THE roots of Moorfield School were in a 'ladies school' founded by Catherine Rattenbury in the middle of the 19th century in North Street (which had until recently then been known as Whitecross Street), which runs from Exeter Street to Regent Street.
It would appear to have been an early success and in March 1850, the Rattenburys moved the school to a larger property at 7 North Street, on the corner of Ham Street (now Ebrington Street) Clarendon House.
Targeting the daughters of Army and Naval officers and of men of the professional classes, the school later moved to what was fast becoming the new well-to-do part of town around Mannamead.
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One the Rattenburys' four daughters, Julia, was now in charge as the school settled firstly at Hender's Corner, then Thorn Park Villas, before finally relocating, at the beginning of the 20th century, to a building that had until recently housed the boys of Mannamead School on the northern side of Seymour Road.
Indeed the school was known for some years as The Mannamead School before adopting the name of the villa they were occupying, hence Moorfield. Margaret Dallas had overseen the last of these moves, and she later took on Seymour Villa, another of the former Mannamead School buildings.
During World War Two the school decanted into a smaller property, Chatsworth, and the main premises were used by the Women's Royal Naval Service as a training facility.
After the war, having returned to Seymour, the school never really recaptured its glory days, although, in 1961, just before it closed, one of its recent leavers, Angela Mortimer, achieved glory as the women's singles champion at Wimbledon.
1850 Mrs Catherine Rattenbury
1870 (about) Miss Julia Rattenbury
1902 Miss Margaret Dallas
1928 Miss A Bailey & Miss Grace Pocock
1938 Misses Grace and Eleanor Pocock