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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 13 Jul 2011, 17:27 
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Discovering that JMB lives next door
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Helen McClelland says in Elinor’s Biography that
Helen McClelland wrote:
“The real life buildings on at least two of these sites have little in common with the houses Elinor describes; the possible exception Poston House with its famous round room All the same it is important to remember that Elinor was writing not a travel guide, but a story. And plainly she enjoyed the fiction writer’s prerogative of letting her imagination embellish, or even alter the landscape

I think that the two persons who conceived this idea went out with maps and basically walked the walk, which Elinor was describing, and these three houses fitted in with the description enough to convince Helen McClelland who had all the facts to hand


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 13 Jul 2011, 17:49 
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Discovering that JMB lives next door
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If you have got Helen McClelland's book on Elinor you will see that a journey driving
Helen McClelland wrote:
through the now busy streets and goes under a railway bridge through a country road the long gentle slopes of the Black mountains... swung the car round a sharp corner past the aerodrome.

This seems to be the setting that if you followed the script from the book Highland Twins at the Chalet School, that you to could come to their conclusion.
Not being in Hereford but Reading, I can only let my mind follow the trail as Elinor wrote it, and leave the topography to those who know this area


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2011, 12:13 
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Helen McClelland quoting from the book wrote:
climbing into the Paris-Wien train express...........We shall be in Switzerland, I Hope when you wake in the morning...........And so at last, after a day of sight-seeing in Innsbruck to the final stages of the journey; up into the mountains above the Inn Valley, to the beautiful Achen See and the village of Pertisau

Although this was from the book ‘The Head Girl of the Chalet School’, could this not also be what Elinor herself did; possibly travelling on the Paris-Wien train express and spending a bit more than a day, sight-seeing in Switzerland


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 18 Jul 2011, 23:35 
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Email received today from St Helens School Northwood
Quote:
Elinor Brent-Dyer came to St Helen’s Northwood, in 1921 and taught English to Junior pupils. she was “a talented and popular teacher”. She stayed at St Helen’s for two years before leaving.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 02:23 
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I love the pictures you've put up on your website! I don't live near any of the places mentioned in the biography of Elinor or in her books, so it was wonderful to be able to get an idea of what some of those places looked like. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 09:31 
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I am glad that my pictures have proved helpful and entertaining and informative. I have tried to get photos from whatever source I can to help visitors to the site.
What amazes me is the reluctance from some publishers to supply any material, whether this is professional jealousy I do not know, but there is quite a lot of material that could be better shown on a website than a faded black & white photo in a book.
I have contacted hundreds of people all over the UK, Austria, and Switzerland who have helped, but the people closest to Chalet clubs and Publishers are reluctant to even afford me a reply
If I was making a profit out of this I would understand, but I have financed this all myself, and it is free to everybody with a computer. Having over 700 hits (which include UK, USA, Canada, Austria, and Switzerland. Australia, Czech Republic, and also Ireland) by the website being passed on word of mouth in just 2 months, proves there must be some interest to it
It has given me great pleasure to part with my knowledge to others; I just wished others were more helpful towards me


:banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 11:04 
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I would like to thank the members of this Forum who have welcomed me, and who have made constructive criticism when needed and praise otherwise. I realise I was on the defensive regarding Phyllis at first because of the strong friendship I had with her, but after reading Helen McClelland’s biography on Elinor, I have been able to look at it from an unbiased attitude than I had before. I know I should consider myself privileged to have known Elinor, let alone live with, and it is with this in mind that I decided to do my bit and put it into a website, so that others can share what I had the privilege of doing. It is because we can interact on Forums like this that we can get a better understanding on the things we hold dear to ourselves. Because I never found Elinor pretentious it is difficult to see her in a different light. I do remember her getting fan letters, but didn’t realise how much she was held in esteem. Several members have mentioned contacting Chalet Club organisers which I have done, but alas they have not replied. I have contacted amongst many other, Chambers, Elinor’s publishers, but they have not replied. I am still waiting to hear from other publishers. If I get any more pictures I will add them to the site. If any members have pictures that I could add, I would appreciate if they would send them to me through the contact details or you can download images on the Forum on my site
Thank you for your help so far
Bryan


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 11:35 
Tuttsclump wrote:
I realise I was on the defensive regarding Phyllis at first because of the strong friendship I had with her, but after reading Helen McClelland’s biography on Elinor, I have been able to look at it from an unbiased attitude than I had before.


But Bryan, I think your reactions to Elinor as a human being are just as valid as anyone else's, including Helen McClelland's! As someone who lived under the same roof, you would have had access to a side of Elinor not available to anyone else.

A friend of mine wrote a biography fairly recently of a well-known novelist who died in the 1970s, and the single thing he found most fascinating (and most frustrating) is that there was so little consensus between various friends, lovers, ex-pupils, family members, and people who knew her at different points in her life!


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 12:02 
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Cosimo's Jackal wrote:
But Bryan, I think your reactions to Elinor as a human being are just as valid as anyone else's, including Helen McClelland's! As someone who lived under the same roof, you would have had access to a side of Elinor not available to anyone else.!

As you say by living "under the same roof" one tends to get a boxed in view of someone, like Elinor who was a very motherly person, more like a broody hen, trying to gather eggs to nurture, and with Phyllis being more in tune with peoples feelings keeping her safe distance.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 14:20 
Tuttsclump wrote:
Cosimo's Jackal wrote:
But Bryan, I think your reactions to Elinor as a human being are just as valid as anyone else's, including Helen McClelland's! As someone who lived under the same roof, you would have had access to a side of Elinor not available to anyone else.!

As you say by living "under the same roof" one tends to get a boxed in view of someone, like Elinor who was a very motherly person, more like a broody hen, trying to gather eggs to nurture, and with Phyllis being more in tune with peoples feelings keeping her safe distance.


No, no, I mean the opposite - your account of EBD adds up for me in lots of ways, and sounds fully as valid as any other account of what she was like that I've ever come across. I dno't think you should dismiss your memories of her as 'boxed in'.

What you just said about her being a 'very motherly person' like a 'broody hen trying to gather eggs to nurture' is fascinating to me, because her major Chalet School character spends a significant portion of her adult life acquiring a series of wards and adoptees to look after, in addition to her eleven biological children!

We've all always speculated about Joey being EBD's fantasy self, but what you say about your impression of her in real life seems to suggest that this element of Joey is autobiographical. I'll be fascinated to see what you think of the novels, if you get round to reading them, especially if there are things in some of her characters that remind you of her, or her opinions and attitudes.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 14:28 
I wanted to add my penny-worth of encouragement too, Bryan. It's absolutely fascinating reading the informatioon you've collected so far, and I echo Cosimo's view that your particular relationship with Elinor provides us with a whole 'other side' view of Elinor.

I read your site with great interest - I'm sorry that some organisations are slow to respond to your queries ... but don't give up. Pester them (as long as you have the energy!) until they give you what you want.

I do admire your persistance in this - it's awfully tiring doing something like this, but you've made great grounds so far. Well done!


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 15:56 
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With my emails to St Helens it appears there are two people old enough to remember Elinor, one being Gillian Hill who was the librarian Mentioned in Elinor’s biography, and it appears another lady of 90 also remembers Elinor, so hopefully might bear some useful information here
In 1995 Gillian Hill (a chalet fan) working in St Helen’s Library came across reference to Elinor, and it appears this Gillian is still about, so looking forward to her reply. Actually St Helens have proved very helpful My thanks to everyone who has responded both here and private email
Bryan


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 17:23 
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Cosimo's Jackal wrote:
What you just said about her being a 'very motherly person' like a 'broody hen trying to gather eggs to nurture' is fascinating to me, because her major Chalet School character spends a significant portion of her adult life acquiring a series of wards and adoptees to look after, in addition to her eleven biological children!

We've all always speculated about Joey being EBD's fantasy self, but what you say about your impression of her in real life seems to suggest that this element of Joey is autobiographical. I'll be fascinated to see what you think of the novels, if you get round to reading them, especially if there are things in some of her characters that remind you of her, or her opinions and attitudes.

From what you quote here definitely runs akin with my feelings living with Elinor at Woodlands Road.
I will get round to reading Elinor’s books but, have been trying to digest Helen McClelland’s biography of Elinor over and over trying to pick out relevant details and places, with pictures, to emphasize, and make the site as factual and as informative as possible
You Chaletian’s (I hope that’s the right word) want the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and I will endeavor to do so


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 19:07 
Tuttsclump,
I've just pm-ed you again. I pm-ed Cosimo and they kept getting deleted at her end before she read them. Can you let me know if the one I've just sent to you arrives OK? If it gets deleted again I'll find out what can be done about it.
In the meantime, sorry to write this on here. I can't see how else to communicate at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 20:04 
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julieanne1811 wrote:
Tuttsclump,
I've just pm-ed you again. I pm-ed Cosimo and they kept getting deleted at her end before she read them. Can you let me know if the one I've just sent to you arrives OK? If it gets deleted again I'll find out what can be done about it.
In the meantime, sorry to write this on here. I can't see how else to communicate at the moment.


