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Elocution lesssons in the seventies. Did you?

(76 Posts)
Sassieannie Wed 04-Mar-20 20:26:26

Random question. I was forced by my mother to do elocution lessons at school in the seventies and have a vague memory of doing an exam; must have been 77/78 ish. Am I alone or does anyone else have recall lol. At one point I think I had to do a Winnie the Pooh poem and also had to be the fairy godmother in a Cinderella sketch. Or was it just a bad dream?

Susan56 Wed 04-Mar-20 21:04:17

My mother sent me to elocution lessons.I was born and brought up in Liverpool,my mother wasn’t from Liverpool and didn’t want me to have a strong accent.We also had elocution lessons at high school so that would be early seventies.I can still remember the verses we had to recite!

sodapop Wed 04-Mar-20 21:08:16

I had elocution lessons too Sassieannie as my parents didn't want me to have a northern accent. Sadly my lessons were in the fifties. I remember a poem about saying ' good morning to a little furry bunny' . That's about all.

DoraMarr Wed 04-Mar-20 22:07:59

We had elocution lessons at my convent school in the late 60s -70s. We also had Greek dance ( a bit like Isadora Duncan) and embroidery lessons. It was a bit like going to school with Jane Austen, especially as one of the highlights of the summer term was the flower arranging competition. Sadly, none of us became great writers.

mumofmadboys Wed 04-Mar-20 22:11:15

I went to elocution lessons too around about early 1970s. I remember a verse which started 'Slowly silently now the moon.....'I entered a few competitions. I hated it!!

Ellianne Wed 04-Mar-20 22:19:42

I've no idea how many LAMDA exams I was forced to do and then Guildhall exams too. I hated them with a passion but my delivery must have been good because I kept getting distinctions! When I was about 15 the principal of a full time drama school asked my mum if she could sign me up with a free place. Luckily my mum wanted me to be an academic like her so I escaped more elocution and drama exams.
I used to call them electrocution lessons because they were such torture!

Grandma70s Wed 04-Mar-20 22:29:47

I did elocution/speech and drama in the 1950s. I loved it, because I loved poetry so was very happy to learn it by heart and recite it. I did lots of festivals and competitions, got the Poetry Society gold badge.

I think the lessons were very good for confidence. I have never been nervous about standing up and speaking to either large or small audiences. I learnt to do that in my teens.

Ellianne Thu 05-Mar-20 08:36:43

Oh yes, the medals and badges. I've got over a 100, all engraved on the back and the GC have fun playing with them.
I'm sure elocution lessons helped when I applied to do Speech Therapy as a career and got a place. But once again that wasn't considered academic enough for my mother!

littleflo Thu 05-Mar-20 08:41:39

Does anyone remember the rhymes you had to recite. I remember Moses supposes that noses like roses.

I had to purse my lips for it to change the sound.

Susan56 Thu 05-Mar-20 09:36:11

I remember Mumble and Mutter were meddlesome men and another we had to say very dramatically Oh Mary,go and call the cattle home!

kircubbin2000 Thu 05-Mar-20 09:57:18

Yes we did a lot of this in the 50s. It didn't change the way I spoke but I have a friend who speaks with marbles in her mmuth, a bit like the queen even though she came from a rough part of town. I think it is because she married a doctor and though she had no qualifications herself she likes to keep up her Image.

henetha Thu 05-Mar-20 10:21:50

I had elocution lessons in the 40's and early 50's due to a slight speech impediment. I took part in various competitions and festivals and loved it. One of my sons also had a slight speech impediment so I sent him to the same teacher that I had; she was still working in the late 60's early 70's.
We are not posh though!

optimist Thu 05-Mar-20 10:27:26

My students all had to do an exam by the English Speaking Board when they were training to be Nannies.

Patticake123 Thu 05-Mar-20 10:31:58

Both of my brothers had elocution lessons in the 1950’s as they both had a mild speech impediment. I did choral speaking at school where words were enunciated. I loved it and wonder if they still take place. It was like a choir but we spoke rather than sang.

