Haberdashers' Girls' School

Coordinates: 51°39′15″N 000°18′39″W / 51.65417°N 0.31083°W / 51.65417; -0.31083

Haberdashers' Girls' School
Aldenham Road

, ,

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°39′15″N 000°18′39″W / 51.65417°N 0.31083°W / 51.65417; -0.31083
TypePrivate day school
MottoTogether, boundless
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Department for Education URN117649 Tables
ChairmanSimon Cartmell
HeadmistressRose Hardy
Age4 to 18
HousesGillett, Gilliland, Harold, Millar, Powell, Sprules
Colour(s)Navy blue and red    
PublicationThe Greenhouse
Former pupilsOld Girls

Haberdashers' Girls' School is a private day school in Elstree, Hertfordshire. It is often referred to as "Habs" (or "Habs Girls" to distinguish it from the neighbouring Haberdashers' Boys' School).[1] The school was founded in 1875 by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London.[2]


The plaque of the previous campus, now the Japanese School of London

In 1690, Robert Aske gave the Haberdashers' Company £20,000 to set up a hospital and home for 20 elderly men and a school for 20 boys at Hoxton, just north of the City of London. The school came decidedly second to the home for elderly men. There were no new boys between 1714 and 1739 because the foundation was short of funds. The hospital was rebuilt during 1824–26 and the foundation was reorganised in 1873 when four schools were established: two at Hoxton, and two at Hatcham, New Cross in south-east London. Boys and girls were taught separately at each site. All four schools opened in 1875, the Hoxton schools offered a basic English education and the Hatcham schools covered a wider syllabus. In 1891, Hatcham Girls moved to new premises half a mile away, designed by Henry Stock, while Hatcham boys took over the Girls’ buildings.

Early in the 20th century, new sites for the Hoxton schools were purchased in Cricklewood (always referred to as Hampstead) for the Boys and Acton for the Girls. Both these schools became Direct Grant in 1946 and then fully independent, day, fee-paying schools in 1976. The need for expansion saw the Boys’ School move again to Elstree, Hertfordshire in 1961, followed by the Girls in 1974.[3]

The previous site of the Girls' School, in Acton, became the Japanese School in London.[4]

In March 2021, The Spectator reported that the school's governing body would be undertaking a review of their founder, Robert Aske's, legacy, including his ties to slavery.[5] In September 2021, various news reports confirmed that the Aske's name would be dropped from both the names of the Boys' and the Girls' schools, and that they would be henceforth called Haberdashers' Girls' School and Haberdashers' Boys' School.[6][7][8] although the name Aske would be retained by their governing body. The school's motto was also updated, from "Serve and Obey", to "Together, boundless".[6][7][8]

The School[edit]

Academic achievement[edit]

97% of girls achieve grades A* to B at A Level,[9] and over 99% achieve A* - B at GCSE.[9]


The current headmistress is Rose Hardy, MA.

  • 2011 – 2019 Biddie O'Connor, MA
  • 2005 – 2011 Elizabeth Radice, MA
  • 1991 – 2005 Penelope Penney, BA
  • 1974 – 1991 Sheila Wiltshire, OBE, BSc
  • 1969 – 1973 Jessie Gillett, BA
  • 1944 – 1968 Eileen Harold, MA
  • 1920 – 1943 Dorothy Sprules, MA
  • 1904 – 1919 Margaret Gilliland, MA
  • 1888 – 1903 Edith Millar
  • 1875 – 1888 Elizabeth Powell

Old Girls[edit]

Former pupils are referred to as Old Girls. Their alumni association is called Haberdashers' Old Girls' Club which was created on 6 May 1904 by Headmistress, Miss Margaret Gilliland. In 2014, they celebrated their 110th anniversary at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Notable Old Girls:


In April 2021, an article in the Daily Telegraph claimed that students at the school "subjected to forced sex" and facing "sexism" from pupils at Haberdashers' Boys' School. Some pupils claimed that cases were reported to the school but were "downplayed".[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Golding, Jo (13 November 2020). "Habs Boys' and Girls' schools announce 'single campus' masterplan". Independent Education Today. Retrieved 4 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Mohammed, Naveed (24 July 2021). "Gaurika Singh, Youngest Olympian in Rio, is Nepal's flagbearer in Tokyo". thebridge.in. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Haberdashers Company - Home". 26 August 2018. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  4. ^ Barber, Lynn (7 June 2009). "Educating Lynn: take one". London: The Observer (8 June 2008). Retrieved 23 November 2009. "Amanda asked if I'd like to watch some of the filming, and said I should come to the Japanese School, Acton, to watch one of the classroom scenes." and "But no - the Japanese school was there and in fact turned out to be the old Haberdashers' Girls' School which we used to play at lacrosse."
  5. ^ Steerpike. "Exclusive: Haberdashers' Aske's could change name over slavery links | The Spectator". www.spectator.co.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b Reaidi, Joseph (6 September 2021). "New motto for Haberdashers' Aske's schools revealed". Watford Observer. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Haberdashers' Aske schools drop slave trade investor's name". BBC News. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  8. ^ a b Woolcock, Nicola (4 September 2021). "Haberdashers' Aske's schools change name over link to slave trade". The Times. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Results and Destinations | Haberdashers' Girls' School". www.habsgirls.org.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  10. ^ "EMILY ARBUTHNOTT OVERVIEW". www.itftennis.com. Retrieved 4 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Scott, Caroline. "The Interview: Luciana Berger talks election week, anti‑semitism and quitting Labour for the Lib Dems". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Florence Birchenough". Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Margery Grace Blackie (1898–1981)". ODNB. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  14. ^ Alan Horne (1994). The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 1-85149-1082.
  15. ^ "Tamara Finkelstein". GOV.UK. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Prolific Lewes writer with the ability to amaze". www.sussexexpress.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  17. ^ "No. 30464". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1918. p. 476.
  18. ^ Gartside, Ben; Newell, Claire; Rushton, Katherine; Barnes, Sophie (2 April 2021). "Exclusive: Elite schools 'ignored us when we warned them about rape culture'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 August 2021.


  • HR Dulley, Haberdashers' Girls' School: The First 125 Years (2000). Published by Gresham Books Limited. ISBN 0-946095-40-X

External links[edit]