Prefects at Springdale by Dorita Fairlie Bruce

 According to Queeney cover

I think I had been looking at Angela Brazil books when this author’s name popped up. I had never heard of her, but was interested to see that her books are mainly set in Scotland. Although Dorita Fairlie Bruce was born in Spain – hence her nickname Dorita – her name was actually Dorothy, she was really Scottish and apparently second only to Angela Brazil in popularity where school stories were concerned. Her books are set in Scotland, I recognised the area as being Ayrshire, the other side of the River Clyde from where I was brought up and quite a bit south. At one point some of the girls go on a jaunt with Dimsie to Arran which is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and intended to do it this year – but we all know what happened to that plan.

I don’t think it was just the setting that led me to enjoy Prefects at Springdale, which was first published in 1936, more than any Angela Brazil books that I’ve read. Somehow the schoolgirls seemed more authentic to me. Unfortunately the books can be quite expensive, there are seven books in this Springdale series and I inadvertently started off with the sixth one. Well, I was amazed to find this book in a pile at an antiques centre, the books are usually really expensive but obviously the seller didn’t rate this author highly as it was priced at £5, I snapped it up.

Anne is preparing to go back to Springdale School, packing her trunk when her sister Peggy tells her that she has received a letter from Diane, also known as Dimsie, a Springdale old girl who is now 23. She’s going to be working there as a temporary games-mistress until a permanent replacement can be found. Peggy is worried about Dimsie and wants Anne to look out for her. It’s going to be a bit of an awkward situation all round as some of the younger girls had rather idolised Dimsie when she was a senior girl.

This was a great read which seemed quite before its time with one of the girls being keen to become an archaeologist and another one being determined to train as a museum curator and luckily they both get a chance to get some hands on experience. There’s a bit of an adventure and a smidgen of romance and this one was an enjoyable trip back in time and place. I also like the rather stylish 1930s design of the book cover.

When I opened this book I discovered that a previous owner had left a wee cache of bits cut out from pop magazines, from the 1970s. I suspect that she wasn’t allowed to stick posters on her bedroom walls so made do with small ‘photos’ cut out. She was a fan of Gilbert O’Sullivan, Rod Stewart, Slade and two mystery chaps that I don’t recognise. I’ll try to take a photo of them and add it here later, maybe someone can enlighten me.

Whose posters did you put on your bedroom wall? I was devoted to Marc Bolan and T.Rex. I’m not even sure if teenage girls still do things like that nowadays.

4 thoughts on “Prefects at Springdale by Dorita Fairlie Bruce

  1. For some reason the name of Dorita Fairlie Bruce seems familiar to me, and the name ‘Dimsie’, though I don’t recognise any of the books as described in the Wikipedia article.
    Maybe I’m thinking of Mary Grant Bruce.

    I can’t remember being permitted to have posters on my wall, but envied a friend who had pictures of the Beatles up, and prior to them, pictures of Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon from “Bonanza” – early 1960s.

    • Valerie,
      Mary Grant Bruce is new to me, maybe her books didn’t reach Scotland.

      It was my older sister who was an early Beatles fan, I remember we had a framed photo of George on our shared dressing table, he’s still my favourite Beatle. I well remember Bonanza and later The Virginian.

  2. Oh I loved the Dimsie books when I was a kid, although even then they weren’t easy to get hold of. We had three or four in the house and I read them again and again. They were about Dimsie’s own schooldays though – I think we only had one that had her as a grown-up coming back to the school to help out. Not this one, though, I think it was called Dimsie Goes Back. And oddly, I’m sure the school was called the Jane Willard? And was in England, although Dimsie was Scottish. The books had line drawings on the inside covers and Dimsie looked just like the tennis player Martina Hingis when she was young, which led me to be a great fan of her too!

    • FictionFan,

      It’s great to know that you loved them as I’ve splashed out for a couple of them on Ebay! Bruce seems to have written so many school series featuring different schools, it’s weird that I’ve never seen any of the books in secondhand bookshops. You’re right about her looking like Martina Hingis, one of the books has arrived and it has a drawing of her inside!

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