|bc||Cliff House School,
Kent, stories by Hilda Richards
Because Cliff House School became so popular, it was decided to start a weekly paper for girls named the School Friend, in 1919. The Schoolgirl was begun in 1929, superseding the School Friend. At this time, John Wheway was the regular Hilda Richards. Most of the illustrations of the later Cliff House stories were by T E Laidler. G M Dodshon was the original illustrator of the Cliff House girls.
At one stage in its history, Cliff House was a private residence. An ancestor of Clara Trevlyns lived there, and legend had it that she was extremely wealthy. However, this fortune was never found. Towards the end of the reign of The Schoolgirl, a superb character was introduced to Cliff House. Her name was Glenda Maine. Glenda Maine was girl crook, and also was a master of disguises. In a story full of twists, turns and intrigue, Glenda becomes aware of this treasure, and plans to steal it for herself. However, the fortune was eventually recovered and returned to the rightful owners, the Trevlyn family.
The original Cliff House colours were black, red and white, however at some stage the colours changed to blue and white. Later they were royal blue and gold. Later again, the colours changed to royal blue, red and white. It is also interesting to note that the later Cliff House crest was an inverted copy of the original.
The Cliff House stories were either serialised, or complete in each issue. At one stage there were two serials running, and a section devoted to a character in the series. One of the best characters was Jemima Carstairs. Jemima was a boyish figure, extremely elegant, Eton cropped. She also wore a monocle, which she used to remove and polish when she was pondering a problem. Jemima was wise beyond her years, she never panicked, and never troubled about what people thought of her. She was also an extremely kind, and sensitive person.
Over the years of the Cliff House saga, there were many pupils in the Fourth Form. However, the main core of girls were:
Most of the articles and stories centered around these girls. There were other girls of course, whose reign was brief, but they made a huge impact upon the Fourth. Two of these girls were:
Thelma Warrington, a thoroughly bad lot. Thelmas Aunt, Miss Dorothy Fielding, an old girl of Cliff House School, was planning on bequething a huge amount of money to the, on certain conditions that must be met. However, her nephew and his family, who are neer do wells, plan to ingratiate themselves so much to Aunt Dorothy and at the same time discredit Cliff House School. Thelma was sent to Cliff House as a pupil to start the mischief making. Of course, the neer do wells plans are thwarted, and Cliff House School enjoys the bequest.
Faith Ashton, an astonishingly pretty but completely insidious girl, who was a cousin of Barbara Redfern. Faith entered Cliff House School, and at first everyone was taken in by her hyprocrisy and her sweet honeyed nature. Bessie Bunter strangely enough instinctively disliked Faith from the start. Faith soon began her schemes and wiles only to be found out and removed from the school. However, she was re-installed at Cliff House after presumably becoming repentant. It wasnt long before she decided to oust Barbara from the Captaincy, so that she could have the power and glory for herself, as she saw it. Faiths reign was short lived though, as girls began to see through her cunning plans and schemes, and she removed from Cliff House School once and for all. Of course, Barbara Redfern obtained the Captaincy once again.
Fourth Form Mistresses
Where are these girls now who wrote so long ago to The Schoolgirl? Are they still alive, what were their lives like after growing into adults? Did they have careers, did they get married and have children of their own? Would they read these stories today? How would they feel if they suddenly came across any long lost copies of The Schoolgirl, or any reference to Cliff House School? #