Foundation Day



Foundation Day - Sunday 24th September 2017

Last year, we introduced a celebration of Foundation Day to commemorate the opening of the School on 25th September in 1885.  The afternoon was such a success that we plan to continue this as an annual event.  


  • 2.00pm Chapel service Including short music recital 
  • 2.45pm Keynote speech: ‘Value of Art: Size Matters and Beauty Sells’  Siân Folley (2005) is Deputy Director, specialist in Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s, and will give us riveting insights into the art market, the auction process and explain why some artists’ work commands such extraordinary prices. 
  • 3.30pm – 5.00pm Options:
    • Digital Archive demonstration: an early opportunity to view our new digital archive site and to see how easy it will be to find photos and references up to 1960.
    • Tour of the School
    • Cream Tea and archive display from the digital archive.  
    • There will be plenty of time to catch up with friends.  Don’t worry, no-one will miss out on the traditional cream tea and birthday celebration!

To book your place – there will be no charge – please email  Please include your name and connection to St Catherine's (eg. former or current parent, friend of the school etc.) or, in the case of alumnae, your maiden name (if relevant) and year of leaving St Catherine's.  If you have any queries about the event, please call 01483 899692.  

We very much look forward to welcoming you to celebrate the School’s birthday together.

Foundation Day - Sunday 25th September 2016

Alumnae of all ages, current & former parents and staff, as well as friends in the local area, joined us on Sunday 25th September 2016 to launch Foundation Day and celebrate the birthday of the School in 1885, when St Catherine’s opened with 11 boarders and 6 day scholars. The programme amalgamated some of the former traditions of Old Girls Day and Association Day, adding new contemporary twists and inviting all Association Members to take part. 

The afternoon started with a lovely Chapel Service, led by Rev’d Dr Benji McNair Scott, on the theme of ‘Growth’ and included tributes and the unveiling of plaques in memory of John Palmer, former Headmaster (1982-1994), and former Governor, Lady Calcutt. It was particularly special that Alex Palmer and Lilly Shimell, wife and daughter of John Palmer, and Graeme Walker, brother of Lady Calcutt, were able to join us.

Caroline James (2005), Foreign News Editor with Sky News, gave a very informative keynote speech on the American Presidential Elections, which she has been covering this year. She had many behind-the-scenes stories to share and there was a lively Q&A session at the end. 

During a traditional cream tea in the Dining Room, Mrs Alice Phillips, along with current and former staff, cut the cake whilst everyone sang Happy Birthday. There was much chat and laughter, catching up and networking over tea. The day was rounded off with tours of the School and the opportunity to view an archive display depicting the history of the individuals who inspired the naming of our current School Houses, thanks to the work of our honorary archivists, alumna Rosemary Christophers (1960) and husband Richard, and Fiona Hayward (Development Officer).

The new model for this day, and the focus on the Foundation date, proved very popular with guests and will be repeated next year on 24th September 2017.  Do come along and join the 132nd birthday party.