The book was commissioned by the Old Girls Club to celebrate the school's centenary. I used the school's own records, some in the local history centre, and most of all the memories of former and present staff and pupils. Some wonderful photographs and documents were lent to me, and two cartoonists contributed pictures, with contemporary photographs, many in colour, taken by local photographer David Vodden, who specialises in books of historic buildings.
There are chapters about the origins of the foundation, the growth of the buildings and changes of use, staff, the daily routine, outside visits, sport, drama and music, and many more. I have to thank the hundred or so people who helped in many ways to create this book. Published in September 1997 it was so successful that the hardback printing sold out withing three months, and a paperback edition was published a year later.
'Congratulations! What a lovely book! I am thrilled to bits with it as indeed everyone must be...I must say that I especially like the book's handsome production in every way as well as its content. It is such an imaginative as well as informative production. I love all the little sketches.' – Enid Godwin, former Headmistress.
'The quality is magnificent. It handles smoothly and has very good illustrations and photographs. The content is amusing and comprehensive. I like it. It catches the friendly atmosphere of the place as I knew it, and promises well for the future. I shall cherish it.' – Blanche Richardson, former Headmistress
'I was so glad to have the Queen Mary's book – I'm sure I can only begin to realise how much work has gone into producing such a fine record, and I do congratulate you all.' – Muriel Lees, former member of staff.
'The contents are fascinating and the layout most pleasing.' – Sheila Clarke, née Thompson, former pupil.
'A highly readable and entertaining volume.' – Select Magazine.
'I expect you are receiving many letters of congratulation about the book. It really is fantastic and so beautifully printed and presented. On Monday evening Pat and I just sat and read our copies, completely engrossed.' – Jill Rundle, née Mullins, former pupil.
'The years just melted away. I was back at QM especially when I saw the names of girls in my form. Also the mistresses who are no longer with us. I had great respect for them all. Such happy days.' – Mona Giles, née Egerton, former pupil.
'I felt I had to write to you to thank you for the hours of pleasure it has given me. It is a triumph of historical detail combined with entertaining anecdotes.' – Rosalind Plume, née Perry, former pupil.
'It's packed with lively material and all those pictures and mementoes. I'm really delighted to have it. What a damn good school it was/is. I'm proud to have been there.' – Jean Dickinson, née Storey, former pupil.
'It looks in depth at the multi-faceted life of QMHS over the past 100 years, covering the people, the buildings and the activities which have contributed to what, by any measure, is a remarkable story. The author has drawn on many original documents for her material, and woven into her account a wealth of recollections from staff and pupils, past and present.
'The result is a highly readable and entertaining volume, which although inevitably appealing to those associated in one way or another with the school, also deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in the history of education in the wider context.' – Howard Browne, Select Magazine.
Some sample pages:-