We’re celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of posts to coincide with our Women at Heatherleys Exhibition.
In this article we’re appreciating the contributions of Helen Wilson (1903 – 1972).
When the school fell into decline between 1946 and 1969, if it wasn’t for then Director of Studies Helen Wilson the school might not exist today.
After the death of principal Henry Massey (1860-1934) Heatherleys was turned into Heatherleys Ltd. with his wife Gertrude Massey as Chair. This enterprise was taken over by Arts Publishing company in 1956, but without the committed personal interest of previous leaders of the school it fell into decline and was finally closed in 1969.
Helen took the remaining students and re-opened the school in a scouts hut in Hampstead. She later sold her house and purchased a property in Chalcot Gardens, establishing the Heatherley-Wilson School of Arts and Crafts.
Though it’s little known that she was the founder ‘The Thomas Heatherley Educational Trust’ her legacy lives on as this charity still governs the school to this day.