Julieanne - sorry to drag this off topic but this happened to me with two PMs from you a while ago. I thought you'd changed your mind about sending them, although I did wonder what i'd missed!


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 21:09 
JB wrote:
Julieanne - sorry to drag this off topic but this happened to me with two PMs from you a while ago. I thought you'd changed your mind about sending them, although I did wonder what i'd missed!


Oh dear ... I know that Tuttsclump did get the last pm I sent him so it seems to be intermittant. I'll go to the office and find out what the problem is. And no doubt hyper-space is accumulating a load of mysteriously-deleted pms somewhere ... spooky.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 21:14 
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Yes because your last PM was deleted also. Perhaps we aught to hold a PM to find out what killed them


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2011, 21:22 
Tuttsclump wrote:
Yes because your last PM was deleted also. Perhaps we aught to hold a PM to find out what killed them


Ha!


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2011, 09:37 
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Contrary to what Helen McClelland has said about Elinor running a Girl Guide unit in Leeds, I have received a reliable email from the Girl Guides, which says nobody has any recollection of Elinor being in the Guides let alone running a pack at St Michaels Church Leeds, although they knew Elinor and her Family
Email Quotation wrote:
Have made several enquires re the above, but unfortunately drawn blanks all the way. My Mother, who was born in 1928, was a Guide at St. Michaels and has no recollection of Elinor Brent-Dyer being in St. Michaels Guides or having been in St. Michaels Guides. She has asked her Trefoil Guild members, (one of whom is 92 and is as 'sharp' as a button!!) and they have no recollection of this either.
My Mother remembers the Brent-Dyer family living in Westoe Village, South Shields, and Elinor running a school in Dean Road, but apart from reading her books that's all we know.


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 Post subject: Re: Girls Own: Phyllis Matthewman
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2011, 12:41 
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I have heard from the archivist of St Helens Library who has kindly supplied the following

from “Girls in Green”. A book commissioned by St Helens wrote:
The Chalet School Connection
In 1921 Miss Dyer, a typical 1920s spinster schoolmistress with rather untidy baggy clothes, arrived to teach English to the junior girls. She was a very good and popular teacher, but she stayed only two years, and left no very great impression. She went on to teach elsewhere, and then to run a school of her own. Her main claim to fame would be as the author of school-based stories for girls.
She had started writing before she came to St Helen’s, and her first school story was published while she was here. During the holidays she took a trip to the Austrian Tyrol, and this inspired ‘The School at the Chalet’ (1925) which was followed by many sequels. Although there are also many differences, it is clear that her fictional Chalet School owes a great deal to St Helen’s – in some of its customs and traditions, its names, and in its general atmosphere. Each school was founded with a handful of pupils by one young woman of strong character with a close family. In both schools the boarders in particular are treated as an extension of the family – in fact the whole atmosphere of the early books is strongly reminiscent of St Helen’s at the time. The young headmistress’s birthday is celebrated with presents and masses of flowers. In one book a new mistress introduces the idea of ‘Spot Suppers’, and elsewhere the words of ‘A spot on the table cloth’ are supplied ‘courtesy of Miss M. Rowland Brown’. One of the pupils is called Hilda Jukes – the married name of ‘Miss Hilda’. It was even while she was here that she expanded her surname from the simple Dyer to the double-barrelled Brent-Dyer, rather as the Rowland Browns had done.
When she died in 1969 Elinor M. Brent-Dyer had written nearly sixty books in one of the most enduring series in children’s literature – and it all started at St Helen’s.
321 words
Gillian Hill

Gillian has confirmed that the Lilian Kirkby was the Lilian who accompanied Elinor on her holiday to the Tyrol but was not the Constance Lilian Kirkby born in Kensington as thought by Helen McClelland in Elinor’s biography


Last edited by Tuttsclump on 21 Jul 2011, 20:05, edited 2 times in total.

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