Life Stories

Carol Wandt / nee Annely
Carol Wandt / nee Annely

There have been many exceptional women who spent their formative years at PHS. None more so than Carol Wandt who has returned to Plymouth after many years of service to others in Germany, leading to the award of Bundesverdienstkreuz (German equivalent of the OBE)
While she was working for a Church society in Munich she was instrumental in the opening of a day shelter for women which led to a new shelter open 24 hours a day.
This refuge also gave employment help for the homeless women.
Carol still continues her charity work in Plymouth and it is hoped that she might be persuaded to talk to the PHSOGA about her time in Germany.

Angela Thorne nee Mildren
Attended PHS 1957 – 1962

Married to Bob and celebrated Ruby Wedding Anniversary November 2008

After leaving PHS Angela joined the Admiralty .now known as the Ministry of Defence where she gained experience in undertaking a diverse range of duties in support of the Royal Navy.

During her career she obtained an NVQ Level 4 in Management, became licensed by IIP (Investors in People) to undertake assessments throughout the MOD of both service and civilian staff and finally undertook a Lead Auditors Course on Appointment as the Naval Base Quality Assurance Manager, a position she held until the end of April 2009 when she retires after 46½ years service.

In 1982 she was awarded an MBE for work carried out in support of the Falklands Campaign. The award was presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Dvorah .Getzler nee Susman

In 1953, she became a student at Leicester University College as it was then called. She read History and graduated with an upper-second in 1956. She then spent four years in London, teaching and serving as the organizing secretary of a Jewish youth movement. In 1960 she left for Israel where she has llived, in Jerusalem, ever since, marrying a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor of Russian history in 1976. Most of the time she has worked as a journalist and public relations writer, but resigned from her job at The Jerusalem Post newspaper when it was bought by Conrad Black who changed its character and ideology so radically that she and several others could no longer continue at the paper. Fifty-five was no age at which to find another job and she very reluctantly retired. Since then Dvorah has done some voluntary work, the most satisfying dealing with trying to protect the human rights of the Palestinians in the territories occupied by Israel following the1967 Six Day war. She says:-

I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who was at school with and shares some of these memories. Emails are best (, but if you cannot manage that my address is 39 Hehalutz Street, Beit HaKerem, Jerusalem 96222, Israel. And the letter should be addressed to Dvorah Getzler (the first was my Hebrew name from birth, the second is the name of the man I married).

Mary Hulton nee Gamblen

Because she had entered PHS a year early, Mary remained in the Sixth Form for an extra year since many universities would not accept candidates under the age of eighteen. Then she went to read History at Bedford College for Women in Regents Park in London. Bedford was one of the oldest institutions for the higher education of women and it was Mary’s good fortune to be there for the College’s centenary celebrations in 1949. Having chosen to read History she was also fortunate to be studying in a department headed by the distinguished diplomatic historian, Professor Dame Lilian Penson. . When Mary graduated the choice of careers for women with degrees was quite limited and so she elected to go on to Hughes Hall, the Education Department of Cambridge University and train as a teacher. She greatly enjoyed her Education Year and Cambridge was a fortunate choice since there she met her future husband, Leslie Hulton, who was reading engineering. Mary’s first teaching post was at Southampton High School for Girls but she really wished for a post in the West Midlands since her fiancé was working for the British Thompson Houston Company (later AEI and still later GEC) in Rugby.
In 1953 new schools were still being opened as a part of the reorganisation after the 1944 Education Act. Mary was able to secure a post in Coventry at Coundon Court, a very early comprehensive. She taught there for nearly nine years until her elder son was born in 1962. At that stage she was quite briefly out of education, except for a little work for the Home Tuition service, but because of a continuing shortage of qualified staff, she was back in work in 1965.

Coventry Technical College, as it then was, offered a B.Sc. Econ. Course which included papers in Social and Economic History. Mary was asked if she would be willing to teach this module and so began the commitment to tertiary education which lasted the whole of the rest of her professional life. She did this for some three years until a vacancy occurred for a Lecturer in History at what then was still Coventry College of Education. Mary, with experience in teaching both secondary pupils and adult students, was ideally suited for the post. She remained there for nearly thirty years and concentrated on the professional formation of hundreds of young men and women who have gone on in their turn to influence and encourage young people in this country and abroad. The College gradually metamorphosed into the Education Department of the University of Warwick. One result of that change was that academic staff members were afforded opportunities for their own research. Appropriately for the City of Coventry, Mary concentrated on urban craftsmen during the Middle Ages. With Professor Rodney Hilton as her supervisor she was able first to write an M.A. thesis and later complete her Ph.D. Mary also produced a steady stream of articles and pamphlets on related subjects. After she retired she completed a major piece of research with the publication, for the Dugdale Society, of an edition of the Lay Subsidy of 1525 which included a very full treatment of the economic situation of Coventry at that time.

Mary greatly enjoyed working with children outside the classroom and for years gave up several weeks each summer to the programme which enabled local school children to experience life at Kenilworth Castle as it was in the Middle Ages. Finding costumes of the appropriate size and type for every child was a major task in its own right.

Everyone who has worked in education in the last thirty or forty years knows that it has been a period of incessant upheaval. When Mary retired as a Senior Lecturer in 1997 there was little that was left of the institution she had originally entered. The original buildings were gone, they had moved to a different site and professional practice had completely changed. However, she still had many interests to pursue so she welcomed the time when it came. For many years she had been Chairman of the Coventry Branch of the Historical Association and Archivist of the Coventry Methodist Circuit. She was also an active member of the Warwickshire Archaeological Society, but her main interest was the Medieval Dress and Textiles Society whose Journal she edited. With time to travel and to visit Australia and New Zealand, she and her husband enjoyed some very pleasant years. Then, sadly Leslie died unexpectedly in October 2005 and a more difficult time began. In February 2006 her home of nearly forty years was severely damaged by an electrical fire. It took nearly a year to get all the damage put right and I think Mary found struggles with loss adjusters and builders very stressful. She was able to return to a completely refurbished home for a few months before her very sudden death in July 2007. I like to think that, just as PHS gave Mary a good foundation for her career, so she justified their faith in her

All her life Mary kept in touch with Helen Heini (nee Clark) but she had many other friends at school and I hope that some of them will be interested to know what became of her. I can remember Sheila Smith, Margaret Sims, Pat Twigg and Eileen Watson as well as our neighbours Pat Blatchford, Joyce Philp and Barbara Scougall but there will be others whose names have escaped me with the passing years. As a family we have moved around a good deal. Mary’s two sons now live in Edinburgh while my present home is in Oakham in Rutland. If anyone would like to contact me my e-mail address is
Alice Clarke (nee Gamblen) PHS 1949-1957