Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Women of Vision: 1893 - 1925

The "Timeless Traditions" exhibition took place on 4 August 2009 at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. It showcased the pioneers of BBGS as well as school activities through the decades. Some readers who couldn't attend the function have asked me to share the exhibition online. So here it is...enjoy!

This exhibition has been researched, written and sponsored by Joanna Yeoh and photos have been re-produced with permission from Miss YL Moey. Please obtain written copyright permission from the author before reproducing any information and images for print or digital use. Thank you.





Miss Betty Langlands, 1893 - 1895


The British Empire was at its height of glory when Miss Betty Langlands left England for Malaya, an equatorial colonial outpost.

Her vision?

To educate the women in this country and elevate their status in society, in order that they might live fuller lives. In 1893, this determined missionary lady gathered a few women in Brickfields and taught them to read.

The first girls’ school in Selangor was born.







Miss Bessie Maclay and the five orphans she adopted

Miss Bessie Maclay (1895 - 1914)

Miss Maclay arrived from China in 1895 to take over the reins of the school, then known as the Chinese Girls’ School. The school grew under her care, even while it was physically moved to Petaling Hill and Davidson Road.

A hardworking, broadminded and strict Headmistress, Miss Maclay was feared but loved by all her pupils. Coming from a well-to-do family, Miss Maclay gave generously to all who needed help. As a nurse, she welcomed everyone who came to the dispensary at her house. Babies were left on her doorstep. She raised five of these children, all of whom grew up to be a credit to her.

In 1914, she went on leave via USA on board the Lusitania. The First World War broke out and the ship was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland and she was drowned. Maclay House was named in her honour.


Miss Shirtliff and her pupils in the early twentieth century

Miss Shirtliff arrived from New Zealand in 1898 and came to Kuala Lumpur in the early 1900’s. Firm, forthright and outspoken, she soon became well-known to the schoolgirls of that era. She planted a rain tree under which the girls loved to shelter at recess time. The much-loved raintree continued to provide welcome respite for over half a century. Shirtliff House was named in her honour.


L-R: Miss Ruth Lewis, Miss Molly Ham (1914 - 1918)

From 1914 – 1918, during the difficult days of the First World War, the school continued under the joint leadership of Miss Ruth Lewis and Miss Molly Ham.

Miss Lewis also came from New Zealand. She later married and became Mrs Robert Austin.

Miss Ham left Malaya after the war and went to live in Cheddar, England.


L-R: Mrs Green, Miss Luke, Miss O' Connor

Mrs W.H. Green, 1918 - 1919

Mrs Green, the sister of Miss Shirtliff, took over the reins of the school for a year. One of Mrs Green’s pupils was heard to remark, “Oh dear, she was very, very strict but most efficient as a Principal.” Green House was named after her.


Miss A. Luke, 1919 – 1925

Miss A Luke arrived in 1919, and led the school until 1925. She married and became Mrs. Bennett, and went on to reside in Brisbane, Australia.


Miss O’ Connor, circa 1922


When Miss Luke went on leave, Miss O’ Connor who later became Mrs G. Gough, was given the headship in 1922. She was the first graduate teacher of the school.

2 comments:

FATIN ANISA said...

Hai Jo, Thanks a lot for this reproduction. Didn't managed to read all during my short visit there. Glad that u've done it. Thanks again.. AFZAZ Batch '90

Anonymous said...

Royal Mail Steamer Lusitania.
http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lusilist/LusitaniaPassengerList.html
Details of McClay, Ms Bessie