St. Mary’s Town and Country School at Stanford Hall

The following photos and description were kindly provided by John Morrison early in 2010,
with additions from his sister Val who was there too.
His original submissions from 2006 can still be seen below the new material here.

Dear Norman, My sister Val (when at SMT&CS known as Valerie Morrison) sent me these photos. Val says please you are welcome to put on your SMTCS website, with the descriptions if you can. I shall be sending you more pix, ones I took at Stanford Hall, with horses and people featured. With best wishes John

This part of the letter is from Val herself

While I was still at the town part of St Mary’s (Autumn Term 1946 and Spring Term 1947) I was in a play by William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire”. This is the set of photos of it. The curtain line up (No 11) is the clearest picture of the cast. James Williams (the music teacher) smokes a pipe; the small girl beside him was Nina (?), Daisy Glade (my best friend) played the part of the Priest; Me the fairy (with long hair and flowers on my head); I can’t recall the names of the other two. Love Val

“The Land of Heart’s Desire" curtain call as descibed by Val at the top of this set

The following is from John with photos he himself took, and returned to him by Val

Judith (Ladybird) Maggie Lewis (Shantung Star) Val (the grey)

Here are two photos sent me by Liz Colton (now Liz Kingsley), from our days at Stanford Hall 1947/8.
It was through your website that Liz and I made contact again.

Liz Colton (Ladybird), Maggie Lewis

On horses Paul Belcher, Zoe, Marianne, Liz Colton

Maggie Lewis on the grey

The grey & Maggie Lewis's mother

Twinkle & foal

Twinkle was one of the ponies at Stanford Hall and was ridden like the others. I remember the excitement when she had her foal.

Twinkle and foal grazing

Twinkle suckling her foal

Twinkle's foal

Twinkle's foal grazing

Unknown boy (Twinkle) Lizzie Colton (Ladybird) John Colton (?) Gabrielle Collis (David)
Valerie Morrison (Shantung Star) Marianne Meinhardt (Grey) 1947

Val wonders how she got hold of a picture of Michael Sutton (1947)
Being a thoughtful person, I think I took this photo of Michael and presented it to my sister!

The church was and is in the close by village of Stanford on Avon. It was a tiny church.


People and other animals remembered from the years 1947-1948,
by John Morrison in 2006, with additions from my sister Val who was there too.

If you were there then, you are welcome to email John (living in London)
or Val (now Valerie Reed, living in Spain) at

When I visited Stanford Hall a few years ago where was
no mention in their history booklet of the important period when St. Mary’s was in occupation.
See the website to see how is now
the outside prospect is much the same now as then.

The Ballroom

Staff and others

Aileen … - art teacher

Miss Athol – History teacher, kept our attention with marvellous stories

Miss Jean Bennett – amazing presence and quiet friendly control with a look or a word; her cottage in Beckley was near my parents’ cottage in Peasmarsh, West Sussex, though I never went there.

Mr & Mrs Bernhard - Mr Bernhard was not a teacher. He grew great quantities of wonderful vegetables in the walled market garden in the grounds. Staff and pupils could opt for meat or vegetarian diet.

Lord Braye – not staff, but occasionally appeared, as the school occupied his ancestral home

Leslie Fairchild – something of a revolution; initiated the early morning run from the house to the waterfall and back,    and taught sport and maths.  Mrs Fairchild was there too, but no fair children.

Mr & Mrs Gibson – owned the infamous bull terrier “Topsy”.  Mr Gibson had a beautuiful baritone singing voice. A few staff and pupils including myself (Val) joined Mr Williams in the Ballroom once a week for 'serious' singing evenings.

Margaret “Maggie” Lewis – riding teacher, with her favourite horse “Ladybird”.  She owned the whole stable of horses, and gave the responsibility of their care to keen seniors. We 'mucked them out', groomed them, cleaned their tack, schooled them,and the best riders competed with them in local Gymkhanas.

The Misses Nee – matrons for the boys dormitory, sisters from Estonia. I was ashamed when they were teased.

Mrs Owen – the girls’ kindly and respected matron

Mr Len Parkyn – school bursar, I remember him for caring for the pocket money, catching a rat, and then he was for some unknown reason sacked from the school

Mrs Elisabeth Paul –  most of us know her, the “queen” of Stanford Hall.

Mrs Selver, Mrs Paul's mother. Had the rather grand drawing-room behind a secret panel.

Heinz Gustav Adolf Paul (“Henry” or “Higgy”) – nothing he liked better than to play the piano to himself in the ballroom or drive off in his sports car with dog “Monty” in hot pursuit; I think he was really a composer who sometimes taught German and signed school reports; took me to hospital in Rugby in that car when my thumb was dislocated playing football

Margaret Pollock (husband Peter?) had a beautiful soprano singing voice.

Mike Pollock – brother of Margaret, was a brilliant trick rider, seen around a lot with Jill Kennedy (Kennard?)

