St Mary’s School Celebrates 90 Years

90 years of St Mary's (2)This unique gem of an educational establishment is nestled in the residential heart of Henley.

Winding the clock back 90 years, we discover a town in need of a school and Miss Margaret E Bailey, daughter of the local church organist and choir master, harnessed that shortfall. Taking its name from the family church, St. Mary’s was born.

With no initial premises early classes were held in Miss Baileys parents home at 45 Bell Street. Numbers swelled quickly and after a year the household moved to The Tower, 9 St. Andrews Road, subsequently re-numbered 11 due to the addition of a building lower down the road. With only a small garden, the acquisition of a field to the rear of the properties allowed children’s games, sports and the growing of vegetables.

Miss Bailey remained proprietor and principal for over 40 years until her retirement in 1967.

It is worth noting that by the late 1980’s the school had still only had three head mistresses in its sixty year plus history. Long term headmistress, Pamela Beggin, observed that this was not due to a lack of courage or imagination to move on, but rather that the place seized one’s affection and enthusiasm making each year a challenge, thus obviating the need to seek stimulus elsewhere.

With its warm welcome, unique specialist teaching and solid foundations, St. Mary’s still offers outstanding education and a love of learning for life.

The school is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Thursday 15 September between 6.30-7.30pm

RSVP to by Sat 13 August