Miss Wilson appeared from the door at the top of the room, and mounted the dais. . .
"Girls," she said, "this morning, Mrs Maynard - Joey - rang me up to say that there was one prize she thought the school ought to give but had never given, so she was going to make the omission good. Some of you will remember Mrs Venables, mother of Daisy and Primula, who came to us as Matron of St Clare's House in Tyrol . . . Jo is giving this prize in her memory . . . It is to go to the girl who, in the estimation of the school, has done most to help other people."
(Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Gay from China at the Chalet School, Chambers, 1944, p170)
The Virtual Worlds of Girls hypertext cluster could not have been completed in its existing form without the help of the following people. I am proud to acknowledge that they have therefore shared in various ways in the "authorship" of the work.
Dick Appleyard and Dave Robinson of Recycled Images provided me with information about and copies of their postcards.
Rachel Ara saved me hours and my sanity when it came to making the project PC-compatible, and Elaine Frere-Smith cheerfully tolerated excesses of geekgirldom and provided the essential coffee, beer and food during the process.
Dr Rosemary Auchmuty of the University of Westminster was the first academic to research into British girls' school stories, and her work has been invaluable to my own. A true feminist, she has encouraged and supported me, shared her insights with me and worked together with me to found Bettany Press, rather than resenting me for entering a field which she could have kept as her own.
Alison Brown, Lesley Murphy, William Penno, and particularly Meena Sarin provided me with complementary health care and support, without which I could never have completed the research.
Mary Cadogan provided me with information about Arthur Marshall, and commented on drafts of my writing about him.
Andrew Chapman provided me with free Photoshop training and support, as well as loaning me the use of his scanner on numerous occasions.
Professor Mary Evans of the University of Kent gave me access to her postgraduate Women's Studies seminars; both these and her published work on real girls' schools have been invaluable to me during my research.
Penny Florence of Falmouth College of Arts encouraged me to complete the project despite my suffering many personal setbacks.
My mother provided financial support during the early years of the research, and proved conclusively to me in the 1980s that it is possible to be an unfunded mature student and still complete a degree successfully alongside paid work.
Polly Goerres paved the way for me to meet hundreds of Chalet School fans, as well as providing me with Chalet School-related games and activities for the Chalet School girls' group.
My brother, with Metro Photographic processed all of my photographs free of charge, as well as offering useful advice and, on occasions, the use of their scanner.
Nick Green helped in more ways than I could possibly mention, and provided endless support and encouragement without once reading a girls' school story himself.
John Harris at Avid Technology provided me with free access to an online Avid digital video editing system, allowing me to complete the editing of the film The Chalet School Revisitedwhen my budget came to an end.
Paul Headland and Matthew Beattie at Wild Tracks Studios provided sound engineering services for the film The Chalet School Revisited, and later completed the sound track free of charge when my budget came to an end.
Rosalind Hewitt trained me to use the offline Avid digital video editing system, and made many useful suggestions.
Professor Maggie Humm of the University of East London was my supervisor during my related MA research, and provided me with an excellent grounding in feminist research methodology. Her published work has also been invaluable to my research.
Claire Isbester shared her insights into Denise Deegan's Daisy Pulls it Off!, and persuaded me to rethink my ideas about the play.
Joan Leese and her colleagues at VeT (Video Engineering Training) provided endless technical advice and support during the Avid offline editing of the film The Chalet School Revisited. They also took my comments about the shortcomings of their editing suite's design in the best possible spirit, and so created the project which is published here as the hypertext Health & Safety in the Non-Linear Environment.
Helen McClelland gave me many hours of her time when I was making the film The Chalet School Revisited, and later trusted me to publish her books Visitors for the Chalet School and the revised edition of her biography of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Behind the Chalet School. The first edition of her biography was also invaluable to my related MA research.
Trevor Oldham made many useful suggestions during the making of the film The Chalet School Revisited, and never once reminded me that filming the Elinor M. Brent-Dyer centenary celebrations was his idea first.
Kate O'Mara agreed to become the voice of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer in the film The Chalet School Revisited, and made herself available for the recording despite a very heavy schedule.
Paul Nixon of Committed Cards provided me with information about and copies of his postcards.
Sheila Ray was extremely helpful in providing me with information about twentieth-century reading studies, and her research into Enid Blyton was invaluable to my own work.
Richard Reynolds of Red C Music engineered the Kate O'Mara sound edit for me.
Carolyn Ridsdale allowed me to reproduce her Four Fannys cartoons.
My sister took over the day-to-day running of Bettany Press when its unexpected success was nearly the final straw as far as mine and Rosemary Auchmuty's workloads went; its success today is largely due to her efforts.
Posy Simmonds provided me with information about and copies of her cartoons The Silent Three of St Botolph's.
Sue Sims, editor of the fanzine Folly (Friends of Light Literature for the Young), shared her lifetime interest in girls' school stories as well as her picture collection with me, and her biographical and historical research was invaluable in informing my own work.
My PhD supervisor Tony Skillen, Chair of Philosophy at the University of Kent at Canterbury, was unfailingly encouraging and supportive.
Alan Slingsby provided me with free Quark XPress training and support, and was endlessly patient with my sometimes hysterical phone calls whilst producing the first Bettany Press publication, The Chalet School Revisited. (In fairness to myself, I must add that the agitation was largely due to the bugs in the first release of Quark XPress for the PowerMac.)
My bank manager, Vere Smith, continued to extend my credit as all other sources of funding fell through, providing me with the means to complete the research.
Catherine Stewart provided invaluable support during the PhD "handing-in" process.
Wilma Strang helped to introduce me to hypermedia, and her support and the information and contacts with which she provided me played a crucial role in the development of my research.
Adisakdi Tantimedh persuaded me to use Hi-8 and Avid to produce the film The Chalet School Revisited, even though he later decided to return to more traditional methods of film-making himself.
Anne Thompson helped me to run the Chalet School girls' group and was instrumental in making the meetings a positive experience for all concerned. She also created the illustrations for Visitors for the Chalet School.
Joy Wotton was crucial to the success of Bettany Press, taught me a great deal about book publishing and also shared her book collection with me.
Last but not least, my whole approach to girls' school stories was influenced by more than three years of contact with fans including Helen Aveling, Daphne Barfoot, Sue Biggs, Gill Bilski, Clarissa Cridland, Fen Crosbie, Mo Everett, Marie Hrynczak, Annette Jackson, Chris Keyes, Alison Lindsay, Moira Lovegrove, Ann Mackie-Hunter, Barbara Penrose, Sally Phillips, Shirley Skinner . . . I found their views, both expressed to me personally and published in the newsletters Friends of the Chalet School, The Chaletian, The New Chalet Club Journal, Folly, The Abbey Chronicle and Serendipity, invaluable to my work. I am more grateful than I can say that they were prepared, not only to trust me, but also to welcome me into their networks, and in many cases to become real friends.
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