Portsmouth High School celebrated its 134th Birthday today at a service at Portsmouth Cathedral attended by the whole school, staff, parents, governors, alumnae and local dignitaries.
Portsmouth High School, part of the Girls’ Day School Trust, opened in February 1882 in Marlborough House, Osborne Road, Southsea. In 1939 the school was evacuated to Hinton Ampner near Alresford, Hampshire, and became the war time home for the girls. Today the school comprises two sites in Kent Road plus has sporting facilities at Langstone in partnership with the University of Portsmouth.
In her welcome address, Mrs Jane Prescott, Headmistress said:
‘We welcome all our guests and, for those new to Portsmouth High School, draw attention to the presence of daffodils which as our school flower always signify to us the awakening of spring and another year in our history. We observe today our success across decades of high achievement. During this last year, as PHS aged another year, we have celebrated an outstanding inspection report which graded us excellent in every category and we could not have been happier for our last year’s leavers whose public examination results and entry to university was unparalleled.’
The service was attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas, Her Majesty’s High Sheriff for Hampshire, Lady Louisa Portal and her husband Sir Jonathan Portal Bt, the Mayor and Mayoress of Gosport, Mayor Councillor Keith and Mayoress Mrs June Farr, the Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham, Mayor Councillor Mike Ford and Mayoress Mrs Anne Ford, Mayor and Consort of Havant, Mayor Councillor Leah Turner and Mr Andy Cousins and other distinguished guests.
The theme of the service was Shakespeare as, this year, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death. The Guest Speaker was Mrs Judith Smyth, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the New Theatre Royal who said:
‘Shakespeare laid the foundations for wonderful storytelling and it is incredible that the High School girls have been performing Shakespeare plays for the last 134 years. Not only was he an astonishing playwright but he has also helped us, through his storytelling, to teach the next generations the difference between right and wrong.’