Former pupil Catherine Mayer, who is an award-winning journalist and Editor at Large for Time Magazine, was welcomed as a guest speaker at the prestigious ‘Founders’ Day’ ceremony.
The School community, including both past and present students, staff, governors and parents, gathered to celebrate the history of Manchester High. The event marked the very beginnings of the School as one of the first academic girls’ schools in the country, and its close connection with Manchester, a proudly progressive city. It also reflected on the campaign for votes for women and the School’s strong connection with famous suffragettes, the Pankhurst sisters, who joined Manchester High in 1893.
Catherine Mayer took time off from her busy schedule in London to take part in her old School’s anniversary celebrations. She is currently working on a full-length biography of Prince Charles, due to be published in March 2015. Ms Mayer gave an inspirational speech about equality and rights for women.
She said: “This School has a proud history, an institution founded on principles of equality that helped its most famous pupils, the Pankhursts, to develop the skills to defeat the men who sought to keep women down. The Pankhursts helped to win for us rights we now take for granted, and the architecture of equality continues to improve.” But, she said, “we still have a long way to go, and the mechanisms that stop girls from achieving their potential have in some ways become more pernicious.”
She ended with an optimistic message for current MHSG girls: “The change that the daring of the Pankhursts set in motion, that this school has fostered for 140 years, your generation can carry through to its conclusion.”
Head Mistress, Claire Hewitt, said: “This year promises to be very special as we mark our 140th anniversary with events taking place throughout the year. Founders’ Day was a fitting tribute to the visionary men and women in Manchester who established the School in 1874. I should like to thank the School community, and Ms Mayer in particular, for joining us in the celebrations.”