During the dinner given to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the start of the Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama, Effie Williams “made a presentation to the School and to its two Principals on behalf of the Ginner-Mawer Old Girls’ Club.  The gift to the School was a most beautiful shield with the Diskobolos of Myron embossed on it, to be awarded annually to the ‘best Ginner-Mawer,’ and bearing the inscription ‘Presented to the Ginner-Mawer School by Members of the Old girls’ Club in commemoration of the 21st birthday of the School.  June 20, 1937.’”  

The Link, October 1937, p.20

Oh, how I wish I knew the location of that shield now.  I do know that when the School closed in 1954, a shield was presented to Nancy Sherwood for being ‘the Best Ginner-Mawer of all’ – so, undoubtedly, this was that shield.  I have not yet been able to locate any of Nancy Sherwood’s relatives.  I can only hope that the shield might be tucked away in an attic somewhere…

The Diskobolos was the symbol of the Ginner-Mawer School, and there were some blazers with the symbol on the front (probably on the breast pocket).

I was quite surprised that such a strong female-based school would have a male figure as its symbol.  I can see possible reasons why they might have chosen this figure, but I am sure if they had looked harder they could have found either a female figure, or a symbol which did not use gender at all.  Of course, the attitudes of their day are very different to the attitudes we are living with in Western society now, and I doubt that this gender preference would have even crossed their minds.

From Wikipedia, I can see some reasons why the symbol would have fitted well with the school ethos:


The sculpture, which depicts an athlete throwing a discus shows an ‘enduring pattern of athletic energy’ and is ‘an example of rhythmos – or, harmony and balance’ which was perfect for the Ginner-Mawer School.  ‘The great effort of the athlete is not reflected in his face’ – as would be required from a dancer, too.

Wikipedia continues ‘The potential energy expressed in this sculpture’s tightly wound pose, expressing the moment of stasis just before the release’ and this reminds me of my mime training in the Irene Mawer method, where in order to fall to the ground properly, one had to first lift up and almost ‘hang’ in the air (while one’s feet were planted firmly on the ground) before dropping to the floor.

If you know where the Ginner-Mawer shield is, please do let me know.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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