Bolton School Former Pupils

Hilary Crawforth

Hilary Crawforth (1955-1968), Former Staff and Headmistress of Beech House, 1976-2010

I was a pupil at Beech House from 1955 then in the junior school and senior school, leaving in 1968. My mother attended Bolton School from 1933 and my sister from 1954 to 1968, along with several cousins. Both my children attended the School.

I then returned to teach at Beech House in 1976, starting in a mixed Reception and Year 1 class then later taking Years 2 and 3. After becoming Second Mistress, I later became Deputy Head and finally Head. As an infant teacher, I taught most subjects and particularly enjoyed helping children to develop their writing skills, though I also have happy memories of maths, science, art or history lessons in which the children’s enthusiasm inspired us to achieve far more than was expected.

I retired in 2010 after spending one year in the new Beech House building – I was heavily involved in the planning of this and, despite my very close connections with the old Beech House, I felt great excitement when I walked the corridors of the new building and saw the opportunities it affords to the pupils – the increased teaching and learning space, the light, the grounds, the access for the disabled.

What extra-curricular or other activities did you take part in as a teacher at Bolton School?

This didn’t really apply to Beech House teachers – we were a separate little community with lots of our own activities such as concerts, summer fairs, charity events etc. Everyone played their part in these, the staff and parents working hard as a team to ensure the children did their best and had fun. Christmas plays were always very special with the children in costume and flushed with excitement, though an epidemic of chicken pox could sometimes decimate the cast on the day!

What did you enjoy most about your role here?

The children! I loved getting to know each one and following their progress through Beech House then the rest of the school, always interested to hear of their later achievements and their talents which were not evident when at Beech House.

What would you say is your fondest memory of your time here?

Walking across the Beech House playground each morning and chatting to the children – who could invariably make me smile, however dreary the weather or tough the day ahead. Beech House staff certainly laughed more frequently than the average adult, thanks to the children.

How would you describe the “typical” Bolton School boy/girl in three words?

Confident, curious, socially aware

What do you think is the most important thing that a Bolton School education gives to its pupils?

Confidence and aspirations – the knowledge that they have talents and the desire to use these.

What do you think sets Bolton School apart from other Schools?

Opportunities to experience excellence in academic matters, music, sport, drama. Opportunities to travel and to serve the community. Beautiful surroundings. A sense of tradition and history. Expert and dedicated teachers.

What do you think about Bolton School’s 100 Campaign aim to re-establish genuine open access through its bursary fund?

Our family benefited from bursaries and I am in favour of any scheme to help talented children today to have access to a Bolton School education.

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