Essame, Enid M.

Born in Sheffield on 5 December 1906, she was educated at Wyggeston girls' grammar school and Newnham College, Cambridge. She taught at Queenswood School from 1929 until becoming headmistress from 1944 to 1971, in succession to the formidable E.M. Trew. She was commonly known as 'Emma'. During a year in the USA, 1934-35, on a travelling scholarship from Newnham College, she travelled extensively and wrote an MA thesis comparing British and American independent schools. On her homeward voyage she got to know Sir Josiah Stamp, chairman of the Queenswood governors. Following the long reign of Miss Trew, she was a forward-looking and liberalizing headmistress under whom academic standards rose, and outside contacts were fostered. She expressed her ideal as 'socialized individualism' and was a champion of equality of the sexes. She visited India and Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia on behalf of the British Council and in 1957 revisited America. She was honorary secretary of the Association of Headmistresses of Boarding Schools and its President from 1962 to 1964. She retired to Potters Bar in 1971, where she attended the local Methodist church and died on 19 December 1999.

  • Nigel Watson, In Hortis Reginae (1994)
  • M. Nissel, Emma: a portrait of Enid Essame (1995)
  • Times, 21 December 1999
  • Oxford DNB