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Manchester High School for Girls

Celebrating 80 Years at Grangethorpe Road during annual Founders' Day Service

Manchester High School for Girls celebrated the history of its Grangethorpe Road home during the annual Founders’ Day Service on Monday 20th January.

Pupils from the Preparatory Department, Senior School and Sixth Form learned how Manchester High started its life in two houses on Portland Terrace, Oxford Road, where the Manchester University Medical School stands today. It later moved to an impressive new building on Dover Street, before governors acquired the former Grangethorpe Military Hospital in the 1930s.

Manchester High moved into Grangethorpe Road in September 1940, nearly 80 years ago, but pupils’ excitement didn’t last long, as a bomb destroyed the majority of the buildings. Nobody was injured in the blast and the then Head Mistress Mary Clarke, asked staff to return from their Christmas holiday early in order to recover books, furniture and equipment from beneath the rubble. The School moved into rented buildings in Didsbury until 1949, but Dr Clarke was incredibly proud that not a single day’s teaching was lost!

Leah, in Year 4, who sung a solo during the assembly was amazed by the history of her school buildings: “I had no idea that Manchester High had been through so much. It was very interesting to learn about how the teachers came together to help the girls when the school was bombed. I really hope that doesn’t happen again, but I’m sure the teachers would do the same thing if it did!”

Mrs Hewitt concluded the service by giving thanks to founders and benefactors whose vision, determination and generosity led to the development of Manchester High: “This school has always been progressive and ground-breaking and this stems from our founders. Setting up an academic school for girls was almost unheard of in 1874, but their foresight and vision is the reason we are here today.”

In traditional fashion, pupils gave readings and musical performances linked to the theme of the day. The Prep Choir performed the world premiere of a new piece by Mr Bradley, Director of Music, which documented Manchester High School for Girls’ adventurous history.

The history of Grangethorpe Road will be explored in further detail by Mrs Hobson and Mrs Roberts, the school archivists, at the Back in Time Walking Tour on Saturday 16th May.

You can see all the photos from the event on our Flickr page.