Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Fresher’s Week in 1957

It’s September 1957 and Alice has returned to Bedford College of Physical Education for the start of her third and final year.  As a Senior Student she has some responsibility for welcoming freshers and for acting as ‘grandmother’ to two new students, one of whom has arrived from Nigeria on a Commonwealth Teacher Training Bursary Scheme and is finding the British climate very cold.

All meals for students and staff were provided by the College and Alice expresses some disapproval with arrangements in the new dining room and kitchen which has been built on the site of the old gymnasium: a formal ‘high table’ (for the most senior tutors or important guests) has been introduced and Alice finds the food coming out of the kitchen is cold and there is not enough to eat.  No doubt these problems were short-lived as the College rushed to finish the building prior to the start of the term and domestic staff settled into new ways of working.  The new dining room made it possible for the whole College to dine together instead of being split over three separate dining rooms in Nos. 3, 21 and 37 Lansdowne Road.

Alice makes reference to clinic starting in the autumn term and that she has two schoolgirls as ‘patients’.  It was part of the curriculum for students to learn and practice school remedial exercises to alleviate or correct a range of conditions including asthma and poor posture. 

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