St james Girls School - remembered

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:25 pm

Postby Coralie » Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:13 am


I know that at the moment, I will only be able to write a few things down. I was in Miss Caldwell's Class with you. I remember you well and liked your spirit. I missed you when you had gone and envied you for having been able to leave. I was unaware of what was going on with you and am sorry to hear that you were close to suicide. I had my own issues with my School and family situation to deal with. I don't know about you, but I didn't consider that the other members of our class could do anything for each other, but be there. In your case we didn't see you after the toilets episode.(If we did it was under close scrutiny) :grab: If you do feel let down by any of us, I apologise most profoundly. I would love to catch up with you.

As I am writing this the memories are pouring back and I am shaking. I may pluck up the courage and say some of the things that went on in my life another time. At the moment, I am filled with so many emotions, I probably wouldn't make much sense. I am glad that some things are being said now. When I was at School I was continually trying to get people to talk about honesty and truth. That will come out when I find the right way to say things.

Take care,

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Postby Clara » Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:08 pm

Hi Coralie, thankyou for your message. No blame on anyone except the obvious. Hope you are ok and welcome to site.
I would also like to mention that at the time of my expulsion there was one parent who stood uo for me and defended me when I was banned from going to peoples houses and vice versa and that was Katherine watson who I was and still am eternally grateful to.

Harriet Somerville
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Postby Harriet Somerville » Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:17 pm

Hi Clara and Coralie

I remember you both and didnt envy you having Caldwell as your teacher.
Coralie I remember you as because you were a fellow St Genevieve girl and you were always friendly! Clara who could forget you, us younger girls really admired your spirit especially as you were the daughter of teacher, but when you were expelled, we were all jealous, but our teacher at the time who married a head teacher, tol us you were caught smoking with a builder in the toilets! Disgracefull how 'their truth' was such a lie.

How awful you were suicidal about something that was not your fault. It was sister Emma who committed suicide at the age of twenty having been brain washed in the Youth Group. I would love to hear anybodies thoughts or memories of her and her experiences as a lot of her friends were advised not to be in contact with our family!!

Coralie I hope you can have th strength to tell all as in itself it can be a healer xxx


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Postby Alban » Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:53 pm

Harriet Somerville wrote:...I would love to hear anybodies thoughts or memories of her...

Hi Harriet, I remember your sister fairly well, and I remember being numbed at the time, but we were "told" it was a drugs thing...not sure anyone believed it, but unfortunately when something like that happens, the place is full of rumours and you never know which if any to believe. I also spent quite a lot of time with your brother who for a while was in the same group as me and a few others. We used to spend most of the evening walking around Kensington smoking fags (better than SES by a long shot)....That's what I liked about both Jules and Emma - rebels through and through.

All the best.


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Postby Clara » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:06 pm

Thankyou for your post and memories. I remember Emma and Julian only vaguely but I do remember feeling so empathetic with her and believing that her actions would trigger some kind of ses shake up but of course not. I don;t know how a family copes with what you must have all gone through. I do hope you receive some richer memories than mine of your sister. With love, clara

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Postby Coralie » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:08 pm


I remember Emma from Ballet. We were in the same class for a while. She was friendly and caring. I felt that I could have a good friendship with her. I wish that I had had the opportunity to have gotten to know her better. I hadn't seen her that much nearer the time of her death and was shocked to know that she had been that unhappy and desperate. I went to her memorial service and remember your family well. As I said before, I do often think about your family and Emma.


I have sent you a personal message. I hope that I have managed the technology correctly. If it hasn't come through properly, please let me know.


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Postby Clara » Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:49 pm

Coralie, I tried sending you a personal reply but it obviously didn't get through (neither did yours) but I hope you are well. Try again! x c

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Postby Coralie » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:32 am


I have tried sending you a message again. I hope that this time it works. I haven't received a message from you either. I will keep on trying.

Coralie :fadein:

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Postby Daffy » Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:12 am

It's not clear what kind of message you are trying to send each other ('PM' or email), but if it's email, remember to check your profile to ensure that you have a correct email address listed (click on 'Profile' at the top of the screen).

If you want, send me a PM confirming your email addresses and I will exchange them between you by email.

Remember also that as former students you can chat via Mike Warham's Yahoo board (see ... .php?t=190).

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Postby Clara » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:20 pm

Thanks daffy, i think we are both just computer imbeciles (what would you expect from st james, after all?). we've done it now. x

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Postby Coralie » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:31 pm

I am sitting at my computer shaking, wondering whether I am going to say what I want to say without causing too much damage to people I love. I have chosen this page to write on as it feels safer and I went to St James Girls School. I have been reading the posts for a while now and hope that the old feeling of comradship will prevail. I don't want to get into divide and conquer territory again.

