|29 Jun 2023
|Old Berkhamstedian News
It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of former member of staff, Margaret Allday. Miss Allday taught at the school for 34 years, starting in 1948 as a maths teacher before becoming head of maths in 1961 and form mistress to New Stede in 1962. She retired from teaching in 1982.
Below is her valete from the 1982 Girls School Chronicle, written by Miss Russell.
When she retired in July, Miss Allday had completed thirty-four years of mathematics teaching under four Headmistresses. She was appointed by Miss Mackenzie in 1948, and at our first meeting in 1949 was one of the youngest of my new colleagues. In spite of the passage of time she seems to me to have changed very little.
A conscientious, encouraging and sympathetic teacher, she developed the abilities of the gifted and patiently tried to lighten the darkness of unmathematical minds. Colleagues came and went; Miss Allday went steadily on to succeed, on Miss Sharp's retirement in 1961, to the Headship of the department. When Mr Chapman joined in 1965 she found a kindred spirit who shared her ambition to introduce the New Mathematics. This was no small undertaking, but, guided by the School Mathematics Project, she eventually converted authority, colleagues, pupils and parents to the new system, since unchallenged. In the last decade she has introduced computer studies, the spirit of adventure still strong. It is pleasant to reflect that she will be succeeded by one of her own pupils, who has shared her enthusiasms.
Miss Allday was also an excellent form mistress, methodical, observant and kind, bringing up generations of juniors in the right way. A loyal and energetic staff member of New Stede, she succeeded Miss Hall as House Mistress in 1962. It is never easy to give a house of day girls cohesion and unity of effort in all its activities, but her own enthusiasm and support for these and for good standards in general had good effect.
A most congenial colleague, Margaret Allday was ready to participate in all Staff enterprises from netball matches to dramatic entertainments. In her role of gawky schoolgirl in shrunken pinafore, she was received with acclamation. In crisis she gave valuable help and year by year as special consultant on time-table construction her trained eye spotted the log-jam and the appropriate move to free it.
Among my memories of her are vivid pictures of her leaping with agility on the netball court, spreading her reports before me each term, hoping against all experience that checking with helpful friends had removed all unorthodox spelling, sighing over the total lack of mathematical ability shown in the year's entrance papers, and arguing with characteristic tenacity the advantages of some proposal close to her heart.
Her mildly deprecating and anxious air is misleading; behind it lie great steadiness of purpose, store of energy, and readiness to serve the school community, which she has done so long and so well. She will be greatly missed.
May she enjoy her days of leisure as thoroughly as she has earned them.