (usually unfavourable comparisons).

I remember Miss Iles and can never see a sample of drawn thread work without a certain shudder and reflections of time spent hiding in the toilets to avoid her lessons! French with Miss Mumford well worth the time spent. I can still get by in France and the language lessons have helped with Italian and even some Japanese. What about the medical notes and ‘forgotten’ towels, anything to avoid the dreaded communal showers. Other lessons have been most useful with science and maths homework for Luke, although there will be a time, not too far away, when he will outstrip me.

School dances were very important. I think there was a committee: the only reason I was on it was the fact that I did A-level Domestic Science and could be used to make the refreshments!!

Some years ago I met sir Robert Mayer and was pleased to tell him how much I had enjoyed his Saturday concerts. 

Deanne Meeres (Davis) EHGS 1951-55

I enclose a donation to POSA but have decided not to re-join or to attend any more Reunions.  I came to a Reunion about 6 years ago and was disappointed that only a very few of my classmates even belonged to POSA. Thank you for printing my request for contacts with my classmates – I did get one reply from Jean Steer, with whom I have struck up a friendship and go and stay with her each year. 

Irene Poole (Rusling) EHGS 1934-39

As a result of a note in a previous newsletter, I had a letter from the daughter of Eileen Burton (1934-39). This was Jan Goldman (Burton) (1955-60). I had commented that I never met any of my year group at reunions. Jan told me that her mother had been in my form and in our following correspondence we found we had many common interests, and hope to meet at the 2010 Reunion. 

Gwendoline Scrutton (Fordham) EHSS 1926-31

When I receive my Newsletter I hope to find mention of someone of my years, but so far Eileen Nixon (nee Fell) is the only one. We met on several occasions, so I was sad to learn of her death. My husband, Frank (also 1926-31) died in January of this year. He and I met at Miss Foreman’s (Junior History) dancing class to prepare us for our annual Xmas Party in the Town Hall. He and I celebrated our 70th Wedding Anniversary on his 95th birthday. My sincere good wishes to all who produce such a good link to the past. 

Peggy Seabrook (Heale) EHGS 1941-46

I await the annual newsletter with anticipation that I will find a name that I recognise. Pearl Weisbaum mentioned Gladys Evans again. She and I were at Hartley Avenue School together and then after our ‘Scholarships’ we parted company and I went to EHGS – Gladys to East Ham Central and she later joined us at the Grammar School. She became a dancer and the last time we met up she was in a show with Frank Sinatra. I speak weekly to Joy Hemsworth and we have been close friends since school. Many thanks to the committee for all of their hard work. 

Maureen Searle (Pollard) PCSS 1961-65

Please send my apologies for not attending the Reunion this year – I was on holiday. 

Pat Self (Allvey) EHGS 1946-53

A few years back I wrote about three ‘old students’ living in a Norfolk village – Briston. They were Sheila Musselwhite (Maylon) 1952-58, Ann Hussar (Evans) 1960’s and myself. Sheila and I still live in Briston where we keep busy with our Church activities and other village events. We hope to attend the 2010 reunion.

Ann has now left the village and, with her partner, is now living on a narrow boat, ‘The Wandering Snail‘. At the moment they are travelling around Belgium and hope eventually to travel around Europe on the rivers and canals. Their latest adventure can be read in the Dec. 2009 Magazine ‘Canal Boat’.

I was pleased to read of Brenda English 1946-53 and Joyce Fox (White) 1946-51. Maybe they will be at the 2010 Reunion. In 2006 I enjoyed meeting Hilda Harding and Shirley rickets, both in my year. 

Janice Stobo (nee Gillard)  EHGS 1960-1965
This time last year we (Susan Bayley nee Bowles) and I (Janice Stobo nee Gillard) were making plans to celebrate our 60th birthdays in the Bahamas with Betty Oxley (nee Franks) who lives there. Well, we did it!! We had a fabulous time in paradise for 10 days. Location and company were great. We spent a lot of time reminiscing – and had a few drinks!!


When I was looking through my old POSA Newsletters, I noticed an appeal in the 2005 edition from Kathleen Davey (nee Parker) 1929-35, who was looking for a 1935 copy of The Esthamian, which contained an article she had written. Do you know if she found what she was looking for?  Anyway, I don't have the edition for which she is searching, but I DO have the following one in which her valete appears (December 1935). As she had left the school by then, she may well have not seen it! Anyway, if still relevant, I could let her have a copy. Not much in itself, but she might be interested? It reads: 

“Kathleen Parker (name); Blue (house); 1929 (first year at school); Civil Service (future career)” 

Hilary Stack (Benn) EHGS 1964-71

Noting costs of printing and postage for the Newsletter – why not email the newsletter to those who have an email address? It would be cheaper and would save some trees!!

