History of the School

 

 

On March 30, 1878, the following advertisement appeared in the columns of Northampton newspapers, the Mercury and the Herald:

‘Northampton Middle-Class Girls’ School Clevedon Buildings, Abington Street, under the sanction of the Northampton Church of England School Mangers’ Association.

Headmistress, Miss Mary Pearson (Certificate of the First Class).

Object: To provide a thorough and systematic English education at a moderate cost.’

 

The first site of the school was in Abington Street and by 1879 the name of the school was the same as the building: The Clevedon School, Abington Street.  

 

 

The fees for a term were 1 guinea, or 21 shillings (the equivalent of £1.05 today) for children under 12 and twenty-eight shillings (£1.40) for children over 12.

The name ‘High School’ was used to explain a school that offered an education beyond the elementary level and was becoming increasingly fashionable.  The term ‘Middle Class’ was soon dropped from the advertisement and in 1887 the school became one of 16 managed by the Church Schools Company.  The fees were increased to four guineas per term in the junior school and six in the senior.  The school was now advertised under the name of ‘Clevedon Hall Church High School’.

 

 

Under Miss Waldron the school numbers grew steadily and so did its reputation in Clevedon. In 1888 there were fourteen other girls’ schools in the town; however, none was comparable in size with Clevedon Hall – it had undoubtedly become the best school in Northampton.

Over the years the name of the school changed subtly numerous times from The Clevedon School, Abington Street to the The Clevedon School, A Church High School for Girl and Clevedon Hall Church High School.

In 1898, after the school’s first benefactor Mr Richard Phillips donated £1000 to improve the Abington Street premises, the name of the school was then changed for the last time to ‘Northampton High School’.

By 1919 there were 150 girls at the School.    There were so few places available for the autumn term of 1920 that an entrance examination was held in July.  The search began in earnest for a new larger premises and the ideal building was found; Number 44 Derngate.

 

 

In 1943 the number of pupils rose to 420 with 22 members of staff. 

In 1947, Spring Hill in Cliftonville was bought and this allowed the school to be reorganised into 3 sections.  Spring Hill was for girls aged 3 to 9; Towerfield housed those aged 9 to 11 and then what became known as “The Main School” taught those aged 11 to 19.

The Duchess of Gloucester laid the stone for the new science block in 1952 and the first 2 floors of the building were completed in 1954.  The first stage of the building programme, having now been achieved, the next objective was the hall, library and gymnasium wing.

 

 

In the Autumn of 1964 No 54, together with Nos 60 and 80 were acquired for the school by the Cripps Foundation and by the winter of 1965 the Billing Road playing field was ready for use – after sixty years of walking backwards and forwards from the Racecourse, it was at last possible for games afternoons to take place on the school’s own pitches. 

In 1986, Miss Lightburne, the Headmistress, announced that an anonymous donor had purchased a considerable number of acres of land in Hardingstone to build a complete new school, to house all the girls from the ages of 3 to 18 on the same site, together with a purpose built sports complex. This was an amazing gift which turned out to be yet another from the Cripps Foundation.  Miss Lightburne retired in 1988, endowing the Lightburne Prize for Services to the School. The Governors appointed Mrs Mayne – the first married woman to be Headmistress.

The Sports Complex was opened in 1990 and in September 1992 the whole of Spring Hill, Towerfield and the Main School moved to their new premises in Hardingstone. 

 

 

The Queen opened these magnificent buildings in October 1992 and in 2007 the School became part of the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST). Mrs Mayne retired and Mrs Sarah Dixon, was appointed Headmistress in that year. Dr Helen Stringer, became our present Headmistress in September 2015 when Mrs Dixon retired.

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