Toastrack Museum

A Christmas Message from Elsie Hollings

Letter written by Elsie Hollings following the Jubilee Celebration of The Domestic & Trades College on December 16th 1952. Construction work would begin on the Toastrack within the next six years.

December 20th 1952

Dear Students,

The college owes you many thanks for the excellent way in which you did your part in presenting the pageant. I have had so many congratulations from all sorts of people that I felt I must write to you to pass them on.

I am glad you responded so willingly to do this – for although the affair would still have been a pleasant dance, it would not have been a Jubilee Festival without the pageant.

I hope that you felt proud of the college too. Sometimes working in our own separate corners we forget that it is a great community of people. There were 1,100 guests at the Free Trade Hall. The present student roll is now almost three times, and has been almost six times this number.

You, the full time students are the newest part of this great community. In order to accommodate you many part time students have been refused admission. But we believe that full time training for young people is essential if this country is to return to greatness. And so we began the full time courses even before the buildings were properly equipped. This has caused you inconvenience which you bear very cheerfully. You are the pioneers. In fifty years from know you will, I hope, look back with pride and affection to the college which trained you. I hope by then you will all be men and women with responsible jobs and happy homes, and that the college itself will have a properly equipped and dignified building.

Every action of yours now helps or hinders our plans for the college – for it is your special responsibility to build up a tradition of full time training and to establish confidence in the college so that public money will be spent to expand the work.

So far you are doing this very well and your teachers are pleased with you and indeed we often feel proud of you on ordinary college days (I don’t guarantee that there will not be more grumbles!). But now I want again to thank you all – the catering students for the cakes you made to give the guests (Lord Simon is keeping his for his grandchildren’s party, Mr. Rathbone divided his amongst all the education officials who work in the Further Education Department) – and the dressmaking students for the lovely dress you made for me. I shall always remember the 16th December and how proud we all felt about you – how well you did the pageant – how delightful you all looked in your party attire – how beautifully you all behaved and the lovely things that people said about you all.

I wish you all happiness this Christmas and in the New Year and in all the years ahead – for I only write a letter like this once every fifty years!

Yours sincerely,

E. Hollings

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