Kartush Thu 05-Mar-20 10:33:14

My mam used to make me recite How now brown cow grazing in the green green grass

Authoress Thu 05-Mar-20 10:34:10

I have an A level in elocution :P I do occasionally trot out cut-glass tones - "I'm sorry, Officer, is there a problem?" - but I also often remember my Dad's summary of someone who wasted their time, educationally speaking... "'Ee's only got one O level, and that were in pottery..."

Moth62 Thu 05-Mar-20 10:36:12

Father’s car is a Jaguar and Pa drives rather fast.
Castles, farms and draughty barns, we go charging past. Arthur’s cart is far less smart and can’t go half as fast.
But I’d rather drive in Arthur’s cart than my papa’s fast car.

I can remember that with no bother from 1968, but ask me what I had for lunch yesterday...

M0nica Thu 05-Mar-20 10:42:40

My elocution lessons were more related to drama at school than improving accents.

I chose to do them for just that reason, when I finally admitted that my dismal incapacity to play the piano meant that the money was better spent on my sister who already played better than me without lessons.

The exams I did were set by the New Era Academy of Drama and Music (as it is called now) and is still a highly rated institution.

The exams consisted of reciting poetry and speeches from Shakespeare and other major playwrights, sight reading unknown text and learning some basic phonics and answering questions about the subject. which I still find useful.

I started at Grade 6, went to grade 8 and then the three medals: Bronze, silver and gold., all of which I passed although I only passed gold at the third attempt. I loved it.

It actually launched me into debating at school, and later at University as well as drama and this skill has been a real asset in later life. Public speaking has never been the the great fear to me that it is for so many people.

M0nica Thu 05-Mar-20 10:44:27

I forgot to say this was in the 1950s.

HannahLoisLuke Thu 05-Mar-20 10:45:23

Yes, at school in the 50s

The only exercise I can remember having to recite was "My father's car is a Jaguar" emphasing the long A.

Also the poem "Someone" by Walter de la Mare which I can still remember. I was five or six at the time and my mother was tickled pink with the poem and had me recite it to anyone who would listen.

Moth62 Thu 05-Mar-20 11:07:08

Slowly, silently, walks the night in her silver shoon

“And it was windy weather” - recited in front of an audience at the Co-op Hall when I was 11 or 12. I got a bronze Poetry Society medal for that! Also sight reading an extract from Mrs Pepperpot. Another sight reading piece was a speech by the gardener in The Secret Garden. It was in Yorkshire dialect and I found it very difficult- even though I am from Yorkshire! It’s all coming back to me now in horrible clarity. The stuff of nightmares. I’d die now if anyone asked me to perform to an audience!

farview Thu 05-Mar-20 11:09:45

Moth62 haha that's the one that has stayed in my head all these years..had elocution lessened in the early 60s at grammar school..I enjoyed it!

NotSpaghetti Thu 05-Mar-20 11:18:19

Yes, I did them too.
They were compulsory at junior school and then I chose to do them up to leaving for university.
I liked them on the whole though the teacher was very strict.
As you’d imagine, I also have lots of certificates and awards.
I took exams right up to teacher’s level (I didn’t take the teaching one).

schnackie Thu 05-Mar-20 11:20:33

I am constantly thinking of taking elocution lesson in my seventies! Arriving in the UK in the 90's in my own middle age, I had no chance of losing my American accent. Kind people say it has 'softened' but I cannot abide being assumed to be a tourist when I visit another city!

Paperbackwriter Thu 05-Mar-20 11:33:24

Elocution lessons were an extra at my grammar school. My mother, who was northern, wanted me to have them but I managed to put my foot down on that. I REALLY didn't like the idea. It's only recently I realised what an aspirational notion it was - after all, properly posh people didn't need them did they; they were born with the 'right' accent. As I gradually lost my northern accent (I'd only lived up there for my first 3 years) my uncle used to come down south and tell me I was now 'talking bay window'.