NB, For Regional meetings - go to the Regions section of this site.

AGM 2018 will be on Saturday October 6 2018 at the same venue and time as last year - see below.

Datchelor Carols will be on the second Sunday in December: 9 December 2018 2.15 for 2.30

Events of past years:

AGM 2017 Saturday October 7  2017 University Women's Club, 2 Audley Square, London. 2pm -  5pm

Speaker:  Veronica Lewis - Old Girl and Principal of the London Contemporary Dance School. 

Datchelor Carols  This event, run by Miss Seldon and Miss Charman until their deaths in recent years will take place on Sunday December 10 2017 at St Olave Hart St, EC3R 7NB.  Arrive about 2.00 for 2.30 start.

AGM 2016  Saturday October 1 2016  Venue  University Women's Club, 2 Audley Square. 2pm

Speaker:  Judge Ruth Downing

There will be a short business meeting followed by a chance to hear about the journey from a Datchelor classroom to be one of the first women judges in the country.


Vaninne Parker who leads each walk, is a London Blue Badge guide. (She is also Chairman of the Club!)

AGM Saturday October 3 2015  from 2.15pm at the United Reformed Church Hall in East Croydon CR0 5LP. Our speaker this year is Chantal Coady OBE, an Old Girl who has made her name in chocolate.  Her talk pomises to be fascinating. She is the founder of Rococo Chocolates,a cocoa farmer in Grenada and London, beekeeper, mentor, wife, mother, cyclist, creative, foodie, and cat lover. There will be the usual short business meeting and plenty of time for catching up with friends.  Be there!

ANNUAL AGM  October 4 2014 from 2.15pm at the United Reform Church Hall in East Croydon.  The speaker is Daphne Bagshawe (Triggs) who was at Datchelor in the 60's.  She was a riot at school so it promises to be a talk full of funny memories as well as an update on Daphne's career since school.  Since retiring Daphne has taken up playing the organ and reached grade 8!  There will be the usual short business part of the meeting and plenty of time for chat over refreshments.

Were you at Mary Datchelor Girls School between the years 1964 - 1971? If so, this September marks the 50th anniversary of us starting school. We need to celebrate! Let's meet up:

* Saturday 6th September 2014.
* 12 noon onwards.
* Hyde Park Bandstand. The nearest park entrance to this is White Horse Gate in Knightsbridge, near Hyde Park Corner. (Piccadilly line for the tube).
* Bring a picnic - those who want, could share and there's plenty of grass to sit on; or food is available in the Serpentine Bar & Grill nearby.
* If it rains, we can remove to the Bandstand or Serpentine Bar etc.
* If you have any uniform left - and it still fits - feel free to wear it!
* Partners and families welcome.
*And those who wish, could go to the Prom at the Albert Hall in the evening - no advance booking needed for standing (or sitting on the floor) in the arena or gallery.

If you have any queries please contact any of these people:
Heather Rippon (was Lee):
Sara Rackow:
Ruth Meyer:

AGM October 2013

The Minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed as correct. Marion Walker gave her last report as chairman, as she had served for two terms and our constitution required her to stand down. She reported that, since the upheaval in the Club, much had been achieved to decentralize the Club and also to make it more accessible to Members. The Regional Groups were thriving and the Forthcoming Events letter, sent to members each spring were a testament to that. She and Janet Austin (McConachie), the regional organizer for Wales, had visited Miss Godwin at her home near Newtown in August this year. We also sent a card and flowers on the occasion of her 90th birthday this year. She sent her very warm wishes to our meeting. She thanked the committee for their stalwart support. It seems that it is in the nature of Datchelor women to be busy, and it seems to be true that 'you ask a busy person'!

In response, Maggie Gebbett expressed her thanks for the guidance Marion was able to give to the Club over the last 6 years. She presented Marion with a card signed by all those present and some Garden Tokens, as substitute for flowers that might suffer on the train home.

Vaninne Parker, having expressed her willingness to be chairman, was nominated by Linda Pritchett and seconded by Jill Forbes and 56 votes for her nomination had been received by post and email. Marion called for a show of hands and there was an enthusiastic and unanimous response. From this point Vaninne took the chair.                                                                                                              

Joan Remnant gave the Secretary's report. She apologised for sending out the voting papers instead of the nomination papers for the post of chairman. The end result was unchanged as there were no other nominations. We have been delighted to welcome 14 new members since our last AGM. They will have been sent the newsletter with its excellent reports and photos. Thank you to the team led by Maggie for this delightful publication. Joan reported that her time in office was coming to an end and that we would be seeking a new secretary this time next year. We would be pleased to receive names of anyone interested in knowing more about this task.

Christine Gale then gave the Treasurer's report. The accounts were published in the Newsletter and showed that expenditure exceeded income by just over £1,100 due to the high cost of postage and printing. This was less of a deficit than the previous year and we hope to avoid selling off any assets in the next year. Over the next year there will be additional expenditure connected with the Anniversary Tea.