I want to start out with the reason I have hesitated. My Father is very ill. My story will hurt my parents a great deal. I have wanted all my life for my Mum and Dad to be happy together and I think that they now are. I can understand why my Mum does not want to revisit those dark days and I think that it will be too hard for my Dad to take on board how I felt and feel. My greatest regret is to have not been able to get to know my parents.

I was the oldest girl in St James. I was reminded of that by my Teacher, Head Mistress, SMC. My Dad was in the same group as her and so was the Deputy Head, HH. My Mum was in the group lower down. I think I was seven when my Dad's affair with HH started. It carried on until after I was married and she died. HH brought the whole of my wrath upon herself. In some ways this helped me, but the way she did it was very hurtful. I don't know whose idea it was for her to come to our classroom and teach us the ten commandments, however that is what she did. Obviously, I was not impressed. I didn't say anything while she was teaching, however, she felt the need to take me out of the class and into a little room and procede to tell me that she was better for my Dad and that they loved each other. From then on, I didn't recognise her being at School. We had to line up for Assembly every morning and curtsy to the Teacher one by one on our way in and whenever we saw them for the first time in the day. I refused to do this to HH and as she stood next to SMC it was clearly obvious what I was doing. I can appreciate that this put SMC into a difficult position, but she never did anything about it.

I tried to get quite a few people to talk to me about my situation, I always received the same response, "it has nothing to do with you and doesn't affect you". I begged to differ and still do. My Dad spent Wednesday and Sunday nights at her place and alternated Christmas and New Year with her and us. If he had stayed with her and we needed transport to School he collected us in her car. I saw her every day.

I felt like I was screaming really loudly, but that no one could hear me. Before St James was started I went to a great Girls School. I had friends who weren't far away. I was doing well at School. I was even looking at being extended, by staring french early and joining in with older classes. I remember my first day at ST J the building was dark and the atmosphere was heavy. I found myself having to draw endless straight lines on white paper with a pen and nib on a caligraphy board. The lessons were not exciting and interesting. When I realised what was going on with my family, I wanted to correct it so I stopped learning what they were trying to teach me. What angered me then, was that they didn't even notice. As a result and to my own detriment, I didn't come away with good O'levels and A"levels.

I looked at different ways to get out of the situation. But I didn't want my Mum to suffer any more. I hated the way I could walk through the building with my Dad and have the doors open for me and people talk to me and smile, and yet when I went through the same building with the same people there, but with my Mum, I was ignored and felt totally invisible. This feeling, unfortunately, is most definitely a long termer.

As usual, there are many things I could say. I recognise stories from many other posts and know the feelings and situations they are talking about. The lonliness was and is very damaging.

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Postby daska » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:51 pm

Coralie, it must have taken great determination to publish this. Well done, you're braver than I. Denying that you have any right to emotions such as anger and sadness and grief is one of the SES control techniques. I hope this marks the beginning of a resolution for you.

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Coralie's childhood

Postby dan » Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:14 am

I have just read Coralie's moving memories of her childhood and St James experience. Thank you for sharing these, I really admire your honesty and openess. I wish you well.

Despite some of the fractious communications on this site I think there are many here who are supportive of what its like to be a former SES child and how difficult it was to survive in a community that promoted the repression of emotion and placed family bonds behind loyalty to the cult.

The emotional difficulties that many children experience are now recognised as important factors in their learning outcomes, they are taaken seriously. In the state sector these emotional issues are addressed in the variety of professional support staff employed on the school premises: learning mentors, Connexions Officers, school social worker, school nurse, school psychologist, there are others too.

I certainly dont remember any pastoral interest or care at St Vedast/James. Repression of emotion and problems was certainly encouraged. Any one with a problem was usually told they had too much of a sanskrit word (that had no obvious meaning). Does anyone know what the pastoral care at St James is like now?

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Postby Coralie » Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:19 pm

Thank you daska and dan for your support.

The hardest thing I have found is not being heard and believed. It still makes me physically shake.

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Postby mike_w » Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:51 pm

Daffy wrote:Remember also that as former students you can chat via Mike Warham's Yahoo board (see ... .php?t=190).

Thanks Daffy,

Its not really 'mine'...I just set it up. It belongs to the current ~40 odd members.

To join, more directly click here

or send an e-mail to

The St_V_J Reunited group is (hopefully) for all former pupils, without bias either for or against the Schools. Just a place to meet up.



PS Harriet, if you can get Jules to join or to just e-mail me, I'd like to say hi...& maybe buy him a pint or three sometime ;)

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