Allenswood Boarding Academy
Allenswood Boarding Academy (also known as Allenswood Academy or Allenswood School) was an exclusive girls' boarding school founded in Wimbledon, London by Marie Souvestre in 1870 and operated until the early 1950s, when it was demolished and replaced with a housing development.
Allenswood House was located on a large tract of land between Albert Road and Wimbledon Park Road, in Southfields in the London Borough of Wandsworth, England. It was owned by Henry Hansler and was built in the Tudor Revival style between 1865 and 1870. The house was converted in 1870 by Marie Souvestre and her partner, Paolina Samaïa, into an exclusive all-girl's boarding school. The school, whose students were primarily from the European aristocracy and American upper-class, provided a progressive education to its students. Often called a finishing school, the curriculum included serious study at a time when education was denied to women, and stressed feminist ideals of social responsibility and personal independence. In addition to learning French, which was the official language spoken at the school, students studied the arts, dance, history, language (English, German, and Italian), literature, music, and philosophy and were required to develop their own analytical skills to assess ideals and challenges.
When Souvestre died in 1905, Samaïa became the headmistress until 1909. She was succeeded by Florence Boyce and then in 1916, by Helen Gifford, one of Eleanor Roosevelt's classmates and Jeanne Dozat. Gifford and Dozat served as co-principals until 1922, when Gifford left to establish Benfleet Hall, a school based on Souvestre's model, in Benhill, Surrey. Dozat was later joined by Enid Michell, who remained as headmistress until the school closed in 1950.
In 1950, the London County Council and Wandsworth London Borough Council took possession of the site under eminent domain to develop the Wimbledon Park Estate. The school was demolished and a housing development, known as Allenswood Estate was created on the site.
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