Our first Committee Members

In 1889, our Founders met and discussed the formation of Withington Girls’ School. In 1925, those who served on the School Committee for the longest time had part of the House system named after them. These key Founding members were Mr Charles Prestwich Scott, Mr Henry Simon and his wife Mrs Emily Simon, Miss Caroline Herford and Mrs Louisa Lejeune. You can read more about these Founders here.

In addition to our well-known Founders, there were several other forward thinking individuals who were present on the original committee. Mrs Rachel Scott, Dr Robert Adamson, Mr Edward Abbott Parry and Dr Adolphus Ward, were academics and intellectuals. They invested their thoughts and time, helping to shape our School in its early stages of development.



Mrs Rachel Scott
1848 – 1905

Mrs Rachel Susan Scott was an educational campaigner and a pioneer for women’s rights. She was one of the seven initial students to attend Girton College. In 1872 she was the first woman to take the Cambridge Classical Tripos and was placed in second class.

In 1874 Rachel married Mr C. P. Scott and moved to Manchester. Once here, she organised classes in advanced subjects for women based in the city, and she campaigned for women to be admitted into Owens College, which they were granted in 1883.

Mrs Scott was an active supporter of Women’s Suffrage and in 1900 she was elected as president of the Lancashire and Cheshire Union of Women’s Liberal Associations. She eloquently spoke at the Free Trade Hall regarding social, educational and political issues.

As well as sitting on our original Committee, Mrs Scott had a keen interest in the co-education of boys and girls at LadyBarn House School. The headmistress there was another of our Founders, Miss Caroline Herford.

We are very fortunate to have had such a determined and resourceful woman on our board of Governors, who not only played a part in the formation of our School but who also contributed to the intellectual lives of so many women in Manchester.


Dr Robert Adamson
1852 – 1902

Dr Robert Adamson was an acclaimed philosopher and a key advocate of the admission of women on equal terms with men.

During the early years of his life, Dr Adamson went to the University of Edinburgh at only fourteen years of age. Upon leaving with a First Class Honours Degree, he received prizes from every department of the Faculty of Arts. Subsequently, he was awarded several scholarships and fellowships. Dr Adamson later joined the staff of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th Edition, 1874.

Dr Adamson became a Professor of Logic and Mental and Moral Philosophy and also a Professor of Political Economy at Owens College, (now University of Manchester.)

Dr Adamson was in attendance at many Committee Meetings, where our Founders established our School. All the minutes are recorded in a precious book and Dr Adamson is documented as proposing the initial procedures for appointing and dismissing staff members amongst other policies.


Mr Edward Abbott Parry
1863 – 1943

Mr Parry was an English Judge and Dramatist who participated in many early Committee Meetings.

In 1885 he was called to The Bar after studying at the Middle Temple and later became a Judge at Manchester County Court between 1894 and 1911.

Judge Parry was also a writer and authored several plays and books for children. Two of these are titled ‘Katawampus, its Treatment and Cure’ and ‘The First Book of Krab: Christmas Stories for young and old’. He also wrote books on law, advocacy and war pensions.

His home in Withington is referred to in C. A. Lejeune’s book ‘Thank you for having me’. On page 13 it says, ‘Holland House of 8, Burlington Road, as the Post Office preferred to call it, had been the property of Judge Parry, the man who wrote that fascinating play for children, Katawampus. It was a square-built, rather ugly house on the corner of two back streets in Withington.’


Dr Adolphus Ward
1837 – 1924

Dr Adolphus William Ward became our first Chairman of Governors. He was an English Historian and Academic and held the position of Vice-Chancellor at Manchester University between 1887-1891 and then 1895-1897.

Adolphus Ward’s major work was to initiate the transformation of Owens College, of which he was Principal within the University of Manchester. Initially, he worked as Professor of History and English, taking over from Elizabeth Gaskell’s husband who was Minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel.

Adolphus Ward had many connections with the family of Elizabeth and William Gaskell who from 1850, lived at 84 Plymouth Grove, near the University, and kept in touch with the family even after he left Manchester to become Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

In 1908 Meta, second daughter of the Gaskells, gave a copy of Cranford (written by Elizabeth Gaskell) to A W Ward. It remained in his library but recently came onto the market and was bought by the Gaskell Society. Adolphus Ward in later life edited the complete works of Elizabeth Gaskell for the Knutsford edition and this remained standard until recently. His biography of Elizabeth in this edition was the first biography of her.

Withington can be very proud of its links with such a famous writer and such an influential academic.

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