Up to sixty years since they had left Portsmouth High School, ladies from the Classes of 1959, 1969, 1989 1999 and 2009 returned for lunch and tours of the Senior and Prep schools last weekend. The day was hosted by Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, with tours led by the current Head Girls and Sixth Form.
The ladies rekindled old friendships and reminisced about the times they had spent at school.
‘It amazes me that so many memories are triggered just by entering the hallowed doors of the school,’ said Margaret Weaver (née Loosemore, from the Class of 1959. ‘So many changes and such incredible progress but still the sense of a school that is proud of itself prevails.’
‘We didn’t have so many opportunities,’ added her classmate, Mrs Valerie Looney, née Covington. ‘There’s much more technology here now and the girls have much more space and freedom.’
‘Returning to the Prep School [Dovercourt] was so nostalgic,’ said Barbara Duncan from the Class of 1969. ‘Memories came flooding back of performing the Pied Piper with my friend who had the part of a rat with a tail that just wouldn’t stay in place.’
Baroness Ludford, a Liberal Democrat politician and member of the House of Lords, said that she had found a letter in the archives on display where the then Headmistress, Miss Thorne, tells the girls ‘skirts must be four inches above the ground.’ Lady Ludford remembers the checks made with rulers to make sure the girls were adhering to the regulations.
The alumnae travelled from across the UK and Europe to be at the reunion. Nearly the whole classes of 1969 and 1989 returned and former teachers were also welcomed:
‘As a former mathematics teacher (1979-1995) it was so interesting to see how the school had developed. I had the pleasure of having lunch with the helpers from the current sixth form and I have to say they are a credit to the school. They were very welcoming and spoke confidently and enthusiastically about the school and how much they are enjoying their time here,’ said Mrs Jenny Price.
‘It was fun to meet the alumnae and hear stories about their time at school,’ said Head Girl, Chloe Wildsmith, 17.
‘It was such a happy day,’ added Deputy Head Girl, Mabel Hutton, 17. ‘It was a lovely opportunity to talk to the ladies about their time at PHS and show them around. Many remember our current Sixth Form House as the music department and they were full of stories about their life in school.’
Hope Glew, 16, currently in Year 12, added:
‘It was inspirational meeting and talking to these alumnae and hearing how they have moved forward in their working and home lives. And many of them told me that this school is where they created their happiest memories.’
Mrs Jane Prescott, Headmistress of Portsmouth High School, added:
‘As always it is wonderful to have our alumnae return to school. They bring with them a host of memories and stories and have rekindled friendships. As they told us, the ethos of the school remains the same today; to educate and inform but have lots of fun on that journey too.’