Friday Fact No.2: Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School

I’ve only hearsay as a source of this fact, but it’s interesting all the same for residents of Lightwater

During World War Two Mrs Rosette Savill sheltered blind and disabled Free French personnel in her home at Lightwater House, in which in the 1950’s she opened as the Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School.

The school became well known and in the 1970’s attracting a large clientele from South America, such that expansion plans were made. With the start of the Falklands war in 1982 all of the girls from Argentina left, leaving a large hole in the income of the school.

The large loss of revenue was a major contributory factor in the school’s demise and its subsequent sale for housing development.

I live in one of the houses built on the land on which Mrs Savill’s Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School stood, as do a large number of others in Lightwater. The Victorian house in the picture was demolished, but some of its associated buildings remain, and were converted into flats.

Just thought you’d like to know.

33 thoughts on “Friday Fact No.2: Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School

  1. I found your article and thank you for it. I worked in PW finishing school in 1968 for 5 months. Coming from Switzerland I was french speaking secretary anf taught some french to ethe English girls who studied there.
    I didn’t know that the Falkland war had had such a result on PW.
    Thank you for your note
    Sincerely yours, Lucienne Kuffer

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  2. Dear Lucienne,

    How splendid that you found my note. The Falklands War arrived quite suddenly for everyone in the UK, and so Paddock Wood would have been quite unprepared for the sudden loss of income.

    Blog writing is a solitary occupation, and so it’s a delight when I receive the occasional comment, such as yours.

    A lovely present of a Friday afternoon.

    Kindest best wishes, Tim

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  3. Tim,
    Thanks for you note and the picture of the house. It made me remember the good old times at PW. I was at school in 62. What a pity Ms. Saville’s House is not there anymore. What happened to the school house ??
    Best wishes for 2009
    Yours sincerely,
    Marianne Blanc

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  4. Dear Marianne,
    Thank you for your note. You prompt me to do some investigating at our local museum to find out. I’ll post an update in a few weeks time. Regards, Tim

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  5. Pingback: Lightwater’s famous Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School « Lightwater

  6. Dear Tim, I´m one of the Brazilians that studied in 1982 and one of the girls that left due to the falklands was is a friend of mine called Cristina.
    I´ve been wondering if there is a way that I can find my two roommates . One of them is from Holland and her name is Sandra , but the last name I do not know how to spel but it sounds Koona . Sandra Koona. The other is Sely, she is from London. Do you have an idea about their complete names ? I would love to get in touch with them !! All the best ! Lucilla

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  7. Well, well, well! Lovely to read these items above! I was at PW for the academic year of 1976/77 and had a fabulous time! My room mates were a Bahraini and a Lebanese girl and we had such fun! I retook a couple of O’Levels, learned to cook, drive and play tennis and oh yes, I used to “escape” down the drainpipe into the garden and out of the hole in the fence to be met on the Red Road by pre arranged boys from Sandhurst. We used to frequent Sweaty Betty’s tea shop on the A30 in Camberley – now a lovely Thai restaurant – and look back on my years at PW fondly. It’s about time we had a reunion – anyone interested?

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  8. Pingback: Fancy, I can help the girl’s get together for a reunion « Lightwater

  9. I have lovely memories of my time at Paddock Wood ’75/76 and believe it or not, met my husband on one of my ‘escapes’ down the drainpipe. He was at Sandhurst and we had a blind date! I did learn too – shorthand, typing, how to walk with a book on my head, cooking, driving and had so much fun that the year went far too quickly. I am living in Athens at the moment but if anyone remembers me (nee Watson) please send an e-mail.

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  10. Hi Ladies, my sister Rosa Maria and I attended Paddock Wood FS in 1966 and 1967. Rosa Maria was the studious one. However, we look alike so our report cards were sometimes switched. My parents will receive a wonderful report card about me which was actually Rosa Maria’s efforts while Rosa Maria’s report card was not so good, we had so much fun with this! I also learned typing and shorthand which I did not enjoy, learned french, cooking, horsebackriding which I loved and also had to walk with a book on my head. My first room mate was a beautiful british girl who wanted to be an actress. My second roomate was a girl from Iran, can not remember her name. My best friends were seven fun brazilian girls. Heloisa Queiroz, Suzzana, Irene Falzoni a girl from Venezuela Tamara do not remember her last name and others, I can not remember their names. However, we never knew of the drainpipe!!! All our outings were with chaperones even the walks in the gardens of the school!!! It was a wonderful experience. Now I live in Maryland and I am married to a Canadian. We have four kids and two grandchildren and we are both retired. My husband from the International Monetary Fund and I retired from the World Bank last January.

