Chiswick School Starts Centenary Celebrations

Old Boys and Girls celebrate a hundred years of what started as the County Grammar school

The first sixth form of the Girls' Grammar

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One hundred years ago last week, Chiswick County Girls Grammar opened its doors for business. The school, now known as Chiswick School, has kicked off a year of celebrations with a special event of 180 Old Girls and Old Boys assembling where it all began.

The oldest past pupil to attend was 99 year old Douglas Hassell, nearly as old as the school, who came bedecked in his Chelsea pensioner uniform. The youngest 'old girl' was aged 94. One former pupil travelled from Germany to attend.

Douglas Hassall,at 99 the oldest alumni member to attend the Centenary event

The event had been over a year in planning, as the school liaised with the Old Girls Association. Julie Se. well (old girl and key organizer for the Old Girls) sent invitations far and wide. The event (originally planned as a small celebration to be held in a local hotel) gathered momentum as news spread. On the day, more than 180 people gathered in the school hall for an Assembly, followed by tours and a cream tea.

The school hall was dressed for such an auspicious occasion with helium balloons and
Flowers in the traditional school colours (navy and gold for Old Girls and maroon and sky blue for the Old Boys).

Old Girls shared their memories of days long past and Old Boys reminded the audience of the ‘invisible line’ between the Girls and Boys Grammar that was allegedly never crossed (this said with a telling wink).

The school song was aired once again (all 24 verses it seemed) and notices were read from the stage (as they would have been in Assembly many years ago). Single red roses were then distributed to all ex-members of staff (and for anyone in the hall over 80 years old), an end-of- term tradition started by the first headteacher, Miss Hedley.

Current Chiswick students played and sang beautifully before Year 8 students (in attendance throughout the day) took guests on guided tours of the building where many memories were shared.

The morning ended with a sumptuous cream tea prepared and served by the school's current caterers Innovate. Many past students had not seen each other in over 40 years and spent the time swapping tales and sharing fond memories.

Tony Ryan current Headteacher stated, “Once we heard of the plans being made, there was no way this event was going to a local hotel. We are so fortunate to work and learn in a school with such rich history, it was an absolute delight to welcome so many ex-students back to the school and to see and hear the fondness for the ‘old girl’ that has remained over the years.”

Current students assisted throughout the day and so many guests commented on how polite and helpful they were and how proud they were of their school. One student commented over tea “It is great to be a small part of the school's history, hearing some of the stories told today I wonder if it may be me sitting there as the school reaches 150 years old?”

This is the first of a number of special events that will take place over this academic year to celebrate the school's centenary.

September 27, 2016

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