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Remembering Mrs Wiltshire

We are sad to announce that former headmistress Mrs Sheila Wiltshire OBE recently passed away, aged 96.

Mrs Wiltshire was the head of South Hampstead High School from 1969 until 1974, and a first in many respects: the first alumna to become headmistress; the first married woman to hold the position; and the first headmistress who did not come from a traditional teaching background.

Mrs Wiltshire graduated from the London School of Economics with a first class degree in Economics; was a research scholar at Newnham College, Cambridge; worked as an assistant lecturer at London University; then became a civil servant attached to the British Embassy in Rome, while working for the United Nations.

When she returned to South Hampstead as headmistress, she continued the developments started by her predecessor Miss Bodington, particularly in academic success, and in art and music. She was efficient, fair and well-respected. She also established our parents’ association FOSH (Friends of South Hampstead), enabling parents to support the school by introducing new events and fundraising initiatives – it is still running today under the same name. The highlight of Mrs Wiltshire’s headship was the building of a dedicated science block in 1971, opened by the Nobel Prize-winner Professor Dorothy Hodgkin. With this new space, South Hampstead was able to introduce new science courses which led to a substantial increase in students taking the subject – a legacy that remains to this day.

In 1974, Mrs Wiltshire left South Hampstead to become Headmistress of Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls. She remained in this role for 17 years until her retirement in 1991.

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