18 February 2020
Portsmouth High School celebrated its 138th Birthday just before half term with a resounding service at Portsmouth Cathedral.
The school was founded on 21 February 1882 opening at Marlborough House in Osborne Road and moving to Kent Road in 1928. In 1939, as the war started, the school was evacuated out of the city to Hinton Ampner and Adhurst St Mary; two country houses in Hampshire. The school returned to Southsea in 1945. Many of the alumnae who were at school during that time still keep in touch and return to the school’s birthday service.
‘It was absolutely wonderful to be at the school’s 138th Anniversary Service in Portsmouth Cathedral,’ said Mrs Rhoda Zeffertt (née Goldman), from the Class of 1956. ‘Hearing the young ladies reading the lessons and hearing the choirs singing so beautifully, it was magical.
‘The warmth and friendship one felt throughout the event is something I will always remember. Here’s to you Portsmouth High School; I am proud to be part of your history.’
Mrs Jill Hancock, who was Head Girl in 1953, added: ‘It was so lovely to come back to the Cathedral and remember such fond memories of the school.’
In 1909 the school adopted the daffodil as their school flower. Perhaps this was because of the gold colour; perhaps it was because the school’s birthday is in February, when few other flowers are available. Since then, daffodils have been a part of birthday celebrations, on cards, in decorations, and worn on uniforms as part of a collection for Marie Curie. All the girls also enjoyed a crème egg each which are traditionally given to all pupils to celebrate the school’s birthday.
‘Celebrating the school’s Birthday is a very special time for Portsmouth High School,’ said Headmistress Mrs Jane Prescott.
‘Traditions such as the daffodils and crème eggs are still remembered by our alumnae and are embedded into the culture of the school. These much loved customs reinforce our values of receiving a good education, personal responsibility and a strong work ethic.’