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Old Girls

The Adcote Association

News – A Sad Farewell to a former President of the Old Girls Association

Map 18.1.07

Margaret Pinnell (Eades) 1927-2015 

Margaret Pinnell, former Adcotian and Life President of the Adcote Old Girls’ Association (AOGA) died 1st September 2015.

Margaret’s association with Adcote School began in 1940 when she entered the senior school having left Queenswood: too near London and the bombing. Some six years her junior I remember Margaret as a well-established ‘senior girl’, so grown up, knowledgeable and working for School Certificate. Leaving school in 1943 Margaret opted for secretarial training which led to posts with the BBC, the British Rayon Federation and later PA to the Director/General Manager of the Lampart and Holt Line, Liverpool.

For 40-50 years Margaret devoted much of her time and energy to Adcote and the OGA. Both owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. She was very much of the world, interested in everyone and everything. In the Adcote ‘Who’s Who’ she listed her interests as AOGA, philately, bridge and genealogy. One could add theatre and biographical reading.

Her secretarial skills came to the fore as she worked alongside Ann Peters (Brown) who was AOGA Secretary; both under the watchful eyes of the Headmistress, Miss Doris Gough. Never easy.

Margaret edited the OG’s section of the school magazine and later the OG’s own Newsletter. On the eve of her marriage to Blake Pinnell in 1952 she presented Miss Gough with a list of all former pupils, plus their dates and addresses. Not bad work for a potential bride.

This, in a way, led to her great masterpiece, an Adcote ‘Who’s Who’ – Adcote Debrette 1907-1987. She searched through early records from Glenmore, Mrs Amy Gough’s first school, to Innage, to Haughton Hall and finally Adcote. A mammoth task: the listings are fascinating reading, where OGs lived and worked (if they did) after school. As many of the professions opened up to women a whole social history opens up through the pages. Many new friendships resulted from phone calls and the ‘grape-vine’. The volume is still in use.

The story of Adcote was another fascination. Adcote Manor was designed by Norman Shaw RIBA for Mrs Rebecca Darby of the Coalbrookdale iron casting family. Shaw’s design won a Royal Academy Diploma; the original drawings are in the V+A. Untimely deaths in the Darby family put the manor house with its lovely gardens and parkland up for sale. Mrs Amy Gough bought it.

Margaret became more and more absorbed in the history, not only of Adcote but of the Darby and Gough families and the development of the Gough schools. She persuaded Rachel Lowe (Mrs Rachel Dugmore) to write ‘The History of Adcote School’. A well-researched book was published by the AOGA in 1987.

Margaret and Rachel, often assisted by Ruth Lea and Anne Samples, spent hours, days, searching through copious papers relating to the Gough family, Adcote estate and the school’s founding. Thanks to her ever vigilant eyes much valuable research material is now in the keeping of the Shropshire Archives.

Margaret also collected, collated and contributed memories of WW2 when the Association of Representatives of Old Pupils Societies (AROPS) published ‘Schools at War’ by David Stranack (2005). She recalls staff patrolling the grounds at night, no torches, in fear of enemy invasion. This in the wilds of Shropshire. Also the making of vast quantities of marrow and ginger jam.

Following Miss Doris Gough’s retirement Margaret introduced six Heads of School to the AOGA. Reunions were usually held in October, a month after the new incumbent had taken office. To be greeted by former girls all eager to see their alma mater continue in the best, and sometimes only, way must have been a daunting experience. Margaret welcomed each in turn to the Association, making them honorary members and welcomed them to future events.

She never forgot members of the teaching and domestic staff, each was invited to join the Association after so many years’ service. Margaret made a special visit, of her own accord, to Northern Ireland to see Miss Emily Hunter, Senior Mistress (History and English), who was severely crippled with arthritis. A kindness never forgotten.

Anniversaries likewise were never missed; school anniversaries, birthdays of long standing members of the staff or AOGA. The centenary of the founding of Mrs Amy Gough’s first school was celebrated with a strawberry and cream tea and iced cake with the school crest made of icing sugar.

