St Margaret's

St Margaret’s first opened in 1913 as an overflow boarding house at numbers 5 and 6 Fauconberg Terrace, the row of houses which then stood on the site of the present West Wing. These tall, narrow, terraced properties, backing directly onto the College garden, were used for half a century as College boarding houses. They were never ideal for the purpose. Besides leaving much to be desired in terms of heating, plumbing and room-size, they had no electricity until 1927. In 1917 the 25 St Margaret’s girls and their Housemistress, Miss de Saulez, moved out and went to join Eversleigh House in its large detached home in Western Road. The combined house, under Miss de Saulez, took the name St Margaret’s. Whether the girls gained much from the move is debatable. The house was certainly more spacious, but it was at some distance from College and – alas – it too had no electricity.

A few years later, however, St Margaret’s moved again , this time into a brand-new house. In 1924 College purchased Bournedale, an old house in Christchurch Road with a large garden backing on to the College Field. Part of the garden was incorporated into the Field, and the house itself was demolished and replaced with the present St Margaret’s, a purpose-built boarding house, designed on the most up-to-date lines by the architect, L W Barnard.

The girls looked forward to it eagerly, and when it opened in the autumn of 1925 they were not disappointed. All was bright and airy and modern, and there was so much clean white paint that they were afraid of leaving grubby finger marks on the walls. One thing particularly pleased them. ‘One of our great delights,’ they recorded in the College Magazine, ‘is the electric light.’ There was also a sick wing, which looked ‘so inviting that it is almost a temptation to be ill’. When the house opened the fees were 36 guineas a term. They had previously been 30 guineas, but, with the move into the new building, St Margaret’s joined Glenlee and Sidney Lodge in the higher price bracket. Until 1933 there was always a scale of fees for boarding, the most expensive houses naturally tending to attract girls from the higher ranks of society. In 1933 the boarding fees were standardised at £141-£159 per annum, depending on age.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, the whole of College was commandeered by the War Office, and the girls, divided for the time being by age rather than by house, had to be accommodated in assorted ‘temporary houses’ in and around Cheltenham. Although St Margaret’s, like several other boarding houses, was in Government hands for only a few months, it reopened in January 1940 with a mixture of girls from various houses, and makeshift arrangements had to continue until the end of the war.

Life at St Margaret’s in the post-was years was considerably less comfortable and pleasant than it is today. As in the other boarding houses, the strict régime of the 1920s and 1930s persisted to a large extent. The food was dull and the meals formal, the girls were allowed little leisure, and many rules were enforced which today would seem petty and unnecessary. Since the 1960s, however, a more easy-going boarding house life has evolved and many concessions to modern standards of comfort and convenience have been introduced. St Margaret’s was refurbished in the summer of 1999 and has since acquired much new furniture. Since then, much has been done to update St Margaret's including the complex upgrade of the listed windows throughout the House.


1913 Miss A de Saulez
1919 Miss L Apperley
1933 Miss H Hursthouse Smith
1940 Miss F Baron
1941 Miss H Hursthouse Smith
1945 Mrs Rushbrooke
1946 Miss M L Gillet
1959 Miss J Tremellen
1967 Mrs B Renton
1971 Mrs B Forde
1977 Miss D Lancelotte
1978 Miss H Adair
1980 Mrs G Gardiner
1982 Mrs B Forde
1983 Mrs S Amos
1985 Mrs P Cowley
1999 Mrs K West
2003 Mrs W Bellars
2008 Mrs K Jones
2014 Mrs L Bursey-Faulkner
2017 Mrs B Hoskins