Girls line up for photo at strict school which banned sunbathing

·2-min read
The middle section of the panoramic picture of staff and pupils at the Central Girls’ School in Oxford in 1957
The middle section of the panoramic picture of staff and pupils at the Central Girls’ School in Oxford in 1957

There were plenty of smiles when teachers and pupils posed for this photograph at the Central Girls’ School in Oxford.

It is part of a panoramic picture taken in June 1957 when the school was nearing the end of its time in New Inn Hall Street in the city centre.

Everyone would sit or stand in a semi-circle and the photographer would turn the camera slowly to capture them all.

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At some schools, a favourite wheeze was for one pupil to stand at one end as the camera started to roll, then dash around the back to appear in the picture at the other end.

But we doubt that happened at the Central, where such unladylike behaviour would never be tolerated.

A strict code of discipline was enforced.

Girls were banned from sunbathing at lunch times, told to stay indoors at home on four nights a week to do homework, banned from shops when in school uniform and forbidden to scream at school.

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This is the second part of the panoramic picture belonging to Glenys Hudson, of Waverley Avenue, Kidlington.

As Glenys Howard, she was a pupil from 1955 to 1959 on the city centre site, then moved for her final year with staff and fellow pupils to Gipsy Lane, Headington, where the school was renamed Cheney Girls’ Grammar School.

Its next-door neighbour to the south was Cheney School (for boys) which had been there since 1954.

In 1972 when Oxford began the process of adopting a three-tier system of comprehensive education, these two schools were merged as Cheney Upper School (for boys and girls aged 13 to 18). When Oxford went back to a two-tier system of education, Cheney became a secondary school taking children aged 11 to 18.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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