Tales of School Days
Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School
Like many of the best books, this unusual history of an unusual school – St Philip’s prep-school in Kensington, founded in 1934 by Catholic convert Richard Tibbits and still going strong today – is hard to classify. ‘As you live through its story in these chapters,’ the author promises her readers, ‘you’ll be taken on a meander through the twentieth century. War, rationing, smog, mini-skirts, maxi-skirts, strikes, Thatcherism, the first computer . . .’ Enough to say that for anyone who has enjoyed Decline and Fall or St Trinian’s, anyone who loves to laugh yet feels the poignancy of the passage of time, this book will be a treat.
Terms & Conditions: Life in Girls’ Boarding-Schools, 1939–1979
‘When I asked a group of girls who had been at Hatherop Castle in the 1960s whether the school had had a lab in those days they gave me a blank look. “A laboratory?” I expanded, hoping to jog their memories. “Oh that kind of lab!” one of them said. “I thought you meant a Labrador.”’ As we discover from this quietly hilarious history of life in British girls’ boarding-schools, this was a not untypical reaction. Harsh matrons, freezing dormitories and appalling food predominated, but occasionally these eccentric establishments imbued in their pupils a lifetime love of the arts and a thirst for self-education. In Terms & Conditions Ysenda speaks to members of a lost tribe – the Boarding-school Women, who look back on their experiences with a mixture of horror and humour.
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