Navy knickers scandal: who was the guilty girl?

A gym display at Mayville High School, 1960

A gym display at Mayville High School, 1960

Patricia Arnold reading Charles Dickens's Ghost Stories.   Picture: Habibur Rahman PPP-170705-180150006

Readings from works by Dickens

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Uniform policy at Mayville High School has always been strict. However, when the Swinging Sixties were at their height, trying to keep the length of school skirts to a reasonable length was a constant battle because of the popularity of the mini skirt.

Headteacher Mrs Livesey said at the time: ‘When the fashion for mini-skirts became popular and they began to appear at the school, I arranged a meeting with my prefects to discuss this.

‘We decided between us that three inches above the knee was quite sufficient.’

Although that may not always have been the case because during the 1960s Mayville girls would meet boys from neighbouring Southsea school St John’s College at Milano’s in Palmerston Road, ostensibly to drink coffee.

But for some the uniform policy was just too tough.

Mrs Mason, who was in charge of PE, gave bad house marks for missing kit, and assembly often featured a list of offenders, which read: ‘Bad house mark. No navy knickers.’

This prompted one disgruntled school leaver to write on the windowsill when she left, ‘Sod Mrs Mason’.

The school uniform, although strict, reflected the ever-changing trends in society.

The hockey team in the 1970s wore heavy cotton tracksuits, which were then replaced with that icon of the 1970s and ’80s – nylon.

If you have memories of Mayville’s uniform the school would love you to share them at its annual reunion, this year on Friday, June 28, from 6.30pm-8pm.

There will be a buffet and drinks. Call (023) 9273 4847 or e-mail enquiries@mayvillehighschool.net.

Thanks to all of you who responded to Jane Smith’s recent query about the old floral clock on Southsea seafront.

Eddie Wallace, from Milton, was just one who confirmed it did indeed appear outside the former cafe. He says it was there before the Second World War. ‘The building was known as The Castle Tea House and was taken over by the army during the war.

‘I and my late wife often visited the restaurant and the seaside type shop it contained. The Information Bureau was also inside in the building.’

There will be more on this subject and your clock pictures in a couple of weeks.

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