Loughton County High School for Girls
Is this the tale of the LHS Ghost ?
Copyright © 2013 by Susan Capes · All Rights reserved · E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LEGEND OF DORIS MILLS
- Did you know we had a school ghost?
Whenever you notice that your pencil-case is missing, whenever you find that your P.E. shoes have gone astray. It’s all because of Doris Mills ...
“Doris Mills,” said Miss Parker, as she went through the afternoon register with the VI - “Doris Mills” - there was silence save only for the wind sobbing through the gas jars on the shelf. “She’s not here,” murmured the VI, and the afternoon’s work proceeded. “I haven’t had any homework from Doris Mills,” the Botany Mistress’ voice rang out above the clang of retort stands. “She doesn’t do any now,” said the form. “But why doesn’t she do any?” Miss Parker’s voice sounded stern, the girls sighed. “It is a sad story but we will tell it,” they answered and thus, gazing at the fitful glare of the bunsen burners as they roared under the crucibles, they began their woeful tale. (Later critics have thought that they must have been studying Kipling’s story of the Camel’s Hump, since the legend was told in a bad imitation of that style).
In the beginning of Loughton High School when the desks were so new and all and the girls were just beginning to learn to play, there was a new girl and she lived in the middle of a misunderstood atmosphere because she did not want to play. So she swotted Latin and Greek, Anglo-Saxon, trigonometry, geometry and calculus, and if anyone asked her what she was doing she said, “Work, just ‘work’ and nothing more.”
On Monday morning the games’ captain came to her with a hockey-stick in her hand and rather muddy boots on her feet, and said, “Doris, oh Doris, why don’t you come and play hockey with the rest of us?” “Work,” said Doris and the hockey captain went away and told the others.
Then came the Black-stick-in-waiting with a big fat Shakespeare under her arm and said, “Doris, oh Doris, come and read Shakespeare with the rest of us.” “Work,” said Doris and the Black-stick went away and told the others.
Then the whole form came and said, “Doris, oh Doris, next Friday is the form tea. Won’t you come and dance with the rest of us?” “Work,” said Doris and they went away and confabulated together. Then along came the Form Mistress, enveloped in piles of exercise books and squashing remarks (form mistresses always travel that way because it is the custom at L.H.S.), and said, “Doris Mills, what’s this I hear of your getting twenty-five papers* this term?” “Work,” said Doris in a sob-choked voice. Not that she meant she had had the papers for working but she was so deeply immersed in her lessons that she quite forgot the school rules and would go along the corridor repeating the trig formulae and the rivers of America, when along would come a member of staff - “Were you speaking Doris?” “Work,” she would say mechanically - “Two papers,” the mistress would answer, “speaking in the corridor and impertinence.” And Doris would take them with a sigh and go slowly on her way.
Friday morning came but no Doris Mills came with it. “Where’s Doris?” somebody asked. “At work,” answered the others with a smile, but as into the lab they trooped that day, they saw a sight which affrighted their eyes - there lay a heap of white and green papers scribbled over with mathematical calculation and under them all lay - the corpse of Doris Mills.
* A ‘paper’ was a piece of work given to a pupil who broke the school rules.
Can anyone add anything to the stories about our Ghost - is Doris the one, or is there another ?
Has anyone experienced any ghostly happenings in the old building ?
Email me your memories like the one below:
story taken from the 1982 school magazine
sent by Christine Spencer
This is from Annette Joyce (nee Wildes) LHS 1968 - 75 :
"We were told in our first week by Miss Richman that Doris was the school ghost. Doris was a girl whose name was on the register of a new intake many years ago but who never turned up on her first day. It was only if the door inexplicably opened during a lesson that we, including the teacher, said that Doris was coming into the room.
I was reminded of Doris again when watching the Harry Potter film with Moaning Myrtle in the extremely cold green-tiled walled toilets similar to those on the ground floor near to the staff room."
This article by Rosemary Wright is from the 1927 School Magazine: