From Victoria to Elizabeth II
by a Victorian Pioneer
Our School had been in existence for about two-and-a-half years when I first attended it, at the age of twelve, in the remote fastness of AD, 1897. It was housed in an old hotel, Victoria House, facing Barrack Hill and flanking Pembroke Street, Pembroke Dock. The boys occupied the ground floor of this building, with the Board Room at the front; the girls the first floor, but often boys and girls were taught together. There were so few of us that we were like a big family, with three masters and three mistresses on full time.
I had not been long at this Grand Hotel school, when a loud battle-cry was raised. Why couldn’t we have a Magazine like other County Schools in Wales? “Why not?” replied the Heads. “Get busy, everybody; none too old or too young to help with the first number of our very own Magazine.” Mr. Dawes, Miss Perman, staff and pupils were all roped in, and a Magazine Committee appointed. Soon our poor brains were in a ferment and our desks Littered with scraps of paper (MSS ?). What form was this miscellany of contributions to take? Everyone had to offer something, essay, poem, report or suggestion. The various teams, football (soccer) and hockey, must provide reports of their activities, with criticisms by the captains on the various players. There were to be form lists with names and subjects in which each scholar had gained a ‘first’ (80%).
Mr. Dawes and Miss Perman were adepts at rousing our enthusiasm and evoking a fine team spirit. We looked forward eagerly to seeing OUR magazine in print and gladly paid our sixpences for what I still consider excellent value for money. Sixpence was an enormous sum in those days, when one’s pocket- money was a halfpenny or a penny a week. Nufsed.
Our infant had not yet been christened PENVRO, It was simply: The County Intermediate School Magazine, Pembroke Dock. A Mr. Churchward drew the design for the Magazine cover. I note that the arms of PATER have the two flags blowing towards the right, an innovation suggested by Mr. Dawes, who asked “Why two winds in opposite directions?” I wonder how many copies of this first number are still in existence? I lost mine, but my great friend Mary Sketch Edwards kept hers and gave it to me about twenty years ago. It is as readable now as ever. The Head Girl, Camilla Thomas, of whom we stood in awe, contributed a learned article on “School Libraries”; there were School Notes, Reports on Football, Hockey and Harriers; Accounts of a School Concert and the Debating Society. An Editorial came first, to introduce our infant to its readers. It contains this quotation Nascitur exiguus, vives eundo acquirit, which makes me guess that Miss Perman was the Editor. She was a London MA. with first class classical honours. She knew how to make even Latin agreeable.
Last year, 1957, our Magazine celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. Please note the connection between Queen Victoria: 1837 - 1897, and Penvro: 1897- 1957—two consecutive Diamond Jubilees, covering a period of one hundred and twenty years!