Life at a Girls' Hostel

 

Account by Agnes Piotrowski

('Hostelite' 1928 to 1931)

 

"These were extremely happy days when we went to Berwickshire High School after completing three years of secondary education in Eyemouth.

In charge of the hostel at that time was a lady named Miss Whyte, gentle and kind most times, but firm when discipline was required. Meg from Hutton was cook and Ada was her kitchen maid, while the gardener, Mr. Murray stayed next door.

The hostel with its five bedrooms plus two single rooms for the head girl and assistant head girl catered for 24 girls A grassie tennis court in front of the hostel was an important feature and was frequently used.

Every Saturday night there was dancing for over an hour with Mr. Skea at the piano. He was blind but gave piano lessons in Duns. A year or two later the dancing became more exciting when four "well mannered reliable boys" were invited to attend.

On Sunday evening we had Hymn singing for an hour; there was a rota for different girls to chose a favourite Hymn. "Here we suffer grief and pain" was absolutely banned.

All the girls went to Church on Sunday morning but since I was the only Episcopalian it was absolutely embarrassing on my first attendance to find Mr. Mabbot who was my rector and Science teacher sitting immediately in front of me.

I do not recall any wireless entertainment. There was one hour's supervised homework every week night (taken by the head girl or her assistant) and supper was at 8 p.m."

 

 

Account by Effie White

('Hostelite' 1930)

 

"I had to reside in the hostel because there was no transport available to me from my home to school. I could stay there only because I had won a bursary of 40 per annum for three years which was awarded after I had sat an exam at Reston. The 40 was to cover the cost of the hostel accommodation and my text books. I enjoyed only one year of the bursary as my father moved across the border into Northumberland.

The hostel was lit by gas I had never been away from home before, nor had I encountered gas. On the first night when going to bed, very homesick, I blew out the gas light. Agnes and Daisy discovered me later with the gas still on. I was only 14 and no-one had though to explain.

We had walks on Sundays; we walked in twos and wore hats and were led by the head girl.

Despite my unhappy beginning at the hostel it broke my heart when I had to leave a year later".