ISSUE 17, April 2006
Editorial
Historic: The Brother who designed the Spitfire
Travel: The charm of Kerala
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Public Relations: Hottest spot in town
International: Emulation in Bulgaria and Mauritius takes a leap forward and Hungary's Royal Arch library
Library & Museum: Recent acquisitions
Masonic Bibles: Lodges and their Bibles
    Royal Masonic Girls' School: My thanks to the Freemasons
Holocaust: The Count of Auschwitz
Education: International conference on the history of Freemasonry and Events
Specialist Lodges: Masonry universal - via radio
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity continues to help those in need and New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
Grand Charity: The Tsunami - one year on and Important Gift Aid information
Letters, Book Reviews, and Gardening

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My book is a personal account of my life at the Royal Masonic Schools for Girls and my mother’s struggle to provide for herself and her child, following the sudden and unexpected death of her husband.
    She lived during a period when there was no Welfare State as we know it today. Women’s rights, whether in the workplace, or the importance of their role as home makers, had yet to be acknowledged.
    Then the war came along and my mother, like so many other brave women, took over jobs which had previously been done by men. She worked in London during the Blitz and later was employed on the Southern & South Eastern Railways as a welfare officer, helping to improve the social conditions of women employees in the East End.
    Throughout the book, I have written about subjects that interested me most – the art and craft classes, music and dancing.
    But, of course, these were not the limit of what we were taught. There were plenty of opportunities for any girl who excelled at other disciplines to develop her talents.
    In those days, an excellent library in the clock tower and ample supplies of books in all the common rooms, were available for anyone who enjoyed English. There were well-equipped science laboratories for girls who wanted to study physics and chemistry, marvellous sports and athletics facilities, while commercial areas of the curriculum were also catered for. The school certainly lived up to its philosophy of finding the child’s talents and then enabling her to exploit these to the full.
    Many stories have been published about the experiences of people who survived the Second World War, whether on active service, in prisoner-of-war camps or as civilians on the Home Front.
    There are also memoirs by women who were sent to religiously established institutions, highlighting great cruelty on the part of the people charged with their care. But my story is very different. Despite losing our fathers at an early age, we were happy little girls, and the staff did everything they could to preserve the joy of a carefree childhood.
    I often used to think about the costs involved in maintaining and running the schools and the generosity of the Freemasons who had made it all possible. I was lucky to be so fortunate, enjoying a very privileged existence during a period of great turmoil in Europe and the rest of the world.
    As I have gone through life, my experiences atWeybridge and Rickmansworth have remained with me constantly. They formed the yardstick against which I tried to measure the standards of behaviour and attainment for my pupils when I became a teacher.
    And whenever I talk to other old girls and read about reunions in the school magazine Masonica, I am struck by how many of us have retained the ability to organise events down to the smallest detail.
    This should come as no surprise, since everything at school was so well run. Daily living, special events, committee days, all went on without anything ever going wrong – at least as far as we were concerned.
    When I left the senior school, life in the real world was a culture shock. Because of the restrictions imposed on us by the war, I quickly realised what a very protected environment I had lived in. But I coped and put to use the valuable skills I had acquired from my education – made possible as a consequence of my father’s decision to become a Freemason.
    Yet, however well our parents try to provide us with the best possible start in life, curious coincidences often happen that defy logical explanation.
    During the time my Great Grandfather was a Mason, the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England was the Earl of Zetland. Seventy-one years later, when I first stepped foot in Rickmansworth, what do you suppose was the name of the House where I spent all my school days?
    Why … Zetland House of course!

A review of Barbara Kelland’s book This Time Next Week can be found at Book Reviews.



Drill in 1946 in front of King George VI – a Mason – and the Queen


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