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The Red Maids' School

665 of 1169 nominations


The Red Maids' School

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The Red Maids' School

The Red Maids’ School at Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, is the oldest surviving girls’ school in the country. Established by Bristol MP John Whitson in 1634, it began life as a charitable hospital, providing accommodation and teaching for orphaned daughters of Bristol’s burgesses and freemen, an event commemorated every year in the school’s Founder’s Day celebrations.

The Red Maids themselves are so called not because of their political affiliations, but on account of their uniforms, still a fetching shade of crimson. Nor do they rest on their academic laurels, but engage with the wider world at every opportunity. Their choir quite recently toured the United States. A school team beat all comers in the Geography Association’s Global Issues competition, and the Art Department has shown work at the annual exhibition at Bristol Cathedral.

It isn’t just the school newsletter, though, that speaks so highly of Red Maids’ achievements. Its pupils, too, as may be seen from comments sent in to ICONS, are surely among the proudest in the land – true testament to the success of any place of learning.


Your comments

The oldest girls' school in UK, founded in 1634. They hold a traditional march in traditional uniform each year to mark Founder's Day.

Justine Mears

Just turn up in Bristol on Founder's Day - see the long red line making its way from Welshback to the Cathedral - it brings tears to the eyes of the old girls - a really grand occasion - it makes me proud to have been a Red Maid!

I am so pleased to see this in the nominations for an icon. I went to Red Maids School nearly 40 years ago. It was a magnificent school then and I am so pleased to see the traditions are still ongoing. Attending there as a boarder certainly gave me the foundations on which to lead my life. Happy Memories.
Nicola Brown

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry