2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Westcliff High School for Girls. The school, known then as The Commercial Secondary School, first opened its doors on April 27th 1920 and has seen many changes educationally, to the site and to the world that our pupils are entering.
Over the past 100 years the school has been on a terrific journey, but throughout all this time our aim has been the same - to provide the best possible education, to create lifelong learners and to prepare our pupils for the best possible opportunities in life.
Many of the celebrations we had planned to mark such a special occasion were interrupted due to Covid-19 but we hope we will be able to invite the school community back into school once again as restrictions lift. To ensure you are kept up to date of events taking place in our school community join our WHSG Alumni Community where you can also read articles featuring past pupils, find out about reunion events, view the online photo gallery and keep connected to us here at WHSG.
Centenary Book Launch
To commemorate the centenary of Westcliff High School for Girls, former pupil and local author Judith Williams has published two books for the school community to enjoy one recounting the fascinating history of the school and the other containing memories and anecdotes form pupils.
Judith spent a year collating archive photos and interviewing past pupils and staff from across the decades and the books will no doubt be a real page turner for anyone connected with the school.
Fide et Fortitudine: 100 Years of Westcliff High School for Girls (£12.99) recounts the school’s journey through the eyes of pupils and teachers from when it first opened in 1920 to becoming the successful grammar school it is today. Including beautiful photos contributed from pupils and the school archives.
Voices of Westcliff High School For Girls (£10.99) documents the voices of nearly 300 pupils and staff chiming together to build a picture of the school over the past century. Pupils from past and present recall first impressions, teachers, escapades and more with photos from across the decades.
Fundraising Manager Lucy Lock said "With many of our centenary celebrations understandably having to be cancelled this year, the school hasn't quite been able to mark the special milestone as we had planned. The books are a fantastic way of celebrating our history and will be a great keepsake for pupils past and present. We are extremely grateful to Judith for dedicating her time to writing the books and for kindly donating all proceeds from the sales to the school which will be used to enhance the facilities for pupils to enjoy."
When asked about the project, Judith said: "It has been fascinating researching the books and talking to past pupils and staff from across the years. I'm extremely grateful to all the girls who so generously and openly shared their thoughts, memories and photographs as their contributions all helped make the books possible. My favourite memory, something that many of us can relate to, came from Elizabeth Hind. She said, "Still got my tie and my PE knickers. Only one of them still fits". It’s made me so proud yet humbled to belong to this exclusive club of thoughtful, clever, creative, dynamic, resourceful, enterprising, ingenious, wonderful girls (yes, and some boys now) and I very much hope that people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it".
Both books are available to order now via the recently launched WHSG Alumni Community, a fantastic new website where former pupils and staff can connect with each other and find out about news and events taking place at WHSG. Visit community.whsg.info/shop to place your order and join the online community.
For further details please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lucy Lock on 01702 476026 x223.
Cen-tea-nary Celebrations with Centenarian at Westcliff High School For Girls
Past pupils enjoyed stepping back into the old school at the school’s Centenary Afternoon Tea held just before lockdown in March 2020. Guests all enjoyed an afternoon of free flowing tea and delicious food and were able to browse the display of archive photos before taking a tour of the school.
Guests ranged from current Year 7 pupils, who formed the 100th intake for the school, and past pupils from across the decades. Almost every decade was represented with a very special visit from centenarian Peggy Hazell who was the most senior past pupil at 102. Peggy was accompanied by her two granddaughters, who also attended WHSG, and she was instantly able to identify herself in the 1931 school photo!
It was fantastic to see so many pupils from past and present join us to celebrate such an important milestone in the history of the school. We are most grateful to the PTA for helping with the refreshments and our team of Sixth Form Prefects who did a sterling job as waiters, waitresses and tour guides. We are also grateful to our catering suppliers Rayners and Thomas Ridley who donated cakes and sandwiches which enables us to keep costs to a minimum.