I was a pupil at Reddiford School from the age of four, in 1956, until I passed my Eleven-plus in 1963 and went to what was then St Mary’s Grammar School for Girls, Eastcote. I maintained contact with the school for many years after that, my grandfather Kenneth King being a Governor of the School, and I was Honery Treasurer of The Friends of Reddiford, set up to raise funds to help, if I remember correctly, to raise funds for improvement of the fairly ramshackle classroom within the garden, into which rain used to pour through the roof on wet days.
I remember well the wonderful and saintly founder and headmistress, Miss E M E White, and in fact visited her in hospital at Northwood a few days before she died. She and her brother William had an elderly, grumpy but essentially good hearted housekeeper cum cleaner called Aggie who alas, could only cook one recipe – roast lamb with cabbage, followed by egg custard – which the Whites endured uncomplainingly at lunchtime every day for as long as I knew them. They saw this too as a very economical meal, one joint of meat lasting for the entire week, which probably explains why they never encouraged Aggie to expand her culinary repertoire. Any money that came their way was always spent on The School, and Miss White was still driving the same ancient grey Morris car shortly before she died in, I think, 1972 as she had been when I first went to the school in 1956.
There were some excellent teachers, though I doubt if they could summon up a single degree between them which would now, of course, preclude them all from the teaching profession. But at a distance of 50 years, I still recall Miss Lester, the glamorous Joanna Blackwell who later became Mrs Chapman and opened a dance school, Mrs Ellis, prematurely grey haired and old seeming to we children, whose husband had died on the last day of the Second World War, and many others.
You are, I’m sure, aware that one of those teachers, Miss Olive Robinson, is now a resident of Pinner House in the High Street and recently celebrated her 100th birthday and she would be delighted to hear of the school’s centenary celebrations even if now unable to attend them herself. I believe that Miss Robinson’s mother may have taught at Reddiford too, long before my time.