Ely High School 1905-1972: July 1950 School Magazine extracts



This year the School has been happy to welcome back Miss Tilly, after her absence in Rome. Both Staff and girls have enjoyed and benefitted by the talks she has given us on her year's activities; and her many excellent and beautiful photographs have afforded us a most vivid impression of the places where Miss Tilly has been doing research work.

It was with great regret that we said good-bye to Miss Defew, at the end of last summer term. We have been very pleased to see her during the year, and we are glad to hear that she is enjoying very much her work training teachers, and is learning a great deal about London too.

We were also sorry to lose Miss Cooper, Miss Dix, Miss Gibbs, Miss Mason, Miss Richardson and Mrs. Taylor at the end of the year; and during the current year, Miss Bichan, Miss Thompson and Miss Foyster. We send them all our best wishes.

This year we have welcomed Miss Arkinstall, Mlle. Caritte, Miss Chreseson, Miss Lacy and Miss Walker: Mrs. Fuller and Mrs. Saunders have given us their help during the Spring and Summer Terms respectively, for which we have been most grateful.

Despite the difficulty of having after-school activities, the School has enjoyed a full and varied year, as accounts of different expeditions and projects given in this magazine show. The Old Girls' news shows that many Old Girls are having interesting experiences, and in particular, we would mention Janet Hubbard, who was chosen last Summer to be Britain's Railway Queen. Her year of office is culminating in a visit to Norway, where she has taken a letter from the school to the Norwegian Schools she will visit. An account of Janet's experiences and the message she has taken to Norway with her appear further on in the magazine.

As so many girls live outside Ely, we have included accounts, in this edition of the magazine, of different villages, among the original work. As always, we should have liked many more original contributions to choose from, for the magazine, particularly verse. We have only one magazine each year, so there should be plenty of time to think about contributions. It is not too soon to be thinking about next year's edition now.

My dear Girls and Old Girls,

As I was thinking over what to say to you this year, thoughts came into my head about the value of the education which is yours in this School. What you learn to love and appreciate serves only the beginning, for just the first foundation of the structure of your future career, whatever shape that will take. Whether you leave at sixteen or eighteen, you are only on the threshold of all that is to be yours. If you have imbibed all that your School has offered you, if you keep the habits of care and application and faithfulness in which you have been trained, you can look forward to a happy and useful future where ever the road before you leads you on.

Then came to me the realisation that the education of an English Grammar School for Girls of which that in our own School is a typical example, is among the best and most highly developed to be found in any country in the world; even America has not yet entirely reached our achievements in England: in the more advanced European nations, there is nothing quite so well developed or comparable for girls. So even in our Ely High School, in spite of our problems of bad buildings, lack of space and overcrowding, we can be comforted and find inspiration in the knowledge that we are able to enjoy the very best that can be obtained.

There is yet another cause for satisfaction: under the new scheme there are more generous County Awards and Exhibitions which are not now limited in number as before, and so it is possible for any girl who has the needed capabilities and aptitude to win her way into any profession or career however long and expensive the College Course and training which she desires. There is now no door closed to a girl from this School, or for that matter from any grammar school in the Kingdom when the time comes for her to make a choice of career.

Do not shrink then from pursuing your most cherished dreams—for they might come to be realised. Opportunity has never been so wide as it is just now, and it is greatly to be hoped that all girls who can, will avail themselves to the full for this bounty which is offered to those who are able to use it.

Then as I thought further, I found myself asking "What do the girls take away with them, when they leave School? "If they go into the world with a sense of purpose, of duty and with minds open and ready always to learn more and more, and to acquire more skill, then something has been achieved.

I found myself giving the answers to my own thoughts and I am certain that the open mind, willingness to learn, good habits in work, faithfulness in all we undertake, are the best means by which you can become useful members of ihe world society for which your days and years at School prepare you.

My greatest hope is that every girl should feel that she matters as a person, that as an individual and an educated individual she is an asset to society. This is equally true that whether she stays at home or whether she travels far afield, what matters is that she should make the very best of herself, and her talents, and this is so whether she is destined to become a university graduate, a teacher, a nurse, whether she works in a bank or a post office, whether her interests are in horticulture, agriculture or whether she becomes a wife and a mother; education should have shown her how to develop herself for the utmost and the best.

Yours affectionately,

School Officers, 1949-50.

Head Girl .... Anne Stow
Deputy Head Girl .... Tessa Perry
Prefects. - Margaret Bell, Evelyn Cox, Margery Green, Beryl Levett, Joyce Salmons, Barbara Saunders, Vanessa South, Joy Thorby, Pamela Wilson.


The School Play.

