Barbara Kelland Ė early years at
Weybridge and Rickmansworth
I was polishing my fatherís old desk when
I first had the idea of writing a book about
my experiences at the Royal Masonic
School for Girls. I had lifted the desk top
and discovered a small bundle of envelopes
tied together with string and addressed in
a childís handwriting.
One day I picked out a letter at random,
curious to discover what I had written and
was surprised that my mother had kept my
little notes for so long. Were they special?
Did they mention anything important?
The first letter I read informed my
mother that we had had our gas masks fitted.
Oh, I thought, this was towards the middle
of 1939, but to my surprise when I checked
the post mark, it turned out to have been
This set me thinking about my early life
away from home at the junior and senior
Masonic schools and made me realise how
my memories of the small details had
inevitably faded with the passage of time.
A few years later, while preparing to move
house, I was turning out a tea chest when
I came across more bundles of letters. And
there were also other personal records: my
motherís diary of my early years in the 1930s
and documents and papers relating to her
life during that decade and the war.
There were Masonic certificates of
registration Ė my fatherís of 1926 with
the Star in the East Lodge and my Great
Grandfatherís of 1868 with the Macdonald
Lodge. I had put all these things in a tea chest,
placed it in the loft and forgotten about it.
As I began to reread my little letters,
I thought they might form the basis of
a book describing how my mother had
got me into the Masonic school, and how
I had spent the war years as a pupil.
And there was also another reason
motivating me to write This Time Next
Week Ė I wanted to say thank you,
acknowledging the anonymous Freemasons
who had contributed to my well-being
(and my motherís) by making generous
financial donations, principally through