Corran Collegiate School, Langley Road, Watford




Corran School, Watford, Hertfordshire

Corran, Watford - circa 1910


Morning Post, 10th October, 1890

The same advertisement also appear in The Times on various dates in October 1890

In April 1891 a similar advertisement appeared in the Times "Indian and Colonial Children received. Airy house, gravel soil, Terms from 80 guineas."


Sarah Leishman was the wife of James Matthew Leishman (born Scotland 1845) a East India Merchant who died in the first half of 1880, and it seems possible that Sarah then moved to Watford and decided to set up a school. Because of the Indian connection the recommendation was presumably by Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison (1832-1896), Liettenant Governor of the Punjab.


 The 1891 census records the following people living at Corran, Watford

Sarah Leishman Head 41 Keeping School Scotland
Alan R Leishman Son 12 - India
Jane A Leishman Daughter 9 - Bayswater, Middlesex
Margaret Young Partner 29 Teacher Of English etc. India
Florence Hayes Servant 32 Music Teacher Kent, England
Minie B Smith Servant 45 Teacher Of English And Science Inverness, Scotland
Catline Hubback Pupil 14 - Ridgway, Derbyshire
Constance White Pupil 9 - Stanmore, Middlesex
Mary Young Pupil 16 - Surrey
Blance Taylor Pupil 11 - Shortlands, Kent
Edith Taylor Pupil 10 - Shortlands, Kent
Catherine Carver Servant 25 Cook Herefordshire
Eliza Lee Servant 21 Parlour Maid Portsmouth, Hampshire
Sarah Read Servant 22 Housemaid Buckinghamshire

Ownership of the school soon changed and in 1892 the Clifton headmistress, Miss M. A. Woods, joined Eleanor Frances Jourdain in founding Corran Collegiate School, Watford, a private boarding- and day school offering ‘a thorough education of the best type for girls of all ages’, where Miss Jourdain was soon sole headmistress. She proved to be, in the words of one former pupil, ‘a born teacher’ (Evans, Prelude and Fugue, 35). The success of this school, which had by 1900 more than 100 pupils, launched her on the next phase of her career. In Paris she rented a Rive Gauche flat—270 boulevard Raspail—in partnership with the daughter of a Sorbonne professor who had been on the Corran staff, where older girls could spend a year studying.


Exeter & Plymouth Gazette, 4th January, 1894

  Eleanor Frances Jourdain (1863–1924), by unknown photographer, c.1915

Eleanor Frances Jourdain (1863–1924)

by unknown photographer,c.1915


The school is recorded in full swing in the 1901 census but Eleanor Frances Jourdain (1863–1924) left in 1903 and later became Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford . The following advertisement clearly relates to her successor, Miss Elizabeth Whinshaw.


Yorkshire Post, 16th February, 1904

Staff at Corran in 1911


Whishaw Head 39 Head Teacher St Petersburg, Russia B.S. by parentage
Beatrice Simpson Joint Head 34 House Mistress Mayfield, Staffs  
Annie Simpson Visitor 29 Student (singing) Mayfield, Staffs  
Cecile Steingerger Assistant 26 French & German Teacher Coleraine, Co. Derry  
May Leitch Assistant 21 Teacher of Physical Culture Silloth, Cumberland  
Dorothy Read Assistant 25 Music Penryn, Cornwall  
Mary Tree Assistant 24 Teacher of Mathematics & English Malvern, Wordester  
Adeline Godfrey Assistant 32 Kindergarten Teacher Bridlington, Yorks  
Frances Boardman Assistant 27 Teacher of English Brentwood, Essex  
Cecile Cardenau Assistant 25 Teacher of French France French
Dorothy Cooke Assistant 20 Teacher of German Moravia, Austria Austrian
Margaret Woods Servant 40 Nurse Matron Tartaragham, Co. Armagh  
Eliza Deaks Servant 50 Cook Hammersmith, Mddx  
Edith Hanson Servant 19 Kitchen Maid East Ham, Mddx  
Mary Bath Servant 17 Underhouse Maid Bristol, Gloucestershire  
Rose Roberts Servant 22 Parlour Maid Buckingham, Bucks  
Mary Fearn Servant 20 House Maid Mayfield, Staffs  
Emily Allen Servant 38 General Alesford, Hants [widow]
Mary Boyle Servant 18 Under House Maid Glasgow, Lanark  


Pupils at Corran in 1911

Elsie Armstrong 17 Montreal, Canada B.S. by parentage
Dorothy Bayley 19 Horsehay, Shropshire  
Olive Becher 19 Southwell, Notts [visitor]
Margaret Boswell 16 Ashbourne, Derbyshire  
Barbara Bristow 17 Kings Lynn, Norfolk  
Dorothy Bristow 19 Kings Lynn, Norfolk  
Dorothy Cooke 16 Peavenhall, Suffolk  
Vera de Gaury 15 London  
Christine Durrant 14 St Petersburg, Russia B.S. by parentage
Dorothea Feild 17 St Petersburg, Russia B.S. by parentage
Dorothy Gibbons 14 Dudley, Staffs  
Marguerite Head 14 London  
Mary Hadden 14 Chisleurst, Kent  
Dorothy Hadden 15 Kotiyagalla, Bogoloantalawn, Ceylon B.S. by parentage
Mary Hazledive 17 Oxford, Oxfordshire  
Ruth Hegarty 16 Clonbur, Co. Galway  
Innes Hutchinson 17 Coddington, Notts  
Iris Lemare 8 London  
Eva Healy 18 Cork, Co. Cork  
Elizabeth Hope 17 Meriden, Warwickshire  
Ida Hope 16 Meriden, Warwickshire  
Edith Jelly 17 Hampton in Arden, Warwickshire  
Agnes Leitch 16 Silloth, Cumberland  
Marjorie Monroe 13 London  
Helen Preece 15 London  
May Phillips 13 Coventry, Warwickshire  
Evelyn Proctor 13 Hunton Bridge, Herts  
Louise Procter 16 Hunton Bridge, Herts  
Clara Sloley 18 Teyateteyaning, Basutoland B.S. by parentage
Winifred Thompson 20 Cardiff, Glamorganshire [visitor]
Phyllis Thomson 17 Cardiff, Glamorganshire  
Ella Thomson 16 Skipton, Yorks  
Hilda Walker 16 Ossett, Yorks  
Aag Wegerif 17 Apeldooree, Holland Dutch

One of the pupils listed above, Evelyn Emma Stefanos Procter, FRHistS (6 June 1897–1980) was a British historian and academic. She also served as Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford from 1946 to 1962.


One of the teachers listed above, Miss May Leitch, was a leading woman golfer, and these press accounts also reveal something about her teaching duties at the school.


Can you help by providing information on other pupils or teachers?

Sunderland Daily Echo 17th May, 1912

Dundee Courier, 26th November, 1919


Trade directories up to 1917 show:  Whishaw Miss E H, (Miss) M.A. (ladies' boarding & day school, preparatory school & kindergarten), Corran & Oakleigh, Langley Road, Watford. In 1922 the entry changed to read Langdon Misses, ladies school, Cowan [sic] & Oakleigh, Langley Road, Watford and with the address correctly spelt continued to 1933. It seems likely the school had closed, or was advertised under a different name, by 1937.

October 2014   Page Created