St Margaret’s School

The Gables, in Poplar Rd, was owned by the Lysaght family. During WWI it was used as a military hospital. After the war the family sold the property and St Margaret’s girls’ school moved in.

Advert from a 1930s Burnham Guide.

The school had previously occupied premises in Julia Terrace next door to Brean Down House School, where it had been founded in around 1910 by Mary and May Cooper [an advert in the Weston-super-Mare Gazette is actually dated 1908]. The school remained at Poplar Rd until its closure in the mid 1950’s.  (The Book of Burnham, Winston and Robert Thomas p. 83).

St Margarets at ‘The Gables’.
St Margaret’s in Julia Terrace. Image used by kind permission of Bob & June Thomas.
Beach view showing both the end of Julia Terrace and ‘The Gables’
Pupils playing on beach
Entrance in Poplar Rd.


The next images of the interior of the school and tennis court have been supplied courtesy of Carol Newman, as has the one at the head of the page.

The entrance hall
The dining room
A classroom
The tennis court

The images and letters that follow have been kindly supplied to us by Jenny Welland. In the photo below, dated 1910, Violet Welling, Jenny’s relative, is marked with a cross.

Above is an invoice to Violet’s mother from 1916.

Alex Stone has kindly donated to the NSLHG a notebook kept by one of the pupils, which she found by chance  in a secondhand book store in Dartmouth. It appears to be dated 1918. Below are scans of some of the pages including autographs of other pupils.

Next is a letter of 1918  from Maye Cooper to the pupils which possibly pre-dated the move to Poplar Rd.

Below is a report from the Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror of 27th May 1933.

There follow two letters from Maye Cooper to the Old Girls Association Magazine. The first is undated, the second dated 1939. There appears to be an untold story behind these letters as it seems that at the time of writing of the first Maye Cooper had retired, but by the second she had returned to take charge of  the school once more.

Old Girls Association badge

The next photo is unidentified but appears as if it could be an ‘old girls’ reunion.

Below are two photos of performances at the school. They are undated but the first, from the costumes, appears as if it may have been around the time of WWI.

It appears that at some point St Margaret’s amalgamated with Oakover School. Advert below from 1942:

11 thoughts on “St Margaret’s School”

  1. Dear Sir, recently I moved into a property on Poplar Road. I was intrigued to learn that St Margaret’s school was on,or near the address until mid 1950’s. Is it possible learn more of the history, dates etc. ? Also,is it possible to purchase any photographs of the site ? I would love to frame one or two ! Thank you, yours faithfully,Geoffrey Pike.

    1. Hello Geoffrey,
      Thank you for your comment. We are pleased you like our site. All the images have kindly been loaned by people on the basis that they will be used for educational purposes only. This policy was a condition of our Lottery grant. There are shops in Abingdon Street, the High Street and Victoria Street who sell historical images and artifacts. I am fairly confident the Abingdon shop will have the images you ask for.
      Thank you for your interest,

  2. I have a book made by the girls of St Margaret’s school dated 1911. It is compiled of drawings, poems and quotations. I am quite happy to send it to anyone who would like it.

    1. Hello Alexandra,
      We are always happy to add more to our information about Burnham’s past.
      I will contact via our personal email address to arrange for your kind offer.
      Thank you,


      1. Hello Alexandra,
        Thankyou for the book which is very interesting and we hope to put a few of the pages on here soon.
        Thanks again for thinking of us.

  3. On turning out some old post cards, I have found six of St Margarets School, all unused and in mint condition. The main Hall, dining room, class room, tennis court, road outside and a view of the building from the beach. If anyone is interested, let me have an address, and I will post them to you.
    Or collect , I live at Hutton. Pete Newman

    1. Thank you for your kind offer Peter. It would be nice to get them scanned onto the website. I will make enquiries and let you know.

  4. It was only last year (2020) that the greenhouse shown on the right of the school entrance was taken down when it became unsafe. The house has recently been sold. Martin Stevens and his family lived there for a very long time.

  5. My sister and I attended Oakover and St. Margaret’s School in 1943 when our father was with the Southern Command, Royal Corps of Signals. Mrs. Yates was headmistress. We were billeted at Steart Hotel on the Esplanade. This might be Steart House. Our quarters was the whole of the top floor. I would love to find a photo of the Hotel.

    1. Thanks for your comment Barbara. You may be right about Steart House being Steart Hotel. Unfortunately I have not seen any pictures or references which would either confirm this or place it elsewhere.Perhaps other reader may have additional information?

    2. Hello Barbara,
      We have just been given a document about the excavations of the two wells behind Steart House. The pages are over stamped Steart House Ltd, Esplanade, Burnham-on-sea, Tel 398. How’s that for a coincidence? Should you like a copy of this building when it was known by its current name please reply here.

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