St Margaret's School, Bushey

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St Margaret's School is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 4–18 in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

As well as day places for all age groups the school offers a range of flexible boarding options for both UK and international pupils from year 7 (age 11) and is situated in Template:Convert of countryside close to London.


In 1749 'the Society of Stewards and Subscribers for Maintaining and Educating Poor Orphans of Clergymen' was set up in London and charitable donations made by wealthy people including the royal family and politicians. In 1760 Princess Amelia gave £100 and in 1791 George III donated £500, being part of the proceeds of one of Mr Handel's musical performances in Westminster Abbey. A school for 20 girls was set up in a house in Southwark, London, and the boys were sent to an existing school in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

On 28 April 1809 the Society was Incorporated at the sole expense of the Bishop of Durham and it became the Clergy Orphan Corporation. The Clergy Orphan Corporation paid for a new school building to be erected on land bought in St John's Wood next to Lord's Cricket Ground, and both boys and girls moved there in 1812. In 1852 the boys moved to Canterbury (now St Edmund's School).

The St John's Wood site was sold in 1895 to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway and the school building demolished. Today the Lord's Indoor Cricket School stands on the exact site of the old Clergy Orphan Corporation School. The eminent architect Alfred Waterhouse was commissioned to design and build a new school on land bought at Bushey, Hertfordshire and, while this was being done, the girls moved to temporary premises at Windsor. The new school was ready in 1897 and in September, 80 clergy orphans, their teachers and formidable Headmistress, Miss Emily Baylee, moved in. This Waterhouse building is Grade II listed. Miss Baylee renamed the school after Saint Margaret of Scotland who was thought to be a good role model for the girls.

In 1902 the first fee-paying pupils were admitted and in 1940 the first day girls were admitted. In 1996 the two schools, St Margaret's at Bushey and St Edmunds's at Canterbury, ceased to be owned by the Clergy Orphan Corporation and became fully independent schools.

St Margaret's is now solely a fee paying school.

Notable former pupils

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The Old Girls' Association of St Margaret's was established in 1897; in 1909 it assumed the name of "St Margaret's Guild".

The Guild is very active and maintains contacts with old girls and produces an annual magazine is produced. An annual central London reunion is held along with various regional meetings; the current association membership is around 2,000.

  • Christabel Bielenberg 1909-2003 (née Burton), author of best-selling novel 'The Past is Myself' 1968, made into a TV drama 'Christabel'1988.
  • Penelope Chetwode 1910-86, author, traveller and wife of poet John Betjeman and the daughter of Field Marshal Lord Chetwode.
  • Dame Jillian Ellison, head of Nurse Directors Association
  • Evelyn Emmet, Baroness Emmet of Amberley, Conservative MP for East Grinstead from 1955–1964
  • Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of The Times
  • Unity Mitford 1914-48, the only one of the Mitford sisters to be educated at school. She gained notoriety as a result of her position within Adolf Hitler's inner circle. She was the subject of the documentary 'Hitler's British Girl'. There has also been speculation that she gave birth to Hitler's child.
  • Violet Pakenham 1912-2002, author of numerous books on literary subjects including a biography 'Five Out of Six'1960. Married to writer Anthony Powell.
  • Emma Samms 1960-, General Hospital and Dynasty actress
  • Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive of Business in Sport and Leisure and Chair of the Central Council of Physical Recreation
  • Ingrid Tarrant, estranged wife of gameshow host Chris Tarrant

External links



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