Thursday, 17 December 2015

September 1955

In 1955 Alice was among 51 First Year students who entered Bedford College of Physical Education to study for the 3-year Certificate of Teaching of the Cambridge Institute of Education for teachers of Physical Education.  It was an all-female college of 147 students with only one male lecturer.  The curriculum consisted of two elements: the Principles and Practice of Education and specialist training in Physical Education.  During the first two years all students studied English Language and Social Biology, including Anatomy and Physiology, and took a general course in Art and Music.  In the third year each student chose a subject for special study from a choice of English Speech and Drama, Biology, Art and Music.  The specialist training in Physical Education carried out throughout the three years included the theory and practice of Educational Gymnastics; the theory and practice of Games (including Hockey, Lacrosse, Netball, Cricket, Lawn Tennis and Rounders); Dance (including Modern Dance, National Dance and Ballroom dancing); Swimming, Athletics; and Camping.

Alice’s first letter home describes her arrival in Bedford and settling in to the room she shared with another student at 29 Lansdowne Road, one of several houses in Lansdowne Road and neighbouring Dynevor Road and Warwick Avenue which formed part of the College campus.  Interestingly she notes that ‘College time’ ran three minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  For anyone under the age of 50, it is hard to imagine accounting in pounds, shillings and pence, a system whereby 12 pennies made a shilling and 20 shillings a pound. But that was the complex arithmetic everyone wrestled with in pre-decimalisation Britain.  Alice makes reference to the cost of her share of the taxi fare from Bedford train station to Lansdowne Road, one shilling, which is expressed as ‘1/-’ and was equivalent to 5p.  And finally, ‘B. R.’ refers to British Railways.


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