Miss Hulme Remembered
Miss Marjorie Hulme (1922 – 2024)
Headmistress of Withington Girls’ School, 1961-1985
Miss Marjorie Hulme was Headmistress of Withington Girls’ School for 24 years from 1961-1985. Highly respected for her dedicated and inspiring leadership, Miss Hulme is one of the significant figures in the history of Withington and the school continued to flourish and develop throughout her tenure. We pay tribute here to all that she gave us, supporting and inspiring generations of pupils and staff.
Miss Hulme was born in 1922 and brought up in Bury by her parents, who were also teachers. Having attended Bury Grammar School, where she was Head Girl, Miss Hulme progressed to Girton College, Cambridge, where she studied Mathematics and was also awarded a Rowing Blue. Following teaching posts at Blackpool Collegiate School for Girls and Wade Deacon Grammar School for Girls, she was appointed as Headmistress of Leigh Girls’ Grammar School in 1955.
In 1961, Miss Hulme succeeded Miss Bain as Headmistress of Withington Girls’ School, a position she held until 1985 when she retired.
Miss Hulme had tremendous foresight and was instrumental in implementing a number of significant developments during her time at the school, including a new Dining Room and the school’s beautiful Arts Centre. The Arts Centre, opened officially in 1982 by alumnae and sisters, Judith and Sandra Chalmers, will be familiar to many former pupils and remains very much in use to this day.
‘The Opening Ceremony was actually on 27th March, but somehow every “first time” in the Hall has seemed like part of the opening. The building, made possible originally by Miss Hulme’s vision and courage, has evoked in girls and adults alike a child-like delight and enthusiasm.’
WGS Newsletter, 1982
The study of Music as an academic subject at Withington was developed during Miss Hulme’s time, and it was she who felt strongly that the school should have an orchestra and offer musical opportunities to all pupils.
It is widely agreed that Miss Hulme’s lasting legacy to Withington is the action she undertook in 1976 to create the WGS Trust. Centred around the school’s long-standing ethos of equality and opportunity, the Trust enabled more girls to attend Withington regardless of their financial situation.
Today, Withington’s Bursary Fund supports one in six of our pupils and continues to uphold those aims. Thanks to the Bursary Fund, so many girls have benefited from all that a Withington education has to offer and have gone on to flourish in their chosen professions and careers.
In November of 2022, to mark the occasion of her 100th birthday, the Bursary Fund was renamed the Marjorie Hulme Bursary Fund, reflecting Miss Hulme’s vision and commitment to bursary provision at Withington.
Following her retirement in 1985, Miss Hulme retained a close interest in the school’s achievements and successes and remained in close contact which we all greatly valued. There was a significant celebration at Withington for Miss Hulme’s 90th birthday in 2012 and she last visited us in the Spring of 2022 to attend an Emily Simon Lunch.
Her significant impact whilst Headmistress is reflected in the words of three other former WGS Headmistresses on the occasion of Miss Hulme’s 90th birthday:
‘During Marjorie’s years of headship her quiet determination enabled Withington to weather the changes of the 70s more successfully than many other girls’ schools and its reputation today owes much to her foresight and careful planning. We are all in her debt.’
Margaret Kenyon, Headmistress 1985-2000
‘Without Marjorie’s foresight and determination, the Trust Fund that enables school bursaries to be awarded would not have been established. Without her commitment to the highest standards in all aspects of education, including facilities and resources available to pupils, Withington would not enjoy its position as one of the best schools in the country. Generations of Withington pupils, parents and staff – myself included – have reason to be extremely grateful to the truly remarkable Miss Marjorie Hulme.’
Janet Pickering, Headmistress 2000-2010
‘The foundations of our national reputation lie in Marjorie’s vision for the school and the practical steps she took to realise it. The hallmarks of Marjorie’s outstanding leadership of the school are all around us, in our work ethic, our buildings, our bursary funds and our determination to aim high. Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.’
Sue Marks, Headmistress 2010-2016
Mrs Haslam, current Headmistress, said:
‘It was with deep sadness that we heard the news of Miss Hulme’s death. Miss Hulme was a constant in the life of Withington Girls’ School and continued to be as interested in the achievements of our pupils and all areas of school life as she had been during her tenure as Headmistress. We have all been inspired by her example and will remember her with much affection and great respect.’
Miss Hulme, Mrs Pickering, Mrs Marks and Mrs Kenyon, former Headmistresses of Withington with Mrs Haslam.
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