Last Summer the School presented "The Taming of the Shrew," at the annual entertainment for parents and Old Girls. This spirited play by Shakespeare, was produced by Miss Dix and Miss Mahoney; Miss Turner and Miss Groves were in charge of the properties.

The difficult part of the Shrew and Petruchio, who tames her, were ably taken by Margaret Bell and Margery Green. Few who saw the play would fail to enjoy the assumed tantrums of the sprightly, unorthodox hero, especially when food and utensils were forcibly thrown across the stage. Brenda Leaney and Anne Howe as the traditional lovers made good foils for the stormy hero and heroine.

Among the supporting cast were Paula Leonard as Tranio, Joy Thorby as Gremio, Anne Stow as Baptista, Christine Young as Hortensio, Enid Rice as Grumio, Rene Epstein as Vicentio and Margaret Hobbs as Christopher Sly.

A collection was taken during the performance in aid of the School Careers' Fund.

The Staff and Sixth Form Entertainment.

The Staff and Sixth Form presented "A Victorian Entertainment" to parents and friends, one evening in February. The Sixth Form produced a Victorian school play by Miss Tilly (an account is given below), and the Staff gave a one-act play by Lilian MacCarthy: "Bicycle Belles." During the interval the Staff choir sang such typical Victorian ballads as "Men must work and Women must weep." The whole affair was conducted in an atmosphere of aspidistras, bloomers and votes-for-women.

"Agorita's Elephant" or "The Mystery at the Seminary."

One very wet Thursday evening during the Spring Term, members of the Sixth Form provided some amusement, in an evening's entertainment, in the form of a short comedy written by Miss Tilly.

"Agorita's Elephant" told the story of school life in Victorian times. The action of the play was in a classroom and revolved around a cupboard which produced some extraordinary noises. These noises caused the nervous mistress, Miss Scatterford, so much concern, that the school detective, Miss Sleuth Hunter, was sent for. Armed with peculiar apparatus such as Mouse Detectors and footprints, Miss Sleuth Hunter discovered that the noises were not made by a mouse, and that the key to the cupboard was missing. The key was eventually discovered, by means of an invention of the detective, the patent Magnetic Radio-Locator, to be hidden in one of the pupils' handwork - Agorita's elephant. The cupboard was then unlocked to reveal the scatterbrain Polly who had forgotten her handwork, and, to escape punishment, had hidden in the cupboard. With Polly released from the cupboard, the mysterious noises ceased, and the mystery at the seminary was solved.
P. WILSON, M. NEWMAN, Form Lower VI.

Speech Day, 1949.

"The New Look in Education" was the subject of the talk given by Mr. S. Stubbs, M.A., Headmaster of the Perse School, Cambridge [Editor: and wartime headmaster of Soham Grammar School], when he presented the prizes at our Speech Day, on November 29th, 1949, in the Rex Cinema.

In talking of the new system of public examinations he said, "This new look is not unlike the new look which struck the world of fashion a short time ago. It is a little longer, a little fuller, the extreme features have been toned down, it is adaptable to a variety of designs and it will require more material (in the form of staff) if full advantage is to be taken of the flexibility offered. I will not go so far as to say we like it yet, but at least we are finding the planning of our new style interesting and thought provoking."

He finished by requesting for the school an extra half-holiday a request which was received with great acclaimation.

In her report Miss Tilly mentioned her visit to Italy the previous school year saying that she met only with friendliness and manifest love for the English people. She realised more than ever the part that England can play in the promotion of peace in the world. In these troublous times the English nation can make a great contribution . . . "and may we in the schools not fail her need."

A recital of songs followed representative of the seasons. The school was conducted by Miss Lacey and the accompanist was Miss Boreham.

Prize Winners.

Form VI.

Cambridge Higher School Certificate and County Major Scholarship.
Barbara Sanders, "good" in English and French (main and advanced).

Cambridge Higher School Certificate.

Janet Drake.
Beryl Hayward.
Margaret Palmer.
Joy Curtis, Form Prize.
Brenda Hunt, Form Prize.
Joyce Martin, Art.
Tessa Perry, Biology.
Anne Stow, English.

Forms Va and Alpha.

Cambridge School Certificate with London Matriculation Exemption.

June Leach, "very good" in French.
Patricia Leonard, "very good" in General Science.
Beryl Levett, "very good" in Religious Knowledge, Latin, French, Mathematics, General Science.

Cambridge School Certificate.

Pamela Audus.
Jill Barkaway.
Sheila Brown, "very good" in Religious Knowledge.
Doreen Bumpsteed.
Jennifer Collin.
Jean Harvey
Celia Hunt
Frances Jackson
Yvonne Knott
Jean Macer
Nora McCullagh.
Mary Newman.
Jean Peachey.
Monica Reader.
Constance Smallpiece, "very good" in Housecraft.
Myra White, "very good" in Housecraft.
Jean Wilson, "very good" in Housecraft.
Pamela Wilson.