(Ed. Note: most people tell me that they enjoy the anticipation of opening their Newsletter but do let us know how you feel about this idea)

Kathleen Steele (Quinn) EHGS 1931-37

I contacted Kathleen Davey as soon as I received the last Newsletter and made arrangements to come to the Reunion together. At the Reunion I would like to return my miniature sports cups to the school that I won two years running in the 30’s as I don’t think that my family will want them.

ED. Note: Thank you so much Kathleen – the cups are now safely installed in the archives cabinet in the foyer of Plashet School. 

Joyce Watling (Jones) EHGS 1947-53

Thank you for using my letter in the last Newsletter. Sad to think that, as the years pass so do friends, and, when the years of work and children overtook school friends, the memories remained. The words of Pamela Billings were good to see. Have the old rolls of photographs worn out? Sad to read of Kathleen Byron’s death – she was a visitor whilst I was at school – oh how in awe we were!! 

Pearl Hannah Weisbaum (Tuszynski) EHGS 1944-49

Many thanks, once again, for a great Newsletter 2010! Received a wonderful letter from Margaret Edwards.  

Lorna Woodward (nee Wise) EHGS 1932–1937
What a lovely interesting read the newsletter provided, thank you very much for the copies. I have been taken back in time reading some of the member’s names: Penelope Gadsby, Joan Wiseman and Dorothy Goulding.
Anne Chesney mentioned a school song, here are some lines that I recall we sang at EHGS.
Nor buildings grey nor records heavy
Can make a school to last for age
But souls aflame with high ideals
That will not falter by the way.’
A big thank you for all the work that the committee put into the newsletter and for reviving memories of our wonderful Grammar School. My granddaughter, born 1985, tells me I was very privileged – she is right.
Hope the 2010 Reunion was a great success and I look forward to the next newsletter.



Margaret Cook (nee Cross) EHGS 1948-53, died on 5th May 2010, after contracting cancer. She is survived by her husband Brian. They had moved to Thorpe Bay a couple of years ago.

Sheila Green (nee Tolhurst) Plashet County Secondary School 1957-1963
Sheila died on 11th January 2010 after battling illness for several years.
On leaving school Sheila worked for Clerical, Medical & General life Assurance but realised her career was to be in teaching. She trained at Bishop Otter College, Chichester 1967-1970 and gained her Certificate of Education. In 1971 Sheila married Malcolm, they settled in the Portsmouth area where Sheila’s teaching career progressed. From 1970-1972 she taught at Warren Park Primary School, Havant and from 1972-1993 at Stamshaw First School, Portsmouth.  Sheila took early retirement from full time teaching on the grounds of ill health in 1993 but taught part-time at various schools, including Special Needs schools in the Portsmouth area since she had studied and gained a Diploma in Special Needs Teaching at King Alfred’s College, Winchester. Further ill health obliged her to stop teaching in 2004, but her greatest enjoyment had been to start the reception children on the road to reading, writing and arithmetic. Sheila was very dedicated, hardworking and organised, her talents for art and needlework were a big asset. She was much loved by her pupils, many of whom kept in touch even after they had left school.
Sheila is affectionately remembered by her Plashet school friends, we met together at the 2004 School Reunion and have treasured photographs of the occasion.
Reported by Margaret Edwards (nee Heudebourck) PCSS 1957-1962


Pamela Adams (Goode) Monega Modern School For Girls 1947-1950
I would like to re-connect with school friends from Monega Modern. For all the challenges facing education at that time I have a sense that the teachers made an impact on my life, particularly Miss Flecher – French teacher and Mrs Dickinson –English and Music. I do look back on my life with a sense of privilege – I did not even go to the Grammar School, but I feel that I had as good an education as was possible at the time and my thanks must also go to Miss Carter – Headmistress, Miss Potter – Music, Mrs Edwards – Science and to Mrs Davenport. I became a nurse, midwife, wife, Mother and Counsellor. I would love to connect with anyone from Monega Modern School.
Ed. NOTE:  At the 2010 Reunion Pamela was thrilled to meet June Game (Crump) Monega Modern 1947-51 and Pam Billings ( Manby) Monega Modern  1948-1952.

Kerry Duck (formerly Iris Kerrigan) EHGS 1938-40)

I was delighted to see an entry in the last Newsletter from Ursula merchant who, like me, appears to have joined the school in 1938. I was only at the school for about 18 months, my first form teacher being Miss Harper and I am always hoping that someone might know something of Pamela Morris, who I know completed her studies at the school before going on to university.

