Foundation of Brentwood
In 1900, Mother Clare Arthur and two other Sisters were sent from Upton to Brentwood in response to Cardinal Bourne’s request to open a school for girls.
From small beginnings, numbers increased, the original house was soon outgrown and new buildings were purchased and in time extended.
A memorable event from the 1915 was the presence of Princess Marie Jose from Belgium coming to school.
For the first few years, until the Education Act of 1918, two schools had to be opened: St Mary’s for ‘ladies’ and St Philomena’s for ‘tradesmen’s daughters’, who might need to earn their own living!
In the 1920s Mother Clare had a swimming pool built – one of the first girls’ schools to have one, and a mark of her progressive attitude to women’s education.
M Clare was instrumental in setting up the Convent Schools’ Association which encouraged convents to make sure their teaching sisters were professionally qualified.
The School was for Boarders as well as Day-girls, and there was an annual Lacrosse match played by Day-bugs versus Boarder-slugs. The Boarding department was phased out in the 1990s when the accommodation was converted for day school use as the numbers continued to grow. The Sisters continued to teach in the school until the early 2000s. The School, now an Arts College, is consciously promoting the Ursuline ethos, and sustaining links both with the Brentwood community and the other Ursuline schools.
Brentwood Ursuline High School: www.brentwoodursuline.essex.sch.uk