Parsons Mead School
Parsons Mead School was founded in 1897 by Miss Jessie Elliston (1858-1942) who had previously been a governess to several leading families including the Talbots and the Bonham Carters. Miss Elliston was to be Principal of Parsons Mead until her retirement in 1923 and remained deeply involved with the school until her death. Her birthday is commemorated every May as Founder's Day.
The school began with only eight pupils but numbers swiftly increased and outgrew the original accommodation in Woodfield Lane. In September 1904 Miss Elliston and her pupils moved to the present site in Ottways Lane. The land had at one time been a meadow in the hands of the local clergy - hence the name Parsons Mead. The original house, which forms the nucleus of the school, was built in the 1850s.
School magazines over the years record the growth of the school and the wide variety of activities within it. The first issue of the magazine was in 1905 and each year for over 10 years only one handwritten copy was made which was passed round from girl to girl with the utmost care. These magazines, many of them beautifully illustrated, are preserved on view in the main library.
Numbers have grown steadily over the years. The original house has been extended and many new buildings have been added. Facilities have been upgraded and new subjects introduced. In 1957 the school ceased to be privately owned and was made an educational trust.
In the early days, the school's avowed aim was to prepare the daughters of gentlemen for home life! The girls studied millinery, light laundry and the keeping of household accounts as well as Music and Art. In contrast girls now study the full range of subjects including Science, Technology and Information Communication Technology and leave Parsons Mead with 8 or 9 GCSEs and 3 or 4 A Levels equipped for university, higher education and a fulfilling career. Parsons Mead girls can be found in such careers as medicine, law, business, teaching, nursing and acting.
Parsons Mead looks forward with confidence, after celebrating its centenary in 1997, to the challenges of the twenty-first century.