HistorY FocusMessage FroM tHe HeaDMistress
With such a rich past, it is no surprise that history and tradition are very important at NLCS. Each Spring Term this is evident at Founders Day, when the school community comes together to celebrate its heritage and to commemorate its founder, Frances Mary Buss. To coincide with the centenary of the First World War, the focus at this years Founders Day was NLCS during the Great War and
the many ways that North London girls and Old North Londoners took part in the war effort.
Much of the information that we have about the Schools history is held in our extensive archives. In this Canons Life we learn about the wealth of historic materials held at NLCS from an interview with Mrs Morgan, who tells us about her role as Chief Archivist.
This Canons Life also looks at the subject of History at the School. We feature an interview with Nicky Robertson, the Chair of the History Society, and find out about historical activities the girls have undertaken this term. These include the Story Box project set up by the library and Year 7s code-breaking project, in which they used a real-life Enigma machine from the Second World War. Girls have also had the opportunity this term to learn about history further afield on trips to Florence, Berlin and Washington.
As always, there have been numerous enriching and engaging activities taking place at NLCS, from talks by notable speakers to challenging problem-solving workshops. The second annual Philosophy Conference, attended by eminent speaker A.C. Grayling, also took place this term, along with exciting and unique activities organised as part of Classics Week and Maths and Science Week.
The ambitious and exciting Senior School production of Earthquakes in London produced some highly professional performances as well as an extraordinary transformation of the PAC! The student-directed production of Jumpy was engaging, funny and sensitive, and Years 7 and 8 gave a compelling performance of Willy Russells Blood Brothers. The Arts Celebration, the South East Schools Chamber Music Competition and the many other music concerts have once again delighted us and given the girls a chance to demonstrate their talents!
This term we have been delighted to welcome two groups of NLCS Jeju students to Canons; a large group of Year 6 boys and girls spent time here with their Junior School peers in early March and a group of exchange students from Year 9 joined us in mid-March. Hosted by our own pupils from Year 9, they were able to attend Founders Day along with all students and staff and celebrate our shared heritage. We also bade farewell and thank you to our departing Senior Students, known as the Big Six, who have led the School admirably, lending great energy and enthusiasm to their role as well as sound judgement.
At the end of another busy term, I wish you all a restful holiday.
Bernice Mccabe, Headmistress
interview with Mrs Morgan Head Librarian/archivist
What is the NLCS Archive?
The NLCS Archive houses
material reflecting the history
of the school since its
foundation in 1850 by Frances
Mary Buss. The other major
collection contains books
and documents on Canons
and all its owners, especially
the Duke of Chandos in the
early 18th century. Between
them these two collections
number thousands of items
and a range of media such as
books, letters, diaries, and
photographs, and artefacts
such as historical uniform and
How do you receive
In addition to the wealth of
material collected by Miss
Buss and her family, and by
previous generations of pupils
and staff, I receive donations
from ONLs or their families,
and sometimes acquire
items I spot on the Internet.
I also collect contemporary
documents and other
items, and always welcome
suggestions and donations
from the school community.
How do you preserve
Photos and documents are
stored in acid free plastic
pockets and boxes, which
protect them from damage,
and the room in which they are
stored has no windows and a
constant temperature. As an
extra precaution we even wear
special white gloves when
handling some items!
What is the most satisfying
thing for you?
I love the contrast and the
variety, and using important
collections with a wide range
of people from outside the
school, such as academics
and the media. Even more
satisfying is working with
staff and pupils to make the
Archive a living collection
which we can all enjoy. Every
day I learn something new,
and the highlight of the year
is Founders Day, when the
Archive comes into its own.
With the help of the other staff
in the department, I research
a different topic every year,
and every year new light is
shed on our illustrious past.
It is also amazing to employ
21st century methods with
historical items. One moment
Im carefully handling an 18th
century letter, and another Im
scanning it and viewing it on
History trip usaTwenty girls from Years 10 and 11 visited New
York and Washington as part of their study of the
history and politics of twentieth-century America.
The trip took in historic sights relevant to the civil
rights movement, the Cold War and 9/11. As part
of the tour, students visited the UN building, Wall
Street, Harlem and Ground Zero in New York and
the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial,
White House and National Holocaust Museum in
Washington, but of course they also found time for
shopping in Times Square, a visit to the Hard Rock
Cafe and a trip up the Empire State Building!
enigma Machine As part of this years annual Maths and Science Week, Year 7 had the unique opportunity to take part in an Enigma code-breaking project presented by Dr Grime from the Millennium Mathematics Project in Cambridge. He demonstrated an actual Enigma machine from WW2, one of only very few remaining.
story Box Project Story Boxes were created by Archives staff to
enable pupils to experience the excitement
of using primary historical material. They
include copies and transcriptions of original
documents based on
topics covered in the
curriculum and on
The original documents
and photographs are
also available for pupils
to see and handle.
The first four boxes
were launched to
coincide with National
Archives Awareness Week, and covered: The
Great Exhibition 1851; The British Empire;
Sophie Bryant and Irish Home Rule; and 18th
Century Life at Canons. The boxes are available
in the Library and can be borrowed in the same
way as a library book.
Sports Day 1917
Miss Collet and t
he pupils of the
winning Senior F
lag Team. The
prize money was
donated to three
charities, and on
e Form sent
money to its priso
ner of war
Pupils wait for the Wagonette August 1917, On the Land in Briantspuddle
The North Londoners, Briantspuddle, August 1917, Pupil
Lucy Parker with NLCS friends
Going Home at 6 oclock August 1917, On the Land in
On the Land, August 1917 Pupils shocking the crops,
stacking them upright to dry ready for the harvest
Sports Day 1918-1919Instead of awarding prizes at Sports Days, money was donated annually to war charities
Pupil Lucy Parkers photograph of her
friends Molly, Ida and Irene at work
On the Land in Briantspuddle,
nLcs during ww1This years Founders Day celebrations looked at NLCS during WW1 and the impact the war had on the school, its staff and girls. Mrs McCabe also spoke of ONLs who made a contribution to the war effort.
nicky robertson chair of History societyWhy did you become Chair of History Society?
From studying the localised history of the
site of our school to learning about Northern
Iberian law in the 10th Century, NLCSs
History Society has never failed to delight
me. I began attending the weekly lectures in
Year 10, and every week, my passion grew.
As I moved up through the School, there were
more opportunities to get involved with the
Society. Mrs Brown and the History Department
encouraged me to explore history outside the
school syllabus, for which I will always
What have you enjoyed most in your role?
Weve had a variety of incredible speakers
and it has been a privilege to host them and
have them share their knowledge with us. The
highlight of my time with History Society was
the History and Politics Week we held last
term, particularly exciting was having Lord
Hennessy, the noted historian, speak at our
What activities have you got planned for the Summer Term? We will go to a lecture on the Nazi regime
during the Second World War given by the
famed military historian Richard Overy held by
Birbeck University and we are currently planning
an event for November to commemorate the