|Closed||31 August 2008|
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne & Wear
|Website||La Sagesse official website|
In 1715, in La Rochelle, France, Marie Louise Trichet co-founded the Filles de la Sagesse (Daughters of Wisdom in English) which, after a rather rapid expansion, is now 300 years old and dispersed among 21 countries. The Daughters of Wisdom travelled the world and founded many schools. They travelled from France to England and established a school in Low Fell in 1906 before buying Jesmond Towers and converting it into a convent in 1912.
Built in various stages through the nineteenth century, Jesmond Towers is a large gothic-looking building. It was bought by Charles Mitchell in 1869. Charles and his wife Anne, whom he married in 1854, made the house their home. The lounge was home to many great paintings which were collected by their son who was great art enthusiast.
In 1890 Anne's sister, Emily, who was in a state of depression following the death of her husband, threw herself from the battlements of Jesmond Towers and is said to haunt the school to this very day: she is referred to as the Pink Lady.
Following Anne Mitchell's death in 1899, Jesmond Towers was inherited by her son Charles William Mitchell until his death in 1903( see details of occupants in 1901 Census). Following his death the Mitchell family home soon became Pallinburn, formerly the Askew family residence near Ford, Northumberland and Jesmond Towers was sold to become La Sagesse in 1912.
Jesmond Towers School (per se) was in existence before 1939 and provided preparatory education for boys only aged 5 to 11 years throughout the war and afterwards. Headmaster was W A Robson, MA. There were four houses, 'Armstrong', 'Mitchell', ?, ?.The school motto 'Non sibi sed alice' - 'not for ones-self but for others' and the school song, the hymn 'He who would valiant be'. Some years later the buildings and school were acquired by the La Sagesse, which had been housed in more modern buildings next door (on Towers Avenue). The school became one of the top independent schools in Newcastle upon Tyne and ranked 350th on The Times Parent Power List. In 2007, boys were first admitted to the high school starting in Years 7 and progressing upwards.
In March 2008 the school announced that it would close on March 2009.
The school had continued to rent the building and the surrounding land from the Daughters of Wisdom who had trebled the rent. The school had faced increasing competition from other local private schools (e.g. the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, becoming fully co-educational) meant the school only had approximately two hundred pupils when it closed.
When the school had closed down, Freddy Shepherd (the Newcastle United tycoon) bought the school and surrounding land for £5.5 million, his plans were to build luxury houses and give the current school a facelift and convert the school into apartments.
In the past there were four houses named after monasteries in the North of England and each house had a colour,
Later, the houses were named after the mythological goddesses of wisdom in Roman, Greek and Egyptian culture:
During the 1960s and 70s, the school houses were named after the patron saints of the countries of the British Isles and France:
- St Andrew
- St David
- St George
- St Patrick
- St Michael