Terms & Conditions: Life in Girls’ Boarding Schools, 1939-1979


Today, it’s hard to grasp the casual carelessness and even hostility with which the middle and upper classes once approached the schooling of their daughters. Education, far from being regarded as something that would set a girl up for life, was seen as a handicap which could render her too unattractive for marriage, and with some notable exceptions such as Cheltenham, schools went along with the idea. In ‘Terms & Conditions’, author Ysenda Maxtone Graham speaks to members of a lost tribe – the boarding-school women, grandmothers now and the backbone of the nation, who look back on their experiences with a mixture of horror and humour.

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ISBN: 9780349143064 Category: Tag:


‘The girls’ boarding school! What a ripe theme for the most observant verbal artist in our midst today – the absurdly undersung Ysenda Maxtone Graham, who has the beadiness and nosiness of the best investigative reporter, the wit of Jane Austen and a take on life which is like no one else’s. This book has been my constant companion ever since it appeared’ A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard

When I asked a group of girls who had been at Hatherop Castle in the 1960s whether the school had had a lab in those days they gave me a blank look. ‘A laboratory?’ I expanded, hoping to jog their memories. ‘Oh that kind of lab!’ one of them said. ‘I thought you meant a Labrador.’

‘The cruel teachers. The pashes on other girls. The gossip. The giggles. The awful food. The homesickness. The friendships made for life. The shivering cold. Games of lacrosse, and cricket.

‘The most brilliant, hilarious book. My book of the year’ India Knight

‘A wonderful book’ Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Additional information

Weight 0.258 kg
Dimensions 19.7 × 12.9 × 2.2 cm










371.8234209410904 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K