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News > School News > Christmas in Keswick 1940

Christmas in Keswick 1940

'We shall always have the gayest and most grateful memories of an exile that might have been uncommonly sad.'
2 Dec 2020
School News
Keswick Lawn
Keswick Lawn

Christmas 2020 is bound to feel very different, with large gatherings and family traditions having to be put on hold this year. An article from the 1941 Roedean School Magazine reflects on Christmas 1940, when many students were unable to go home for the Christmas holidays. At the time the School was in Keswick, and the extract below, written by OR Jean Dutton, (No.2, 1940-42) shares her reflections of that time.

 ‘Those unhappy girls who were destined to spend the whole or part of the Christmas holidays at Keswick watched the departure of the school on December 18th with gloomy foreboding, little thinking that they would almost resent its return on January 16th, by which time they had settled down to an undisputed possession of the ‘glass box’, and other privileged spots, quite like the oldest inhabitants.

The first few days there were many preparations for Christmas, including rehearsals of an extract from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ which was later given as part of an entertainment for a meeting of the Keswick Knitting Guild which was held at the hotel.

On Christmas Day there was an excellent dinner in the middle of the day, followed later by gifts from the Christmas tree, distributed by Dixon who made a splendid Father Christmas. The girls all wore attractive crinolines and bonnets provided by Mrs Wivell, which added an air of gaiety. On Boxing Day we had a magnificent cold buffet, with delicacies almost beyond human memory.

On both evenings we danced in the dining-room which had been cleared of tables and everyone appreciated the beautiful floor.

Many activities followed, including an afternoon in the Pavilion to help entertain the evacuated children in the town. The Old Vic Company visited Keswick, and gave excellent performances of ‘Twelfth Night,’ ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ and ‘Trilby.’ There were several visits to the cinema, and a dance for the senior girls. Various diversions took place in the evenings, including some bridge for those who wished to play, games of every descriptions, and once a play called ‘The Ugly Duckling’ by members of the Junior House.

We finished up the holidays with a party given by the staff in the Fiction Library, to which everyone was requested to come wearing some novel headgear. The results were certainly amusing and caused a good deal of fun. The staff were very kind to us all through the holidays, and Mr and Mrs Wivell put themselves out in every way and entertained us with such generosity that we shall always have the gayest and most grateful memories of an exile that might have been uncommonly sad.’

 

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