Angela Burdett-Coutts Day!
Each year, we gather together to celebrate the life of one of our school’s founders, the Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts. The Baroness was born on the 21st of April 1814, in the same year as that of her close friend, Queen Victoria. She inherited a vast fortune from her grandfather and had many famous friends including Charles Dickens and David Livingstone.
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”
Angela was a very kind person and used her wealth to help the many poor people of London through countless schemes and donations of money. The area where our school and church are located was the worst area in London at the time, called ‘The Devil’s Acre’ and in 1849, the Baroness established St Stephen’s School which was later renamed Burdett-Coutts School.
She co-founded the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and donated large sums to help her friend, Florence Nightingale, during the Crimean War. She also built two churches (including our school church, St Stephen’s in Westminster), paid for the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral and throughout her life, it is estimated that she had spent nearly £3 million to help those in need.
In 1871, in recognition of all her good work, Queen Victoria made her the Baroness Burdett-Coutts of Highgate and Brookfield. She was the first woman ever to be made a peer in her own right. Angela sadly died on the 30th of December 1906, of bronchitis, aged 92 years old. Her body lay in state in her London house and over 30,000 people field past the coffin to pay their respects. Her funeral took place in a crowded Westminster Abbey on the 5th of January 1907.
This year, on the 18th of April 2018, we decided to commemorate her amazing achievements with a whole school celebration and a special service at St Stephen’s church in her honour so that all the children would have the opportunity to learn about how she was an inspiration to all.
Our teachers donned traditional academic garb as a nod to Victorian times and members of the Governing Body were on hand with special sashes to greet everyone as they came to school.
The Year 4 children had been practising hard and performed Angela Burdett-Coutts – The Musical – to a riveted and highly appreciative audience. Set in Victorian times, this original play by Mrs McMullan showcased the Baroness’s accomplishments and generosity to everyone.
The Angela Burdett-Coutts Trustees, Ms C. Catchpole & Ms. E. Szewczyk graciously presented awards for attendance to Daniel (Reception), Ella (Nursery), Hannah (KS1) and Tayah (from Reception to Year 6). The prestigious Angela Burdett-Coutts Award was presented by members of the governing body, N Bowles, The Revd. C Duce and The Revd. G Buckle, to Laaryab (Year 6) for demonstrating our school values through her work, conduct and demeanour.
Thank you Mr Carden for the delightful music and also to everyone who helped make this day a huge success!