Happy 150th Birthday Camden School for Girls!

'It's quite emotional being back here'

Friday, 8th April — By Harry Taylor

campics070422 Image 2022-04-08 at 1.30.46 AM

CAMDEN School for Girls gathered for its first Founder’s Day celebrations in two years on Friday, as the school marked its 150th anniversary.

The traditional service, in honour of the school’s founder, Frances Mary Buss, saw flower posies worn by guests. There were songs and the school prayer in an event described by Camden Council leader and former head girl Georgia Gould as “a mix of high Christianity and high feminism”.

The school was set up by the educational pioneer Miss Buss in 1870 to give a sound education to women.

This was the first time the ceremony had been held since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a speech, head girl of the main school Elspeth Leitch reflected on the events that had taken place in the past two years, including the killings of Breonna Taylor and Sarah Everard, and rises in domestic violence against women.

The service was backed by the school’s orchestra and choir, and sixth-formers cut a commemorative cake afterwards.


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One former pupil at the event, Paula Downes, started at the school in 1956 in the when it moved to Sandall Road from its site in the Prince of Wales Road.

“It’s quite emotional to be back here, and that Founder’s Day is exactly the same in many ways as it was when I was here,” she said.

“I used to love the old part of the school, the Victorian part and its stairs, because I could picture the girls walking up them.

“It was a great school, because it meant that we saw ourselves as equals to everybody else,” said the 76-year-old.

The school’s alumni includes actors Emma Thompson and Tamsin Greig, and the Spice Girls’ Geri Halliwell.

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