Putney Teacher Retires After Almost 60 Years 

Pupils past & present attended a special concert to celebrate her work

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Putney High School music teacher Mrs Mary Johnston has retired – almost 60 years after first joining the school.

A well known and much loved Putney resident, Mrs Johnston joined the school in 1952. As Head of Music, she was responsible for helping to make Music integral to the life of the school - laying the foundations for the reputation for musical excellence which the school enjoys today.

Indeed, one of Mrs Johnston’s initial tasks was to organise a fundraising concert – to buy the school its first musical instruments! The £70 bought six violins and two cellos.

Over the years, she went on to introduce the school to a range of musical opportunities, from opera to high profile concerts at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

 Mrs Johnston retired from her full time role in 1981, but remained a firm favourite in the Music Department, as a part time teacher of piano and music theory. Her contribution to the life of the school was recognised this month at a major choral and orchestral concert, at which Mrs Johnston became the school’s first Honorary Associate – a first for Putney and a first for The Girls’ Day School Trust. In the audience was one of her first pupils, Cordelia Matthews.

Dr Denise Lodge, Headmistress, said, “Mary Johnston has become a Putney legend. She has nurtured the musical careers of so many Putney girls. More than that, she has been at the forefront of the school’s charity work, her boundless enthusiasm galvanising the school community.”

David Hansell, the school’s Director of Music, added, “We will all miss Mary’s great wisdom, kindness and undimmed powers of musical perception. She will always be a welcome guest at Putney High School concerts.”

April 30, 2010