Ely High School 1905-1972 - Miss EM Moody BA
Headmistress 1966-72: died 2012

A service celebrating Miss Moody's life is taking place
in Ely Cathedral on Tuesday, October 16th 2012, at 1pm

from the 1967 Ely High School Magazine

In September we were delighted to welcome Miss Moody to the School as our new Headmistress. Miss Moody was kind enough to allow herself to be interviewed by the Sixth Form and we print below the questions and her answers.

Where were you born Miss Moody?
In Dereham, Norfolk. And half a century ago the guide books would have given the same information as they do today: East Dereham is a pleasant market town in the heart of East Anglia, in that part of England which was untouched by the Industrial Revolution it is the birthplace of George Borrow, author of Lavengro, and home for some time of Sir John Fenn who published the Paston Letters, and of William Cowper, the poet. You can still read in the churchyard why Dereham people have borne a grudge against the inhabitants of Ely since 694 A.D., how the tomb of St. Withburga, prioress of the Abbey, was a centre of pilgrimage until "The Abbott and Monks of Ely stole this precious relique and translated it to Ely Cathedral".

I am not a true East Anglian as my father came from the North Riding of Yorkshire and my mother from London so I feel at home in those parts of the country too.

Could you please tell us where you were educated and your first impression of school?
In Dereham High School for Girls, and in Queen Mary College of the University of London.

My first day at work in an office in London, my first holiday out of England in Belgium, my first drive in my own car after passing the driving test - all these are easier to tell you about as they are not so far away! But I remember that my school was very like yours - we wore navy tunics, pale blue blouses, striped ties, straw hats in summer and felt ones in winter. Our stockings were black and our shoe-bags were red. I remember school excursions, Shakespeare lessons, Sports Day.

Do you have any strong opinions about Comprehensive Education?
No. The important thing is your education at school and after. A most exciting time to study is after the age of eighteen when the brain is at its most active and that troublesome G.C.E. is finished with.

Do you have any interests and hobbies?
Yes, so many that there is never enough time for them, and time goes by faster and faster every year. I enjoy the theatre, learning languages, reading, colour photography (I am not often very successful), growing roses, swimming, walking on the Yorkshire moors.

Could you outline your previous career please?
I was an executive officer in the Civil Service in London, Harrogate and Manchester. I studied for four years at the University of London and, for one year worked as English Assistant in a College Moderne, in Paris. I have taught in Whyteleafe, Surrey, in Bromley, Kent and in March in the Isle of Ely.

What made you choose French as your main subject, Miss Moody?
It was always one of my favourite subjects at school, and when I entered the University after the war I thought it would be an excellent plan to combine the interests of foreign travel with work.

Do you visit France regularly, and what impressions does the country make upon you?
Yes, I have visited France annually since the year I spent in Paris as a student. It was a wonderful experience to study French literature in the city where so much of it was written, to walk along the rue de la Paille where the first students of the Sorbonne listened to their lectures, all in Latin, past the site of the Chatelet where Villon was imprisoned - the poet of the following advice to the young: -

Hé Dieu, si j'eusse étudié au temps de ma jeunesse folle.
Et a bonnes moeurs dédié
J'aurais maison et couche molle,

to visit the Comédie Française, where Moliere acted with his company, to walk by the Seine along the Quais, favourite walk of so many writers and artists. Not only is the nation's past to be found in the streets of the Capital, it is quite possible to see writers who influence thought today in their favourite cafes or at the theatre there.

France is a very big country and every province has its own special character. My first long journey from Paris was to Alsace and the pine forests of the Vosges mountains, and to Strasbourg where Goethe studied, where many of the people talk in German, just as readily as they do in French: my second excursion was to Brittany where the rocky coasts are very like Cornwall, and so many fishing villages have beautiful churches and calvaries. Since then I have seen the mountains in the south and the castles along the Rhône and the Loire, and Provence, which I think is the part of France I shall go back to most often.

from School Photo 1967

from School Photo 1971

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page created 27 Oct 10: last updated 3 Oct 12