I have contacted Jean Braine, as she was before marriage. She was most enthusiastic about her time at Kidlington, describing her stay there as the best four years of her life!! I left the school for good in September 1940 when it was closed following bombing and when, as a family, we moved to Hadleigh in Suffolk, so apart from losing out on my education it seems as if I missed all the activities and fun at Kidlington. Whilst I cannot remember Ursula and she may not recall me I found her letter so interesting and if she is agreeable, I would like to telephone her or any other girl of my year. Jean Braine tells me that she has now contacted Audrey Lax.

I was at the school for such a short time but what an impression it made on me and looking back I feel some regret that I was unable to complete my studies. However, I enjoy a good life and with my husband have seen to it that our two sons have had the benefit of a first-class education.

If any girls remember me, I should be very pleased to hear from them. I was billeted with Mrs Alison, a wonderful lady, and I understand that following my departure I was replaced by another EHGS girl who eventually married Mrs. Alison’s son, Terry. I mention this in the hope that perhaps someone may recall this event.

Many, many thanks indeed for all that you all do to keep the association alive.

 (Ed. Note: Kerry’s email address is:  vanduk@ tiscali.co.uk)

 Joan Jackson (Buvyer) EHGS 1933-39

I wonder if anyone has news of Vera Barnes (EHGS 1932-8?) I am remembering a night we spent together in a Water Board Office in Plaistow sheltering from an air raid on the first night of the London Blitz, in September 1940. We had met accidentally in our efforts to get home from work and spent an anxious night listening to the reports of local damage, including the fire which destroyed Woolworths in East Ham High Street. Next morning we were kindly taken to Vera’s home and Vera and her father walked home with me. I have not been in touch with her since but was so thankful for her company that night.

I hope that you all had a successful and enjoyable reunion.

 Jean Jopson (Copping) EHGS 1944-51

As written to you before, I am still in contact both with numerous girls from my own year group and from others who were in other year groups during my time at school.  

Joan Mackinnon (Wiseman) EHGS 1932-37

The Mayor of Redbridge in 2003 was Mrs Vanessa Cole. She was a former student of EHGS and attended sometime in the 60’s. I’m afraid that I do not know her maiden name, but she is still an active member on Redbridge Council.


Pauline Wilkinson (Stiffell) PCSS 1953-57

I would be pleased to contact any other POSA members who live in Colchester, who I could travel to future reunions with.

Ed. Note: Pauline can be contacted through Margaret Edwards – Membership Sec.


Valerie Wright (Brown) EHGS 1948-53

I’d be very interested to know if anyone has any memories about Mrs Haines class in 1953/3. I keep in touch with Pamela Hierons, Sheila Ulman and Joyce Plater (all maiden names).


Janice Yeadon (Dutnall) EHGS 1952-59

If anyone was in Mr. Walden’s or Mr McMillan’s classes – 7A/8A/9A/10A at Salisbury Junior Mixed School 1948-52 could they please contact either myself or Anne Johnson (Bowyer) Janiceyeadon@aol.com or 0208 546 4244 or through POSA. 

Appeal for information re:

Gladys M.E. Hawkins (Whitred) EHSS & EHGS -  1931-35?

From Mr. Richard C. Clarke 

In researching my family tree I find find that Gladys was my second cousin and it turns out that she had a very distinguished career in music, in the 1940’s/50’s/60’s, as a classically trained soprano. She worked on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, performing with the English Opera Group under the direction of Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst alongside Peter Pears and Arda Mardikan and also with the BBC & ITV Music for schools and other young person’s television programmes, etc. This included singing in Andy Pandy and Bill & Ben programmes as well as an appearance on the Picadilly Palace television show with Morecambe & Wise, performing a selection of her arias in 1968. She also published some books and pamphlets on music and featured on some shellac 78’s and at least one LP record.

The International Movie database (IMdb) refers to her birth on the 4th July 1919 and her having attended EHGS and I am surmising that this was from about age 12 – 16 (ie 1931-35)

I am very proud of her achievements that I am aware of, and would like to know as much as possible about her life and career. It is my understanding that she married Wilfred Hawkins in 1946 and they had one son, Neal Hawkins in 1949, who appears to have married Judith Tucker in about 1987. Beyond that I do not know where any surviving family is living or indeed if any records exist of her time at school in the 1930’s or other information about her. I would be most interested to hear from anyone in POSA who knows anything more of her or if there is any mention of her in your archives. 

