Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by Jo » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:25 pm

sejintenej wrote:
Such effect can be for the good, it can be for the bad. IF it is for the bad then the effect can be reversed but it is not easy. Generally the reversal needs an opposite catalyst (if you can accept the simile). That could be family support (but CH was principally for children where such home support was mising or was itself negative) or perhaps an understanding of the negative environment (which I suspect you went through by getting to know the lady better) or perhaps something entirely different.
Now, without starting a different argument or more bad feeling, I take strong exception to that! :shock: It was never my experience at the time that the majority of my schoolmates came from dysfunctional families. On the contrary I, and most of my friends, came from loving and nurturing homes, but had parents who simply cared a great deal about our education, didn't like what was on offer locally, and couldn't afford expensive public schools. I don't know whether the same was true at Horsham but I have only heard this notion that most of us had problems at home in the three or so years I've been on this forum.
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5.7, 1967-75

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by Mid A 15 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:07 pm

Jo wrote:
sejintenej wrote:
Such effect can be for the good, it can be for the bad. IF it is for the bad then the effect can be reversed but it is not easy. Generally the reversal needs an opposite catalyst (if you can accept the simile). That could be family support (but CH was principally for children where such home support was mising or was itself negative) or perhaps an understanding of the negative environment (which I suspect you went through by getting to know the lady better) or perhaps something entirely different.
Now, without starting a different argument or more bad feeling, I take strong exception to that! :shock: It was never my experience at the time that the majority of my schoolmates came from dysfunctional families. On the contrary I, and most of my friends, came from loving and nurturing homes, but had parents who simply cared a great deal about our education, didn't like what was on offer locally, and couldn't afford expensive public schools. I don't know whether the same was true at Horsham but I have only heard this notion that most of us had problems at home in the three or so years I've been on this forum.
I think, to my knowledge, the home backgrounds were similar at both Hertford and Horsham from what I have read of Hertford on here.

To the best of my knowledge in the mid late sixties and early seventies Horsham's intake included a number of children of the Clergy, LCC pupils, parents serving overseas in the forces and some from what today would be termed single parent families, usually, but not always, because of the death of an older father.

As regards the main point of this thread, as an outsider looking in, I can understand where Kerren is coming from but would just make the point that it is sometimes very hard to articulate what has gone wrong in one's life or why.

There is no "right" time to sort things out if one does not fully know what the problem is.

I suggest that this forum has been cathartic in that people have realised they were not alone in their feelings and thus have been able to understand things that happened more clearly and thus, I hope, "lay some ghosts" to rest.
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:03 pm

I have a brother who has lived in Australia since 1971. I live in the US. Many years ago we met up in England and drove around to see some of the houses we grew up in. When we arrived at the house where I was born (and lived in until age 7 or 8), I thought we had made a mistake with the address. The house was TINY!! In my memory, it was huge - and the walk from the front door to the front gate covered quite some distance, rather than the 10 or 15 feet in front of me. I stood in front of the house for a long time, trying to reconcile the distorted memory with the facts in front of me and was forced to acknowledge the incredible effects of perspective on memory formation. I believe the same issue of perspective comes into play here. Many of us formed our impression of CH and its staff from a juvenile and naive perspective, that is very different when viewed from an adult's point of view. For me, the past year on this forum has allowed me to shift a little of the 'old' view into one that looks different from where I stand today. I think Kerren was lucky enough to have had the advantage of viewing DR from an adult perspective and to have had the opportunity to know her as a real person, rather than merely as the figurehead most of us encountered. I imagine we would all feel differently about ANY of the staff, if we had got to know them as PEOPLE. I'm sure it is hard for Kerren to understand why we are all 'stuck' to some extent in the past, as she was able to view the 'past' from the 'present'! I wish we were all able to revisit things and learn to see them constructively.

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by gma » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:39 pm

Hear, hear!!
Gerrie M-A (GMA) - 2:34 71-75

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Anon or The Guru or someone worthy like that.
Wasn't DR.
Definitely not.

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by fra828 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:09 pm

Jo wrote:I hate to see people falling out over this. Can we agree that DR had a negative effect on some people, but also that she did not set out to be deliberately hurtful? I think there are a lot of mitigating factors which explain why she could appear at worst intimidating and at best unsympathetic.

I also think it's not entirely fair to say that people should have moved on by now. Sure, it was 40+ years ago but some people have clearly carried the effects until recently, suffering from low self-esteem, until they found this forum, talked to other people, and discovered they weren't alone. So the catharsis and healing are pretty recent. I hope they do start to find some sort of closure and maybe forgive DR a little, even if they can't forget.
Apologies for bringing this up again...What a shame that DR didn't extend the kindness SOME of us experienced, what a different school Hertford would have been, in DR's time at least.

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by Liz Jay » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:57 am

Mmmmm....I think it's called "favouritism" when it happens - in families too.

One thing we were told to Very Carefully Avoid when I did teacher training but of course CH made all its own rules!!!!

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH Forum)

Post by fra828 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:53 pm

Certainly don't feel I was one of DR's favourites, I just think it took quite traumatic incidences to bring kindness out of her, she probably had a lot of sympathy in her, buried somewhere!. but didn't bring it out enough and show us, a) because of her position as head and b) those were less demonstrative times.

