|18 May 2021|
|Legends of Lady Barn|
Today we explore the late 19th century and the legends of Lady Barn who were born throughout this period, including the school itself. We delve into the history books to reminisce over those who without, Lady Barn would not even exist. Remembering those who dedicated their lives to the education of children as well as those who received that education as pupils and went on to achieve remarkable success.
William Henry Herford and his wife, Elizabeth Anne
William Henry Herford is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential people in the school’s history as it was he who founded Lady Barn in 1873, alongside his wife, Sarah.
On 17th April 1873 it was announced in the Manchester Guardian that ‘Mr. and Mrs Herford propose to begin, at Easter next, a Day School for Boys and Girls, to be received ages of seven and ten, and retained until thirteen’. William settled on a site on Wilmslow Road for his new school, a stone’s throw from where his former school, Manchester Grammar School would later reside. Only nine pupils attended.
However, the school continued to grow over the next 10 years. Herford’s unique style of education, of free-thinking and discovery, appealed to the local Unitarian non-conformist communities and other affluent families, particularly the German-Jewish.
The pupils at the time experienced a wide range of subjects, with their curriculum featuring German, handiwork, drill, gymnastics and an annual outdoor adventure trip to the Lake District.
Herford, throughout his life, was strong supporter of the suffragette movement and was a massive campaigner for equal rights in the education of females. He also encouraged and endorsed the correct training for Kindergarten teachers, leading him to found the Manchester Kindergarten Association. In 1878, Sarah inspired the implementation of a Kindergarten at Lady Barn, giving children aged six years and under the opportunity to attend the school.
According to H.J.R Herford, William’s life motto was taken from Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales', it read: “and gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche”. “And gladly would he learn and gladly teach,” gives us an incredible insight into the school William and Elizabeth shaped. 150 years ago, children were given an opportunity to learn and flourish, something we are fortunate to witness in the school's life today. Every child that passes through the school's classrooms and corridors will experience a legacy which the Herfords created and we can have confidence that they would be very proud of every past pupil.
Charles Prestwich Scott has a rich history and connection with Lady Barn. Born in Bath, he moved to Manchester after obtaining his degree at Oxford University. He achieved the position of Editor of The Manchester Guardian, something he would uphold for 57 years. Charles went on to have four children Madeline, Lawrence, John and Edward, all of whom would go on to attend Lady Barn House School. Later, his fifteen grandchildren would also be educated at the school.
Good friends of the Herford’s, the two families are well-established Lady Barn Legends, serving the name of two of the current School Houses. Scott and Miss Herford, co-founded Withington Girls’ School in 1889 whilst sat in the Drawing Room of Lady Barn House. Scott’s successes continued for several years and after becoming Chairman of the Lady Barn Council in 1904, he was paid £242,000 to be the sole proprietor of the newspaper.
Aged 83, Charles Prestwich Scott stepped down from his role on the School Council and was gifted the honourable ‘Freedom of the City of Manchester’ award.
C.P Scott over the years contributed enormously, saving the school from closure and appointing five Headmistresses. His contribution to not only Lady Barn but also Manchester is admirable and his qualities are what we seek to encourage in all our past, future and present Lady Barners.
Caroline Herford, MBE
Caroline Herford was Headmistress of the school from 1886 to 1907, succeeding her father W.H Herford in 1886.
It was Miss Herford who relocated Lady Barn from the Mauldeth Road site, to give the children larger grounds and premises allowing for her Froebelian approach. Caroline was a keen academic, studying at the Women’s College in Manchester and the University of Manchester and later becoming a resident at Newnham College, Cambridge. Like many Mancunian women, Caroline Herford was a strong supporter of the suffragette movement and spent a lot of her career campaigning for equal rights for females in education. She encouraged games and competition during her headship and was a keen lacrosse and cricket supporter.
During the First World War, Caroline served as a Red Cross commandant. Once the war ended, she became a magistrate and member of Manchester City Council. She lectured at the University Of Manchester and continued to assist with teaching at Lady Barn and Withington Girls’ School, a school she co-founded with C.P Scott.
In 1919, Miss Herford’s commitment and service to education were recognised by the Queen and she was awarded an MBE.
Siegfried attended Lady Barn in the late 1890s. He later became known as one the best British rock climbers of the time. He was also a relative of W.H Herford. Life after Lady Barn for Siegfried was originally academic. He read Engineering at the University of Manchester, finishing top of his class. After attaining a postgraduate degree in Aeronautical Research, he went on to achieve more success in one of his other talents, climbing. Siegfried became a prolific climber and was the pioneer for ‘gridle traverse’ and popularised ‘gritstone climbing’, ‘bouldering’ and ‘roping up’ in England.
At 24 years of age, Siegfried Herford was sadly killed in the Flanders trenches whilst serving during the First World War. Unfortunately, never achieving his fulfilled potential.
Caroline Alice Lejeune attended Lady Barn during the early 1900s. She was later to become one of the world’s first and most famous film and television critics.
The Lejeune family were great friends with C.P Scott due to the family residing very near to the Lady Barn grounds. Miss Herford was also the godmother to Caroline Alice.
After reading and graduating in English at the University of Manchester, it was her family friend, C.P Scott, who gave Caroline the stepping stone she needed to pursue a life in journalism. He recognised Caroline’s unique writing style that was filled with wit and creativity, and this was soon to earn her an excellent reputation amongst entertainment writers and critics. Caroline Alice upped sticks and left her Mancunian roots for the capital, although was chaperoned by her loving Mother the whole way. She became a star reviewer for both The Guardian and The Observer and wrote many television screenplays, including the well-known and successful ‘Sherlock Holmes’ series.