Nora George

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NORA George who was dedicated to education and found great enjoyment in giving people books, has died aged 96.

It was always her desire that as many people as possible should be literate, and she was always very generous in giving encouragement as well as books.

Books were a passion and she could not resist buying them on wide and eclectic subjects.

This passion was passed on to children of friends, together with suitable copies for their own libraries and in many cases ignited a love of reading in them.

Nora Jessie George was born in Wakefield the youngest of four daughters of Frederick and Jessie Parker.

Her father was employed by the Milnes Gaskell estate, on which Thornes House Grammar School stood and where she was one of the first girl pupils gaining her school certificate in eight subjects – six with credit – in July 1932. Her father wanted her to be an accountant so she attended Secretarial and Commercial College in Leeds – where lunch- time amusement was riding up and down the escalators in the newly-opened Lewis’s department store.

She went on to be a secretary and bookkeeper between 1934 and 1945 first in Leeds, then for a firm of chartered accountants in Grimsby.

However the world of commerce did not appeal to her and she changed to a career in education. She taught at Stanley Primary School, near Wakefield, from 1945 to 1946 as a relief teacher, then enrolled at the City of Worcester Training College completing a course in the principles and practice of education in 1947.

From there she went to Halesowen Hill County Modern Girls School for four years before returning to Stanley Secondary School from 1952 to 1955, after which she was awarded a diploma in secondary education by Leeds University.

At Leicester University she received a diploma in the social psychology of education in 1964 and a master’s degree in education in 1967.

For a period after leaving Stanley School and while she was furthering her own studies, she was also an HM Inspector of Schools.

In the mid-1970s, she was appointed lecturer in Hull University’s Department of Education and warden of Reckitt Hall in Cottingham, Hull, where she remained until her retirement. She spoke of her students with kindness and care, and held many of them in high regard.

There she was a member of the Philip Larkin Society, having known him when he worked in the university library. She was also a supporter of the university art gallery run by her friend John Bernasconi, to which she would take friends to visit even long after her retirement.

In the mid-1990s she moved back to Wakefield where, instead of living a quiet life in retirement, studied for a PhD and, in September 1995, after submitting her thesis she became Dr Nora George.

The thesis, which ran to more than 500 pages and was bound
in two large volumes, formed 
the basis of a book Thornes House: The Story of a School, which was published shortly afterwards.

Dr George was also a great admirer of Sir Alec Clegg, director of education for the West Riding of Yorkshire who retired in 1974, and published Sir Alec Clegg: Practical Idealist.

Away from education she was a cat lover and always had two or three resident felines who usually arrived uninvited and adopted her. She was also a keen embroiderer.

She was proud of her godson and the children of friends, encouraging those who went on to higher education at Hull
and other universities and colleges.

She was very caring of her sisters, Vida Elizabeth, Hilda and Edith Frederic, and her move back to Wakefield brought her nearer to Edith. All predeceased her.

She also enjoyed a full social and cultural life, being a member of many local societies, including the Friends of Wakefield Art Gallery, The Civic Society and Wakefield Concert Society.

In addition she collected decorative objects and surrounded herself with pieces which pleased her, irrespective of age or value.