Ed. Note: If anyone can help with this request please contact me so that I can put you in touch with Richard. In the meantime we will keep a watchful eye for any mention of Gladys in our archives. Sue. 


Eileen Dorrington (Motley) EHGS 1937-42

It was with a sense of nostalgia that I read the 2009 Newletter, seeing the names of girls who were in exalted positions when I was a lowly 1st former in 1937. Nora Drew - House Captain, Penelope Gadsby - Prefect, Kathleen Quinn - Gymnast, and I believe Ethel Buvyer played the piano at some assemblies. I also remember seeing Kathleen Fell in a rehearsal of a play to be performed on Speech Day.

I am still in touch with Gladys Wotton, Joyce Simpson, Letty Nel, Ursula Osborne, Jessie Starkey and Margaret Daines. We have had a number of reunions including two weekends at Kidlington, one in 1989 when St. Mary’s Church entertained us, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our arrival. 

Jeanne Osbourn (nee Farrance) PCSS 1954-9 Moraira-Spain
Having recently received a copy of the POSA newsletter from the UK I was interested to read the article in 'Memories' from Anne Bryant (nee Chesney) pg.21.  
I remember Miss Pittard really well because after making the compulsory cookery apron and PE shorts we were allowed to choose something of our own to make in needlework. As I was heavily into dancing at that time I chose a full circle skirt, which Miss Pittard expected me to hand-stitch all the way around the hem- it took forever! When she told me the stitches were too big and had to be taken out and redone my friend Audrey Hodges offered to help me. I will never forget her for that act of kindness. I hope she is able to read this wherever she is. Cookery was more fun than successful and I still prefer to eat food rather than cook it. Miss Carter was indeed very strict. The only time I was sent to her door was because I made a silly excuse of 'not having any ink to do my homework'. I never forgot my embarrassment and was never sent there again!
Unfortunately I was ill prior to my 11+ Exam and I was told I could take it again at 13 but it was never offered to me. Therefore I had to see most of my friends go to EHGS whilst I watched through the railings of Plashet Secondary School wishing I could ‘cross the road’. Here I felt the education system at that time failed me miserably and I gave up trying to succeed at school to concentrate on my dancing, eventually becoming a teacher.
However, my favourite teacher was Mrs.Edwards (I think?) for Science. I was always on the top table and was pleased to see a picture of this on the photo page of the website. Although, after leaving school I qualified as a secretary, my love of English and Science carried me through to graduate then post-graduate study in London. Thus, from my initial dissection of a herring in the science lab at Plashet, I developed an interest in Neuropsychology.  I remember my graduation ceremony well as my tutor said to me on this day "surely now you feel you have crossed the road". I never forgot those words. I eventually retired with my husband to Spain in 2006 where we have renovated a villa with an apartment to let out to guests and meet many interesting people. Like Anne Bryant, I too would like to have some pictures of the staff during 1954-59 as memories fade unfortunately.
Our school song of course was 'Jerusalem' and it was with tears in our eyes that my lifelong friend Christine Crease (nee Chester) and me sang together at the last reunion. What lovely memories we have to treasure. 

Class of 1956-63 

Sue Foulsham (Wingrove) EHGS 1956-63 & Staff 1968 – 2000

As we have all celebrated our 65th birthdays at some point during the last 12 months, myself, and Chris Kennet (Nash), decided to make a huge effort to contact as many of our year group as possible and invite them to come along to the Reunion. Our detective work started well in advance of the reunion and over several months we spread the net as far as we could. As a result we had a fantastic turnout at the reunion and this was followed by a meal at the Red House in Redbridge, which was also very well attended and gave me a chance to catch up with my old ‘mates’, which is sometimes difficult for me when I am ‘Chairing’ the Reunion as a whole. A couple of us also stayed the night at the hotel and still spent half the night continuing to talk over old times! A great and very memorable day – roll on 2012!!

As a consequence of our efforts, I have now been able to compose a new up to date database of contact details for our year group, which I have sent to all. This task has been made so much simpler by the fact that the majority have email numbers and this will enable us to keep in much more regular touch in future. Most of the articles below have been written to me but I’m sure that they will not mind me sharing them with you. 

Janet Austin (Green) EHGS 1956-63

So sorry I wasn’t able to make the Reunion this year, especially as it was a ‘big one’ for some of us. I was visiting my sister, Frances Bowler (nee Green) who was at EHGS a few years before me, with my husband Ray Austin (Boys Grammar). Many thanks for all the hard work you do in keeping us together and so well informed. 

