Belinda Swift was a residential pupil at Wennington school from 1953-61. Her father, John Swift, was the school bursar and handy-man. Here, she talks about free time and music.



Belinda: I probably talk about the freedom side of it a bit more than the lessons, in a sense I was a free spirit, and the lessons sort of – you had to sit still, which I probably found quite difficult at times, but you know, we, on a Thursday afternoon when we didn't have lessons, we used to sign off and go cycling and with our pocket money we used to search out Yorkshire toffee [laughs] We'd go to Wighill or somewhere. And no, it's an amazing amount of trust in children in the school. Probably the same thing Saturday afternoon, we'd just go and cycle around or go into the woods, climb trees, 'cos as long as you were back for supper, it was okay.


Interviewer: And you said you were a bit of a tomboy?


Belinda: I think so, I enjoyed boys' company very very much, I liked their sense of humour. I wasn't somebody to sit on my bed in the dormitory talking about emotions, which the girls, you know, can go through that period of doing, who said whom to what, and what it meant, I didn't do that [laughs] I just was, I loved doing digging, and physical things, gardening, or anything, anything practical and then the other thing was I played the piano, used to queue up, we had piano practice rooms but there weren't enough, and 'cos a lot of people played a musical instrument, and you'd have to queue up you know, I think you were allowed an hour or something, but it went so quickly, you'd hope somebody wouldn't come after your hour was up. And so I used to just sit in the corridor outdoor, outside waiting for somebody to finish, and then I'd go and have this wonderful time on my own, and play what I liked, for an hour. Wonderful, I really enjoyed that.




Interviewed by Gemma Geldart, September 2010. Recording reference: HLF-WEN-023-OH ©

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