Webster House Memories
I was lucky enough to attend Uplands Preparatory School in Std 4 and 5 in 1982 and 1983. My brother Gavin Porritt was also at Uplands from Grade 2 and loved his time there. Mr Walmsley was our headmaster at the time. I was also a boarder, and the Uplands Boarding House was a caring home away from home.
I remember arriving on the first day with my black trunk packed full of my brand new uniform and necessities, wearing my blazer, tie, school dress, grey socks and black school shoes. I remember feeling a little daunted and scared of the Webster House building, which at that time was quite dark inside the foyer. Climbing the curved wooden staircase to my dormitory, I was placed in a room opposite the staircase and near Miss Langley’s room. She was to keep an eye on me in the first few weeks of being there. She was quite a strict lady and was grey-haired and dumpy, with two dogs which followed her everywhere. The big dog’s name was Becki and was a fluffy dog who really didn’t like kids too much, so we steered clear of her. The other was an old Jack Russell. My best friend in the hostel was Cathy McQueen.
After my first term in that dorm, we were “upgraded” to the senior dorm near the toilets on the far right where “Mabel’s ghost” lurked at night. We were terrified of Mabel, but also inquisitive. I had a personal experience with her one night when I clambered off the top bunk of my bed (which drove Cathy crazy because I woke her up from the bed shaking), and went to the bathroom down the stairs from our dorm. The toilet stalls were empty except for the one I was in, but the toilet flushed in the stall next to mine! I ran back to my bed so fast, terrified that she was after me and then told all my friends what I heard – they confirmed that there was a ghost that lived there!! Not too long after that, I came back to the hostel on a Monday, and my friends told me a story of how that Saturday night, Mrs Thorpe had come to visit the girls who had stayed in for the weekend, with her Rottweiler dog. This dog had stood at the top of the stairs above the shower stalls and started growling. Her hair stood up on her neck while she stared at “nothing ” in the shower/toilet area. They were all convinced it was Mabel’s ghost! We were all a bit scared, and Mrs Thorpe came and said a few prayers for us and told us we would be okay. We believed her, naturally.