4 May 2021
Talbot Heath school has been celebrating its birthday since it was founded in 1886, and recently, the community celebrated 135 years in education, mixing TH tradition and modern technology. The current format of the service started in 1936, the year that the current school site was opened, and customary elements of the birthday festivities were allowed to go ahead this year, with the Upper 6 participating in the processional hymn onto the balcony, along with the Upper 5 congregating below in the Lily Pond Quad. It was in 1936 that the processional hymn into the front quad and parapet was introduced; generations of Talbot Heath pupils have been ‘turning’ in unison on the words ‘adoration’ in the processional hymn, and singing along the corridors, under the watchful eye of staff. Pupils no longer have to wear their straw hats and white gloves, but the words of the hymns and prayers have stayed the same. Mrs Holloway noted how, ‘We are proud of our heritage and traditions – they are a common thread that is woven across the decades and centuries.’
Morning assembly and the birthday ceremony were live-streamed to all members of the school community, including Old Girls, governors and former staff, all thanks to the media team and zoom. The traditional lighting and cutting of the TH birthday cake in the main hall was led by the Head and Head Girl team, followed by the collective singing of ‘Happy Birthday.’ Special thanks go to the Holroyd Howe catering team for their fantastic cake, and also to Lucy Elford for creating a celebratory montage of every class wishing a ‘Happy Birthday’ to the school.
In her birthday address, Angharad Holloway paid tribute to former pupil, Baroness Shirley Williams, who attended TH during the Second World War, after her evacuation from London. She spoke of how Baroness Williams was dedicated to equality and education for all and how her legacy is clearly felt in the UK, stating how, ‘She had wit, integrity, determination and drive, being an active figure in British politics until her death. She was an innovator and a promoter of change, no matter how hard the road. Talbot Heath’s values and ethos engender such characteristics and have led to many trailblazers across our history – young women who leave us to go on and make their mark.’ She ended by stating, ‘As we celebrate our 135th birthday, we will remember Baroness Williams and all those former pupils who have entered society, determined to be a force for good, wherever their paths have led them.’