Forms U IVa. Alpha and Beta.

Doris Burns, Form Prize.
Pamela Cox, Form Prize.
Ann Howe, Form Prize.
Brenda Leaney, Form Prize.
Enid Rice, Form Prize.
Pamela Bryant, English, Art, General Science.
Jean Gray, Biology, Domestic Science.
Mary Handley, Domestic Science, General Science.
Mary Reynolds, Domestic Science.

Forms L IVa, Alpha and Remove.

Jill Eames, Form Prize. Margaret Garwood, Form Prize.
Maureen Lawrence, Form Prize.
Elizabeth Noble, Form Prize.
Phyllis Easey, French.
Doreen Hobbs, French.
Shirley Hayward, Art, General Science.
Muriel Latham, Swimming.

Forms U IIIIa, Alpha and Remove.

Sheila Barraclough, Form Prize.
Norma Breeze, Form Prize.
Margaret Edwards, Form Prize
Mollie Kisby, Form Prize.
Margaret Balls, French.
Margaret Garner, Art.
Margaret Shearn, Art.
Edna Cooper, General Science.

Forms L IIIa, Alpha and Remove.

Faith Downing, Form Prize
Joan Seeley, Form Prize.
Mollie Wigg, Form Prize.
Jeannette Blake, Art.
Brenda Graves, Art.


Arthur Tyndall Prize for Nature Study, Jean Cross.
B. R. Baird Prizes for French, Brenda Hunt, June Leach, Beryl Levett, Barbara Sanders.
Fletcher Prizes, Religious Knowledge: Beryl Levett, Margaret Palmer. English: Barbara Sanders.


House Marks
Senior Tennis
Junior Tennis
Senior Rounders
Junior Rounders
House Sports
Winning House
... Knut.
... Knut.
... Knut.
... Hereward.
... Hereward.
... Hereward.
... Knut.
... Alan.
... Knut.


Tenable at King's College (University of London), Florence Macer.


Janet Drake, English (Advanced), Religious Knowledge (Ordinary), Domestic Science (Subsidiary).
Beryl Hayward, Geography, Biology (Ordinary), English, Religious Knowledge, Art (Subsidiary).
Margaret Palmer, History, Religious Knowledge (Ordinary), English, Mathematics (Subsidiary).
Barbara Sanders, French, English (Advanced), History, Latin (Subsidiary).

Subsidiary Subjects.

Valerie Arnold, English, History, Biology.
Joy Curtis, Religious Knowledge, Biology, Art.
Brenda Hunt, English, History, Religious Knowledge, Biology.
Phyllis Ransome, Domestic Science, General Paper.
Joyce Salmons, General Paper.


Pamela Audus, credit in English Language, Religious Knowledge, History, Geography.
Jill Barkaway, credit in English Language, Art.
Sheila Brown, credit in English Language, "very good"in Religious Knowledge.
Doreen Bumpsteed, credit in English Language.
Jennifer Collin, credit in History, Geography, General Science, Art.
Sheila Gorham, credit in English Language and Literature, History, French, Mathematics, General Science.
Jean Harvey, credit in English Language, Housecraft.
Celia Hunt, credit in English Language, English Literature, History, French, General Science.
Frances Jackson, credit in English Language, Geography, Biology.
Gloria Johnson, credit in Housecraft.
Yvonne Knott, credit in English Language, French.
June Leach, "very good" in French, credit in English Language and Literature, Religious Knowledge, History, Latin, Mathematics, General Science.
Patricia Leonard, "very good" in General Science, credit in English Language and Literature, Religious Knowledge, Geography, French, Mathematics.
Beryl Levett, "very good" in Religious Knowledge, Latin, French, Mathematics, General Science, credit in English Language and Literature, History, Art.
Jean Macer, credit in Religious Knowledge, History, General Science, Housecraft.
Nora McCullagh, credit in History, Housecraft.
Mary Newman, credit in English Language, Religious Knowledge, Geography, Latin, General Science.
Jean Peachey, credit in History, Geography, Housecraft.
Monica Reader, credit in English Language and Literature, Religious Knowledge, History, Latin, French, General Science.
Constance Smallpiece, "very good" in Housecraft, credit in English Language.
Myra White, "very good" in Housecraft, credit in English Language, Geography, French, Mathematics.
Jean Wilson, "very good" in Housecraft, credit in English Language, Mathematics, General Science.
Pamela Wilson, credit in English Language and Literature, Geography, Mathematics, General Science, Housecraft.


Margery Green, Joyce Martin, Tessa Perry, Joy Thorby (English Language), Brenda Hunt, French ("very good") Vanessa South, Latin, French.


