Gresham's School in Wartime

We would like to invite people who have an interest in our WWI story to get in touch with us through the blog. Our sixth form researchers will be contributing their own experiences of the project to the blog and we hope to update the website as new material becomes available. If you have any relevant comments or contributions of stories or archive material we would be delighted to hear from you.

If you would like to submit a blog entry, please email Liz Larby.

Dorothy M. Bristow(1881-1969) Art mistress 1915-40 researched by Alice & Chloe

Dorothy was born in Brixton, the daughter of William and Martha.  She studied at the Slade and was a successful still life painter before becoming a teacher.  Miss Bristow, or the 'Bristine', was welcomed to Gresham's in 1915 on a temporary basis to take the place of art teacher Vivian Smith during his military service, and stayed for 25 years.  Before the opening of the Art Room in 1921, classes were held in the physics labs, and the subject given very little importance.  Dorothy soon became involved in fund-raising for the new buildings and the war effort, holding popular annual exhibitions and sales of arts and crafts.  Art came into its own with the new rooms and its teaching was given more time and extended to higher forms.  Pupils began winning prestigious prizes, and several OGs such as Gerald Holtom, Richard Chopping and Robert Medley were inspired to follow successful artistic careers. Miss Bristow led sketching parties out onto Kelling Heath at weekends and encouraged the boys to use the art facilities outside lessons.  Firm, but fair, she was both loved and teased by her pupils, and was a familiar figure, dressed in grey and carrying a bag of art materials and an umbrella, walking along the Cromer Road.  This 'brave woman who took her lonely place in a man's world' was a friend to may a homesick junior, and had became part of the fabric of the School by the time she retired in 1940. Dorothy lived the rest of her life in a rural cottage on the Downs with her sisters Olive and Grace, dying at the age of 88, a much-loved and remembered Gresham's character.  She can be seen seated, third from right, in this 1930s staff photograph.