Boscastle Summer School

During the Second World War, the Ginner-Mawer School evacuated from London to the tiny village of Boscastle, on the north coast of Cornwall.


The school year followed the normal academic year, with the usual long summer vacations.  Presumably the war made it difficult, or impossible, to hold the annual summer schools in Stratford, so they were held in Boscastle instead.


Stratford summer schools were a coming together of many groups for a festival, Ginner-Mawer being one group among many.  The Boscastle summer school would have been Ginner-Mawer only, but still wonderful, nonetheless.


Classes were intended for, and attended by, Old Girls – Ginner-Mawer students who had graduated and many of whom were now teaching dance themselves; and also prospective students; and students who could not study full time.  The school was a chance to refresh skills, learn somethings new, re-new old friendships and make new ones.  The newspaper article refers to educational organisations who were represented, but this could well be that the representatives were Old Girls (though not necessarily).  The organisations included


the Association of Teachers of Speech and Drama;

the Greek Dance Association;

the Institute of Mime;

the Ginner-Mawer Old Girls’ Club.


Individual delegates included members of the staffs of

the Royal Academy of Music;

the National Froebel Foundation;

Wycombe Abbey School;

Bedales School;

Hampden School;

Notre Dame High School, Norwich;

Norwich High School;

the Collegiate School for Girls, Leicester;

Palmers School for Girls, Greys, Essex;

teachers working for Birmingham and Smethwick Education Committee;

and Social Service Clubs of South Wales.


Of course, the setting was idyllic, with sea bathing by anyone brave enough.  For those not so hardy, the rocks of the coastline provided good sunbathing and picnic spots.  I think those girls were made of sterner stuff in those days, so I am sure swimming would have been quite high on the priority list.


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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