Ladies College, Clapham

The school was a short-lived PM venture. Elmfield College was restricted to boys, but in 1867 the PM Conference resolved that 'it [is] advisable to take premises on rent for a Ladies School...'. However, nothing was done till 1874 when the PM Minutes mentions a Connexional Girls' Committee with William Beckworth as Secretary.

Funds for the project were being raised in 1875. In 1876 the Rev William Rowe was appointed Governor and Secretary of The Ladies College at 5 The Cedars, Clapham, London and remained so throughout its existence. His wife was the Lady Principal. The first report in the PM Minutes in 1877, showed the number of students as 31 and the balance sheet with a profit of £29. 19s 9d.. On the spiritual side, class meetings were being held and PM missionary work in Africa supported. An encouraging report in 1878 -spoke of 'broad education', good exam results and attendance at University Extension Scheme Lectures. The head teacher was a Miss Rowe (presumably the Governor's daughter). In 1878 the outlook seemed bright (even if only for more well-to-do PMs), but unfortunately during 1878-9 the average number of pupils was only 33. However, numbers improved in 1880, though few students stayed long.

In 1881 the shareholders received a small dividend of 3%. This was the last report given in the PM Minutes and all real trace is then lost, beyond a few hints. For example, in 1882 Rowe superannuated, but for the next 3 years his address was given as St Lawrence's Ladies School, Sister's Avenue, Clapham College, London. Was the PM Ladies College, taken over and renamed? A Committee of enquiry was set up in 1885, reappointed in 1886 and the company was wound up in 1887.

  • E.D. Graham, Three Colleges: PM Secondary Ventures (1998) pp.24-30