Ancestry UK

School of Discipline for Girls, Elm House, Fulham, London

The School of Discipline for Girls was originally established in 1825 by prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and occupied premises at Paradise Row, Chelsea. In 1859, after operating for a short period as a certified Reformatory, it opted to become an Industrial School. In the late 1880s, increasing dissatisfaction with its Chelsea accommodation led the School to relocate to a new home at Elm House, 11 Parson's Green, Fulham. The property was formerly a private house, the residence of Sir Joshua Jebb. The Parson's Green premises were formally certified for use on March 8th, 1890, with a capacity of 50 places.

The School site is shown on the 1915 map below.

School of Discipline for Girls site, Parson's Green, Fulham, c.1915.

The matron at the new location was Miss Collier (or Collyer), with Miss Woodger as schoolmistress. The older girls assisted in the laundry and in all the domestic work. The girls were also instructed in needlework and made all their own dresses.

A inspection report in 1896 noted that the house had a good long strip of playground and garden at its rear. However, its laundry building — despite having been enlarged in 1891 — was said to be too small and some distance from the house.

In around 1900, the School finally dropped its long-standing "Discipline" label and became known as Elm House. Miss Collier left on October 2nd, 1901, and was succeeded as matron by Miss C. Edgeller. In 1902, it was noted that half and hour was allocated for walks before school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and on Thursday afternoons. There was also skipping and dumb-bell practice. The girls were given plots in the garden to cultivate. On Saturdays, a party of girls was taken out by one of the ladies on the committee to some place of interest. The standard of laundry work was said not to be good and the taking in of outside washing had been halted.

In March, 1903, Miss Alice E. Stevens became matron. After her resignation in April, 1909, she was replaced by Miss Ethel G. Blayney (or Blaney) who had formerly been the schoolmistress.

In 1933, Elm House became an Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. It now accommodated up to 35 Junior Girls under the age of 15 at their date of admission. The School provided secondary, technical or commercial education for girls specially selected from other Approved Schools. In 1936, the headmistress was Miss K.P. Williams. In 1937, the School moved to new premises at Putney.

The Parson's Green property is now a listed building and forms part of Lady Margaret School, a Church of England secondary school for girls.


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