School Magazine 1914-1929
These Magazines were produced in the first half of the twentieth century and reflect the language and social attitudes of their time. In rare instances, readers may find this offensive.
The first ever CCHSG magazine was produced in 1914, when the school was actually known as the “County School for Girls” due to the presence of a private Colchester County High School already in the town. At just 10 pages long, it opens, as became customary, with an editorial giving thanks to departing staff. In this case these leavers included the first Headteacher, Miss Collins and words of welcome for her replacement, Miss Crosswaite. The majority of the text is prose and poems submitted by students, and the Debating Society, the Dramatic Society, netball teams and Old Girls Association all have brief sections. Publication of the magazine was subsequently suspended until 1919 due to WW1.
The 1920s, was a decade of contrasts, while many families struggled to recover from wartime losses, some manufacturers and suppliers had profited considerably, and as a result of the Upper Class decadence in evidence, this period became known as the “Roaring Twenties”. The place of women in British society was influenced by wartime experiences such as factory employment, which enabled them to experience financial independence for the first time. Women over 30 had been given the vote in 1918, and this was extended to all women over 21 by 1928.
“We have long felt the need for a School Magazine; but we felt it would be unpatriotic to issue one during the war when economy was so necessary” (1919, p1). Included in this short edition is an article (p9) written by a past student detailing her wartime experiences in an aeroplane factory where “amongst other things I learnt how to rivet, file, solder and draw plans to scale – this was purely geometry, and to my surprise I was told I was very accurate. I have never been told that before. But accuracy is the key note to everything appertaining to aeroplanes…” (1919, p9).
Now called the Colchester County High School Magazine, the 1919 edition sets out the plan for establishing a publishing committee and renewed efforts to engage all students with producing content “ “Poetry” is always an addition to any magazine – if only anyone can be found to write it” (1919, p2). This edition also included short accounts from every Form group – Year Groups being identified using a system which will mystify anyone educated after the 1970s. From 1920 the preparatory school, which at this point included boys, and was based at Grey Friars, had Form I, Upper First (UI), Lower Second (UII), Upper second (U11) and Lower Third (LIII). North Hill, housed in the original buildings of what is now the Sixth Form College, was the senior school, the youngest being the Upper Third (UIII), followed by the Lower Forth (LIV) and upwards until the Upper Fifth (UV) and finally the Sixth Form (Upper & Lower Sixth). These Form Group notes were soon to be abandoned as too repetitive, although the “Pre Notes” remained across the decades with their nature studies and gardening. As Audrey and David reported from Form I in 1921 “We grew two crops of mustard and cress, and we are keeping a Nature scrap book. And we have seen some tadpoles and some silk-worms that are spinning yellow silk.”
The majority of these 1920’s magazines consist of poetry and prose, created in response to annual competitions. The 1920 edition includes piece of creative writing entitled “A Dream” and opens “I wonder what London will be like in the Year 2001… All the slums were done away with, and neat, bright little houses stood in their stead… Each class helped the other for class distinctions were swept aside” (1920, p9).
During the 1920s that school’s charitable giving focused on Dr Barnardos, through the “Young Helper’s League” and also on sponsoring a girl at the Working Women’s College in Beckenham. In 1925 fundraising to support a sponsored student at Dr Barnardo’s Watt’s Naval Training School resulted in each of the then 17 Form Groups undertaking an “entertainment”. These ranged from gym displays and Tennis tournaments, to concerts and productions, selling sweets and providing teas at sports events (1924, p5).
Post WW1 the League of Nations was established, and one student wrote a passionate account of this promising “Parliament of the World”. A presentation at CCHSG in 1921 was about “the ideals of the League and the substitution of the world brotherhood and co-operation for social animosity and indifference to the value of human life” (1921, p4). CCHSG students founded their own League of Nations Union the following year.
In 1922, with the school numbering 530 students, and the magazine expanded to 28 pages, Miss Crosswaite appealed to Old Girls to submit content so that the magazine would keep them in close touch with the school. For several years after this, the names and addresses of Old Girls were published at the back of the magazine. In an interesting piece of social history to see, in these years following the huge loss of male lives during WWI, the number of sisters bracketed as still living, years later, together at the same address (1923, p34). The 1922 edition includes accounts from alumnae who were studying at Westfield College, The Bergman Osterberg Physical Training College, Dartford Heath, at University College Reading, and at Girton College Cambridge.
The Old Girl’s Association grew in popularity, increasing its membership from 66 in 1919 to 120 in 1922. The Old Girl’s developed their own programme of social events, tennis tournaments and Christmas parties.
The 1924 edition featured a competition to design a school monogram, with some outstanding results – several of which were illustrated in the magazine and are very similar to the current school logo, (1924, p19).
When Miss Crosswaite left in 1927 to become Headmistress of the prestigious Wycombe Abbey School, CCHSG was well established with 600 students and an imposing record of academic success. Miss King, a Mathematics graduate from Cambridge, was her successor and fulfilled the role for the next 25 years at a salary of £500 a year, with an annual increment of £20.