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News > Alumnae News > Daphne Lakes tells us about life at PF in 1941

Daphne Lakes tells us about life at PF in 1941

Snapshot of life at PF in 1941
Daphne's year group around the Rose Garden pond
Daphne's year group around the Rose Garden pond
I arrived at Prior’s Field in May 1941 when I was thirteen-and-a-half. This was not the best age to be changing schools, but there were several other new girls there around the same age and we were all there due to different circumstances caused by the war. The required uniform was a grey pleated tunic, grey aertex ‘bloomers’, white blouses, a light grey Harris Tweed suit (for best) and a green, red and white striped tie. Clothes were all rationed so these took precious coupons. So some items were new, the others were purchased at school, where leaving girls had left items in good condition to be bought coupon free by new girls.

I found myself sharing a room with Veronica Ashley-Cook (pictured), she had come from another boarding school but her parents wanted her closer to home. She and I remained friends throughout our lives until she passed away a few years ago. This was before the days of modern fabrics and luggage. We would arrive with a small suitcase and our old-fashioned trunks would be picked up at the station and put in the gym.

One of the first things we did on the first day was to unpack, making several trips to our bedroom.Miss Burton-Brown (Bice) was the Headmistress, with about 110 pupils. We were all boarders, except for a few who lived close by and the school was made up of just the original buildings. Not many women went to university then but all the teachers had been. They wore their gowns flowing around them all the time and if one came towards you in a passageway, we had to flatten against the wall to let them by! There were only about 20 girls in each class so we had a bit of individual teaching. You were assigned a place in the dining room and if I remember rightly, it was with your own class. The food was put on plates and then served at the tables. Every meal started with Bice saying “Lord be our guest at all times.”

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