Esher, Class of 1956

Isobel Anable (Peacock)

Isobel was Head Girl during her final year at Claremont School. She shares her favourite stories and photographs from her seven years as boarder at Claremont School:

“I look back at my time at Claremont as seven very happy years. At first I was homesick but after that my years there were productive and enriching. I started in the Vic dorm, the first room at the top of the front stairs. We all imagined this was the room Queen Victoria slept in when she visited Claremont.  As we got older we moved upstairs to the smaller rooms on the top floor.”

“When I first went to Claremont we played hockey but during my years there we switched to lacrosse. I enjoyed both games and played on teams. 

The teachers at that time were all women and kindly, thoughtful women, who encouraged us to do well. Audrey Groser stands out as she was so enthusiastic about her subject, Scripture.  English, History, even Music Theory with Mrs. Bailey were subjects I enjoyed. I also had piano lessons with Miss Lempriere in the drawing room. Also in the drawing room we boarders enjoyed Miss McAfee reading aloud on Sunday afternoons. We sat on sofas or on the floor. Some girls brought knitting and others played quiet card games. I don’t remember the books she read but Sunday reading was always an enjoyable part of the afternoon.”

“Another part of our Sunday as boarders was the arrival of the Sunday School teachers, several men and women who drove down from London to teach us at Claremont on Sunday morning. When young we must have been a challenge to these dear people as we giggled among ourselves and gave silly answers to their questions. I remember one teacher asking for a moment of silence, which only made us giggle more! As we grew older though these wonderful teachers became friends and helpers and many friendships continued beyond our school years.

We had drama productions at school where of course all the men’s parts were played by girls. Usually the taller girls had the men’s parts. For instance, when we did a play based on Pride and Prejudice, the part of Mr Darcy was played by Isabel G, Mr Bingley was Sue B, Mr Bennett was MaryLou W. The plays were great fun and the parents and school enjoyed them!

As a prefect and house leader I mainly tried to encourage the younger girls to stick to the rules, which in fact were not many, and to help each other.”