|Hunters Tryst Class 1961-1968 photograph circa 1965-P4|
It's a shame that the class teacher, Miss Sulley doesn't appear with the class
She never had any trouble controlling the class and yet she was never threatening at all. She was an excellent performer; after all teaching is theatre with the class as an audience. I'm sure her father's background in the theatre and her time at St George's would have helped to develop this trait and nurtured her colourful persona.
Elizabeth Margaret Sulley died on Tuesday, 8 June, 1999 at the Western General Hospital...former city teacher and a kind and loving friend to all. She will be most sadly missed.
Postscript: Six years on and re-reading the vignette I do and yet don't answer the original question posed - Was she a good teacher? I've not really done her justice in neglecting to describe her very good qualities and approach to teaching - quite unbalanced really. Schools' Radio was a major BBC initiative begun in the 1920s and a major contribution to the nation. It meant that throughout the United Kingdom pupils enjoyed a shared cultural education and experience, but allowed for regional variations too, for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The History programmes were broadcast in the afternoons. Miss Sulley encouraged us all to fold our hands and arms on the desk and rest our chins on them. Thereafter, I was transported to Ancient Rome; Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants; or best of all, Alexander the Great who conquered the world by the age of twenty one - what a man! Thereafter Miss Sulley would skilfully facilitate a grand class discussion.
Comment from Liz Blades: Hi Peter, that was a lovely tribute to Elizabeth Sulley. I would say that as far as romance is concerned that she, my aunt Margee and Miss Hume all had their future plans dashed by WW2 and the dearth of men at a time when they would have otherwise been walking out with a young gentleman.
Comment from Doreen Rutherford:She was a very special lady. I loved our afternoon naps when she would close the blinds and say "wheesht heads on the desks! "We all obeyed immediately without any resistance. I will always remember her with great affection, as I'm sure most of her former pupils do.
Comment from John McDonaugh: Peter what a wonderful piece on a woman who undoubtedly created and influenced so many gifted and not so gifted children. We were the lucky ones like you I thought her as the best teacher I ever had her eccentricity was what made her unique. What makes it more pleasing was without ever getting the chance to tell her she knew she had us all enthralled and glad we had her as our teacher.
Comment from Deborah Cullen: Thoroughly enjoyed this extract on Miss Sulley Peter as I too was taught by her, mid 70's for two years. I loved her eccentric gentle ways and can completely relate to a lot of what you say. She would honk the horn of her Citroen at around 08:30 where she would arrive in the school car park desperately looking for a gal or two to assist her with the numerous shopping bags filled with God knows what and an excess of jotters she'd been marking the previous night no doubt. I was always willing to help as she would reward me with a sweetie!! In her class it was always interesting as she was indeed a fab if slightly unorthodox teacher and would sit and apply her make-up which really did look like she'd applied it in the dark and in fact I was never sure if she knew where her lips stopped and started and as you say she would pop in to the cupboard in a Mr Benn style and emerge with a different outfit!! She would often wash "daddies" smalls in the sluice room/ cupboard and hang them on a small clothes horse in there too whilst we were hard at work, or meant to be anyway lol. She was an incredibly colourful character and she stays imprinted in the hearts of many sh encountered I'm sure. I was quite tearful reading her obituary at the end of your extract. Rip Elizabeth Sulley x