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NEWS > Community News > The Return of 'Old Fishes'

The Return of 'Old Fishes'

The School returns to the quirky and beloved tradition as all our alumni are now once again referred to as Old Fishes, which was once our 'code name'!
New Hall School's Heritage Room
New Hall School's Heritage Room

New Hall’s founding Religious Community, The Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, is a religious order founded by English woman Susan Hawley in 1642 in Liège after she was trained in the Religious Life of the Holy Sepulchre in the Low Countries, what is now Belgium.

The Community educated young girls who were sent to them from the earliest days of its foundation. At a time when girls were denied a Catholic education in England, they were sent to Liège to board with the Religious Community. However, the French Revolutionary wars forced them back to England, where they moved into the Tudor Palace of Beaulieu in 1799, intent on moving their school and providing a Catholic education to girls from around Europe and the UK.

It was not a simple task, as students now had to be smuggled into the country. The sisters used the code name ‘fishes’ in their correspondences to cover up the real contents of the boats arriving on the English shores. This secret led to students across the decades to being referred to as ‘Fishes’, with alumni becoming ‘Old Fishes’ as they left the School. In honour of this distinguished history, having celebrated the 225th anniversary of the School’s move to Chelmsford, New Hall has returned to the quirky and beloved tradition – all of our alumni are now once again referred to as Old Fishes, and the alumni association as Old Fishes Association (OFA).


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