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Life after Caldecott - Page 7
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Margaret (Burrage) Thorne - Caldecott 1939-1949 - Life after Caldecott

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I went off then with a Grant from Kent County Council because Miss Leila was on the Board of the Education Committee and I had this Grant quite easily, it wasn't enormous money but it, well it was large money then, something like £50 or something which enabled me to go to London each day for six months and I went to, in those days – they don't now, but in those days 'Good Housekeeping' had a 'School of Cookery'.

The first three months were sort of catering for small numbers, and then the next three months was catering, large scale catering and there were no eggs, no fresh, very very little fresh meat but I used to get what was called 'the workmen's train' from Maidstone for one (shilling) and six (pence) return, and my parents very kindly kept me and I did that for six months and enjoyed it all immensely.

At the end of the six months I had interviews, Oh! I was offered a job at Good Housekeeping but couldn't take it because I couldn't afford to take it because the salary, I can't remember what it was but obviously I had to find accommodation and I just couldn't afford to take it, so I had to say 'No'.

I often wonder what my life would have been like had I taken it but I then had two interviews, one was the Blue Coat School and one was for Rugby School, and I went off to Rugby School, and we were called 'Lady Housekeepers'. There were eight of us on this so called...no, we had eight maids who all came from the North East of England and the Matron and myself, and of course the family – but that wasn't anything to do with the Community.

But I kept in touch, when I went back to Maidstone I used to go to them - of course by now they were at Mersham-le-Hatch and I kept in touch with various members of staff and and I remember going over, well I remember going to see them and sort of talking over old times with people like Nurse Nobbs and Audrey Watson, and people like Diana Howarth.

I'd been at Rugby two years, I wasn't going to stay, it wasn't my life, it wasn't really what I was, or my life style really and truly, and Miss Dave wrote to me and said 'will you come back?' because Miss Hill was going off to New Zealand to see her brother. Actually she had seen her brother because I saw her brother because he came over to fight in the war; but anyway it was for Miss Hill to go to New Zealand for a different life-style all together, and to be with her brother. Miss Dave said 'will you come back?' and I just said 'Yes' and that was...

RL: What year was that then?

MT: 1947 and well I mean, life was the Community life then, you know,