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  11. Hey so nice you post that for all of us to know thanks! I went to the school 1979-1980 I am from Caracas Venezuela living on the island of Aruba at the moment and I have to say that that was one of my best years it was a beautiful and unforgettable experience…wish I could visit it again sometime. Where is Mr Frost tennis instructor ?? he was something there and I was a good tennis player I still remember perfect everything…hope to keep in touch big Kissees Em

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  12. Pingback: A happy ending to my Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School project « Lightwater

  13. loved reading about my old school. such fond memories of coach trips to London and Bond Street and the theatre, always changing at the Waldorf to attend the theatre !! I was there during 68/69 so I am reminded by Bizzy Lizzie. A great group of friends still keep in contact with each other. There are a few more of us who have not been in contact so any excuse to find these others would be great. Good times with the tennis teacher Mr. Frost !!

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  14. I was at Paddock Wood 1955/56. Is there anyone from that year, or anyone who knows someone who was there then? I was Jennifer Miller then, older than most – I had my 20th birthday there. I lost touch with everyone as I got married in 1957 and moved around overseas for many years.

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  15. Hi! I was at Paddock Wood 1975/1976. I hope to find anyone from that year or who has news from someone that attended those years. As Jenny Chislett, I also lost contact with everyone and I’d love to find all my friends over there. I celebrated my 17th birthday over there, in the Lodge (it was a blue round and enormous cake!). Thrilled to see who can I find (or finds me!) 🙂

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  16. I am so glad I found all this information about Paddock Wood Finishing School. Thank you !!!!! I was able to join the facebook Paddock Wood group and I just found 2 of our friends from that time…..1977-1978
    Love it!!!!! Thank you !!!!!!

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  17. Luisa,

    Thank you for your kind words. It’s been an unexpected pleasure to help school friends re-connect. But, it’s Lucienne we should all thank, because it was her message to me that prompted me to go further.

    Delighted you’ve found old friends. Best wishes, Tim

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  18. Dear Diana,

    just reading down through the list i came across your name and remember you well. We were together at PW during my first year there. it would be wonderful to find out what you have been doing during the interim of over forty years! My details are attached if you would like to communciate.
    with best wishes,
    jill
    iamge@leporello.com

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  19. Hi Ana maria. I shared the largest room with others. I by the time I was Iranian girl ,now I leave in 277 Prospect
    ave Apt 16E, Hackensack,NJ 07601 Iwould love to hear from you. I remmeber hourse back riding and so on.

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  20. I was at Paddock Wood from January to July 1976.
    I would like to know about other girls that were there during these two terms. I am from São Paulo – Brazil.

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  21. Luciana – I hope this reaches you; I dropped you a line in October in response to your note above and I’ve not heard back from you. I wondered perhaps if my email had found it’s way into your junk mail, so thought I’d try again from this wonderful website, to try and reach you as you were at Paddock Wood Finishing School the same time as me. I wonder if you remember me? My email address is pippa.anderson@me.com and it’d be just great to hear from you again, if you receive this. Thank you, Pippa x

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  22. I’m sitting here preparing to travel from the island of Madeira, Portugal for the first ever reunion of Paddock Wood; when I clicked on this link and found not only the fabulous article but also the comments made by past students and staff. I was there in 1976 (January to December), arriving from the tropical warmth of Malawi to the mid-winter of the UK.

    To some extent it is still unbelieveable at how internet technology has moved on so much over these years to truly allowe us to connect and this reunion to happen.

    My thanks go firstly to Pippa for organising this (for her inspiration, time and effort), and also to all those who have supported her and motivated her along the way to make this happen.

    Roll on the 18th June when a number of us get together and meet again. For those who are unable to join us, we will remember you during the day and in the days, weeks and years afterwards.

    Bxx

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  23. Hi Tania, I was at Paddock Wood from 1975-76 but I’m afraid I don’t remember you. My name was Melanie Turner. I just had to write to you though because we share such a similar past. I met my husband on one of those trips out of PW at night, he too was from Sandhurst. That was 35 years ago last week, we married 2 years later and have been together ever since. It is so good to hear someone else with a similar story.

