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Women remember what being at a Norfolk school in the late 1940s was like

PUBLISHED: 11:02 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 14 May 2018

North Walsham Girls High School class of 1947 in a photograph from 1952 and again in 2018 at their reunion. Photo: Submitted/Denise Bradley

North Walsham Girls High School class of 1947 in a photograph from 1952 and again in 2018 at their reunion. Photo: Submitted/Denise Bradley

Submitted/Denise Bradley

Being a schoolgirl in the late 1940s was much harder than today, according to ex-pupils from one Norfolk school.

North Walsham Girls' High School class of 1947 in a photograph from 1952. From left, in the fourth row from the front, are, Pamela Jarvis (first girl), Marina Daniels (third), Margaret Defayter (seventh), Joyce Hunter (eighth), Avril Smithson (12th), Joan Matthews (16th), and Barbara Daniels (19th). Picture: Courtesy of Joan MatthewsNorth Walsham Girls' High School class of 1947 in a photograph from 1952. From left, in the fourth row from the front, are, Pamela Jarvis (first girl), Marina Daniels (third), Margaret Defayter (seventh), Joyce Hunter (eighth), Avril Smithson (12th), Joan Matthews (16th), and Barbara Daniels (19th). Picture: Courtesy of Joan Matthews

The class of 1947 at North Walsham High school for Girls has been meeting up for a get-together since 2008.

And its latest reunion was held at the catholic church hall in the north Norfolk town on Friday, May 11.

Sadly, their former PE teacher, Jane Williams, known to them then as Miss Morgan, who attended previous events, recently died.

But there were still 14 ex-pupils, compared to 15 last year, attending, and what they most remember is the strict regimen they lived under at school.

The reunion of the North Walsham Girls' High School class of 1947. From left, front, Betty Bush, organiser Joan Matthews, and Avril Smithson. Back, Barbara Daniels, Pamela Jarvis, Joyce Hunter, Grace Corne, Anne Isitt, Marina Daniels, Margaret Defayter, and Shirley Thornton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe reunion of the North Walsham Girls' High School class of 1947. From left, front, Betty Bush, organiser Joan Matthews, and Avril Smithson. Back, Barbara Daniels, Pamela Jarvis, Joyce Hunter, Grace Corne, Anne Isitt, Marina Daniels, Margaret Defayter, and Shirley Thornton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Some of us came by train and we could not sit in the same carriage as the boys,” Avril Smithson said.

“We could not even look at the boys.

“And school dinner in 1947, you had to eat everything, and could not leave the table until you had.

“But I used to eat everything anyway, except for chocolate semolina, which I could not eat.

“We had to sit up straight at school and not talk in broad Norfolk. We were not allowed to go out of school without our hats on.”

Organiser Joan Matthews, nee Spendloff, 82, added: “I remember the cabbage, which put me off for life.”

She said the girls, now all in their early 80s, enjoyed getting together.

“We have made some good friends and Joyce (Hunter) always stays with Grace (Corne) when she comes.”

Mrs Matthews and Betty Bush have been friends since school and they once shared a double bed at digs together.

Mrs Mathews added: “Our landlord did not like me. She said I talked with a plum in my mouth.”

She added: “Most of us still live in Norfolk, although I did meet up with Jean Ingram (Jones) recently when she was over from Albuquerque in America. She returned to the States on May 1 so couldn’t be here.

“All being well, I hope we will be able to hold another reunion next year.”

The school used to be on the site of what is now The Lawns site at Paston College.

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