Bolton School Former Pupils

Gillian Driver (1954-1964)

Gillian wrote to us in September 2014 with her memories of life in the Girls' Division:

"I joined Bolton School at the age of eight in 1954 (the same year as Margaret Higginson).  Prior to joining First Form I had attended a 'dame' school (one teacher, ten pupils between the ages of five and eleven seated round a large table in her front sitting room - we only attended in the morning and I had never participated in competitive games or sports).  As a result I spent my first year in abject terror compounded by the fact that I had a speech impediment (I couldn’t sound my 'r's – a rogue gene from my father's side of the family), but I have on many occasions said how much I appreciated the kindness and sensitivity of both staff and my fellow pupils in that I was never mocked or bullied.  I only settled down when new girls joined in the third form and I could see and understand how they were feeling and I even became Form Captain for a term.  And, thank you, Miss Bowman, for asking me to read in French because my 'r' was perfect!  In Form 1 I did, however, meet a friend for life, Janet Mitchell, who had all the local acumen having been to Beech House.  And, of course, there were the birthday parties, each of us in pastel coloured angora boleros (now reinvented as shrugs).

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at School.  I think I was probably a bit of a 'swot' but average at just about everything except maths and I’m sorry, Miss Evans, I couldn't understand a word but my 'dame' from primary school did ensure I passed 'O' level.  The same went for games where I was never the first, nor the last, to be chosen for a team.

"Having read Angela Holdsworth’s book Out of the Doll's House, now in need of updating, I really do appreciate just how fortunate I was to attend a school where girls were encouraged to reach for the stars and also to have a father, who having been educated in the Isle of Man where universal education was introduced well before the mainland, wanted his daughters to have equal opportunities to men and not as so many of my contemporaries whose fathers height of ambition for them was marriage and who now really regret lost opportunities.  We were Lancashire County so by rights should not have been eligible to attend Bolton School, but my father was, as they say, 'determined'.  I just hope that at the end of the day I will have fulfilled the guiding principle of the School: 'Much you have received, much you will give back'."