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Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School

'Girls are genuinely interested in the affairs of their own times… and are becoming thoroughly well informed about these matters’
Merchant Taylors’ School, 1620 Building Courtesy of Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School

Merchant Taylors’ School, 1620 Building
Courtesy of Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School

The School started a junior branch of the League of Nations Union (LNU) in February 1929, which remained very active until the Second World War. It was very well supported by staff and senior pupils, membership being 120 in 1932. Each member received the ‘League News Sheet’ and each form a copy of ‘Headway.’ Lectures on League issues were given by expert speakers at least twice a year and covered topical issues, for example, Professor Roxby (China, 1929), Professor Darnley-Naylor (Liberia, 1931), Alex Wilson and Frederick Whelen (Manchuria 1932 and 1933), Norman Poole (America 1935), Captain Mumford (Abyssinia 1936) and Rev. Shave on collective security (1938). Staff members also gave talks, such as Miss Thorpe (Russia, 1939). The magazine commented that there was widespread interest in world affairs and it led to unofficial debates in upper forms (1938).

Sixth form members took important roles in the branch. They contributed short talks on League issues throughout the 1930s and organised events such as a debate on disarmament (1931), parties and competitions. In 1934, the lower sixth started a study group on the League of Nations, with a League Library. External links with the local LNU branch were encouraged, students attending some lectures. One pupil attended the Geneva Summer School (1932). In 1935, Doris Cannell, an Old Girl and former branch Secretary, spoke on disarmament. She also organised a visit from a German girl, who spoke on life under Hitler. Another Secretary, Winifred Lambert, later became a social reformer.

References/Further Reading:

Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School Magazine, 1929-1939. Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School Archive.

M. Kettle, 2006. Obituary, Freddie Vickers (formerly Winifred Lambert). Guardian.