St Margaret’s School, Northfields

The Victoria County History for Somerset suggests that St Margaret’s School was founded in about 1923 in King Square and closed in 1987. However, the institution It seems to predate this, as a notice in the local press for April 1923 notes the death of Miss Jane Jefferson Williamson Thurnham, the elder of the two Misses Thurnham (the younger being Jane’s sister), principals of St Margaret’s School, Chapel Street (Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 18 April 1923). The school is mentioned much earlier, the Western Chronicle of 24 November 1905 mentions a dozen girls from ‘Miss Wither’s St Margaret’s School, Bridgwater’. How much earlier the school pre-dates this is unclear.

From Chapel Street the school moved to King Square, then Taunton Road. The school had moved to 36 Northfields by 1937, at which time Miss Roch, M.R.S.T. had taken over (Whitby’s Directory, 1937). She is the focus of the two pieces of ephemera below.

A notice in the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser of 19 February 1949 notes the death of Mr Harold Richard Jones, aged 56 at Bridgwater Hospital, principal of St Margaret’s Preparatory School. Jones was the son of a Welsh clergyman. He had trained as a teacher, but had gone into business, which had bought him to Bridgwater. While in the town he returned to teaching at St Margaret’s. During the Second World War Jones and his wife had taken over the school when the previous principal retired (presumably Miss Roch). His wife appears to have continued at the school for a long time thereafter: in the 1960 Kelly’s Directory we find that Mrs H. Jones L.R.A.M., A.L.C.M., as principal. At that time junior pupils were taught at 36 Northfield and seniors at 101 West Street. By the 1967 Directory the school was entirely held at Northfield. Another building seems to been used in Wembdon Road up to the schools dissolution in 1987 (VCH).

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An article on St Margaret’s, probably dating to the late 1930s, from an unknown publication.