Autumn Term, 1914
September 22. – School re-opened, and assembled in the Hall for the first time after it had been made so beautiful by the great kindness of Miss Douglas and Miss Lucy. Miss Douglas said that though there would be no Commemoration this year, our Hall would, perhaps, receive a more sacred dedication in the prayers which would be offered there for those who had gone to the front.
Miss Douglas then spoke of the subject which was on everyone’s mind. In this time of our country’s great need we all want to do all we can to help. First of all, we must do our own daily work as usual, only better, putting aside al selfishness, greediness, weakness, and idleness.
Then Miss Douglas told us what special plans had been made for us. The Geography, History, and Literature lessons are to be made intensely interesting, because they are to deal with things connected with the war. Every House is to have the Times, and the set of maps had been put up at School and in the Houses. We have also got a gallery of heroes, including him who we are so specially proud, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien.
Miss Douglas then asked us to try and dwell on the glorious and heroic deeds, and not to read or talk about the shameful acts which the Germans seem, in many cases, to have committed. Miss Douglas then told us of the special plans which have been made for voluntary classes between 5.20 and 7.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, in which we learn useful things, such as carpentry, cutting out, laundry, bandaging, knitting, &c.
On Saturday evenings we give up dancing for pleasure, and have instead a big Mission Work Party, so that our Mission may not suffer. Miss Lucy reads to us.
School begins a few minutes earlier in the morning, and very day at 10.50 there is a special Intercession Service in the Hall. Different prayers are used on different days, and we often sing the beautiful hymn, “Mighty Father of Creation,” written by Miss Bagnall’s brother-in-law. On Wednesday we pray by name for our relations and friends at the front, beginning with “General Smith-Dorrien and the officers and men under his command”; then follows a list of some 150 names of those dear to us at the font in the Army and Navy, or serving as doctors or nurses. Some of these names are already on the Nation’s Roll of Honour.
The School has joined the Girls’ Patriotic Union of Secondary Schools, of which H.R.H, the Princess Mary is the Patroness; Miss Gray, head mistress of St. Paul’s Girls’ School, the Hon. Secretary; and Miss Gadesden, head mistress of the Blackheath High School, the Hon, Treasurer. It is delightful to think that the girls in the schools of England are all uniting together in earnest endeavour and useful work at this time, and a great deal of trouble is taken to circulate useful information. Knitting and needlework for the sailors and soldiers has gone on most briskly all the Term, and large consignments of socks and shirts and housewives and many useful things have been sent to Lady Smith-Dorrien and other people for distribution. The carpenters, under Mr. Atkinson, have been hard at work, and hae made many splints and three strong bed tables, with long legs on castors, so that they can be moved about in the hospital wards. The Godolphin laundresses at Rose Villa wash regularly, under Miss Furneaux, for the red Cross Hospital, doing about 100 dusters and cloths, &c., a week. We hear that Old Girls who learnt their work at Rose Villa and The Wilderness are most useful as kitchen maids at the Red Cross Hospital, and are particularly to be trusted to clean the saucepans well. Miss Ashford has been commandeered to cook or to nurse at the Hospital as is required, and all the Godolphin Staff are spending every minute of their so-called spare time in helping in most valuable ways to meet the many, many needs that arise in connection with the war – getting up music for patriotic meetings and helping regularly in the Soldiers’ Guest House and the Central Hall Evenings for Girls.