Typewriting, Elementary (First Class). Phyllis Ransome. Pamela Thulborn. Vera Diver. Jean Taylor.
Typewriting, Intermediate (First Class). Jean Plumb.


On Saturday, March 4th [1950], a party of about thirty girls went by coach to London, to Kennington Oval, where they saw the International Women's Hockey match between England and Scotland.

As I was lucky enough to form one of the party, I can tell you what an exciting time we had, satisfying, but at the same time disturbing. Satisfying because England were victorious, scoring six goals to Scotland's two; and disturbing because it made you realise what real hockey was like and how remote were the chances that you yourself would ever play it as it should be played.

We left school at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at the Oval at 1.40 after a very pretty run in warm spring sunshine. Inside the grounds was just a seething mass mainly composed of schoolgirls, over eleven thousand of us and even so we only occupied about two thirds of the space for spectators used when there is a cricket match!

The match, which started promptly at 2.30, was very thrilling and exciting especially in the second half, when England scored most of their goals. The speed of intercepting passes was breathtaking, and the anticipation of the inside forwards and halves especially was nothing less than brilliant. There were very few mistakes made and the game proved a battle of wits and speed between the red and white clad English team, and the purple and white Scotswomen.
P. WILSON, Lower VI.

GAMES REPORT, 1949 - 50.

We look back on another season of hockey. Generally, there has been a definite improvement in the standard of play in the senior school, form U. IVA. having a particularly good and keen set of players. In the junior school, forms L. IVA. and L. IV. Alpha show most promise while U. IIIA. in its first year of hockey has some good material and plenty of keenness.

Out of twelve matches played the 1st XI. have lost seven and won five of them. Those that we lost were the better games and it is humorous to record that the only times the 1st XI. have been seen to be at all depressed has been after winning a match. Individual play has achieved a good standard but teamwork has been lacking. Teamwork is the most important factor in playing a good satisfying game of hockey. As there are seven players with 1st XI. colours and that means that they are good, and very good players, it does seem to indicate that we could have done much better than match results show that we did. We must not scoff at the most valuable thing morally that a game such as hockey can teach us; that is to work in with ten other people, to anticipate their moves and capabilities, and then co-operate to form a harmonious team. To have learnt how to work in with other people, tactfully managing their whims, always remembering that we have as many ourselves, is to have absorbed something which can and must be applied in everyday life.

We congratulate J. Wilson and B. Butcher on earning 1st XI. colours this season.

The 2nd XI. deserves special mention. Never before in the history of 2nd XI. conflict has so little been scored against them !

There are some "thank-you's" to be made. First of all to the Hockey Captain who has always been ready and willing to help with all matters concerning hockey and the teams in particular; she has coached the struggling players and encouraged them, and she has looked after all the games equipment; to the Vice-Captain who has been an example to the rest of the team by the way she has kept her equipment; her goal pads have never been other than a glistening white, as glistening as has been her career as goalkeeper for three seasons; to Anne Stow and helpers for the efficient way in which they carried out the duties of tea stewards at all our home matches; to all those who helped to keep the Games' Cupboard tidy and the equipment in good repair; we thank them all.


The Mock Election.

In February of this year, when all political parties were preparing for the coming General Election, Miss Tilly decided that it would help the girls to understand the "ins and outs" of a General Election if a Mock Election was held at School. Therefore Mrs. Staniforth ably organised a Mock Election and bullied members of the Sixth Form into helping her.

Firstly, three members of the Upper Sixth were chosen to stand as candidates: Anne Stow was the Conservative candidate, Margaret Bell the Labour candidate, and Vanessa South the Liberal candidate. After this the rest of the Sixth Form decided upon their politics and rallied round their leaders.

Posters, painted by the girls, appeared in every conceivable place in the School. Next the party programmes and manifestos were made public. Soon all the School was roused by this and many quarrels took place amongst girls of different politics.

During the last week before the actual election Mrs. Staniforth gave a talk to the School about Parliament and its history. Then speeches were given by each candidate, suitably dressed, and supported by an agent and a chairman. After this the agents organised shows to attract "the floating vote." The Labour Party had a party rally in the play-ground, a baby show, and an ankle competition. The Conservative Party gave an indoor garden fête and the Liberal Party produced a concert of which the main theme was "Liberty" and for which a sketch was written by Margery Green. The agents were Tessa Perry, Conservative, Dorothy Game, Liberal, and Sheila Gorham, Labour.

At last the great day came. A polling booth was erected, with Mrs. Staniforth in charge. The Liberal Party provided transport, a perambulator pushed by members of the Party.