Ann Medhurst was not present so Joan gave the Charity report. As Dorothy Brock house and Holly Court had closed, Jonas was our sole charity. We were able to send £920.50 in the past year. (see p.s. at the end of Renate's talk)

Maggie Gebbett  then gave the communications and website report. The website is well used and comes up first if people search on the words Mary Datchelor. The Newsletter is the most expensive outlay for the Club each year. It costs over £1 to post and considerably more to send to our overseas members. The newsletter itself costs £1.25 per copy to produce. Each year in Spring we send out by email the Forthcoming Events letter - and post it to members in the UK. The Anniversary Tea has proved so popular that we have created a waiting list for places. We plan to have a small exhibition of Datchelor archives in the Library of Clothworkers' Hall and Vaninne is organizing a 'musical interlude'. A commemorative mug will be on sale, but at a lower price than was originally published - probably £5. Please give your name to Margaret Walker if you could volunteer to be a 'meeter and greeter' for this event.

Myra Hurley gave her report as database Secretary saying we currently have 858 Life Members. She thanked Shelley Mitchell (Boadella) for keeping a back up copy of the database. She urged members to give her your email address if you have not already done so. It saves us so much money.

Shelley Mitchell was not able to be present but Joan read her report for the regional meetings. The local groups give members an opportunity to meet those who are not only in their year group, but members who were at school during the war years right down to those who were there when the school closed. She hoped members will continue to come to these meetings and perhaps start new ones where there is a gap.

Vaninne then drew attention to items sent by Rosemary Balister (Mines) who lives in Virginia. They were available for a donation to Jonas by tickets given at the door.


For information about Regional meetings - please go to the Regions section and click on Forthcoming meetings.  General meetings are below.

Clothworkers Tea meeting on May 9th 2014.  This meeting has proved so popular since its announcement that all tickets are now sold and there is a waiting list of 20 OG members.

AGM 2013

Our AGM for this year is booked for Saturday October 5th 2013.

Renate Schumacher, who set up the Jonas charity, will be our speaker at the AGM.  It will be so good to hear at first hand about her work in Romania.  She will bring pictures and will have some moving stories to tell.

It is the election of our new chairmman at this meeting.  Marion Walker has served the club tirelessly for the last six years.  We are most grateful to her. Vaninne Parker is standing for election as Chairman.



Our AGM this year was held on Saturday 6th October 2012 at the United Reformed Church Hall in East Croydon.    Caroline Thomson, until recently the BBC's Chief Operating Officer was our speaker and gave a fascinating talk. Sixty attended.

The next AGM in 2013 will see the election of a new chairman.

Autumn 2012

A tour of the Palaceof Westminster was held on Saturday November 17th. This was led by Vaninne Parker - Old Girl and London Blue Badge Guide.

2011 AGM - In London Saturday October 8th 2pm-4.30pm at Guide Headquarters, Buckingham Palace Road

This successful meeting attracted more than 60 members.  There was a short business meeting, including electing Joan Remnant (Barton) as Secretary of the Club, following the retirement of Jill Forbes (White).  This was followed by a talk from Professor Cheryl Lovelace about her life in Zambia.  Jean Pengelly gave us a rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. This was followed by refreshments and plenty of time for chat as well as information about next year's club activities - a visit to the Tower of London and another to the Olympic site.  Please note - in future we have decided not to use Guide HQ for our AGM as they have dramatically increased the cost of hire. For this year's AGM on Oct 6 2012 we shall use the United Reformed Church in East Croydon.

A DELIGHTFUL AFTERNOON ON THE RIVER THAMES with MDGS OG Club– 21st May 2011 An account by Barbara Kendall (Cunningham)

Having braved the crowds of tourists and finding the ticket office at Westminster Pier, it was somewhat worrying that no-one seemed to know about the Mary Datchelor tour until the two magic words, Rita Beckwith, were mentioned. She deserves an enormous thank you for enabling us to have a most wonderful day on the River.

It was a great pleasure to see familiar faces again many of whom had travelled from afar, without counting Renate from Germany and Pauline from Canada.   Many wore their Datchelor Badges and two of us still have our school blazers. The boat we expected was being repaired and was replaced by an open-topped version, which proved perfect on such a beautiful day, so that we could take in the succeeding panoramas as we navigated each bridge and turn in the River.

At first there was so much to see and interesting points to hear that everyone remained in their seats but later, as refreshments appeared and the Riverside buildings spread out, people moved around and chatted a great deal. The River has changed considerably during the last few decades, which made the journey even more interesting.   The dusty offices of the GLC at County Hall have been transformed into the Marriott Hotel.   The Millenium Wheel was revolving, minus one capsule while, on the opposite bank, the refurbished gilded Eagle on the RAF Memorial gleamed brightly in the strong sunlight. 

