Marie Travers Crabbe CBE (1919)

Marie Travers Crabbe came to KEHS in January 1915 from King Edward’s Camp Hill and was placed in class nine with Miss Nancy Waller as form mistress. Marie was one of the Patrol Leaders in the school Guide Company, which was started in 1919. Guiding became one of the most popular activities in school and Marie supervised the making of blue square-necked blouses to distinguish the guides from the rest of the school.

Marie had great determination and character, and when she realised that she needed a qualifying examination for admission to a Physical Training College she took two just to be on the safe side - and passed both!

Miss Major encouraged Marie in her choice of career and even helped to persuade Marie's father by arranging a gym display to show off Marie's prowess before a large audience of parents. Mr Crabbe was so impressed with his daughter’s skill and agility that he sent Marie to be trained at the Bergman Osterberg Physical Training College in Dartford.

When Marie left college, she took up to jobs working as a gymnastics teacher in schools in Yorkshire. After six years she returned to Dartford as a lecturer. In 1933 she moved to Solihull High School to be closer to her family and here she had the opportunity to develop administrative powers as Deputy Head.

She later turned her attention to the training of teachers, working for three years as Head of the Physical Education Department of Southlands Training College in London. This led her to be appointed Principal of the A M Marsh College of Physical Education in Liverpool. After just one term there, the war began and the college started to struggle for survival as students were few and money was short. In 1947 the college was taken over by Lancashire County Council and soon afterwards and extensive building programme was started. For many years staff and students worked through the difficulties but finally in 1963, when the building work was completed, there emerged a greatly enlarged college with excellent facilities.

Mr Crabbe was a member of many professional associations and became Chairman or President of several of them. She was invited to read papers on various aspects of Physical Education at numerous conferences across Europe, America and the Middle East. In 1954, under the auspices of the Foreign Office, she undertook the lecture tour in Training Colleges in West Germany. Her services to education and to the City of Liverpool were recognised by her appointment as Justice of the Peace in 1958. In the Queen's Birthday Honours 1962 she was made a Commander of the British Empire and the following year the University of Liverpool conferred on her an Honorary Degree of Master of Arts.

In 1956 and 1957 Marie was President of the Soroptimist Club in Liverpool and made many friends outside her own profession. Her interest in events and people made her a welcome visitor wherever she went.

In 1965, Marie retired with her brother and his wife to Guernsey. She had an active retirement, not only in the house and garden, but as an examiner at various Colleges of Education in England. She was also a member of the Council of Education for Guernsey and the Governing Bodies of two girls’ grammar schools.