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Talk: "A schoolgirls war" by Mary Smith

Guest speaker Mary Smith will talk about A Schoolgirl's War

What was wartime really like for children in Kent?

Mary Smith, former headteacher of Maidstone Girls’ Grammar, will give an illustrated talk featuring an exquisite, unique set of paintings revealing school life during the Battle of Britain and the doodlebug attacks. The paintings were completed as the War unfolded by art teacher, Helen Keen. Mary Smith, who retired as Head of Maidstone Girls’ Grammar School in 2014 after eight years, has also produced a book called “A Schoolgirl’s War” which had its origins in two discoveries made at the school. The first was the accessing of an underground purpose-built shelter at the rear of the school after removal of debris blocking its entrance and the revelation that the shelter was a time capsule as a classroom used during air raids, complete with the original school benches on either side of the long, narrow shelter. The second discovery was a large and comprehensive diary of wartime school life, beautifully illustrated by the then Art teacher, Helen Keen, which was supplemented by Mary Smith interviewing 53 “old girls” about their experiences of school during the war.

This talk includes fascinating and often surprising recollections from past pupils, now in their 80s and 90s. Although it focuses on one school, the experiences were common to schools across Kent and, perhaps, the lives of some Friends. The reason this story is unique is the quality of the records, particularly these beautiful paintings, that have been preserved at the school.

Free to NWKFHS members; non members are asked to make a token donation of £1 - £2 towards costs of hall hire and speaker.No booking, just turn up.

Event Information

Event Date 06-11-2021 9:45 am
Capacity 99
Individual Price Free