History of EHS

The School was founded in 1876 by George Dixon and distinguished local families from the Quaker and Unitarian traditions including the Albrights, Chamberlains, Martineaus and Mathews.

The founders were keen to make available a broad, liberal education much like that already experienced by their sons and EHS has always been characterised by its non-denominational approach to teaching and learning. It was originally housed at the junction of Harborne Road and Hagley Road under the headship of Miss Alice Cooper but within two years had doubled in size and moved to The Laurels at 280 Hagley Road. The School aimed always to be at the forefront of girls' education and this was reflected in the curriculum right from the start; a school inspector in 1878 was impressed by the girls' standard "and their healthy freedom from silliness, tittering and affectation".

The Preparatory Department was established in 1913 for children aged 4-9 and EHS took boys for a limited time including Sir Adrian Cadbury, Sir Bernard Zissman, Peter Barwell and Denis Martineau. Interestingly, Sir Bernard Zissman, Peter Barwell and Denis Martineau all later went on to become Lord Mayor of Birmingham. A Pre-Preparatory Department was experimented with in 1939 but was not fully established until 1944 and soon flourished to include up to 90 children.

EHS was briefly evacuated during the Second World War in early 1940, moving to share facilities with Stroud High School for Girls where school was limited to afternoons only and mornings taken up with sport and prep. After just a term, EHS moved back to Edgbaston converting the cellars at The Laurels to air raid shelters and welcoming Edgbaston Church of England College girls into the school while their premises were used by a ministry. In the post-war years Birmingham experienced a huge amount of rebuilding and expansion and, as a consequence of the redevelopment of Five Ways in the early Sixties, EHS moved to a new school on Westbourne Road alongside the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and including Neville Chamberlain's old house.

The School has continued to grow in pupil numbers (currently 940) and facilities with a swimming pool opened in 1965, new classrooms, art rooms and an extension to Prep added in the eighties, new Music Department, ICT and Home Economics block opened in the early nineties and the Octagon and an all-weather surface installed since 2000. In 2011, the School completed its most ambitious project yet, resulting in a modern glass facade, extended main Reception and Library and state-of-the-art Sixth Form centre and accommodation.

Eminent Old Girls include Mrs Joyce Cadbury (née Mathews), Dame Geraldine Cadbury, Dame Joyce Bishop (former Headmistress of the Godolphin and Latymer School, Hammersmith), Professor Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer for England), Molly Dineen (film-maker), Lydia Hislop (racing correspondent for The Times and TV presenter), Jo Ind (columnist for The Birmingham Post), Robyn Jones (Chief Executive of Charlton House, Credit Suisse Outstanding Woman in Business 2006) and Philippa Lett (international model).