The next day a Mayor, Jennifer Collins, announced the result to an assembled school. Each candidate gave a speech, after which the Mayor, his wife, Councillors of Ely and the candidates, vanquished and victorious, left the hall in a procession. The Conservative candidate was elected with 156 votes, next came the Labour candidate with 148 votes, and finally the Liberal candidate with 52 votes.

Footnote. After the ceremony the sixth formers took scrubbing brushes and water, and cleaned off their posters, providing a source of amusement for the rest of the school.


The Village of Chippenham.

Chippenham is situated about twelve miles from Ely, and five miles from Newmarket. The main public buildings in the village are the Church, School, Village Hall, British Legion Club Room, Youth Centre Room, and a Bus Shelter.

In the Church is a chapel which has been erected quite recently to the memory ,of the son of the owner of the village, who was then Mrs. Tharp, killed in the last War. The village had belonged to the Tharp family for a generation. The School's cellars are very old and a passage runs from them under the road to the Church, which stands opposite. This is said to have been used by the monks. It is now bricked up.

The Village Hall has been willed to the villagers by the late Mrs. Tharp. It is now being modernized and having water laid on. The British Legion Club Room is used by its members. The building now used for the Youth Centre, used to be a chapel. Now the only place of worship in the village is the Church of England Church. The new Bus Shelter has been erected in Chippenham, subscribed to by the villagers. It is in the memory of those who were killed in the two wars.

In the High Street are a baker's shop, a grocer's shop, a Post Office and a Public House. The Public House is called "The Tharp Arms" and its sign bears the arms of the Tharp family.

In the High Street there are some quaint houses which have long gardens in front of them, called New Row. Opposite New Row and the School is an avenue of lime and horse-chestnut trees, which are near the Church. A farm, named Palace Farm, is reputed to be on the site of a house where the Bishop of Ely once stayed.

Surrounding Chippenham Hall, where the owners of the village live, is a park, which is enclosed by a wall. Deer used to be kept in this park. Near the Hall is a small lake where people fish, and skate in winter. In the middle of the park is a big gate, carved in stone and bearing the latin inscription "In spe spiro."

In the village is another big house called Chippenham Manor. In the High Street is the village pump in a small shelter which used to supply most of the villagers with water.

Now water is laid on to the village and the Pump is not used so much.
FAITH DOWNING, Form Upper III. Alpha.


Wilburton is a very small village situated six and a half miles south-west of Ely and thirteen miles north of Cambridge. The population of this tiny village numbers six hundred. Wilburton is the prettiest village in the Isle. The entrances to the village are very beautiful indeed. There are many things of interest connected with Wilburton. For instance, Henry VII stayed with his son, who later became Henry VIII, in the village, but the house in which they stayed, unfortunately, no longer exists. Whilst staying there, Henry and his son planted two oak trees, both of which are still standing for all to behold.

The old Manor is a genuine beautiful Tudor House built in the shape of an 'E', now called the Berristead. From an old well in the Berristead gardens, there is supposed to be a secret passage from the garden to the church. It is said that it comes out behind the altar. It is a fact that a secret passage from the church, runs underground to the Rectory, where the squire lives.

Cambridge Museum now contains some spearheads, dating back to the Bronze Age, which were found in this parish.

The structure of St. Peter's Church is mainly 15th century. The fine oaken roof is considered to be the only specimen of its kind in the eastern counties. There are traces of earlier work in the church, which may date back to the Norman Conquest.


Adelaide is a small village and lies approximately two miles from Ely and two miles from Prickwillow. Its population amounts to between 300 to 350 people, and nearly everyone is related in some way to each other.

There are no industries in the village, for the main occupation is farming, and those who do not work on the land, go to the Beet Sugar Factory, which is situated down a bye-road about a quarter of a mile from the middle of the village.

Some of the girls who do not like land-work go to office work or shops in Ely.

Adelaide is quite near the junction of the Factory and therefore railway tracks run through the village. There are three level crossings, and one loop-line which has a bridge spanning it.

The Great Ouse River runs through the village and barges travel up and down on their way to the Factory with beet, or gault with which to make up the banks. Pleasure boats often go through, and the Cambridge Boat-Race crew practice there too.

At the foot of the river bridge is the one and only shop which sells everything from petrol to flour. It is here that all the latest news is discussed, and where anyone can listen to the football matches on the wireless on Saturday afternoons. Here it is that crops are discussed and if anyone has been ill, the disease is discussed and "cures" are put forward, and it is here that, if you have lost anyone dear to you, you find the heartfelt sympathy of people who know you.

Fishermen from Ely and Sheffield come down to fish in the river and grand Fishing Matches are held.

The village has a cricket team, and whenever they practice, a small crowd gathers to watch and give advice, although some of the advice-givers have never even held a bat themselves. The village is too small for a youth club and if anyone wants to belong to one they must go to Ely or Prickwillow.

