Speech Days at Queenswood
Saturday 23 February 2013
|Speech Days have taken many forms throughout the years. At first they were called Prize-Giving
and were accompanied with musical recitals which took place in the
evening. From 1913 they were called Speech Day and many musical and
later theatrical activities were laid on to entertain the parents and
guests, particularly in the 1930s when the prize-giving was combined
with the Commemoration Day in October. Displays included barefoot
Dalcroze Eurythmics in the 1920s, later gymnastics, swimming and
co-ordinated figure marching to a military brass band. Girls wore purple
cotton or white shantung silk dresses.
Early prizes took the form of leather-bound books with marbling and gold-tooled decoration on the borders and spine, with the Queenswood Crest on the front. Later the covers were made of cloth.
The earliest prize we have in the Archives was presented by ‘the forgotten headmistress of Queenswood’, Miss E. Henley, to Maria H. Greenway, Midsummer 1894.
Miss Henley was the Headmistress of the ‘First Clapham
Queenswood’, called the ‘Queenswood School for Ministers’ Daughters’.
Originally known as the ‘Educational Home for the Daughters of Wesleyan Ministers’,
founded in Clapton in 1869, it had moved to Kings Road Clapham Park in the late
When the new Queenswood School at Clapham Park was
founded by the London Middle Class Education Committee in January 1894, Miss
Henley was asked to continue as Headmistress until a new one was found.
Twenty-two girls transferred from the original school.
There were nine applicants for the post of Lady
Principal. Miss Marian H. Waller of Penzance was appointed on the 20th
of August 1894.
Dr Wendy Bird