A week for reflection and commemoration

November 27 2018

As the country marks 100 years since Armistice, students at Redmaids’ High School have been remembering the part their school played during World War One, while also marking their annual Founders’ Commemoration Day on November 16.

The event, which sees around 750 girls marching from Welsh Back to Bristol Cathedral for a special service, celebrates John Whitson who founded The Red Maids’ School in 1634 and Reverends T G Rose and Urijah Thomas who opened Redland High School in 1882. When Redmaids’ High School was formed in 2016, it brought together these two distinguished schools to combine over 500 years of expertise in educating young women.

With roots dating back 384 years, Redmaids’ High has a tangible link with much of the city’s history including during wartime. In 1916, following the Battle of the Somme, The Red Maids’ School took on a very different role as a volunteer auxiliary hospital run by nurses from the British Red Cross. Redland High School also had a part to play in the war effort as a number of Jewish refugee children from Belgium were taught there and the school supplied hundreds of towels and garments to the British Red Cross for use at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Isabel Tobias, headmistress at Redmaids’ High School, notes the significance of these strands of the school’s story. 

“This year’s Founders’ Commemoration Day seems particularly poignant, coming at the end of a week spent marking the centenary of the end of World War One. We have been remembering those who bravely fought over a hundred years ago, some who spent time recovering at our school, but also we have talked about the physical and mental injuries servicemen and women still endure today. 

“We give thanks to our Founders whose commitment to girls’ education has had such a lasting impact and has contributed a lot to the history of Bristol. I think they would be delighted to know how this outstanding school continues to thrive and flourish.”