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  24. Hi Melanie
    Having never been good at Maths, I now realise I got the years wrong – it was 1974/1975, so I don’t remember you either! Anyway, lovely to hear your story and thanks for contacting me! We have been married 33 years this summer and cannot believe all that time has gone by.

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  25. Hi Ana Maria
    I was in PW in 67/68 , sharing my room with Felicity Armitage and Clara Bueno from Peru
    I remember a lot all the Brazilian girls and I still Have contact with Marilina Henriquez , a spanish girl living now in Panama and Carolina Henriquez from Venezuela
    Do you remember me ? I am not sure if we were there at the same time
    The Brazilian girls I remember were from Rio de Janeiro, one was Ana Maria like you but her sister… I don t think it was Rosa…
    I am french, living in that time in Africa…
    I would love to hear about you…..

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  26. How great to read all of this. I am Val Savill’s goddaughter and saw him just last month in Monaco where he now lives. He is one of my greatest friends and also Godfather now to my little boy. I was at Paddock Wood too – 1976-1978. I remember a lot of fun and laughter and plenty of goings-on at Sandhurst.

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  27. Hi Sarah – Pippa Anderson here, I keep the database of all former PW students and don’t think I have a note of you as yet. First of all, Welcome! Secondly, I was talking to Val just recently as we had a Reunion in June and he very kindly sent a lovely photo thru as well as a taped message for me to play to the girls on the day; it was a shame he missed the Reunion, I think he really would like to have attended. Never mind, the next one is in 5 years time! Anyway – would love to have your on the database, I think I have quite a number of girls from your time at the school, should you wish to look who they are, as I’m in touch with everyone, all 188 girls in our Alumna. Please get in touch if you would on pippa.anderson@me.com thank you.

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  28. Hello
    I have just found this website. I was one of the English girls at Paddock Wood in 1962 and made many friends with a lot of the foreign girls. I’m still in touch with a friend from Saudi and some of the English girls. Wonderful memories of the Saturday trips to London – meeting Margot Fonteyn back stage and seeing Albert Finney at the Old Vic, West Side Story and lots more. Cordon Bleu at Tante Marie. Does anyone have news of Magaly Aguilar? A lovely fun girl from the Dominican Republic who was a great friend but we lost touch many years ago. My maiden name was Rosemary Hunt.

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  29. My Great Aunt’s husband, Edward Langdon, was an artist in the 1950s and 60s. He used to visit houses and draw them, and then sell the drawings to the owners, who sometimes had them printed as cards. I have a card from Christmas 1964 with his drawing of Paddock Wood House, addressed to Mr Langdon from Rosette Saville, also expressing the hope that he would draw her new house for her. I came across this site whilst trying to find out how many of the houses he drew were still in existence (not that I have much of his work, I hasten to add!).

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  30. Dear Edward – how interesting to read your message. Thank you for leaving it.

    I attended the Paddock Wood Finishing school in 1975/6 and now hold the database of all former students. I’m in touch (and eternally grateful to Tim Dodds and this wonderful blog), with over 300 ladies from all around the world, as it truly was an international school.
    The school opened just after the war; my first student on the database, attended the school in 1950 when she was in her mid teens. Paddock Wood closed it’s doors in 1983.

    I have a gorgeous pencil drawing of Savill House (also called Paddock Wood House), on a 1959 Christmas card that a former student sent me. It is a beautiful drawing and well executed, the likenss is if it was traced from a photo. It is signed Langdon!

    I’m interested to learn more about the early years of our proprietor Mrs Rosette Savill, her family and our school – there is almost nothing about us on the internet – as she had a very interesting life. One of the things I’d like to know is when the old Paddock Wood House was pulled down and the new one erected; your Great Aunt’s husband’s drawing(s) may answer this long-held conundrum of mine, through what he drew and the dates of his drawing(s).

    I would be pleased to share more information with you. My little amateur website is: http://www.paddockwoodfinishingschool.com which you may’ve come across in your searching for us, and my email address is pippa.anderson@me.com.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards, Pippa Anderson, PWFS Alumna.

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  31. I was a teacher (German ) in 1975/76. I had a wonderful time there meeting s many students from all over the world. Does anybody have news of a teacher called Beverley.

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