Mrs Reynolds

Mrs Thomas

Harry Walker – local handyman who could transform into a ballroom dancer

Marion and Doris, on the cleaning staff, taught us Old Time Dancing. We loved the intricacies! Harry Walker may have been a relative of theirs. Occasionally we all went to Old Time dances in local village Halls.

Mark Walker – no relation of Harry, taught English.

James Williams – in music lessons, could sing Welsh folksongs louder than the whole class, but not very good at keeping control of my class (I was ashamed of them for spoiling the lesson).  Not much hair and a moustache.



Robert Bacharach – arrived at the school the same term as me, one of my friends, lived on the North Circular Road

Michael Belcher – younger brother of Paul

Paul Belcher – seemed a rather unpredictable character                 

John Cameron – mysterious but clever I’m sure

John Cannon – brilliant pianist from Cambridge, and airplane modeller

Julian Chagrin – he became a professional and very original mime artist, actor, comedian; appeared with Spike Milligan, etc. – look him up on the world-wide web

John Colton – one of my friends, I could always persuade him to play cricket, even just the two of us; and he was a brilliant horse rider

Robert “Robbie” Colton – John’s twin brother, another brilliant horse rider

Malcolm Copeman – older and to me seemed very worldly wise

Neil Crawford

Harry Fraser – I’m sure he could sell anything to anybody

Michael Graber – wore glasses

Michael Hall – one of my friends, always enthusiastic about everything

Henry Hartley – his name was anglicised from Heinz Herzberg, always arrived and departed from school with Tony Roland

Inam Ikramullah – when he arrived, he decided I was his best friend and generously shared his food parcels

Robin Jeffrey – sold me some bike lights; made aeroplane models that flew, with noisy and smelly little diesel engines

Basil Long – I should not have had that fight with him, he was taller than me

Bill McMichael – older and taller than everyone else, could play two pieces of Beethoven on the piano, and  worked the signal box at Swinford station weekends. He had the responsibility for ringing the school bell for classes and meals.

Robin Minsky – somehow taught us to get down on all fours and trot, canter and gallop around the dormitory like horses

John Morrison – me, collaborator with Tony Roland and John Ravilious, and despair of the staff for being bright but  disorganised; now having got over several years of having to program computers, I play and arrange good music; live in Richmond near London with wife Katherine and our two children

John Ravilious – son of English artist Eric Ravilious; we made our own fireworks together; I think he became an inventive sort of artist

Tony Roland – one of my friends, with a father who had an art gallery in Bond Street. Look him up on the world wide web as Anthony Roland. Together we sold our own raffle tickets to parents on parents day

Micky Staples – younger brother of Tim

Tim Staples – taught me to ride a bike!

Michael Sutton – a friend of my sister Val

Peter Welch – protégé of Jean Bennett; in the holidays I went for long bike rides with him in Sussex

Christopher Weatherbee

David Wilby



Evelyn Bacharach – Robert’s young sister

Molly Branch – a friend of mine

Sarah “Sally” Branch – Molly’s younger sister

Gabrielle “Gabby” Collis – to me she seemed to be one of the naughty ones – was it her story of putting a kipper into the radiator of Higgy’s car?

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Colton – good rider and good-looking, elder sister of John and Robbie

April Conacher – exactly the same age as me, I was shocked when she tragically died in the school holidays

Juliet Hunt – seemed to me delicate and beautiful.  She was a good ballet dancer. Val saw her at the London Victoria Palace years later.

Jill Kennedy (Kennard?) – did she marry Mike Pollock?  Was Val’s closest friend.  Lived near Swiss Cottage. Val says she was Jill Kennedy, I say she was Jill Kennard – who knows?

Evelyne Masson-Forestier – from France

Marianne Meinhardt – rather wild

Carol More – friend of Harry Fraser

Valerie Morrison – my sister, liked singing and ballet

Anne Profaze – was blinded in one eye by a stick n arrow

Dawn Uniacke - both twins suffered from a condition that they bruised and bled easily

Dierdre Uniacke - Dawn's twin sister

Sally Walker – a friend of mine, with red hair, and I actually went to her house north of London somewhere


Girls I remember,without their surnames…

Hilary …

Karen … - owner of corgi dog “Foxy”

Sandra …- lovely red hair, with her own horse at school

Susan … - the first girl I danced with

Tilly …

Zoë … - wild




David – he was lazy, and safe for beginners as he needed kick-starting

Ladybird – lovely and brilliant, belonged to Maggie Lewis


Shantung Star – a big palomino gelding, my sister Val’s favourite

The Grey

Twinkle – cute skewbald Shetland, had an even cuter foal – Val has pictures..




Foxy – a corgi, belonged to Karen



Monty – Mr Paul’s dog, used to sing whenever the school bell was rung, and chase his car


Topsy – The infamous Staffordshire bull terrier, the only dog I have been scared of.  She attacked the twins, and Val say she had somewhat of a mauling from her.



Fascinating, especially when they had families; and smelly.  They were kept in the stables.