Opened in June 2014, the Founders’ Garden commemorates the five founding schools which make up today’s Malvern St James Girls’ School. The garden’s centrepiece is a beautiful birdbath, created by renowned sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies, which was unveiled at Batsford House, MSJ’s Junior Boarding House on Avenue Road. The birdbath symbolises the School’s roots in Lawnside, The Abbey, St James’s School, St James’s and The Abbey, and Malvern Girls’ College.
The sculpture is surrounded by planting chosen to represent the colours from each of these founding schools. Ben Twiston-Davies, whose work includes the permanent memorial to Agatha Christie installed in London’s Covent Garden, is also the direct relative of Alice and Katrine Baird, the founders of St James’s School (previously located in West Malvern), and the son of an Old Girl of St James’s.
Creating the garden and the commissioning of the sculpture has been made possible by generous donations from many parts of the MSJ family, especially our alumnae and ex-members of staff.
The idea of creating a birdbath for the garden was inspired by George Bernard Shaw famously leaping over a birdbath in Lawnside’s garden for the camera whilst attending one of the Malvern Festivals.
The opening ceremony was enjoyed by over 150 Old Girls, who had travelled widely from the UK and from as far afield as Japan and Hong Kong, alongside many current and former staff and previous Heads of the founding schools. The unveiling ceremony was led by Anne Borrowdale, Chair of Governors for MSJ, and herself an Old Girl. The fact that so many of our girls, from so many different generations, travelled from far and wide to be with us that day is testament to how fondly they remember their School days, and how they continue to participate in MSJ’s present and future.
If you would like to visit the Founders’ Garden then please contact Fiona Meredith on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01684 892288.
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