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by Angela Woodford » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:34 pm

kerrensimmonds wrote: Her acts of kindness are legendary, even evidenced on this Forum.IAnyway, I think that people are judging her now by today's standards, which in my view is unfair.c) I spoke to an OG today, ten years ahead of me, and not a member of this Forum. She said that when she had been at the school, Miss West had told her and her family that she would come to nothing (and she got 5% for a scripture essay, when her Dad was a respected theologian). But at the time she took it on the chin, recognised that she needed to continue to strive to meet standards, did her best to do so, It would be good if other people could feel the same.

Writing today about that awful queueing to be viewed by Miss Richards and DR has made me feel that dreadful pain at being paraded in my School Needlework for two dragons all over again. I had become terribly fat at school. No wonder the two dragons surveyed me with a shudder.

But did DR take any interest in my obvious unhappiness? Nope. And all the negative things she said to me over the years, with never an appraisal for for the few things I did accomplish - well, I did "take it on the chin" for seven years, which destroyed my youthful happiness and confidence. This wasn't one cruel remark about the future of a girl who had handed in a poor Scripture essay. I was just nothing... nobody, to "caring" DR. I wasn't the only one who wasn't "one of DR's *Swans". I can think of many girls who arrived at the School full of promise, who fell, unencouraged, to the bottom of the heap. Suicide attempts? Runaways? DR seems not to have taken the responsibilty.

Maybe Kerren feels it would be "good" if we could all "move on" from memories of the woman who ignored our talents and originality. Kerren was in fear of DR whilst at School and only got to know the mellowed retiree. My first Headmistress wasn't cuddly feely in the least, but we loved her because she saw something promising in each of us.

*Katharine's expression. So apt!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by anniexf » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:36 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:

Writing today about that awful queueing to be viewed by Miss Richards and DR has made me feel that dreadful pain at being paraded in my School Needlework for two dragons all over again.
Angela, you reminded me there of queueing to be "squizzed" at the start of term, forced to parade half-naked in front of that leering old d**e (well that's what MKP'd be called now, and I doubt if she'd be let within a mile of young girls!) for her spurious back-and-feet inspections. :(

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by anniexf » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:46 pm

Oddly, I had another deja vu moment last night. I'd just put a cake in the oven ( pear & blueberry - Sainsbury's blueberries reduced to £1!) and my beloved was clearing up after me as he always does, bless his cotton sox, while I had a much-needed cuppa & fag. He remarked "Aren't you a messy *******!" and immediately I was transported back to Betty Jukes, the cookery room, and specifically the crumbs that somehow escaped from the bowl and formed an irregular circle on the worktop around it, while I was attempting "the rubbing-in method". Her end-of-term report definitely included the word "messy", though I can't find any of my reports now. Probably just as well ... :(

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by Fjgrogan » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:07 pm

Oh dear! It took me a while to work out what the asterisks in d**e stood for! Thank goodness I was too naive in those days to even think of such a thing! Re the effect that DR's lack of encouragement had on our future self-esteem, confidence etc - yes I went through all of that, but always blamed it on my relationship with Miss Jenkins - I don't remember having any particularly adverse feelings about DR at the time, except being surprised that she never seemed to notice that Miss Jenkins was blatantly discriminating against me - I just assumed that she felt she had a duty to support her staff!
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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by Angela Woodford » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:34 pm

I, too, had a Miss Jukes moment earlier.

I had seen a picture of Samantha Cameron in one of the papers. I could hear the Jukesian voice in my head.

"Samantha Camewon! Unless you go out and clip back that fwinge, you don't come back into this Cookewy School. By Jove! (voice rising in even more indignation) "You may come fwom some upper-class family. (Scornfully) You may be mawwied to the Pwime Minister, but unless you go out to the cloakwoom wight now and find a hairgwip...)

And yet, you know, I found myself agreeing? The lovely SamCam would look better without that bit of hair hanging in her eyes? By Jove!

Miss Jukes, during my last two years at CH had reduced me to a nervous wreck. A worn-out dishcloth of a nervous wreck. No matter how hard I tried to re-invent myself as sensible, bwisk, competent and pwactical, I never suceeded in gaining her approbation.

But I don't forget that when I was in the LV1, my father (whom I swear BJ rather fancied) had to go into hospital to undergo a partial gastrectomy. A BIG operation in those days! Nowadays he would have had cimetidine, or ranitidine instead... he never was to enjoy a nice meal again. Miss Jukes enquired about him several times and even recommended "a milk diet", almost as if she might have thought that I was worried about him. A little bit of kindness showed beneath the obvious scorn in which she held me.

By Jove!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by J.R. » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:41 pm

Fjgrogan wrote:Oh dear! It took me a while to work out what the asterisks in d**e stood for! Thank goodness I was too naive in those days to even think of such a thing! Re the effect that DR's lack of encouragement had on our future self-esteem, confidence etc - yes I went through all of that, but always blamed it on my relationship with Miss Jenkins - I don't remember having any particularly adverse feelings about DR at the time, except being surprised that she never seemed to notice that Miss Jenkins was blatantly discriminating against me - I just assumed that she felt she had a duty to support her staff!

Even I, as a mere insignificant moderating male knew immediately it had something to do with drainage ditches in the Netherlands, as opposed to the nether regions ! :oops:
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by englishangel » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:08 pm

and on Romney Marsh, by Jove.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Re: Hertford hygeine, hierarchies and heartache (from CH For

Post by kerrensimmonds » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:20 pm

Poor Betty would be mortified. Thank goodness she does not have the internet............
Kerren Simmonds
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