1902 – 2013
Numbers 4 and 15 Southernhay West were the first two houses to be associated with St Margaret’s when the school’s founder, Miss Bessie Jago, purchased them at the beginning of the twentieth century (1902).
Miss Jago sold these houses during the First World War and relocated the tiny boarding and school to Magdalen Road, at Wynlaton House.
Miss Jago later sold Wynlaton House to her successor and close friend Miss Edmonds in 1920/21. Originally built as a single house, Wynlaton House was soon outgrown due to the success of the school under its latest headteacher. Miss Edmonds later purchased nearby Baring Lodge (now known as Newberry Lodge) and then Baring House (The School House) to accommodate the school’s quick growth.
Morford House, which commemorates Frances Morford’s retirement, Willowdene, and Westall House, in honour of Bishop Westall, who was Custos at that time, were later acquired as additions to the school.
Miss Edmonds became headmistress of St Margaret’s in 1920/21 and retired in 1952. She and her teachers welcomed local pupils through its doors well into the 21st century.
THE LATEST CHAPTER
Now entering the historic site’s latest chapter, St Margaret’s is returning to its original use as Exeter-based developer Grenadier begins redeveloping the Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings into new energy efficient homes for the area.
The redevelopment aims to celebrate, preserve and sensitively restore features reminiscent of the eras through which St Margaret’s has evolved, including the Georgian high ceilings with delicate coving, elegant staircases and marble fireplaces, as well as the Edwardian stained-glass window and ornate ironwork banisters.
Challenging the myth that historic listed buildings can’t compete with the efficiency of new-build homes, St Margaret’s Residences will lead by example and set a new benchmark for period homes.
Source of content and imagery: A Century of School Life; St Margaret’s School, Exeter 1902-2002, Authors: Yeo, K.M, Hunter, M.W