Roedean College

Roedean School was founded in 1885 by three sisters, Penelope, Millicent, and Dorothy Lawrence. The school moved to its present site on the Sussex Downs overlooking the sea in 1898. The school buildings are set on a 40 acre site near Brighton.

Aircraft lands at Roedean School in 1915
Aircraft lands at Roedean School in 1915

Primary Sources

(1) Margaret Cole, Growing Up Into Revolution (1949)

I have never understood why my parents sent me to Roedean. To remove me from the home was understandable. I was the wrong sort of cuckoo in a horridly alien nest. The cross was too wide, and Roedean was, emphatically, the wrong sort of school for me. But I would go further and say it was not a good sort of school at all. It was very expensive; I only got in as the winner of the single annual scholarship.

Roedean was founded by a formidable group of sisters, Penelope, Millicent, and Dorothy Lawrence. The school did not pit on a polish or train up young ladies for real Society. Nor was it devoted to learning; though we spent the best part of seven hours a day in school, and Saturday morning as well, very few of us went on to Universities, and the standards achieved would have shocked Miss Buss and Miss Beale and the founders of the Girls' Public Day School Trust.

Perhaps this was because the Lawrences themselves, though first-class organisers, not to say advertisers, were no good as teachers and therefore probably not very good pickers; perhaps they were just giving their rich bourgeois clients what they wanted - some instructions, inadequate Christian clients what they wanted - some instruction, adequate Christian training for all but the Jews, discipline partly self-administered (by a prefectorial system and plenty of house and team spirit), and a frill of culture, i.e. concerts and lectures, sometimes with lantern slides, on Sunday evenings. There was also a small school library at one end of the main assembly hall, where girls in the top forms were allowed to read.