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1957 - 1961 - Memories of Clare B (Gordon) Matthews

While I was there, the English and Art teacher was a Mrs Baker...

...whose husband farmed nearby – and their daughter, I think called Catherine, but known as Ming, was in our year.   Mrs Baker was the artist who painted all / most of those brilliant murals in the dormitories.  There was Toad of Toad Hall & Crinoline; and the four boys’ junior dorms had planes; trains; ships & cars, I think.   The bathroom corridor was the best – it had underwater scenes with the most magical fish.    On art days, Mrs Baker used to bring in plants/flowers for us to paint.   She must have had a beautiful garden because I remember that she brought in, amongst others, apple blossom and narcissi, both of which she could grow at that height, and it was so refreshing to see such delicate flowers – and gave me a life-long interest in gardening.

Sports Day was always held on the middle field, which is where we did athletics.   Guides, etc were on the small field nearest the school, within the barbed wire, which was still up in 1961, having been put up I believe during the Mau Mau Emergency.    On the terrace, there were the remains of an elephant scull – and this is where we used to do PE every morning, with Ma Lavers in charge, before breakfast.  The bottom field held the hockey pitches, etc – and this is where we often used to go at w/ends to play.

Also have various group photos, which I could scan – but will need time to unearth them.  At least one of them is a Guide photo, and I was patrol leader of the Woodpeckers – I think all the patrols were named after birds.   I was also a Sixer in the Brownies, but can’t remember what the Six was called.   During my time at Turi, Lady Baden-Powell visited us and I remember speaking to her because my father had been a Scout and had lived in Nyeri and had worked with Lord B-P, and had been an escort at his funeral.

Sundays – we always had Chapel in the morning and, I seem to remember that, after lunch, we had [I think] two hours of scripture, given by Ma Lavers, in the Hall [built by Italian Prisoners of War, I believe].   In the Christmas term, we always rehearsed for the Christmas play, which was written by Ma Lavers, and every child in the school had something to say.

When I first went to Turi, aged 8 ½, I hated it!   We were sent to bed very early, and I could never go to sleep – and often went down to the matron, Miss Muffet.   Comparatively recently, I found out that a number of us had the same problem, and we all trooped down there at some time or rather, although I don’t remember seeing anyone else – it might have been a comfort if I had!   I do remember the night-watchman coming round, and seeing his shadow on the expanding metal over the windows getting larger and larger – rather frightening to a small girl!!

Submitted by: Clare Matthews

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