16 December 2011

Two footnotes

notes on photos of my parents

1. My father missed getting a First by one mark. There was an easy explanation of a shortfall in his marks, but the examiners made no allowance for it, and awarded him second class honours. There was no oral examination for borderline cases at London University in those days, as there was at Oxford and Cambridge.

In fact he had arrived 40 minutes late for the practical exam, to which he had to travel on an unaccustomed Tube route. He was working too hard in the Gas Works to try out the route in advance, and missed a connection on the day of the exam.

2. Classes taught by my mother were getting such good results that she was expected to become a headmistress almost immediately, in spite of some resentful grumbling among other teachers to the effect that she must be ‘pushing’ her pupils.