Memories of Miss Mendham

Following last week's sad news of the death of Miss Mary Mendham, a well respected former member of staff and Senior Mistress of Withernsea High School who passed away at the age of 103, we received a number of tributes from some of her ex-students. We would like to share these with you below...

“Miss Mendham was always kind and forgiving, although quite strict! What really impressed me: she was prepared to give up her free time to teach me Latin, one-to-one, in the Lower 6th, as it could have been a University entrance requirement. Miss Mendham must have been very thorough, as I - a non-linguist - PASSED! I even went to see her after her retirement to Chellsway. Thanks for her well-lived life.”
Godfrey H. Holmes – Withernsea High School 1961 to 1965

“Miss Mendham was a very well regarded and dignified Senior Mistress as I remember. She wore a traditional gown and was diminutive in stature but she could bring order with a glance. Fond memories and regards.”
Karen Waterhouse, nee Rands - Withernsea High School 1970 to 1977

“I did A-Level Latin, just Miss Mendham and myself in her office, translating Virgil. She inspired me then as she did years later when our languages department needed someone to help teach Latin - I was there in a flash and loved that too, finally being able to pass on some of what I'd learnt from Miss Mendham: the language, the stories, the intellectual challenge, but most of all the fun. She was one of my favourite teachers, and, I think, the best.
Ruth Pearson – Withernsea High School 1966 – 1973

“I attended the school from 1966 -73 and Miss Mendham taught me Latin. She was only small but no-one dared to mess around in her lessons. Years later she found out that my daughter, Amy Sutherland, was visiting Rome with the East Riding Youth Orchestra and very kindly loaned her some books about Rome.”
Jean Carter – Withernsea High School 1966 - 1973

“My memories are very vivid and I can remember on more than one occasion, being thrown out of a class for one misdemeanour or other. Once you were out in those long corridors, there was no hiding place. You could hear footsteps before they reached the end of the corridor and you just hoped they were Ma Mendham’s and not Pop Shaw’s! But whichever it was they would round the corner at a dash in a swirl of black batman cape. Miss Mendham never forgot my name, nor the names of my 3 brothers but she always had a dry comment or half a smile when she caught me. To finish your innings at 103 is a wonderful achievement. If anyone deserves a street to be named after themselves I cannot think of anyone more deserving.  She has touched the hearts of thousands of Withernsea pupils over many, many years. It was a privilege to have known her. I am now 57 years of age but Miss Mendham can still frighten me. I am terrified I have spelt something incorrectly!”
Stephen Lindley – Withernsea High School 1972 - 1976

There is to be a memorial service in Withernsea Methodist Church on Friday 6th February at 1.15pm to which all who knew her, and would like to pay their respects, will be most welcome. Family flowers only. Donations may be left at the church for Magdalen Park House Care Home, Hedon, which is where Mary spent her last peaceful weeks.


Withernsea High School Staff Photo 1966, with Miss Mendham pictured 5th from the left on the front row.