The Girls’ High School Headteachers

1st August 202012:05 pm29th July 2020 10:59 amLeave a Comment

Next year Heritage Doncaster moves into a new gallery, library and museum building in the Waterdale area of Doncaster. The building includes the front section of the old Girls’ High School building, which has been such a familiar landmark to so many Doncaster people.

The new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in its final stage of construction, lit up at night

One of the displays in the new building will tell the story of the Girls’ High School and of girls’ education in Doncaster, right from the opening of the school in 1905, to 1973 when it became co-educational.

During that 70-year period there were only three head teachers: Frances Mary Noades, who was head between 1905 and 1925, Hilda Gertrude Brown, who was head between 1925 and 1949, and Helen Mellor who was head between 1949 and 1973.

During our research for the display we have found quite a lot of background information about the three women. We know where they were born and educated, where they lived in Doncaster, and what they did after they left the school.

Now we know the backgrounds to their lives we would love to hear some personal memories of the women, so that we can paint a fuller picture of them. So this is where we are asking for your help!

Perhaps you studied or worked at the school, if so, what were they like as teachers or colleagues? Maybe one of the women was a family friend, or someone has told you about them.

Anything you can tell us will help paint a better picture of three women who made such an enormous contribution to girls’ education in Doncaster.

Send your memories to: [email protected] or leave a comment on our blog, Twitter or Facebook page.

Written by admin - Modified by Vicky Siviter

9 thoughts on “The Girls’ High School Headteachers”

  1. Jennifer King, nee Staley says:

    I was at the school from 1957 to 1964. Miss Mellor was the headteacher. She was scary but her assemblies, I feel helped to shape me.

  2. Janice Lavigueur says:

    Miss Mellor was my head mistress while l was a pupil there from 1965. She was a terrifying figure, straight out of a girls’ school story. I had very little to do with her, but when l saw her many years later in Marks and Spencer she greeted me very pleasantly. She clearly remembered all her “gals”.

    1. Lynda van Veen (nee Ayscough) says:

      I went in to Miss Mellor’s study a few times. It was gloomy and quite scary. Looking back I don’t think we were meant to have personal memories of someone in her position. I suppose she was fair and strict but remote, kept herself too herself. I was so overawed I used to get tongue tied and couldn’t wait to end the conversation and escape. Very different from today’s relationships between pupils and teaching staff.

  3. Jacqueline Ross says:

    I attended the High School from 1963 until 1968, Miss Mellor was a no nonsense headmistress, she was strict but fair. She also had no time for the then fashion of mini skirts & regularly checked the length of our tunics for infringements!

    1. Sue Plaskitt says:

      Hi Jacqueline I was also a student during the same years as you. I was Susan Lancaster in those days – I wonder if you remember me? I started in class 1a with Miss Woodward as my form tutor and finished up in VArts but left the school in December 1968

  4. Heather Williams (nee Willis) says:

    I too was at the school (1967-74) when Miss Mellor was head – quite scary. We used to hide ice lollies behind our backs if we met her walking home to her home In Lawn Ave when we had been to the newsagents after sport on the Town Fields – it was frowned on to be seen eating in the street. Miss Mellor held assemblies every day at the start of the school day and we went in form crocodiles up the front or back stairs – no talking. She also smoked like a chimney but not in front of us – just her office which had a traffic light door entry in later years. I will always remember her. I was at the school when it merged with the boys school – our year was the last of the bottle green uniform, and she then retired at the end of 1973 – end of an era. Although I found it a bit traumatic after junior school, I loved it there and we were told constantly we were in the top 10% and could do anything we wanted through working hard, a great confidence boost.

    1. Linda Abercrombie says:

      I remember many the teachers telling us we were in the top 10% of the country. I didn’t believe them, and thought that I’d got a place at the High School under false pretences!! I was there from 1962 – 69

  5. Heather Williams says:

    Forgot to say in my earlier comment that my Mum was at school in the 1930s with Miss Brown as Headmistress. Not many photos were taken ad apparently she didn’t approve! We went to the centenary meeting (at the Boy’s school!) and met some very elderly ladies. Not sure there will be anyone left who knew the first 2 unless they were relatives/family friends. There is a book to celebrate the centenary and lots of school photos were up at the centenary.

    1. Deirdre Butterfield says:

      I started the school in 1948 , it was Miss Brown’s last year. All I remember was her grim face and her hair in buns. Miss Mellor followed, she was horrendous. I remember being called to her room and being threatened with expulsion for sneaking out during lunch break to buy a lollipop from a nearby shop. Nevertheless I enjoyed my school days there.

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