The Red Maids’ Old Girls’ Society was formed to keep former pupils and staff of the then Red Maids’ School, Bristol, in touch with each other, to share news of the School and of Red Maids around the world. In 2023 it was incorporated into the Redmaids’ High School Development Office and stopped running as a separate entity, with the School taking over the database of members and the responsibility of keeping in touch with them, organising events and so on.
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 for ‘Fortie poore women children’, the pupils 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 on their way to lessons, and fluttering off, who knows how far into the future, encircling them all in the wider ‘Red Maids’ Family’ whose lives are linked together by this remarkable school, the oldest girls’ school in the country and quite possibly in Europe.
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, run by volunteers. That ethos was the focus of the Society, keeping former pupils and staff of the Redmaids’ High School, Bristol in touch with each other and with the school. Activities included newsletters and magazines, events, benevolent work, popular year reunions, visiting local members and funding special requests, electives and equipment for the school.
This all helped to maintain a flourishing network of members, all of whom are extremely proud of the excellent education that they received, and proud too that the school continues to combine tradition and heritage with excellent modern teaching.
On 20th September, the Society and the School jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding, and the Society ceased to exist. However, former members can be assured that now that they are part of the wider Redmaids’ High alumnae community, they will always be able to keep in touch through Red Maids Connect.