10th October 1872
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened
The independent, fee-charging Ladies’ College opened in St Peter Port in 1872 as a female-only institution. Since 1999 it had shared some lessons with the nearby Elizabeth College, meaning some boys will attend in the Sixth Form. It established its own kindergarten in 1884, initially taking pupils of either gender, but boys were excluded after 1916.
While it took Elizabeth College two centuries to increase its pupil roll to more than two dozen, Ladies’ College crossed that threshold within its first four weeks. Opening its doors to around a dozen pupils on 10 October 1872, the number had doubled by the end of the month. It reached 70 by the end of the year. By 1900 is had taken in its 120th student, and its 1000th pupil was enrolled in 1908.
Its first headmistress, Dorothea Beale, had been educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, and so unsurprisingly Guernsey Ladies College followed many of the principles of its mainland equivalent.
Sites and movements
Upon its foundation and for its first 85 years, the college occupied Lynton, a house on the Grange. When this started to feel cramped, it expanded into Ladymeade, the property next door. The house on the Grange is now the home of Guernsey’s Education Department.
Ladies’ College’s current premises, off Les Gravees, was built in 1963 at a cost of £132,000. The foundation stone was laid by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
The school’s four houses are Brock, Carey, Durand and de Saumarez, and its motto is Fais ce que dois advienne que pourra, which translates to Do your duty, come what may.
Early in the Second World War, most of the pupils and students were evacuated en masse to the mainland in advance of the Occupation. Just a handful remained on Guernsey to complete their education. Those who evacuated were initially schooled in Lancashire, but spent the large part of the war in Debigh, Wales.