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Wiltshire Community History

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The Godolphin School, Salisbury

The Godolphin School, Salisbury Date Photo Taken c.1910
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

The school was founded by the Hon. Charles Godolpin and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1726 for the education of young orphan gentlewomen, of Church of England parents, who had not inherited more than £400. The girls, aged 12 - 19 were to be taught to dance, work, read, write, cost accounts and the business of housewifery. This was a fairly advanced curriculum as although girls of this class were expected to be able to read it was not normally considered necessary for them to be able to write. The school was not actually established until 1784 when it was set up in Rosemary Lane, adjacent to the Close. After that it occupied various houses in the Close, including Arundel House. In 1836 the school moved to the King's House where it remained until 1847 when it moved to Milford Hill to escape the cholera epidemic in the city. There were new buildings added in 1866 but during much of Victoria's reign the school was described as 'monotonous and dull'. In 1875 there were only 12 pupils but the new headmistress, Miss M.T. Andrews, began an era of modernisation.

By 1886 the school was able to provide a high school education and in 1890 Miss A.M. Douglas arrived. She is described as a 'headmistress of genius' and during her 30 years the school numbers rose from 23 in 1890 to 230 in 1920 when she retired. In 1891 the building that was to become the nucleus of the school, containing the hall and library, opened and during the late 19th and early 20th century several boarding houses were opened. During the 1890s the school fees were; 4 guineas (£4.20 pence) a term for pupils under 12, 5 guineas (£5.25 pence) for pupils from 12 to under 15, and 6 guineas (£6.30 pence) for pupils over 15. a term In 1904 an additional 6 acres were purchased to add to the school grounds and in 1925 swimming baths were opened.

By 1955 the school contained 300 girls, including 200 boarders, aged from 8 to 18. The school is now an independent boarding and day school set in 16 acres of landscaped grounds. It has a five studio art centre, a 300 seat performing arts centre, a science and technology centre, an IT suite and language laboratories. In the summer of 2001 the Baxter Pool and Fitness Centre was opened. In 2002 there were over 400 girls aged 11 to 18.

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