Toastrack Museum

Unforgotten Path

Pauline Kershaw contacted Manchester Modernist Society from Moraira, Spain where she now lives to discuss her time at the Toastrack:

“I was there from Sept 1959 until July 1962. The three best years of my life.

My greatest memories of Hollings are as follows:

1) Being accepted at the age of 15, and being there on a trial basis as I was too young.

2) Being told I could stay on as I had done so well in my exams.

3) Two of my designs being chosen for the Swiss competition.

4) Being chosen to go on the Swiss trip.

5) My designs getting a 1st and 3rd place.

6) Princess Margaret speaking to me when she came to unveil the plaque and being on the television news that night with her.

7) Getting third place in two of my City & Guilds.

8) The wonderful staff.

Princess Margaret during her visit for the Toastrack’s opening ceremony on March 8th, 1962

The Swiss trip was possibly my greatest memory. We were all given very handsome Chaperones from the local University who escorted us for the whole week to all the functions. One function I can remember vividly was a cheese fondue at the Mayor’s house and then a dance at the University. After the cheese fondue the mayor gave us all an apron with the cheese fondue recipe on it, and YES I still have the apron.

I managed to find one photo of some of the girls on the Swiss trip. The following are the names I can remember:  Dorothy Briggs, Jean Skellern, Barbara Ward, Alina Paluka(?), Megan Toomy, Avril Armstrong and Rhian Watkins.

I read the recent Toastrack blog (Reflected Message), and it brought to mind Miss Hollings’ brother whom I remember very well. I also remember vividly her funeral. All the students lined Old Hall Lane at the side of the college as the cortege drove down. Very sad for us in the third year as that was the day we left the college as students.

Prior to moving to Spain I lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada. I lived there for 25 years. I worked in the industry as a designer and then started working at the local university in the design and merchandising programme. During my time there I also got a job at a private school of fashion design as the director of academics, and taught pattern drafting and garment construction. In my spare time I ran a little company of my own called “Conservabag”. It was a time when people in Canada were becoming very conscious of the environment, so I came up with an ecologically safe calico, washable, re-useable shopping bag. It was the first on the market, but then after a while the market started getting drenched with homemade bags so I sold the company and concentrated on my teaching and crafts. This was another avenue of my business along with designing a line of hand-painted clothing called “Collectable Prints”.

Card presented to Pauline and her colleagues for the Swiss competition, including the signature of Elsie Hollings

When I came to Spain I taught for 12 years at a local international high school teaching fashion design and textiles to A/S and A level students. I am now retired, but still keep my hand in the candy jar by doing costumes for a local musical society. We have just finished Guys and Dolls.”

All images kindly supplied by Pauline.

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