Astor, Class of 1955
Lintie (Elizabeth) Morgan (Reid)
Lintie was a boarder whilst she was at Claremont School and remembers it as a place where children could be children - and explore! Amongst other stories, Lintie recounts one Saturday when herself and a group of friends were discovered by Miss Sinclair in one of the boarded up tunnels in the basement:
“Most pupils were boarders in those days which made Saturdays and Sundays fun with plenty of Indians and Chiefs thinking of occupations and adventures. Miss McAfee the headmistress told us it was character building to learn to think and act for ourselves. So one Saturday, after Mending, I and about four other friends put on our shorts, aertex shirts and jerseys and decided not to obey the instruction to go outside for fresh air, but rather to explore the various boarded up tunnels in the basement.
The chosen one had boarding to above head hight, then a gap and finally a very large black pipe running parallel to it. We guessed we could squeeze through the gap.
I fancied myself as a seasoned tree climber so encouraged the others to help each other get to the top of the boarding. I stuffed our apples and oranges up my jersey so with two hands free managed to scramble up last, ready to drop down the other side.
Just then, horrors, we heard the firm slow tread of Miss Sinclair. Sshh!
But round the corner she came and saw a girl, me, and asked in shocked tones, “who is that?” My head was hidden by the fat black pipe and from the chest down by the wooden paling. To her I appeared to have at least five busts, a veritable goddess of fertility, all made up of oranges and apples.
“It’s me” I obliging said.
She looked a bit astonished as the others climbed back and dropped one by one at her feet, but only remarked that the rain had stopped so go out at once.
The great thing about Claremont, apart from the liberating and positive atmosphere in which we were privileged to live, was that we were allowed to be children, do what children do and I feel, looking back, that we were so fortunate.
When I and another friend discovered the attic behind the dress ups room, all that happened was Miss McAfee said in Assembly next day that noises had been heard from above the front steps. “ And girls, these places are sealed off for your safety. Please think of that”.
Claremont was a truly special school. I hear that it still is.”