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Miss Bartlett

A joyce Bartlett was born 1907 and attended Ramsgate County School for Girls from 1917 to 1925. She then went to Royal Holloway College, University of London and gained a BA Honours degree in classics in 1929. She came to Lewes in 1930 to teach Latin and classics at the County School for Girls and stayed until her retirement in 1967. She was deputy headmistress for many years. "Bart" lived in Ringmer for a long time only moving to Seaford towards the end of her life; she died in 1997 at the ripe old age of 90. Monica Edwards (1934-1938) lived in Ringmer and remembers that Bart had a motor bike, "hearing her roaring off in the morning (at 8.45) told us it was time to get outside for the school bus."

I only knew Bart right at the end of her teaching career and was not a natural Latin scholar. Initially, I thought of her as a formal and formidable woman, but came to realize that she was always concerned for her pupils' best interests and was a kindly person behind the rather gruff exterior. From the pieces she wrote for the school magazine she obviously had a great sense of humour.

Janet Pope (1961-1968)

Miss Bartlett wrote the following reminiscences of her time at Lewes for the 1967 School Chronicle.

Thirty-seven Years Back

I have been looking through some old magazines to refresh my memory for these reminiscences and I find that I can remember the girls of 1933 better than those of 1963! When one looks back, the years seem to telescope and it is difficult to realise how long ago it all is. I can remember very vividly my introduction to Lewes in December 1929. After the interview at Pelham House, Miss Vobes took me to lunch upstairs at Holloway's. From the window, we watched the trumpeters and the judge's departure-a new experience for me. Then we went down Keere Street at full speed-some of you will remember how fast Miss Vobes walked. When we crossed the little Winterbourne and walked along the path, I was well aware how lucky I was to be beginning my teaching career in Lewes. It certainly never occurred to me that I should end it there as well. This is a good moment to pay a grateful tribute to Miss Vobes and the other members of staff who were so kind and helpful to a raw beginner- Miss Henry, Miss Ellis, and Miss Hutson, Miss Goodall, Miss Bailey, Miss Philp and Miss Finnis. I owe my introduction to the South Downs to Miss Finnis who took me up to Caburn one afternoon. Another afternoon I climbed up to Firle and can still remember the enchantment of the silence and the solitude.

The highlights of those years were sports days, parties and prizegivings. The latter I remember most clearly, especially the arranging of chairs in the morning and the times we moved them backwards and forwards until Miss Vobes was satisfied. It was always a hot day, the hall was full, we wore our gowns and went through agonies of discomfort. Two other things I connect with this period are a Winterbourne flooding-not so spectacular as the one in 1960 and the Old Girls' Dramatic Society run by Miss Goodall. We had some hilarious rehearsals and tried her patience often, but we enjoyed our efforts immensely and the O.G.A. audience was kind and appreciative. Princess Ida was our tour de force, I think, and I never remember anything that made me laugh as much. Another memory from these years is everyone in the old hall (now the dining room) for prayers at the end of a Friday afternoon. I used to think it a good way of starting the weekend.

Of course the coming of war, especially for anyone with memories of the 1914-18 war, is apt to swamp one's other recollections. I can see Mrs. Oriel and myself setting off in the Austin 7 with a pile of eiderdowns, etc., in the back and our Scottie, "Robber" sitting on top of them, fire-watching. I think the girls who shared it rather enjoyed it but I can't say I did-I suppose I missed my own bed too much. There was certainly an air of unreality about sitting down to breakfast in the school canteen.

The lessons in the shelters, the day we all went to the cinema and were caught by an air raid on the way back, D-Day, with its service in the hall (now the gym)-all these are as vivid as if they happened last week. One also recalls the lighter moments, ups and downs in the canteen, the walk-out of all the kitchen staff, the disappearance of all the cutlery, etc., etc.

I was one of the fortunate ones who never was called on to go singling beet as a war effort, but I know that to many it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. In fact, I doubt whether some of the staff ever really recovered!

The rapid growth of the school in the post-war years brought with it inevitably a change of atmosphere. One no longer knew everyone in the school, social events, such as Christmas parties, became more difficult to organise. Other activities and widening interests reflected the school's growth, but we still managed to retain its essential friendliness. I recall very clearly the deep sorrow felt by all of us, at the sudden death of Miss Shearer in 1954; we had to break the news to her form and I am sure that they will remember that Monday morning as well as I do. A happier recollection associated with her is the morning in prayers when the version of the hymn she played and the one we sang didn't coincide-with disastrous results. Two other memories are associated with assembly-the day when Mr. Austin appeared with a beard for the first time and when on April 1st someone had stuck the keys of the piano. Miss Moss's composure was such that we all sang the hymn unaccompanied, as if it were nothing unusual.

Two happy memories of these years are Mr. Glazier's appearance as Archbishop Makarios to open the summer fete and Miss Browne as a Russian, complete with beard provided by the make-up department (Miss Winter and myself). I know that the words "Southover Grange" had a special connotation for some present and ex-members of staff but again 1 am the fortunate person who was only called on twice to go down there. I know that the long trek through rain and snow (only to find that the key was missing) is something that no one will ever forget. I think some of the staff must have nightmares about it still. During the last twelve years we have had the new building with all its noise and frustrations, closely followed by the disastrous flooding of November 1960. Everyone has her own special memories of those weeks. I think mine would be the Sunday afternoon when we stood in Potters Lane and watched the flood pouring through the entrance hall and the soldiers hurling books taken from desks into a lorry. We felt so helpless and despondent. I also remember going round the school later on when the floods had subsided and meeting Mrs. Glazier in the science-block cloakroom. The oil from the heating plant, the mud and filth were such that we felt it would never be clean again. The fact that they did get the buildings clean enough for us to go back before the end of the Autumn Term is a measure of the devotion they and their helpers showed in tackling such a formidable task. Unforgettable weeks those were, although they had a lighter side, and each one of us has her own flood story. My last two memories are the farewell presentation to Miss Moss, when I had to make a little speech, and the Jubilee. Ideas for the latter were requested from Miss Medcalf almost before she knew her way about the school. With what success she, the staff and School responded to this challenge everyone present remembers with satisfaction. On May 29th, 1963, we were all seated and the speeches were just beginning when Miss Moss whispered in my ear "It's beginning to rain." This was what we had all been dreading. However, it soon stopped and we were able to carry out the full programmes. It was a very happy occasion and I was pleased to think that Colonel Baines, Miss Bailey and I and many old girls were there to form a link with the school's past.

Now I myself have become a part of the memories and I would like to finish with a quotation from the notes Miss Moss wrote for the 1961 magazine "A school like ours, with traditions of friendliness, sound work and willing service is a happy place to work in." I must have felt this too, or I shouldn't have stayed on for thirty-seven years!

J Bartlett