Together again - and again: two reunions & celebrations mark historic St Peter's final days as a school
Crowds flocked to the Marlborough Grammar School/St. Peter’s Junior school reunion and celebration on July 1 to mark the end of an era of Marlborough education on The Parade. The building will close at the end of the summer term as staff and students move to the very new - still being built - Marlborough St Mary’s School in September.
Meanwhile friends of St Mary’s (Girls) Junior School from its days in the Herd Street building which closed in 1962, were holding their reunion at Marlborough Bowls Club.
It was a time for reminiscing, looking at old school photographs and for meeting up with old friends. Denis Lavis who attended Marlborough Grammar from 1945-51 and who, together with Audrey Peck, had the idea for the reunion told marlborough.news: “Marlborough Grammar was one of the top grammar schools in the country, I was very proud to be here. It was a small school where everyone knew everyone.”
Denis remembers his first day at the school when he took the wrong coat home.
And when he was 13 he was in trouble again for having a girlfriend in the school: “Mr Stevens, the deputy head told us we were banned from seeing each other, it was interrupting our studies, but it didn’t make any difference we still got married.”
Fifty-eight years later Denis and Olive are still married!
Colin Horwood (Marlborough Grammar ’43-'51) remembers the school in wartime: “A Dornier was shot down near Devil’s Den and all the boys wanted to go to see it. I was off school with the mumps so wasn’t allowed to go.”
June Carine (Marlborough Grammar ’51-’58) brought an old school magazine containing her Sports Captain's report with her. She vividly remembers being reprimanded for talking in class when she was supposed to be reading Mrs Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’. Her punishment was to write “Silence is golden” a thousand times.
Memories of misdemeanours featured heavily in the conversations at the St Mary’s reunion. Linda Raisey, who attended the school in the 1950s, remembers being in trouble for having her skirt too short and rolled over at the waist, and boys having board rubbers thrown at them and being slippered on the hand.
Helen Smith who left school in 1965, remembers boys who misbehaved being hung up on coat hooks in the cloakroom and a whole class of boys receiving the cane for their antics in a music lesson.
“But it was all good fun,” Linda Raisey told marlborough.news. “You had respect for the teachers and you didn’t cross the line. There were boundaries.”
Many of the St Mary’s girls went on to the secondary school on Marlborough Common and remember the harsh conditions they had to endure. The school was housed in old Nissen huts and students suffered the bitter cold and blizzards in winter with poorly ventilated classrooms heated by coke stoves that gave off fumes.
With the new Marlborough St Mary’s and its light, airy classrooms and wide outdoor spaces, together with the relatively new Marlborough St John’s building, education in Marlborough has certainly come a long way since those days.
[Click on photos to enlarge them]