Portsmouth High School celebrated its 137th Birthday just before half term with a resounding service at Portsmouth Cathedral.
The school was founded on 21 February 1882 opening at Marlborough House in Osborne Road and moving to Kent Road in 1928. In 1939, as the war started, the school was evacuated out of the city to Hinton Ampner and Adhurst St Mary; two country houses in Hampshire. The school returned to Southsea in 1945. Many of the alumnae who were at school during that time still keep in touch and return to the school’s birthday service.
‘Thank you Portsmouth High School for putting on this fabulous 137th Birthday Anniversary of the school started by Miss Beale and Miss Buss,’ said Rhoda Zeffertt from the Class of 1956. ‘I came to the service with one of my sisters and two cousins; we had all been at PHS at various times, between 1945-1973 and we were all utterly delighted by the reception we were given by the staff and the pupils.
‘The Lessons read by the pupils and the choirs singing in the Cathedral were absolutely beautiful and the whole afternoon was so beautifully organised. It made me immensely proud to have been a pupil at PHS and I cannot wait to come and see you all again next year.’
In 1909 the school adopted the daffodil as their school flower. Perhaps this was because of the gold colour; perhaps it was because the school’s birthday is in February, when few other flowers are available. Since then, daffodils have been a part of birthday celebrations, on cards, in decorations, and worn on uniforms as part of a collection for Marie Curie. All the girls also enjoyed a crème egg each which are traditionally given to all pupils to celebrate the school’s birthday.
‘This is a very special time for Portsmouth High School,’ said Headmistress Mrs Jane Prescott. ‘Traditions such as the daffodils and crème eggs are still remembered by our alumnae and are embedded into the culture of the school. These traditions reinforce our values of receiving a good education, personal responsibility and a strong work ethic.’