23 May 2013

Mother Joseph of the Ursulines

text of a letter about the headmistress of my convent school, the Ursuline High School in Ilford, who later became head of the Ursuline order in England

Mother Joseph Powell
Thank you very much for the photograph of Reverend Mother Joseph Powell. I certainly remember her with very much that expression on her face.

She was sufficiently exceptional (and old-fashioned) to come near to giving me the chance in life which I needed to have; but not exceptional enough to stand by me against the opposition which was aroused.

My father was often blamed for wanting me to have a chance in life, but in fact it was not he, but the Reverend Mother, who proposed that I should take the School Certificate exam at the last chance before the age limit came into force.

Being prevented from taking the School Certificate exam left me in a terrible position from which I have never been able to recover, although my position now is less bad than it might be. But the harm done to the lives of my parents was never remedied, although I was always trying to improve my position by building up capital sufficiently to allow me to do so.

Potential supporters or associates could come to live nearby, perhaps by buying a holiday home in the first instance. Cuddesdon is a pleasant hilltop village with clean air and good views of countryside, accessible to Oxford and the main road to London.

Many thanks again for the photograph.