A look at our history
Over 120 years ago, Dr. Jessie Gordon established Crofton House as a school where girls would be inspired to discover and pursue their personal excellence, a mission that remains vital today
Crofton House School was founded in 1898 by Dr. Jessie Gordon. As one of the first women to attend Cambridge University, Jessie placed great value on education for women and had a bold vision of creating an all-girls' school where young women would build a solid foundation to meet life's challenges.
In addition to the emphasis on academics, Jessie established the tradition of a well-rounded education for girls, making sports, physical education, drama and music part of the curriculum. This whole-girl approach continues to be a cornerstone of Crofton House education.
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Classes begin in the billiard room of Jessie Gordon’s family home at 1219 West Georgia Street. There are four students: the Tunstall sisters – Janet, Marjorie and Dorothy – and Gertrude Nicol.
A new school is built at the corner of Jervis Street and Nelson Street, and opens with 30 day students and five boarding students. Jessie names the school Crofton House, inspired by Crofton Cottages, where she lived while attending Cambridge.
An ivy leaf collected by a student on a walk is the inspiration for the school symbol. Servabo Fidem – I will keep the faith – becomes the school motto. Jessie runs the school, along with her two sisters, Mary and Edith.
The lot adjacent to the School is purchased and the “lower”, or Junior School, is built.
The intertwined CHS becomes the School logo.
The “Old Girls Association”, the precursor to today’s Alumnae Association, is established.
Crofton House has grown to include a Senior School, a Junior School, tennis courts and a gymnasium.
The first Crofton House School Head Girl, Maude Travers ’27, is elected.
With Mary and Jessie Gordon’s retirement and the residential centre of the city shifting away from the West End, the future of the school is uncertain. A group of dedicated parents, alumnae and friends rally to ensure Crofton House can continue. The School is incorporated under the Societies Act of British Columbia and the Board of Governors is created.
Sarah Macdonald is appointed Headmistress. Ms. Macdonald starts many traditions that continue today, including the Carol Service and the House system.
Despite the challenges of the Depression, followed by World War II, the Board makes the bold decision to move the school from the West End to Kerrisdale, and the Edgemont estate at 41st Avenue and Blenheim Street is purchased. The beautiful 10-acre campus continues to be a distinctive feature of Crofton House.
Ellen Bryan is appointed Headmistress. The original house is renovated to become the Residence and administrative centre and a new classroom building, Gordon Hall, is constructed.
Crofton House marks 50 years with a Golden Jubilee Celebration and the opening of Farrell Hall, a new gymnasium.
Jessie Gordon receives an honorary doctorate from UBC for services to education.
The Gordon Memorial Library opens on March 1, 1957 – the School's 59th birthday.
Crofton House has full enrolment, over 360 girls, when Muriel Bedford-Jones is appointed Headmistress.
New school uniforms are introduced that feature the Gordon tartan. Crofton House students continue to wear Gordon tartan tunics and skirts as part of their uniforms
Crofton House continues to grow, with the opening of a new Junior School, Bryan Hall.
Bedford-Jones Hall, a residence for boarders, opens.
Rosalind Addison is appointed Headmistress of Crofton House School.
A pageant and celebration marks the School’s 75th anniversary.
The need for more classroom space is met with the extension of Gordon Hall.
The Fine Arts Centre, including the Rix Gymnasium and Addison Auditorium, is opened.
Barbara Emmerson is appointed Head of School. Boarding at CHS comes to an end.
The new Junior School, Bedford-Jones Hall and Chan Hall gymnasium are opened.
Barbara Walker is appointed Head of School.
The Geoffrey Lau Science Centre is opened.
CHS celebrates 100 years!
Patricia Dawson is appointed Head of School.
The Board of Governors approves a bold Campus Master Plan to transform the campus.
The Senior School building opens.
The Early Childhood Education Centre opens.
The renovation of the Old Residence is complete.
The Senior School Athletics Centre and Manrell Hall open.
Rejuvenation of the Beedie Fine Arts Centre is complete.
In December, a celebration is held to thank the CHS community for their dedication and generosity, which allowed the completion of the Campus Master Plan.
CHS inspires over 900 girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 to discover and pursue their personal excellence.
“I have been at Crofton House for eight years and it feels like a second home. All of the teachers are so caring and the campus is so beautiful – I love coming here.”
Georgia ’25 | CHS Student