Elizabeth Gilmore Mallock was the first principal of Madeley College.
Born in Edinburgh, she was educated at Moray House (a teacher training college) and at the University of Franche-Comte in Besancon, France. Graduating with a degree in French and Latin, she taught at Manchester High School for Girls and at a primary school before becoming a lecturer at Bingley College of Education.
In 1949, Elizabeth was appointed principal of Nelson Hall Training College for Women, a new teacher training college housed in prefabricated buildings built to provide hostel accommodation for munitions workers at Swynnerton during the Second World War. The first students arrived in September, 1949 and the college was officially opened by Lord Lindsay of Birker, the principal of the University College of North Staffordshire, on February 25th, 1950.
As well as running two year courses which trained students to teach in primary and secondary schools, the college ran a three year course for women wanting to teach home economics. The first male students arrived in September, 1958 when the college became co-educational and its name was changed to the County of Stafford Training College. A year later, the county council decided to build new premises for the college on a greenfield site at Madeley. The foundation stone was laid in 1961 and Princess Margaret opened the new campus on July 1st, 1965.
During 1962, the college introduced a “High Level” course for men who wanted to teach physical education in secondary schools and Sam Heafield, the head of the men’s physical education department, made the college a centre of sporting excellence in swimming and athletics.
At the beginning of the academic year 1966/67, Elizabeth started “a specially timed course” which trained married women with children for primary school teaching. Although specific academic qualifications were not needed, the women had to be over 24 years old. Lectures were held during school hours enabling them to collect their children from school in the afternoon. Describing the scheme in an interview given to the press, she said the students attended college daily from 10am to 3pm and then fetched their children from school becoming mothers again for a few hours before having to “burn the midnight oil” studying.
Elizabeth’s hobbies included golf and gardening. A member of the Soroptimists, she enjoyed reading novels, travelling and playing the piano. She retired in 1970 when Princess Margaret presented her with leaving presents on behalf of students and staff which included Hi-Fi stereo equipment and a long playing record called Music at Madeley. The Princess, who was wearing a mustard coloured two piece suit, praised Elizabeth’s “sterling qualities of leadership” saying she had led the college through a period of great expansion and made it one of the most progressive colleges in the country.
(Copyright Betty Cooper/David Martin – The Phoenix Trust 2010)
Were you a student at Nelson Hall or Madeley? If you were Login and tell us your memories of Miss Mallock.