Updated 10 May,2012

    Catering & Housekeeping
    Mrs Gibson, Matron, 1946
    Miss Delia Wigley, 1950s
    Mrs Frances Emily Williamson, Matron or Housekeeper
    see Memories below by her grandson
    Mrs Collins, Matron 1960s
    Mrs Horseley, Cook 1960s
    Mrs. Reynard, Assistant Cook 1960s
    Mrs Geirsh, Evening Cook & Cleaner 1960s

    Mr Webster, early 1950s

Memories from Christopher Watson regarding Mrs Williamson

I've just spent a few hours sorting through my Mum's boxes of photos etc and have had all my memories of Norwood College jerked strongly back into focus. I'm rather new to the power of Google, but I thought I'd have a look to see if there was anything in cyberspace regarding the school.

This is a photo of my grandmother and it was taken on the landing on the stairs by the front door to no.5 Leeds Rd.

My Mum was the daughter of Frances Emily Williamson, who was for a while the Matron of the school. She retired and lived across the road in Royal Parade. (she's not the one who fell down the stairs, I think! - see Memories by Kevin Cheeseright). My brother and I stayed with her often and we always went across the road to see both Mr Casses, until his father died. The main treat was that Mr Cass jnr always had copies of the Dandy waiting for us and could discuss the antics of Desperate Dan and Ali Baba without being patronising to a 5-6 year old. We were nearly always there during the school holidays and had the run of the place while you were all away. It was a fantastic building with its multiple choices of getting anywhere and the empty dorms and rooms and all the bits from Gordon's (Charlie’s!) RFC past were just so exciting for someone who didn't have to be schooled there, I guess.

I remember the rooms in the cellars devoted to various (or maybe only one) scout patrol and I wished that I was old enough to be a scout so I could join in. I remember the Tuck Shop too, which we were occasionally subbed to by Charlie (a name we never used) Mr Cass told us there was a secret passage to get onto the roof, which he never showed us. This was in response to me asking him if the building had any hidden rooms (a diet of too much Enid Blyton I suspect).

I remember the kitchen fire escape steps, which terrified me as a small boy and the lovely ladies who worked there and always had time for my Gran and my brother and me. From my Mum's box of photos I have come across a lovely one of her in her wedding dress standing against the tall windows above the entrance by Mr Cass' study and one also of my Grandma in the same position, arranging flowers. It would seem that both Messrs Cass were at my Mum's wedding and played piano and violin there in in 1951. Mr Cass told me about the boarder who had a tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup in his bedside drawer but had failed to put the lid on properly and had put it back in his drawer upside down. The contents had then leaked out and filled one drawer below another until it had soaked all four. I often wonder if this was a true story and I can nolonger remember what point it was supposed to illustrate.

I thought it was a terrible shame that the school fell on hard times and wished I had been able to get back to have one last explore before it was knocked down. I seem to recall that the school playing field across the side road was developed into houses or flats and that Gordon had one of these for a while before his death. I remember being taken over their by one of the overseas students one winter, having dragged a sledge out of the cellars and having a very meagre run down whatever slope there was at the top end of it. Well done with the website, I think it's marvellous, it brought so many memories flooding back of a childhood long gone and a really really lovely man. I don't suppose any of the students will remember two little very quiet boys appearing somewhere near the end of terms, but if they do you're welcome to pass on my email address. I remember the kindness of several students who were I guess from overseas and who weren't going home for the half-term or whatever. I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers my grandmother, who had had a really hard time of her life by the time she got to Norwood college and bore it well, with no complaint of what man and nature had left her with.

Christopher Watson may be contacted at:

Mrs Williamson appears in the 1960 Annual photograph

Memories from Frances Judge (nee Collins)

My mum was called Mary Collins and she was a cook. I think it must have been around 1957-1962 when she worked at Norwood College; I was a little girl at that time. She was definitely there when they were doing the production of "The Mikado" because the boys used to come into the kitchen and she would hear their lines/songs for them (while they ate her biscuits and scones), then she would come home and sing them to us! I still say she made the best pastry I have ever tasted and her Raspberry buns were to die for.

She used to walk to work from Starbeck pushing my younger brother John in his pram and then my sister Susan and myself would collect him after school. We went to St Roberts RC school, just across the Stray. Then we would walk home, pushing the pram across the stray. In the school holidays we were allowed in the basement if it was rainy but we spent most of our time on the Stray playing. But I remember the old coke boiler in the basement. I loved the smell of it.

Mum always talked affectionately about 'Old' Mr Cass and 'Charlie' Cass and Martin Boddy the school secretary. I can remember meeting "old" Mr Cass on one of my few excursions up the back stairs to the kitchen. After my initial fright at being discovered, I remember him as been a very nice and kindly old man. I also remember when he died and mum been very sad.

I also remember the weather balloon that hung in the stair well on the Leeds Road side.

    School Secretaries
    George F Sutherton, School Secretary, mid 1950s

    School photo of 1955

    Miss Morrell, School Secretary 1960s
    Martin Boddy,
    School Secretary/Bursar, 1958-1962

    School photo of 1955

    School photo of 1956

    and in 1960 (Secretary)

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