Welcome to the New Hall School Alumni Network. The New Hall Association includes past and present students and their parents, staff and their families, as well as friends of New Hall from the local community and the wider world. The Association maintains regular contact with past students via newsletters, reunions, social events and the careers network.Through membership of the New Hall Association (NHA), former students retain the strong sense of community experienced during their school days and also benefit from a lively social and careers network.
New Hallians or Old Fishes?
New Hall Alumni are referred to New Hallians or Old Fishes. The term Old Fishes is a traditional term, which was used for former New Hall students from as early as 1799. At the time of Catholic persecution in mainland Europe, the founding Religious Community were forced to leave the Low Countries and to move to England. Whilst they were seeking a suitable venue in England, the nuns referred to students as “Fishes” in their correspondence, so as not to alert the authorities. The name stuck and, subsequently, when students left New Hall they became known as ‘Old Fishes’. It is a unique and fascinating story that unites everyone associated with New Hall with the rich heritage of our past. It also makes an interesting talking point at dinner parties! More recently, following student body consultation, the term New Hallian has become a more popular term for former New Hall students, especially since the introduction of New Hall Senior Boys Division.
History of New Hall
New Hall School was founded in Liège in 1642, making us one of the oldest Catholic Schools in the UK. The faith which lies at the heart of our foundation remains essential to the character of the school today. The founding Religious Order, the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, is one of the most ancient in the Church and was established in Europe long before the English Religious Community was founded in 1642. During Penal Times, an English woman, Susan Hawley, went to the Low Countries and was trained in the Religious Life of the Holy Sepulchre. On making her profession, she left that Religious Community to found an English Religious Community in Liège; from these earliest days, girls were sent to the nuns to be educated. The Community’s spirituality, rooted in the Augustinian tradition, has a special emphasis on the Resurrection, prayer, community life, hospitality and service to others.
Initially, the school offered a Catholic education to girls who were denied this in England in the Post-Reformation period. In 1794, the French Revolutionary Wars forced the nuns to leave the Low Countries. The school reopened on its present site in 1799.
With the exception of the years during the Second World War, when evacuation to Newnham Paddox near Rugby was forced on the Religious Community and school, New Hall has been the environment in which the school has thrived and grown. School developments have included, for example, the Eaton Theatre, which was completed in 1925, with a stage and green room at one end and a studio above. The old theatre at New Hall was last used for the performance of ‘O what a lovely war’, in December 1986. The refurbished Eaton Theatre was reopened in September 2008, with new tiered seating.
History of the New Hall Estate
Since 1799, New Hall has occupied the magnificent Tudor Palace of Beaulieu. In 1517, the estate was acquired by King Henry VIII, who greatly enlarged and enhanced the building. The Royal Arms of Henry VIII can now be seen in the school Chapel. After Henry, New Hall was home to Mary Tudor, before it was subsequently granted to the Earl of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth I. Oliver Cromwell later procured the estate for five shillings.
In February 2009, Channel 4’s Time Team came to New Hall to film for a special feature length documentary called Henry VIII’s Lost Palaces. The documentary was shown on Channel 4 on Easter Monday, April 2009.
History of New Hall Preparatory School
The Preparatory School was founded in 1947 at Goodings, near Newbury, with just 14 pupils. The school thrived under the leadership of Sr Magdalen John CRSS as Headmistress and, with 100 pupils, it had to be relocated in 1953 to a bigger campus, at Denford Park, Hungerford. The school remained at Denford until 1967, at which time there were 150 pupils, including many boarders and some boys as well as girls. In 1967, the Preparatory School at Denford Park was closed and all resources were put into the development of New Hall Senior School. As a result, from being a boarding school of around 140 in the 1960s, New Hall became, by the 1980s, a large boarding and day Senior School for over 500 girls. In 1994, the Preparatory School was re-established on the campus at New Hall. Opening with 40 pupils, the school grew rapidly over the following years. In 2003, the Preparatory School welcomed its first boarders and now offers boarding for boys in Years 3-6 in Earle House and for girls in Years 3-6 in Magdalen House. A new Pre-Reception for pupils aged 3-4 opened in 2004.
On this network you can:
Create a profile - with information about your education and work as well as details of when you were a student at New Hall School. You can easily import your LinkedIn profile which will take less than a minute!
We use the information you've given us to help find people you might have known when you were at New Hall School - the more information you give us, the more friends we can find! Once you've found a friend you can send them a connection request and a private message, just like on LinkedIn.
Extend your network
We can also help you find new connections e.g. New Hall School alumni now working in the same industry or company as you, or who went to the same university as you - by adding work and education information to your profile we can help connect you.
Share with your network
Found something funny, useful or interesting you'd like to share with other New Hall alumni? You can use the home page news feed to share links (just like on Facebook) or you can post an article. As long as it isn't spam and is genuinely of interest to other alumni we'll approve and publish it for you!
Keep in touch with New Hall School
We'll occasionally send newsletters and invites out to our members, linking to stories about our alumni and up-coming events. If you want to be updated more often you can easily login to this network and check the home page news feed to see who's recently joined, things other alumni have shared, recent events and news stories posted!