The village Church is one of the prettiest for miles around and has just had a new wall put up to replace the wooden fence. The money was raised by a Garden Fête the previous year. The School is practically opposite the church and shop, and the two teachers teach the village children up to the age of eleven, when they take the Special Place Examination.

The village was threatened in 1947 when the river, which was at full flood, nearly broke through the banks. Men were called out to take bank-watch and to repair the tops of the banks over which water was pouring. So well did they work that the danger was averted, and now the incident is looked back upon whenever a bad storm or minor flood occurs.

Adelaide was swamp and marsh once and sea-shells are often found in the land, also flint arrow-heads are often turned up by the plough, and once even a skeleton was found with a flint arrow-head embedded in the ribs. This is now on exhibition in the Cambridge Museum. When the Fens were drained the rich soil was brought under the plough and is admirable for wheat and other crops.
SHEILA MARTIN, Form Upper IV. Alpha.


Soham grew up as a market-town, and was originally called "Soegham," meaning "soggy." It is situated on the main road, about midway between Ely and Newmarket. It is one of the largest parishes in England, and extends along the main road for about four miles. The population at the present time stands at just over five thousand.

For many centuries the Mere was a lake, and travellers went from Soham to Ely in boats. The railway from Ely through Soham to Newmarket was opened in 1878.

The Parish Church is placed upon the site of a monastery founded by St. Felix. The present building, which is one hundred and fifty feet long, appears to have been erected in three stages. From the east end to the chancel arch is in the late Norman period (1150) and the nave is built in'the Transitional style, with four bays. About one hundred years later, one more bay and two aisles were added. The tower which is one hundred and twenty feet high was built in the fourteenth century. There are ten bells in the tower. Over the south entrance is a sundial. The churchyard is no longer used as a burial ground.

Other places of worship are the Baptist, Congregational and Methodist Chapels and the Salvation Army Hall.

There are six schools, including a Grammar School, which has recently acquired a school boarding house. The other five schools are Soham Infants' County School, Soham Junior County Girls' School, Soham Church of England (Girls') School, Soham Boys' County School and Soham Fen County School.

There are troops of Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Cubs and Brownies with premises on the Recreation Ground. A Community Centre has premises in Station Road, and in this various classes are held. The following clubs have premises at various places - Soham Town Rangers Football, Cricket, Bowls, Angling and Badminton Clubs.

The Recreation Ground contains some children's amusements, two hard tennis courts, a football pitch, a bandstand and a pavilion. During the Summer a big Sports Day is held on the Ground by the Friendly Societies, and the Soham and District Horse, Foal and Horticulture Society also hold their annual show there.
MARGARET MOTT, Form Upper III. Alpha.

My Village [Haddenham].

The village of Haddenham is one of the highest places in the Fens. It has an extraordinarily large church for a village of its size. The church is Gothic with a tall square tower. It stands on the site of the first church built by Saint Ovin.

There is a station which is only used for goods trains now, also a windmill which has not been working for some years. Haddenham has about sixteen shops of different kinds, two chapels and a church hall which is let for dances or parties. On the village green stands a memorial to the men who gave their lives during the First and Second World Wars.

Most of the people in Haddenham are farmers or farm labourers. An annual Agricultural Show is held in the Summer. Also a yearly fair and a Summer and Winter Fete.

When one stands either in the Vicarage Grounds or on Station Hill a lovely view can be seen of the eight miles of Fenland between Haddenham and the City of Ely. And on the horizon stands the great Cathedral of Ely.

Outside the Red Lion, a small public house at Haddenham, was a block of solid stone, it was used as a mounting block. Later it was found out to be the old remains of the Cross of Saint Ovin. It is now to be seen in one of the side aisles of Ely Cathedral.

The Vicarage was built in eighteen hundred and seventy-two and is said to have a ghost. It is of a nice old man who built the house. But though I live there I have never seen it.

Joined on to Haddenham is the hamlet of Aldreth. This is an historical little place with only one shop. A market used to be held there and people from all over the country would visit it, A battle was fought at Aldreth by Hereward the Wake and after that the market was stopped. The Romans built a road through the Fens at Aldreth and the site can still be seen.


The village where I live is Isleham, which is on the edge of the Fens in Cambridgeshire. The population numbers approximately sixteen hundred, and many of the male inhabitants are occupied in agricultural work.

In Isleham there are several disused lime kilns, from which clunch was taken, by barge up the River Lark to towns and villages all over the country. These pits have been converted into flourishing orchards.

The large church in Isleham has a high tower surmounted by a spire. The Lectern is in the shape of a magnificent brass eagle, which was excavated from the Fens, and a replica of it has been placed in Ely Cathedral.

