Remember the old school days?

exam paper

Well, Lucy Adlington (who IS the History Wardrobe) does. And so do I. On Sunday afternoon I was at The Red House in Gomersal with friend Clare to be entertained again by Lucy and Meridith  in the latest History Wardrobe World Premiere presentation Jolly Hockeysticks!

Jolly Hockeysticks is a simply smashing show about school days and school stories, whether you’re a fan of Malory Towers or Angela Brazil. Our blue-stocking Headmistress celebrates the often-untold tales of pioneers in education for girls, while the irrepressible school pupil models school uniform and gym kit galore!

Headmistress Miss Bullocks

Miss Bullocks addresses the class

Enter Miss Bullocks headmistress, complete with cane, in gown and mortar board, sensible shoes and starchy blouse and the show (and the fun) began. With examples of girls school uniforms since the 19th century and throwing in other school memories which most of us could relate to, unlike school lessons, 90 minutes passed in an instant.

Bunty on naughty step

Meridith Towne alias Bunty Applebottom

Bunty's gym slip

Some of us actually liked our gym slips!

Navy gym knickers

Our famous navy gym knickers – complete with hanky-pocket

lost in st trinians

Lost in St Trinians

school needlework

In first year needlework we all made a pinny or apron for second year cookery

school sports

School sportswear – much the same as mine

summer uniform

Summer Uniform




First Day at Grammar School, 1963

The origin of the bluestocking

The Blue Stocking!

The afternoon was not entirely devoted to school girls but Lucy also presented us with brief resumé of women’s education from the 18th century Circle of Bluestockings

The Bluestocking Circle may have started out as a coherent London-based group, but in the 1770s and 1780s the bluestockings developed into a broader social and literary network in which friendship, charity and female education were celebrated as the foundation of modern civilised society, both in London and the regions.” [source]

 to women at university and facts like this:

Studying at a women’s college at Cambridge or Oxford, and passing the examinations, did not mean that women received degrees. To use Girton as an example, the college was not linked to the University but maintained an unofficial relationship with it until well into the twentieth century. Women were not awarded degrees on an equal basis to men at Cambridge until 1948, partly because if women had degrees they would also have the privileges that came them, i.e. equal status, voting rights and a share in the governance of the institution.” [source]

women at oxbridge

Women at University in the early 20th century

The session was rounded off with a run down of women (many of whom most of us have never heard) who have played a prominent role in our education through the years. And Lucy ended with a quote from Malala Yousafzai (and I think it was this one):

I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” [source]


Where are they now?

I’m in Norfolk now and I’ll be meeting up with third from the left on the front row on Monday.


12 comments on “Remember the old school days?

  1. dianabirchall says:

    Wish I could have seen this! Which one are you in the group picture?

  2. Fran says:

    What a wonderful show, bringing back many memories I’m sure. Even in the 60’s I had to wear a ‘girdle’; a coloured woven sash which tied round my waist, tied like a tie.

  3. Julie Stivers says:

    Well this was fun, not only for the glimpse into vintage fashion, one of my favorites, but the early photos of my friend Barbara. I guessed correctly on the group photo. Sorry I haven’t replied yet to your last e-mail — some research is required. Soon.

    • Well done, Julie. Although you probably have the edge over Diana and others as I have known you so much longer! Research?? I just re-read that email and I can’t see where research is involved I am happy to just be at Stony Lake. By the way my Jury Service has been deferred until November.

      • Julie Stivers says:

        Great — I’ll reserve spots for the Rose Theater. I am going to contact another friend who is a fan of the clothing line you mentioned (name escaping me here) and make a list of likely spots, now that Max & Chloe’s is gone (there’s another store in Pentwater that carries more of it).

  4. Thanks, Julie. See you soon!

  5. […] I last visited this former home Mary Taylor, a dear friend of Charlotte Brontë, in July for a History Wardrobe performance and I have visited very many times in the past. We signed the petition but to no […]

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