Archives Department Celebrates the Legacy of King’s Girls
As part of this year’s celebration of girls’ education at King’s, our Archives Department has produced a new display that is well worth visiting.
The square case in the school’s Woodard Room now has items relating to St Katherine’s, the sister school of King’s, which operated at Heatherton Park on Wellington Road from 1922-1953.
Those interested in the history of girls at King’s may like to note the following:
- The first two girls to be full pupils at King’s joined the Sixth Form in Michaelmas Term 1968, making King’s one of the first Woodard schools to introduce co-education. It was decreed originally by the Woodard Division that the admission of girls was to be an ‘experiment’, but the commitment of successive Headmasters, Richard Pentney, and then James Batten, meant that the experiment became accepted as a success by the early 1970s. The reports on the pros and cons of co-education in the Archives make fascinating reading!
- Girls joined the existing house system, their numbers being restricted to two or three in each house in each Sixth Form year.
- Girls always had their own separate accommodation. Initially the top floors of the Headmaster’s house and of Briar Lea (then the Sanatorium) were used.
- Clarissa Meek became the first female School Captain in 1978. We think she was probably the first girl to hold the post in her own right of any of the independent schools which had turned co-ed.
- Girls were accepted in all years of the school from 1991. The change came in response to the creation of the fully co-educational King’s Hall, formed out of Pyrland Hall (boys’ prep) and King’s House (girls’ prep).
- Meynell became the first girls’ house in 1991, followed by Carpenter in 1994 and Taylor in 1997. It is still something of a shock to some male OAs when they return to King’s to find that their old house is now for girls only.
Anyone who wishes to learn more about the history of girls at King’s or who has information they would like to share, please do contact our Archivist, Alison Mason, on 01823 328243 or email APMason@kings-taunton.co.uk. Alison is available on Mondays and Thursdays during term time.
Also in the Archive Centre is a new photographic display, entitled ‘Through the Lens: King’s life through pupils’ eyes’. The display features photographs taken by both girls and boys from the 1920s -1980s. If this sounds of interest, please do contact Alison to arrange a visit.
We will be marking 50 years of girls at King’s with a number of events during this academic year.
The first of these will be our OA November Dinner (Saturday 10 November). For further details and to book please contact Brenda Worth in our Development Office: BJWorth@kings-taunton.co.uk / 01823 328184.
Later in November, we will welcome our aforementioned first female School Captain, Clarissa Meek, to deliver a Horizon Lecture on Friday 23 November.