The oldest building in Isleham is known as the Priory Barn. This is in a good state of repair, as it is under the supervision of the National Trust.

Foreign monks from Normandy settled in Isleham, and they used the Priory Barn as their monastery church.

In the Domesday Book, Isleham was called Gisleham, probably a Norse word meaning Gisle's home.

Isleham belonged to Alfred the Great, and thus it can boast a very ancient history.

Little Thetford.

Little Thetford is a small village, thirteen miles from Cambridge and two and a half miles from Ely. It has a population of two hundred and sixty.

The village road is long and winding. At one end of it is the junction with the Cambridge-Ely road. At the other end runs the main line to London and the coast. Beyond the railway is the River Ouse, which is the boundary between the Isle of Ely and Cambridgeshire. Near here the River Ouse joins the River Cam and it is here that in March, 1947, came the disastrous floods.

In Hereward the Wake's time, the land surrounding the river was boggy and there was not any drainage system. It is interesting to note that the Normans tried to break into the Isle here, for, a few years ago, a wooden causeway was found leading from Barway, a place over the river, to this village. The causeway was charred and it was evident that it had been burnt.

Originally there was a ford across the river and a ferry bridge was used, but it has now disappeared.

The village has an old church, St. George's, with a neatly kept yard, a Baptist Chapel, and a shop-cum-Post Office. There is an old Round House with very thick walls and a thatched roof, but the origin is not known. The school is set back from the road and is reached by a narrow lane along which are some cottages.

The river is well known for its fish and on Sundays during the fishing season bus loads of fishermen come down from distant towns. There is a water supply in the village but there is no electricity, except for those who manufacture their own.

Little Thetford is small but there are several entertainments, such as fêtes, sports, and clubs.

Thetford derives its name from "peodford," the ford of a national road.
MOLLIE KISBY, Form Lower IV. Alpha.

Little Downham.

Little Downham is a medium-sized village with a big church and a Baptist and Methodist Chapel. There is a large house about half a mile away supposed to be connected to the Church by an underground passage. This passage is now blocked but the house still exists. One part is much older than the rest and has large ovens where whole bullocks were cooked. Some of the walls are about six feet thick. This house is called "The Towers," and used to be the Bishop's palace.

Little Downham is situated on a hill, the name is derived from "Dune-ham," which means "hill town." It can be entered by three roads and is about two and a half miles from Ely. The nearest railway station is Black Bank. This very small station is about a mile away. The population is approximately two thousand, including the parish.

There are numerous clubs which one can join, and the annual garden fête, for the Church funds, is another source of entertainment.

Four public houses are kept now, but once there were ten! There are only twelve shops, but practically everything can be obtained. Two blacksmith's shops and two garages are kept, but the main occupation of Little Downham's inhabitants is farming or being a farm-labourer.

A few thatched houses still remain and there are quite a few feoffee houses for the poor and aged people. There are two elementary schools, an infants' and a seniors', which were built in 1779. In the middle of the triangular shaped green is an old chestnut tree. It spreads gracefully over it, making a cool shade for a hot Summer's day.,


Janet Hubbard, who was selected to be Britain's Railway Queen for the year 1949-50, has spoken and written of her experiences up to the present as follows:

"It all happened because my father, who is employed on the Railway, takes the Railway Magazine. In one particular issue there was a form included to be filled in by any school girl who wished to be considered for selection as Britain's Railway Queen. We filled in the particulars and sent a photograph as instructed with the form, and then thought nothing more about it.

In a little while I received an acknowledgement thanking me for my interest, and saying that I should have to withdraw if I had any examinations pending, and that unsuccessful photographs would be returned. I fully expected to have mine back, but instead to my great surprise on September 9th, I received a telegram saying "You have been selected Railway Queen, letter following," signed by Mr. H. Neilson, Secretary of the Railway Queen's Council.

The letter which followed told me about the arrangements for the Carnival to be held in Manchester, where I was to be crowned: I was told that a robe and crown would be provided. On arrival at Manchester I was taken to Mr. Neilson's house, where my first task was to choose my own robe and crown. Then I was introduced to Beryl Parker, last year's Queen. Her home is in Hull, but she is studying hard now in Edinburgh to be a nurse. Then came the day of the Carnival and the beginning of my year's reign as Railway Queen.

Last September 24th was, as it had always been, for the twenty-five years, a great day for Britain's Railwaymen, as they wended their way to Belle Vue to watch the ceremony of crowning Britain's Railway Queen. This year, however, there was a difference, for I myself was to be crowned the Queen of British Railways.

