She opted to stay the extra term to do the Oxford entrance exam. After achieving success in this, she went to Somerville College to read Modern History, which was of course life changing.
Ann explains, “It was a great privilege to be at St George’s during those post-war years. We used to meet at Victoria Station in London and travel by train and ferry. We were always escorted, usually by Miss Fletcher and Miss Penny who taught history and music, respectively. I owe them a great debt for their inspiration."
"In 1947 the French railways were still recovering from the war and we sat up all the way. We had to get out at Vallorbe (at the French/Swiss border) while the Customs inspected the train which gave us time for unforgettable breakfasts. Butter! Lovely petits pains! Black cherry jam! Coming from rationed post-war Britain it was bliss. Then we would arrive in the beautiful surroundings of St George’s. After a few years couchettes were introduced on the trains which seemed like the ultimate luxury.“
Ann continues, "I remember Vesna Frank who featured in a recent Georgentians Newsletter (July 2020). She was there in my earliest days. Miss Southwell was still headmistress with Miss Guy. In those days many girls didn’t stay long, but Kathleen Halliday and Davina Hodson were there nearly as long as me. In fact, Davina had been there before me, so she probably outdid me. We are still in touch but Kathleen died a few years ago."
"Amanda and Gemma Pringle, Biddy Warren, Sandy McCaw, Mufida Challah, Celia Swann (who has sadly just died) names all spring to mind. There was also Romana from Pakistan and two from India, Kaliani Menon and Sheila Mani. I am in close touch with Marian Grimshaw (now Mrs Perrens) and we are Godmothers to each others’ daughters.”
"The chapel housed a beautiful altar made in Oberammergau and I used to play the harmonium."
Ann boarded in a shared a room with an American girl called Gail and was never homesick. She was in Minerva House and later became House Captain. Ann's sister, Islay arrived two years after her, but unlike today when siblings are in the same house, Islay was in Diana. At the end of each term they travelled back to the UK.
Extra-curricular activities included lots of music and long walks with a friend or in groups. For a while one of the teachers ran the “First International” girl guides but apart from once staying in a chalet, they didn’t do too many activities. At school in winter netball was played and tennis in the summer. Ann modestly claims not to have been a games player, but was able to get the ball into the net, and became netball captain because she knew the rules when a lot of the other girls were trying to play basketball!
The best privilege was being able to go skiing, being in Switzerland during post-war austerity in the UK, and being in such an international milieu at a time when travel was restricted and a need for international understanding was so necessary.
Ann returned to St. George's with her husband some years after leaving and they were able to swim in the school pool.
It was while she studied at Oxford that Ann met, and later married Giles Currie. They have been married 62 years and have two daughters and four grandchildren.
During Ann’s career, she worked for the Museums’ Association but then stayed at home while her daughters’ were young. She later worked for the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, cataloguing manuscripts. Eventually she worked for several years on a very large collection of merchant shipowners’ papers from the time of the American and French wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries which gave rise to a book.
Later they relocated to Wiltshire and subsequently moved to live in a lovely sheltered housing complex near Salisbury.
Ann adds that she has very happy memories of her time spent at St George’s and is very grateful for the multicultural education well in advance of its time.
Thank you so much Ann for writing with such wonderful memories of your time at St. George's.