Mary McKellar EHGS 1956-63

I must start by saying a big THANK YOU to you and the other girls involved in arranging the POSA reunion.  It is the first reunion I have attended and the first time I have been back to the Grammar School since I left in 1962. 

I had been a bit nervous about coming as I didn't think I would recognise anyone or that anyone would recognise me.  However, Norma Lockwood persuaded me that I would enjoy myself and she was right.  It was especially nice, that some of us were able to extend the event by enjoying a meal together afterwards at the Red House.

There were so many highlights about the day and the AGM that I am still mulling them over.  I was especially impressed by the current students charged with ensuring us 'old girls' found our way around the two schools and answered any questions we had.  They, and the students who received awards, are a credit to their/our school. 

I took away with me copies of Newsletters 2006 - 2009 and what memories they have evoked.  So many characters (pupils and teachers) and events jumped out of each Newsletter

You may recall that I had brought my photo of the 1962 6th Form so that I could add some of the missing names.  With the help of several girls I have been able to identify many of the blanks and have now updated my list, which I attach for the archives.   Whilst updating my list I thought of a couple more names from our era - Tania Goldman and Carol Shimmen, do these names ring any bells?  I was also hoping to find out about Eileen Wakeling but drew a blank.  However, when I got home I realised that I should have gone across to the contingent representing the late 40's and early 50's as Eileen's sister (Maureen, I think) was at the school during that period.  Perhaps next time. Once again, thanks to everyone involved in POSA and the lady who provided the wonderful buffet. 

JANET ARCHER (Batho) EHGS 1956 -63 

Jen & I had a great time in spite of the District Line being closed from Whitechapel to Barking. We ended up at Canning Town Bus Station and spotted a 147! Hurrah! (a bit public school? OK -  Oooray!) and missed the first foray into the 'eats' - I was practically ready to eat my fingers but it didn't show! And I was next to Connie Jensen (Roberts) cool as a cucumber and taking minutes for you.

There were lots of quizzical looks between us all but there we were at least 20+ of us from 1963. My very best friend Anne Benns came to our first big one (reunion that is) & now lives in Abergavenny with her second husband. I loved seeing everybody.

 I have a friend who says 'you live in the past '. She has children so she can really look (or try to) to the future but I only have now, and what has gone before. I love what I have & will continue to relish the occasional contacts I have with EHGS.

 Seriously, I understand the effort that goes into these events, but congratulate you on your efforts to keep us all in (human) touch. Long may you continue!

Thank you so much to you and all of the committee for their efforts in organising the event. ...keep it going! 


Thank you so much for organising last Saturday’s Reunion.  It was great to see everyone and I'm so pleased I attended.  I do realise it's a lot of work for you.  Looking forward already to two year's time!

CONNIE JENSEN (Roberts) EHGS 1956-63

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting so many of our year group at the POSA reunion in June! I loved every minute and want it to happen all over again very soon. I was struck once again by what an interesting bunch of people I was once lucky enough to have as schoolmates, and feel very humble as I know I was a bit of a weirdo and a cold fish at school! Anyway- to business. I believe I made a sweeping statement about no-one having written a proper biography of Constance Frances Mitchell. Somebody said I ought to do it. Well, I have taken that on board, but haven't progressed very far. My first thought was to start a blog dedicated to our memories and our teachers: it wasn't just Miss Mitchell who was special. Like any good head teacher, she built a team of like minded people around her, and I feel, as I am sure do all of you, indebted to a whole group of quite amazing women. I will be talking to Miss Cruttenden soon, I think, as I particularly need information on Miss Mitchell. 

I have written a little bit about one or two of them and will add to the blog as I think back, and inspiration hits me, but what I really want to do is to gather stories from all of you, and anybody else you are in touch with. That way, I hope to start to piece together Miss Mitchell's story, which will be inextricably entwined with stories of the rest of the staff and pupils. I have started a blog of memories for our year group specifically so please get in touch if you have anything to share about schooldays, teachers and anything connected, however trivial it may seem. Please comment on the blog- it's very easy to do as anonymous, and you can then put your name in the comment (or not as you choose). Some of you may want to write quite a bit- I hope you do- in which case I can give you access to post comments and blog entries direct. Just let me know. I am doing quite a lot of casting forth of bread at the moment. Please throw back the odd crumb or two, even if it is soggy!

Here is the blog address: http://easthambags.blogspot.com 

Thanks for organising a great day- I had a wonderful time.

Love, health, long life and happiness to all of us who still get a lump in the throat when we hear Jerusalem.