UsernamePasswordLoginForgot your password?
Welcome to the St. Francis’ College Old Girls’ Association (SFOGA) website.
St. Francis' College in the 1930s
The Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary (from Ghent) purchased the buildings vacated by St. Christopher School on the Broadway in June 1933. It had been empty for five years and there was a considerable amount of building and repair work to be done. The Sisters had been looking to expand their base in England for some time and were attracted to Letchworth because of its proximity to London. Sister Elisabeth of the Trinity was appointed Headmistress and the College was dedicated to St. Francis’ de Sales, the patron saint of the Archbishop of Westminster.

Over the summer walls were re-plastered and painted cream and pale green. Classrooms opened onto the Loggia where there were grass tennis courts and a rose garden. There was a gym, hockey and cricket pitches and the central courtyard used for netball. Specialist facilities included rooms for Needlework, a laboratory, Art room, Library, Theatre, Kindergarten and Chapel.

The Kindergarten and Preparatory School opened on Monday September 4th with the Residential Day and Secondary School opening a few weeks later on Wednesday September 20th. The College began with 29 pupils, but quickly expanded. By 1935 there were between 90 and 100 girls and boys. Boarders came from many countries including Belgium, Siam (modern day Thailand), Holland, Spain, England, Ireland and the USA.

Girls were taught a varied curriculum which included Music, Art, English, Mathematics. Botany, French, History, Geography, Religious Knowledge and Needlework. Sport and Drama featured heavily in the school week. Girls played hockey, netball, cricket and tennis. Lavish drama productions were put on in the school theatre by Sister Loyola.

By 1938 the school was experiencing a lack of space with about 200 day and boarding pupils squeezed into the Middle School. Even though the Kindergarten and Junior school had already moved to their own building in 1936, space was still at a premium. A courageous decision was made by Sister Elisabeth to start work on building the present Broadway building. The aim of this new part of the school was to provide separate space for boarders, a bigger Chapel and space for the Sisters to live.

The foundation stone for the new building was laid on October 24th1938 by Monsigneur Van Rechem, Bishop of Carpasie and Auxiliary Bishop of Ghent. Building work continued throughout 1938/9 and the new part of school opened to boarders in September 1939 just as the Second World War began.
Gallery Photos
Boarders in 1937
Boarders in 1937
A cubicle for boarders.
A cubicle for boarders.
Sisters in 1933 just after the college opened.
Sisters in 1933 just after the college opened.
The Broadway in the 1930s.
The Broadway in the 1930s.
Broadway buiding under construction in 1938.
Broadway buiding under construction in 1938.
Boarders in 1937
Boarders in 1937
Broadway in 1930s
Broadway in 1930s
Chapel
Chapel
Girls playing Cricket
Girls playing Cricket
Dispensary
Dispensary
Drill Display at Open Day 1936
Drill Display at Open Day 1936
Entrance Gate
Entrance Gate
Exterior 1939
Exterior 1939
Exterior 1939
Exterior 1939
Fairy Slipper Nov1935
Fairy Slipper Nov1935
First group of Boarders 1934
First group of Boarders 1934
Front Entrance
Front Entrance
Gym in central courtyard
Gym in central courtyard
Gym in courtyard
Gym in courtyard
Inner Courtyard
Inner Courtyard
Kindergarten and Dormitory Wing
Kindergarten and Dormitory Wing
Kindergarten
Kindergarten
Library
Library
Loggia 1930s
Loggia 1930s
Middle School corridor
Middle School corridor
Music Room
Music Room
New Buiding 1938
New Buiding 1938
New building 1938
New building 1938
New Prep Building 1936
New Prep Building 1936
Plan of Middle School 1938
Plan of Middle School 1938
Prep class 1935
Prep class 1935
Day pupils 1934
Day pupils 1934
Sister Elisabeth 1933
Sister Elisabeth 1933
Sisters 1939
Sisters 1939
The Snow Queen 1936
The Snow Queen 1936
Sisters' Dining Room
Sisters' Dining Room
InTouch-Online (v 2.9.5.7) supplied by InTouch Software