Wimbledon High School
|Mottoes||Ex Humilibus Excelsia
("From humble beginnings, greatness")
Stepping in, Striding out
|Type||Independent day school|
|Headmistress||Mrs Jane Lunnon|
|DfE URN||102692 Tables|
The Good Schools Guide called the school a "terrifically purposeful place", "suiting bright, hard-working girls prepared to muck in and have a go."
Wimbledon High School is situated in central Wimbledon, near to the station, which serves National Rail (South West Trains to/from London Waterloo), London Underground (District Line) and Tramlink. Numerous buses stop near to the school.
Mrs Heather Hanbury was the Headmistress of Wimbledon High School since 2008, now the headmistress is Mrs. Jane Lunnon, who has stepped in since the beginning of the new school year (2014-1015) The Head of the Junior School is Miss Kate Mitchell. The Chair of Governors is Ms Bridget Rosewell, economist and former student. From September 2014, Mrs Jane Lunnon will be Head of the school.
Wimbledon High School was founded by the Girls' Public Day School Trust (now known as the Girls' Day School Trust). It opened on 9 November 1880 at No. 74 (now No. 78) Wimbledon Hill Road with 12 students and Miss Edith Hastings as Headmistress, aged just 29. Over the next decade, the school roll grew to over 200 girls. The first lesson taught was on the subject of the apple. Soon after, the fruit was used as the emblem of the school. Every year on the school's birthday in November, pupils and staff eat apple-green cakes in memory of this.
During World War I, the school endured a difficult time. The timetable was suspended for older students as girls and teachers joined the war effort and made respirators for the troops. A fire broke out in 1917 and gutted the main building. The girls were moved to a temporary location resumed their activities. The new building was formally opened by old girl, the Duchess of Atholl, in October 1920 and included a gymnasium and two new laboratories. The facilities have now been much expanded upon. The school's sports fields, at Nursery Road (off Worple Road) were until 1923 the site of the All England Club, before it moved to its present location in Church Road. Today, students are often selected to be ball girls at the Wimbledon Championships.
The school was greatly affected by the Second World War. Pupil numbers fell as London was bombarded during the Battle of Britain. Under the Education Act 1944, the school applied for and was granted "direct grant" status. It chose to become independent when the scheme was abolished during the 1970s.
A new junior school was opened in 2000, which meant that girls could now be educated at Wimbledon High from primary school all the way to sixth form. New buildings were added such as a design and technology centre, new science labs and the Rutherford Centre for the Performing Arts, named after the actress Margaret Rutherford, an alumna of the school.
The School Song
The school song was written by a former student and later teacher of Wimbledon High School, Katharine Stewart-Murray, Duchess of Atholl, also known as Kitty Ramsay. It is the tradition to sing this on the school's birthday and at the end of the school year when the sixth formers are leaving. The words are:
From year to year, our onward course we take,
Through strife and victory, through weal and woe,
Making new friends, ne'er losing those we love,
So onwards, ever onwards let us go.
Above us loom new fields to conquer still,
Behind us are the heights already gained
By those who bore the fiercest of the fight,
That brave small band who to so much attained.
Those who have led and those among the ranks,
Who did true yeoman service with their might,
All those we love and strive to emulate
Keeping their memory ever clean and bright.
Onward we go, cheered by our happy past,
Strong in our union of loyalty and love
To this our school its memories and aims
Still onward to the unconquered peaks above.
Girls are placed in one of the four houses upon entry. There are inter-house competitions and activities held throughout the year in drama, sport, music and art.
The junior houses were named after famous women.
The houses were named after four of the twelve first students to attend Wimbledon High School: Meg and Margaret Arnold, Mildred Hastings, Violet Scott-Moncrieff and Sophie Meredith. Each house has its own house committee consisting of a house captain and deputy house captain elected by the girls, and then Music, Art, Sports and Drama captains and a secretary elected by the house captain. Throughout the year there are several house events such as The Big Draw, Interhouse Music Competition, Junior Drama and Off-timetable Day. House points are also awarded by teachers in recognition for academic excellence and good conduct.
- Miss Edith Hastings (1880-1908)
- Miss Ethel Gavin (1908-1918)
- Miss Mabel Lewis (1918-1939)
- Miss Kathleen Littlewood (1940-1949)
- Miss Marguerite Burke (1949-1962)
- Mrs Anne Piper (1962-1982)
- Mrs Rosemary Smith (1982-1992)
- Mrs Elizabeth Baker (1992-1995)
- Dr Jill Clough (1995-2000)
- Mrs Pamela Wilkes (2001-2008)
- Mrs Heather Hanbury (2008-2014)
- Mrs Jane Lunnon (2014-present)
Notable former pupils
- Katharine Stewart-Murray, Duchess of Atholl (born 1874)
- Sylvia Payne (born 1880); psychoanalyst
- Dame Margaret Rutherford "Peggy" (born 1892); actress
- Gladys Sandes (born 1897); consultant surgeon to Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton, and to the Mothers' Hospital, London
- Dame Mary Smieton (born 1902); civil servant and Secretary to the Ministry of Education
- Jean Aitchison - Professor Emeritus of Language & Communication
- Michelle Paver (born 1960); author, famous for The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
- Bridget Rosewell, OBE, British economist
- Samira Ahmed (born 1968); News Presenter
- Lara Croft (born 1968); fictional video games character, heroine of the Tomb Raider series
- Ilora Finlay, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff
- Professor Dame Louise Johnson
- Sara Nathan, OBE - first female Editor of a British Network News Programme (Channel 4 News)
- Amara Karan (born 1984); actress (St. Trinian's)
- Georgina Sherrington (born 1985); actress (The Worst Witch); winner of Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Leading Young Actress
- Lizzy Pattinson; singer
Notable former teachers
- Nellie Dale was a teacher at Wimbledon who created her own basic reading program that used phonological awareness and phonics. She created a series of popular instruction manuals and primers based on her method.
- Kamm, Josephine (2013). Indicative Past: A Hundred Years of the Girls' Public Day School Trust. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 9781134531677.