Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Tindall Era, 1922-1954

Two little stories from Miss M.E. Richardson


For the beginning of Common Time, 1946, staff had been working, arranging and preparing for the term to commence.

Electricity had not been connected in the main building until the last day, so work there had only been possible during daylight. So pressure was on. The London Mush was due to arrive at tea time.

Mrs. Tindall asked Mr. Ledgard and me to help sweep Shakespeare floor. We were equipped with large brooms, and the plan was for us to begin at the balcony end, the three of us sweeping in line across down to the Chapel door end. We started well, Mrs. Tindall on the left, me in the middle, but Mr. Ledgard on the right soon got bored and either swept ahead, or, when remonstrated with, lagged behind.

However all ended well, and Mr. Cannings arrived just in time to remove the sweepings as we heard the chatter from the boys’ porch.


At the end of Short Half 1945, after the boys had gone home members of the staff remained behind to help with packing and cleaning.

Miss Campbell (A.H.C.) and I were asked to wash the white painted walls of the South Wing passage. Classrooms A to E opened off it.

Supplied with cloths, pails of water and tins of a cleaning agent called “Gumption,” we worked away and were proud of the before and after effects. D.H.G. passed frequently, moving desks from the classrooms, and would remark each time “Good stuff, that Gumption!”

I came to West Downs at Blair Castle in Short Half 1944 to teach in the Lower School. I retired at Easter 1981, but kept in close contact, going regularly to Sunday Morning Chapel and to all the Play, Sports and other events until the School closed.

My memories of those 44 years are considerable but I would find it difficult to choose any special item to record, and expect many would come under the headings of Anecdotes and Trivia. However I would be very happy to answer questions about any events or people.

I have many photographs and all the “Long Tails” from my first term until they were replaced by ordinary lists. Sister Guy is the only other member of the staff who were at Blair who, to my knowledge, is still living.

Maisie Richardson