The language we used at Dr Williams' school was of its time and also of its place. Only pupils who went to DWS knew what certain words or phrases meant. The terminology belonged to the school society we belonged to. How we spoke and what we wrote in our diaries and letters is shared here. Please let us know if we have missed out the words you remember using when you were at the school contact us.
Apple Pie Bed
Trick in which the lower sheet is folded back half way, it looks normal until the hapless occupant tries to lie down
'Any clothes' were always 'Any dresses' and were usually frocks only later were skirts and blouses often worn. Boarders always changed in the evenings after classes finished.
Bad tempered (as in "being in a bait")
Toilets - i.e. "just going bills"
Making a mess of something, as in "I hope I don't make a bish of it" (1965 diary)
Sliced crusty jam roll with custard ( recalled by a former pupil at DWS from 1949-54)
Found in 1964 diary - does anyone know what this was?
Candy striped summer uniform dresses
Cheese sauce mixed with chopped carrots, tomatoes and peas and served in a metal tureen
Being pleased with yourself, as in "I'm dead chuffed, I'm in the team" (1965 diary)
A special tie awarded to pupils who excelled at games,dancing, music or drama
An oak panelled room, with a display cabinet of DWS curiosities, adjoining the school hall and a cloakroom (also called Crush)
Pupils who could go home each day
What you say to your meal partner so that you can start eating your own meal
Bread, white (sometimes grey), thin sliced, spread with margarine, served on a wooden tray -"Pass the first"
9.15pm, get ready for bed - the second bell and "lights out" and no talking (in theory)at 9.30pm
A 'Fish' is a younger girl who is 'Gone-on' (really likes)an older girl. You could only be the 'Fish' of the older girl if she liked you. It had to be mutual.
To be afraid of getting caught breaking rules "I guess I'm just a funk"(1965 diary)
General Knowledge - a fiendish paper set every Christmas Holiday and taken on the first day of term
To have a "crush" on an older girl or a teacher - "Is she your gone-on"?
Menstruation as in "Has granny come to stay", teasing a new girl (in 1963) who didn't understand
Sanitary towels (expression recalled by a pupil at DWS from 1936 to 1944)
Shoes worn inside, broad low heels with a strap (in theory)
Room at the end of Polish Corridor where trays of inkwells could be replenished by "ink monitresses "
Written on the blackboard 12 days before a holiday, one letter crossed off each day, "We'll be home before you can say Jack Robinson"
Another layer of wooly underwear, worn over your vest to keep you warm, often tied with ribbons or else fastened with rubber coated buttons
Thick beige stockings held up by a suspender belt, the sort of thing Nora Batty wore in "Last of the Summer Wine". Still on the DWS clothing inventory in the mid 1960s but only worn by unwitting new girls
Sunday evening service and storytelling in the School Hall, always concluding with the hymn "God be in my Head"
A kind of lamb brawn that dropped off the menu post rationing
Sickly chocolate flavoured sticky cakes, served on the school birthday. In the 1950's 'mudballs' were known as 'Dottie O's specials' having been created by Miss Dorothy Orford, the school dietician.
Shoes worn outside, sturdy brown lace-ups (in theory)
"Polish" pronounced as in a native of Poland, this corridor connected the old part of the school with the new hall and classrooms. Built around 1939/40 it also led to the Ink Room, Drying room, a prefab classroom and a cinder yard . The original 'Polish Corridor' was named after the strip of land awarded to Poland after World War One to enable access to the Baltic Sea for the landlocked state. The school's Polish Corridor was built at a time when the Nazis were intent on occupying Poland and was named in sympathy with the Poles.
Practice as in Mucca Praccy or Play Praccy (rehearsal)
Homework, short for "preparation", one and a half hours every weekday and Saturday mornings. Boarders were supervised by prefects.
Lockers by our beds (recalled by a former pupil at DWS 1949-54)
The first word you should utter for luck at the beginning of each month, "Hares and Rabbits" for extra luck.
Bottle green "Sunday best" serge dresses, worn all term without washing
Where you went if you were ill
The bit of leg seen between long black stockings and bloomers ( pupil recollection, at DWS between 1936 and 1944)
The queue you found yourself in if you didn't have a meal partner
Fanciful headgear worn at the school birthday by all staff over lunch and made by pupils
Sub-monitress the first badge of office on your tie, privileges included boarders being permitted to go to Dolgellau on a Saturday afternoon
Dormitory for Upper Thirds (eleven year olds)
A prized 6th form study, the only one that didn't have an upright piano taking up all the space
Sensitive, but not in a way that was admired
Childish "I watched telly tonight and saw a very wet Dr Who" (1965 diary)