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High School for Girls – Park Road

A lovely set of images showing the old High School for Girls on Park Road.

The school was established in 1895 as a girls’ day school and moved to the present ten-acre site at Westwood House, Thorpe Road in 1936. The school was originally called “Peterborough High School” and changed its name to Westwood House in 1936. In 1991 the name changed to “The Peterborough School”.

The current school’s official website  relates its history as ……

The School was founded in 1895, as a girls’ school, by a Miss Hill and was originally situated in Park Road in Peterborough.  There it remained until 1936, when it moved out from the city to spacious new premises with ample grounds at Westwood House, Thorpe Road.

At the time of the move, when Miss Somerville was Headmistress, there were just 24 pupils, aged 7 to 14; the preparatory department became co-educational at this time.

In the August of 1937, a new Head, Miss Helen Mattock (later Mrs Belgion) was appointed, with only 7 pupils in the school. Her leadership must have been dynamic because by the end of 1937, there were 33 pupils.

In September 1938, there were 64 pupils and Mrs Belgion was determined that the School would continue to grow and by 1949 there were 200 pupils, mostly day girls but with some weekly and termly boarders.

Mrs Bowis presided over the School’s gradual growth between 1961 and 1973. In 1968, the School was incorporated into the Woodard Corporation.  A new boarding house and a science and art block were built and the first storey was added to the West Wing.  The old gymnasium in the stables was made in 1971 into the Chapel of St. Hugh of Lincoln.

As the city of Peterborough grew in the 1970’s, the School expanded further.  Miss Angela Brown (later Mrs Storey), Headmistress from 1977 to 1999, continued the development, particularly of the Sixth Form. Several buildings were added, including the Home Economics block.  The final development of the 90’s was a new building to house the Library and Sixth Form Common Room, adjacent to the boarding house.

The 21st century sees a similar expansion of Peterborough, particularly with many leading technological companies now based in East Anglia. An impressive new suite of ICT rooms was opened in 2000.

The opportunity to buy 110 Thorpe Road from the Newington family arose a few years ago; it has been converted into a luxuriously appointed Nursery which opened in September 2002.  In September 2006, under the leadership of Mrs Sarah Dixon, the School opened the first phase of the Creative Arts Centre development with the completion of the new Refectory gallery, providing luxurious dining facilities as well as gallery space for the School’s artwork. In September 2007, Phase 2 of the Creative Arts Centre Development was completed with the redevelopment of the East Wing entrance, which now includes a new Music Technology Classroom, new backstage area and redeveloped cloakrooms for our pupils. In addition, the state-of-the-art new ‘black-box’ Drama studio was completed and the Hall was redeveloped to include tiered, retractable seating.

In September 2007, the School’s first Headmaster, Mr Adrian Meadows, was appointed and in November 2009 the School Council announced the expansion of the School from September 2010 to allow the admission of boys into Years 7 and 12, becoming the City’s only independent co-educational school for pupils aged 4 to 18. To reflect this change the School’s name was changed to ‘The Peterborough School’.

The School has seen many changes since its Victorian beginnings: Westwoodians can be assured that throughout them all, we aim to “Be valiant” and to continue to provide “education with character”.