DWS 1950s style

DWS l950s style

I started at DWS in the 1949 autumn term, aged eleven. The first girl I met was Branwen Jones (now Watts Morgan) who was in ‘The Horse Box’ a small room attached to our dorm. Branwen’s parents were working in Africa - hearing that helped me to appreciate that my parents were not, after all, so far away – near Manchester. I was homesick, with occasional floods of tears, for a day or two but soon settled down for the next five years. I went to DWS with Josephine Greenhalgh (now Wooller), a neighbour from home, but we had a totally different school life: she was an ace at sports – I was not. Compulsory daily sports included hockey, netball, lacrosse, tennis and cricket (it impresses my grandsons that I know how to score!). Summer swims in the sea at Fairbourne were a delight. Anne Morgan (now Watkins) arrived in l951 and became one of my best friends and regular companions for those outings ‘in crocodile’: Precipice Walk, Torrent Walk and the route passing the Carmelite Convent. Climbing Cader Idris was the summit of our treat following 'O' level exams. In l953 we were all given a silver-plated teaspoon and allowed to go home for a couple of days to commemorate The Coronation. Highlights in ‘free time’ included listening to Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh on the radio at Pen. My love of opera and ballet was kindled by a visit from Carl Rosa Touring Company which included a sinuous dance set to Ravel’s Bolero. Shakespeare came to life with Shirley Rushton’s Malvolio. My best-remembered teacher was ‘Do’ Davies: she inspired and encouraged me in English, and guided my choice of library books (ending up as a journalist I owe much to her). I enjoyed Art, and ‘Domestic Science’ (menu planning with such plain ingredients!). But I wished I had concentrated and improved my conversational French at M’mselle’s French table lunches.

Although long post-suffragette, we were very much the pre-feminist generation. Very few girls went to university then. Secretarial courses or nursing were popular for ‘what to before you get married’! and we gossiped about where best to meet prospective husbands. For practice we made eye contact with the choirboys in Dolgelley Church (that’s how it was spelt then) and some exchanged notes with them. Pin-ups included photos of Kenneth Moore and James Mason on the inside lids of our desks. Fashionistas craved Horrockses cotton frocks and Hebe Sports suits (see them now on ebay!) and we wore our mothers’ clothes with aplomb. Leavers were advised to invest in a good leather handbag, and always have well-polished shoes. No make-up allowed at school of course but we bought ‘Paint the town Pink’ lipstick from Woollies in the hols. DWS gave me a broad base of general knowledge and an enquiring mind. I am grateful for that, and particularly for the three dear friends, Anne, Branwen and Josephine with whom I have kept in touch for over 60 years.

Penny Mosedale (now Visman)

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  • Uploaded by:Anonymous
  • Approximate date of item:
    From: 12 September 1949
  • Location:Dolgelley
  • County:Merioneth
  • Creator:Penny Mosedale
  • Related Story:
  • Themes:Pupil experience

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