The Red Maids Society exists to keep former pupils and staff of the Red Maids’ School, Bristol, in touch with each other, to share news of the School and of Red Maids around the world and to support our more senior members. We currently have almost 1,500 members worldwide, of which about one third still live in and around Bristol and the South West.
For over 100 years, Red Maids have been walking through the gates on Westbury Hill and into school. For almost 400 years they have been part of the history of the City of Bristol: founded by merchant and mayor of Bristol, John Whitson, in 1634, the girls have always been ‘apparelled in red’, studying and learning, developing lifelong friendships and making their way in the wider world, each generation benefiting from the most modern education of their time.
In a fanciful mood, one could imagine that an invisible red satin ribbon reaches out from the past, weaving round the stories of former pupils everywhere, swooping around the groups of current schoolgirls chattering happily together on their way to lessons, and fluttering off, who knows how far into the future, encircling us all in the wider ‘Red Maids’ Family’ whose lives are linked together by this remarkable school.
The Society was set up in the days when all the pupils were orphans and boarders, and the school was their family. Wanting to keep in touch with each other and their teachers, in 1906 a few girls who were leaving school decided to set up a benevolent and social group. That ethos has been the focus of the Society ever since, keeping former pupils and staff of the Red Maids’ High School, Bristol in touch with each other and with the school, visiting local members and funding special requests, electives and equipment for the school.
In 2006 we celebrated our 100th birthday with a special AGM and a Centenary lunch. As part of the 2009-2010 celebrations of the 375th birthday of the school, we hosted two very successful events for different generations of ‘Old Girls’.
May 2016 – 2017 was our 110th anniversary year, when events included a ‘Take A Tour & Tea AGM’, Afternoon Tea at Berwick Lodge, Dedication Day Tea, with numerous class reunions, and the Founder’s Day weekend, the highlight of the year for ‘Maids’ past and present.
We are very proud of the excellent education that we received at the oldest girls’ school in England, grateful for the support from the Head and the governors, and proud too that the school continues to combine tradition and heritage with excellent modern teaching.
If you are a former Red Maid, but not yet a member, why not join us today?
The Society is run by a small group of volunteers who meet as a committee a few times a year to organise events and prepare the magazine.