Interestingly, the curved architecture above Charing Cross Station was designed to reflect the old Victorian terminus, and is an example of the ‘property value of “air rights” above the platforms, making a significant contribution to the railway’s income.’ (City Tours website). The Festival Hall complex recalls the Festival of Britain in 1951, while on the North bank Shell Mex House stands out in the Art Deco style of the 1930s. The enormous clock tower is flanked on each side by two stylized (sometimes called hieratic) figures, which are easily missed. In front of the building stands ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, which is older than the lady herself by over a thousand years.                                    

Under Waterloo Bridge the panorama widened, with Somerset House, then the Temple Gardens, forming a backdrop to HMS Wellington, the floating livery hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, then the City of London School, Blackfriars Bridge with a view of the City and finally the Oxo Tower to the South.  Beyond Blackfriarsyet another vista, with St Paul’s Cathedral on our left with the Millenium (Wobbly) Bridge leading South to the old Bankside Power Station, now Tate Modern, next to which was the tiny, beautifully timbered Globe Theatre.   On past Southwark Bridge was the Anchor, where the power station engineers used to go for lunch, with the Golden Hinde, the replica of Francis Drake’s ship further along, then London Bridge with the new “Shard of Glass’ rising above it, while off Borough High Street to the South was the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison. 

On the opposite bank just before Southwark Bridge lies Vintner’s Hall, (only the Vintners, Dyers and the Crown are allowed to own swans on the Thames). Further on, the towers of Cannon Street mark the location of the old Steelyard, the London base for the German Hanseatic merchants in the Middle Ages.

Then under London Bridge and to the North were the arches of the old Billingsgate Market identifiable by the fish on the roofline., with the Custom House beside it. To our right was

HMS Belfast and then beyond another panorama with the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the skewed oval of City Hall on the South bank.As we came under Tower Bridge, the ‘Dixie Queen’ was moored alongside Butlers Wharf, looking like a genuine Mississippi paddleboat, with paddles at its stern. It so epitomized the change in the River, which used to be full of merchant vessels and now it is full of tourist craft.

Suddenly tea and coffee was being offered by the staff, who were charming and amazingly adept at balancing coffee and tea-pots as the boat swayed.   The crew was brilliant. They helped us on and off the boat in the kindest manner and were so attentive throughout the trip.

We were now by St Katherine’s Dock to the North and, further downstream was Wapping, the home of Captain Cook’s wife, and also the site of the infamous Execution Dock, where pirates, including Captain Kidd, met their end, while being watched, on the opposite bank, from the Angel Tavern.   The next famous Inn on the South bank is the Mayflower, from where the Pilgrim Fathers set out for America.   Again everything has changed so much. The warehouses of Paradise and Rotherhithe Streets, by the Mayflower, with their cranes, loading bays, ancient lights, and barges below, have all gone, to be replaced with finely-finished, luxury apartments and we saw this pattern continuing all along the River as we travelled on.

On the north bank another famous tavern, the Prospect of Whitby and, nearby, we were waving to Barbara Lees and her friends with their yellow and blue balloons as they looked out for us

On round the bend in the River we were faced with the spectacular views of Canary Wharf, and the high rise buildings continued down to the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs. Before us on the opposite bank appeared the spire of St Alfege Church, Greenwich, followed by the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, with the Observatory behind, high on the hill.   Then, in total contrast, the chimneys of Greenwich power station loomed beyond, as we continued round the curve in the river, again past many modern apartments, to the O2 arena on the South bank.

We continued to and through the amazing Thames Barrier between the shining stainless steel caissons with their revolving gate mechanisms.   The return journey gave plenty of opportunity for chatter and Datchelor memories. When we arrived at Tower Bridge we had the fun of seeing it partly raised and then, at Westminster Bridge, we went on upstream past Lambeth Palace, barely passing under Lambeth Bridge as the tide was so high and then on to Tate Britain and the MI5 building before the final turn, passing the Houses of Parliament again before we docked. It was so relaxed, there was so much of interest to see and we had been beautifully looked after during the whole voyage.       

The contrast between the old days and today is well highlighted by an extract from T.S.Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland” and a photo of a pristine modern barge and buildings behind.:


           The river sweats

          Oil and tar

          The barges drift

          With the turning tide

          Red sails


          To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.

          The barges wash

          Drifting logs

          Down Greenwich reach

          Past the Isle of Dogs.


The City Cruise boat was a lovely way to see old River Thames. Thank you to all who helped organise the cruise and thank you Rita!

VISIT TO THE SCHOOL BUILDINGS Sunday March 20 2011 Visit to Datchelor House
On 20th March nearly 50 Old Girls vsited Datchelor House and for some it was the first time they had returned to the school. We were many different age groups, some remembering Dame Dorothy and others who had been there when the school closed. The noise level grew as everyone reminisced, but we all remembered singing The Messiah, going up to Dog Kennel Hill for games and Christmas lunch.
We had a very enjoyable visit, meeting first in the St. George Marketing Suite where there is a large model of the school site as it is now, with social housing built alongside the building in Grove Lane and very smart town houses in Camberwell Grove. We were taken in groups round the show house, where we were kindly provided with refreshments, and then to see two empty flats inside the schol which everyone had been waiting for. We felt quite darin