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Susan Page kindly sent copies of some documents and photos relating to her late mother, Gillian M Engeland, who went on a school trip to Oxford in 1952.

The arrangements for the trip:


Some photos of Gillian and her friends, thought to have been taken on this trip. If you can put names to any of the faces please add a comment at the bottom of the page.

Gillian Engeland


This photo may have been taken on another occasion:


The following reports are from the 1951-52 issue of Chronicle.

Once again, members of staff have generously given up their time to organize expeditions to places of interest. Encouraged by the success of the School’s visit to Windsor, Miss Mathews again arranged an outing for about five hundred parents and members of School. It was to Oxford this year, and we shall long remember the beautiful trip down the Thames and our tours of the colleges.

Articles later in the same issue relate the experiences of those who went on the trip. First, a report from ‘M.M.’ who must surely be the headmistress, Miss Mona Mathews. In the early 1920s Mona studied at St Hughes College, Oxford – originally established in 1886 to offer an Oxford education to women – and this must surely have influenced her decision to organise a trip to Oxford.


Good things, I think, should always be shared, and that is why I planned the Oxford expedition. I feel that Oxford is one of the most beautiful places in existence made by man, and I hope that all our trainload of over 500 people will want at some time to go again and spend more time exploring the city of which we only had time to see a very little.

We set off promptly with everyone checked, including over a hundred parents, who were very good at following instructions transmitted to them by their daughters.

In one of the middle coaches of the train,we had our cartons of squash, our cups and saucers, and our large thermos container of coffee. Life really was very busy, disposing of the squash, then serving coffee, and hoping that we were going to make ends meet financially over the transaction. Some of the sixth form became so skilful that I should have no hesitation in recommending them if they decided to work as dining car attendants in their spare moments. Doubtless if they lived in the USA they would be seeking holiday jobs to help them through college.

We always have one or two indifferent travellers, but the casualties were not serious ones so the medical supplies were hardly used.

It is rather fun to have a special train wending its way across the railway tracks instead of taking recognised routes, and it is a great advantage to be exclusive and to feel that only those whom we allow can travel on our train.

Mr Redpath, the Stationmaster at Peterborough North, really has been most kind to us, and our train journeys have gone very comfortably and smoothly.

This was followed by a few reports from the girls:


We all scrambled out of the train at Oxford and were loaded on to the double-decker buses which were waiting for us in a long line outside the station. Finally the buses set off for Abingdon. During the journey we went up a long steep hill and on looking back saw a most wonderful view of Oxford, the towers and roofs of the colleges and many church spires. It was not a perfectly clear day, and there was a bluish haze over the picture, but this really made it look more attractive; the grey stone of the colleges was beautiful, and towering over the mass of buildings rose picturesque church steeples. We shall remember our first view of Oxford from Boars Hill.

J. Andrew, G. Dawson, Lower IV 1.


From Abingdon we went down the Thames to Oxford on pleasure steamers. The countryside was very pretty: on each side of the river were wooded slopes and fields where cattle were enjoying luscious green grass. As we came up to the first lock we saw a rather fat chestnut horse staring at our boat. Then with his head held high and tail flowing he trotted round the field. Suddenly he lay down and rolled on his back with all four legs kicking in the air. Apparently he was enjoying himself. Soon afterwards we saw a heron walking along the bank and looking for a good place for fishing. He put each foot down very gingerly as if he expected the earth to bite him. Later on we saw two herons in flight, their long legs stretched out behind them. And so at last we came to Oxford.

H Crowther, Lower IV 1.


The first college we visited was Christchurch, where we stood in Tom Quad and learned some of the college’s history. We saw the dining-hall with its many portraits of wise-looking men with their beards and gowns. From there we crossed and old cobbled street, rather like the ones we read about in story books, and entered another college where we saw an old library with books upon books stacked neatly into its shelves. In this library too there was an ancient iron chest with some strange-looking contraptions on the lid. This was used in olden times to trap the legendary ghost which was supposed to walk on a certain night of the year. We were also shown the old city walls in their lovely setting in New College garden, and many other interesting and unusual things in our tour round the colleges.

D. Arbon, Lover IV 1.