House System

Named for Katharine Stewart-Murray, the Duchess of Atholl DBE, LLD, MP (1874-1960) who officially opened the new school site in 1926 in her position as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education. She was one of the first women MPs, and the first woman to serve in a Conservative Government, from 1924-1929. She was a Vice-President of the Girls Public Day School Trust from 1924 – 1960 and also composed music to accompany the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Named for Captain Chadwick of the ship the Haparangi. The ship was adopted by the school via the British Ship Adoption Society in 1948 and was the second ship we adopted. It was a British cargo liner that sailed between Britain and New Zealand/ Australia. Captain Chadwick was in charge from 1951-1957 and took a great interest in the life of the school, for example, attending the speech day in 1953 and sponsoring an essay competition in 1956. A model of the Haparangi made by the crew from parts of the ship stood in the school entrance hall from 1951 until the 1990s.
Named for Lady Florence Rose Bligh née Murphy who married the 8th Earl of Darnley, Ivo Bligh (1860-1944). She was one of the women who burnt the bail and gave it to Ivo in the urn that became the Ashes Cricket Trophy in 1882. Lady Florence had been a music teacher in her native Australia and visited the school at Mayfield House more than once, notably in 1917. At that time she planted a tree in the garden and spoke to the girls in Assembly about the part they would have to play in national life during and after the war. She also sang a war hymn and asked them to learn it.

Named for the second house that the school expanded into in 1918, the first house being Mayfield in Pelham Road.  It was built in 1858/9 and was on Darnley Road where Weavers Close now stands.  It housed Lower School pupils from the age of seven, and had the first Gymnasium with proper equipment, tennis courts and the first Domestic Science room in the basement.  School plays were staged in the large garden.  Previously used as a private residence and a girls private school run by the Kennedy sisters, it later became a tax office.  It was demolished in 1970.
Named for Stella Jane Reekie (1922-1982) who was a pupil at Gravesend County School for Girls (now MGSG) from the age of 8-17. She trained as a Nursery Nurse and worked in London during the war. In 1945 she volunteered for the Red Cross and was sent to Bergen Belsen Concentration camp, where she helped to sort the living from the dead. She was then appointed as Child Welfare Officer for the Polish school for orphaned children until it closed. She went on to work as a missionary in Pakistan and in 1972 returned home to set up the International Flat in Glasgow for the Home Board of the Church of Scotland. The school song “God be in my Head” was sung at her funeral.
Named for Ruth Emily Westbrook (later Prideaux) (1930-2016) who attended our school from 1941-1948. She excelled at Games and gained colours in cricket, hockey, lacrosse and tennis, and was captain of cricket, tennis and West House. She trained as a PE teacher and later became a lecturer in Sports Science at Brighton University. She played cricket for England eleven times between 1957 and 1963 and revolutionised the women’s game in the early 1990s. In five years as England coach, she introduced sports psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and sports science methods to the training regime. The England team won the World Cup at Lords in 1993 and Ruth was awarded UK Coach of the year. In 1995, she came and opened the Isaac Newton Building. Her mantra was “Mens sana in corpore sano”. (A sound mind in a sound body)