It was hard to believe that two weeks had flashed by and we were coming to the end of the tour. I was looking forward to our visit to the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth. The school has a fascinating history, having been established as an orphanage for the daughters of masons. My own grandfather is a proud mason and I have strong memories of him heading off to ‘Lodge’ dressed in his dinner suit with his regalia on.
RMS has an unusual and distinguished history. One of the oldest girls’ schools in the country, RMS was founded in 1788 by Chevalier Ruspini to educate the daughters of Freemasons unable through death, illness or disability to support their families. The School started out with fifteen pupils and a matron in Somers Place in East London and moved twice within London and finally to Rickmansworth in 1934. In 1978 RMS became an open, fee-paying school accepting girls from all backgrounds and all faiths, the vast majority of whom have no links with Freemasonry.
Royal Masonic School for Girls Website
The school is situated on around 300 acres of park like grounds and the aerial photographs show an impeccable layout in a classical style.
But the buildings are not what makes a school, the people do.
Publicist extraordinaire, Stephie, met Ian and I at Chelsea before we headed to Marylebone for the short train journey to Rickmansworth. We were met at the station by the lovely Sheryl from Chorleywood Bookshop, with whom I had also spent the first day of the tour.
It was a very short car ride to the school, which was just as impressive in real life as on the website. Teacher, Shirley Drummond welcomed us warmly and we went straight to the impressive new hall to set up. They’d had a busy morning with a poetry competition with girls from other schools, including students from Charlotte House. There was time for lunch in the staff room before a quick tour of the library and then down to meet the girls. Shirley had done a wonderful job of preparing the girls for my visit and they had already ‘met’ Alice-Miranda. The enthusiasm was palpable. I couldn’t believe the similarities between the school and Abbotsleigh, my former workplace in Australia. I also met another ex-Roseville College student – are they exporting all their girls to London?
The girls were fabulous and I loved meeting them all. They participated in the drama activities with such enthusiasm and afterwards I signed books for over an hour.
I can’t wait to visit again when I come back to the UK in November and would have loved to spend more time looking around. There’s always next time.
When we arrived back in London, Stephie, Ian and I met Charlotte, another of member of my amazing publicity team, for some celebratory drinks. It had been a hectic two weeks but absolutely wonderful and I can’t tell you how well we were looked after. The team at Random House Children’s Publishers UK are amazing – love, love, love them all.