We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cynthia to hear about her time at King's Hall, Compton and the transition from KHC to BCS. Cynthia was a pillar of our community for 30 years, supporting six different Heads of School during her time at both KHC and BCS.
King’s Hall was always a ‘landmark’ in the Compton community and to families in that area. Every Christmas, Miss Adelaide Gillard, Headmistress, would open the School to the community for a Christmas party, Christmas tree, and gifts to all the children. Miss Gillard and the KHC girls attended St. James Anglican Church every Sunday, just down the road from the School. Many of the girls made up the choir. The local community also attended St. James Church and that included my family. From the time I was a little girl, I attended every Sunday with my brother and my parents. My husband and I were married in St. James Church, as were my parents and my daughter.
In August 1968, on a Friday afternoon, I drove to King’s Hall, which was only a few miles from my home, and applied for a job. Miss Dorothy Kidd was the Headmistress; she had replaced Miss Gillard, who had recently retired. Little did I know that the current Secretary to the Headmistress had resigned that morning. Miss Kidd interviewed me, and after a lengthy meeting, she asked if I could start work on Monday morning!!! Oh my, a big decision! I discussed it with my family, and they were very supportive, and my 30-year career at KHC...and subsequently BCS, began.
Board Members at King’s Hall were always very hands-on and very helpful. If I had a mailing going out to parents or other mailings, Board Members would come down, sit around the Board Table with me, and help stuff the envelopes, seal them, put on postage etc. Miss Kidd retired from KHC after a few years, and Miss Mary Morris, Vice Headmistress, assumed the role of Interim Headmistress.
Both King’s Hall and BCS were struggling financially, and with enrolment numbers; therefore, both Board of Directors, decided that the schools should amalgamate (at BCS). John D. Cowans was appointed as the Director of King’s Hall in the interim and oversaw the preparations for the amalgamation of KHC and BCS. A big task!!! After KHC School Closing in June 1972, the amalgamation process began. A big change was about to take place! Girls coming to an all-boys school!!!
John Cowans asked me to come to BCS and become the School Secretary there. Muriel Miltimore was the Accountant at KHC, and she was asked to come to BCS as well. Muriel was an experienced accountant/administrator; I was a novice!! She mentored and guided me in so many ways. I am very grateful to her for her compassion and wisdom.
The construction of a new girls’ residence, Gillard House, began. Lots of construction going on during that late summer getting ready for the opening of a new co-ed School!!! Lots of noise everywhere!!! Glass House was renovated and used to accommodate the girls in the meantime. John Cowans had set up an administrative plan, and we ‘hit the ground running!’ We were going to open a school in time, and be ready, he said. I put earplugs in my ears to buff out the construction noise, and we got to work: mailings to parents, hiring staff (men and women!), preparation for staff meetings, working with Admissions for enrolment, kitchen arrangements, maintenance work etc. etc. etc.
There was boxes and files wall to wall in my office. I didn’t even know there was a fireplace in the office for months. There were no computers in that era! I had a manual typewriter and a hand-operated printing Gestetner!! Typing errors were removed with liquid paper or removal tape!!!
We had great teamwork!! It was trial and error in the beginning. We all had to work together—just like a family. We taught respect and many nurtured the system to make it work. The first BCS/KHC Co-Ed School opened, and the rest is history!
I so enjoyed every day of my 30 years at KHC and BCS (1968 – 1998) and with the Heads of School:
Miss Kidd (KHC)
Miss Morris (KHC)
John Cowans (KHC and BCS)
David Cruickshank (BCS)
Robert Ross (BCS)
Nancy Layton (BCS)