The early years of the 21st century were hard for small boarding schools, many closed. Adcote was severely threatened: would/could the school survive with declining numbers and financial insecurity. Margaret took the positive line and rallied OGs to the cause. In part it is due to her efforts and determination that Adcote is thriving today (2015). Changes happened, changes had to happen but the ethos remains.

To thank Margaret for her untiring work, whether as Newsletter Editor or Life President was always difficult. Adcote and the OGA were so much part of her, and she of them. However her 70th birthday proved an opportunity. She had retired from active work for the OGA in 1996 so keeping a secret was slightly easier. Daughter, Alison Wilde, was taken into confidence.

More than 200 greetings cards from all over the world reached Margaret during her birthday week. At a special luncheon, held in the Great Hall at Adcote, many of Margaret’s 1943 contemporaries came to salute her, along with OGs and staff of all generations. June Whittome read a letter from Pam Gilliat (Macdonald) – both ‘special friends’ of Margaret. Pam’s words sum up so much of the early potential. Her principles were high; wandering beyond the boundaries was not for her; no midnight feasting or such frivolities. “Maggie could have organised the Prime Minister”. How true. Such respect from one’s immediate peers is not easily won. Respect which will long continue. She influenced so many lives with kindness, support and plain common sense, when and wherever needed.

A letter from (the late) Miss Emily Hunter was read to the assembled guests “….She was one of my first pupils and became not only my friend but a family friend. If Margaret had chosen a political career you all know what she would have achieved. Instead the OGA became one of her interests and her work for the Headmistress, Staff and past pupils has been unending. In trouble give Margaret a ring and problems were solved. I know what she has done to help, not only once but countless times. It would be a great privilege if I might join with you in spirit to pay tribute to one who so richly deserves it.”

Thank you Margaret Pinnell, friend and inspiration.

Julia Griffiths (Upper V, 1949)

At Margaret’s funeral service on 10th September the request was made for any donations in her memory to be made to The National Tremor Foundation or Dignity in Dying. A cheque has been sent on behalf of the Old Girls to The National Tremor Foundation.


The Adcote Association

What the Association Provides

The Association offers events, reunions, a website, mailings and other ways of keeping in touch with old friends and making new ones.  In addition, the Association intends to support more connections between current and former students and to encourage former students to maintain their ties with the School.

The Association will hold one or two members’ events at the School each year.  In addition to the main reunion, form reunions and regional gatherings take place around the country, in homes and other convenient meeting places.


Membership of the Adcote Association is open to all who have been pupils at Adcote.  Membership is for life; with just one payment made at the time of joining.  This entitles members to attend reunions and other events at Adcote, to receive communications from the Association and help in contacting other AA members in order to organise local events or events with their year.

Staying in Touch

One of the most important purposes of the Adcote Association is to provide a means for former Adcote students to stay in touch with one another and with the School, to exchange news and to organize reunions and activities.

The School is eager to strengthen ties between former students and Adcote and will provide use of School facilities for events, and administrative help with web posts, mailings and Association events, as well as making sure former students are invited to School events.

Names, addresses, and in many case email addresses of members of the Association are kept on computer and updated when members inform us of changes of address, telephone numbers or email addresses.  Regional directories can be provided to help members meet up with Old Girls from different years who live nearby, and local events are held in various areas.

Interaction between Current and Former Students

The Association also intends to provide a place for interaction between former students – many hundreds, living all over the world – and girls at Adcote.   Former pupils are a resource for Adcote pupils who are looking for contacts for work experience placements, as well as for university and career advice. 

New Old Girls Association Bursary

The Adcote Old Girls’ Association (AOGA) has a small sum of money that it wishes to give in the form of Bursaries to those who are alumni of Adcote School and who are planning to undertake some form of voluntary work, either overseas or in the UK, after leaving school.

The AOGA Bursary Fund invites applications from suitable applicants.

Please click here for more information

Contact the Association

The Adcote Association
Adcote School
Little Ness, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY14 2JY 

For an archive of Old Girls’ news, events and other options, please click here