The ceremony took place in the centre of a large football ground encircled by a speedway track and grandstands which were filled with a crowd of forty thousand onlookers. A large dais had been erected in the centre; to this I made my way accompanied by my attendants amidst a fanfare of trumpets from the massed bands in attendance. I was accompanied by small children aged from three to six of a ballet-dancing class. They held my robe in one hand and with the other held up their dresses: others dressed as soldiers, lined the way.

After I had mounted the dais, Beryl, last year's queen, spoke to the crowd through the microphone, and, taking off her chain of office, placed it around my shoulders. Mr. C. R. Hopkins, Chief Regional Officer, North East Region, B.R., placed the crown in position, assisted by Mr. J. B. Figgins, General Secretary, N.U.R., and now my year of office had begun.

The first invitation I received was to attend a civic reception at March to raise funds for the St. John Ambulance Movement. In the March Council Chambers, I gave my first speech, and was later a guest of the March Council at a tea at the Griffin Hotel, attended by Mr. Papworth, Chairman of the Council, Major Legge-Bourke, Commander Grey, Dr. K. S. Maurice-Smith, the Council, and others. They presented me with an exquisite rose bowl.

Three weeks after this I again visited March, and a very successful dance was held in aid of the Railway Silver Prize Band. This was followed soon after with a visit to Hyde, Cheshire, where I lunched with the Mayor, and later opened a church fete. I attended a service at St. Stephens and All Saints, Hyde, where I read the lesson, the Vicar presented me with an ivory Prayer Book and Bible. At this point my studies for School Certificate, and the General Election temporarily delayed my engagements.

My next engagement was in Peterborough where I was met at the station by the Mayor, Mayoress and other officials. The same evening I attended a dance in aid of the Railway Social and Sports Club, and was presented with a manicure set in a green leather case by Mr. Blundell, B.R. Motive Power Superintendent. The following afternoon I was conducted round Peterborough Hospital where a small boy, who had been there for two years, gave me a bouquet of daffodils. My last engagement at Peterborough was a concert held in the Mansfield Hall in aid of the Widows and Orphans Fund.

March 25th found me at Cambridge, being welcomed by Mr. A. H. Rees (Cambridge District Motive Power Superintendent). Here I attended a Social in aid of the A.S.L.E. and Firemen, and N.U.R. Widows and Orphans Fund. Then on May 17th I attended, in a large hall, at Manchester, a small party at which the members of the Railway Queen's Council were present, I was given a gold compact and a box of powder.

Then I had a short rest until June 10th, when I went to Manchester to a Carnival given in aid of Rose Fletcher's Bag-Pipe Band. Rose Fletcher's real title is "Piper to the Railway Queen," and she has never failed to help in the crowning of the Railway Queen, by bringing along her band in all weathers. The next day I went to a Rally (accompanied by Rose Fletcher and her band) where I watched some excellent sword dancing by Rose Fletcher's band and also I was very impressed by some Gymnastics given by a troop of local dancers. Here I had tea with Mr. Honslow, M.P. for Chester and Mr. Collick, M.P. for Birkenhead.

Today I visited the House of Commons where I had tea in a little room overlooking the famous terrace with several M.P.'s, notably Mr. Mathers, the Lord High Commissioner for Scotland. I was given a beautiful bouquet by Ald. P. Morris, J.P., M.P., who is the president of the R.C.A. (Railway Clerks' Association).

Tomorrow I set off for Norway carrying with me several messages of goodwill from the Railway people of England to the people of Norway, and from Members of Parliament, the Minister of Transport, and lastly, from Ely High School, to the children of Norway and more especially to those schools which I am to visit personally during my tour."

Message sent to the School Children of Norway.

"15th June, 1950.
This letter brings heartfelt greetings and good wishes to you all from the Headmistress, the Staff and Girls of the High School for Girls, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. We are the school friends of Janet Hubbard, who was chosen as Britain's Railway Queen for 1950, and we are very pleased at having the opportunity of sending you our warmest greetings, through her.

All of us are very envious of Janet, because she has this chance of travel and of making new friends in foreign lands, but we have made her promise to come and tell us about all that she does and sees in your beautiful country, as we are always interested in learning about life in other countries.

Ely, which is Janet's home town, is in the east of England, situated in the midst of flat rich fenland, and has in its midst a magnificent, and very famous Cathedral, so the scenery of Norway will be very different, we think, from any Janet has seen before.

We believe that Janet is to visit Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen before she goes to a little mountain village, the name of which we do not yet know. We send our love and affectionate greetings and warmest wishes of friendship to all the children of Norway, especially to those attending the schools in the towns which Janet will visit, and especially to those in the little village where Janet will stay.

We feel very proud indeed that Janet was chosen to be Britain's Railway Queen, but we feel even prouder of her now that she is taking loving messages from our country to others, especially to Norway, and from our school to many unknown yet loved friends abroad."

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