September 15th 1928 saw the inauguration of the British Federation of Notre Dame de Namur Associations.  Representatives from over thirty associations gathered together at the Convent of Notre Dame, Bignor St, Manchester and agreed to form a Federation. “ It’s object shall be to bring into communication with one another the old pupils of the Notre Dame (de Namur) Schools of Great Britain through their organised Associations,by affording facilities for mutual assistance among its members, for the furtherance of Catholic education and interests, to formulate and promote movements requiring the support of educated Catholic women, and for the welfare of Notre Dame de Namur.”

The initial step in the formation of a British Federation was taken as a result of a letter received from Sister Superior Provincial on April 26th 1928, enclosing one from “The Federation of Notre Dame de Namur Alumnae, Washington.
The letter from Washington expressed the desire that the Alumnae of England should be affiliated to the American Federation.
As a response to Sister Superior Provincial’s letter the Executive Committee of the Clapham Notre Dame Association, at a meeting held on May 17th, decided that their Honorary Secretary should approach other Notre Dame Associations to find out their views on the matter.

The response from the British Associations was excellent, and at a committee meeting of Clapham N.D. Association on
May 31st, it was decided that this association should take the lead in establishing the British Federation of Notre Dame Old Pupils Association,
a) Because Clapham was the oldest established Convent of Notre Dame in Great Britain.
a) Because Clapham was situated in the Capital.
b) Because this Association had already a working committee.
At the General Meeting of the Clapham N.D.A. held on June 9th, the following resolution was adopted,- That this Meeting is in favour of the establishment of a British Federation of Notre Dame (de Namur) Alumnae, that it consents to join the Federation , and that in union with other British N.D. Associations it wishes to send cordial greeting to the Fourth Triennial Convention of “The International Federation of Notre Dame de Namur Alumnae” to be held at Philadelphia at the end of June 1928.

A letter was sent to America on behalf of the English Associations who had expressed their desire to join in a message to the American Federation, sending greetings and good wishes to the Philadelphia Convention and stating that the suggestion with Washington had met with a satisfactory response, and that it was hoped to form a British Federation in the early Autumn.

The committee of the Clapham N.D.A. acting as temporary conveners arranged for the inaugural meeting of delegates from British Associations to be held at the Convent of Notre Dame, Manchester on Sept. 15th. There were sixty three delegates present at this meeting, representing the Associations of Battersea, Blackburn Boarding School, Blackburn Secondary Day School, Birkdale, Clapham, Dowanhill, Dumbarton, Everton Valley Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Mount Pleasant College, Northampton, Norwich, St Helen’s, Sheffield, Teignmouth, Wigan (Mt Pleasant Association). The only Associations not represented were Clapham High School, and (owing to a misunderstanding) the Manchester, London, Bradford, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Stoke-on-Trent Branches of Mt Pleasant Association. Two Convents had as yet no Association, namely, Plymouth and St George’s, Southwark,

Mrs Winefride de l’Hôpital, President of Clapham N.D.A. was unanimously elected Chairman of the Meeting and subsequently the first national president of BFNDA
As is still the case, the president was elected for a three year term of office.

In the preceding years, associations of former pupils had started to be formed centred around the various Notre Dame schools in the UK.
“According to my late mother, the Leeds Association grew out of the Literary and Geographical Society led by Hilda Roberts, (a much loved and respected teacher of generations of Leeds students) with, as founder members, my mother and Mary Jolly (the whole Sixth Form!). The formation of the BFNDA in 1928 heralded the first step forward with a name change to Leeds Notre Dame Association…..”
Pauline Ireland (Clayden) (Past President BFNDA 2003-2006, ND Leeds 1938 -43) writing in the Federation 75th Jubilee Souvenir Booklet

“The Everton Valley Association was inaugurated in 1926 ( I think). The Headmistress, Sr Imelda was very interested and gave us the use of rooms in the school for meetings and our various activities. A weekends groups would go for a ramble- plenty of country on the Wirral. Occasionally we had a party reunion and even a dance in the hall (for a charity). The highlight was the Operatic Society which gradually became very successful….”
Mary Morgan writing in the 2003 edition of St Julie News

The following year at Mount Pleasant Training College representatives from the associations met to discus among other things , the constitution. 1930 saw the introduction of ‘The Bulletin’ which would continue to be published until 1974 when a new format was introduced with a new name ‘St Julie News’ In the years following ,the Federation grew from strength to strength. In 1931 the first Triennial Convention was held at the Convent of Notre Dame Clapham when new members were elected to the Executive Committee. In February 1933 the first Federation Dinner was held at ‘The Rembrandt’ in South Kensington London Tickets cost the equivalent of 47p! These dinners (often called Banquets!) seem to occur quite often according to the BFNDA archives.. In August 1935 Sr Mary of the Apostles SND who had acted as Archivist between 1931 and 1934 was formally appointed by Sister Superior Provincial as her permanent Representative on the Executive Committee. Sr Mary of the Apostles continued in that role for many years. She was replaced in 1977 by Sr Marie Therese Coleman SND who herself had worked with Sr Mary of the Apostles on the Executive Committee as Archivist 1973-76. Sr Provincial still has an appointed Representative on the Executive Committee. At the present time this is Sr Margaret Walsh SND.

In September 1939 the AGM due to take place in Norwich was cancelled because of the outbreak of war. A newsletter was published in 1940 but war-time difficulties made it impossible to maintain contact with associations. The Executive Committee met in Leeds in 1942 and again in Battersea on 1944.

From the Archives

Mrs De L'Hopital

Mrs Winefride de l’ Hopital

 Past presidents at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1988 at the then Christ’s  and Notre Dame College Liverpool.

Past presidents of the BFNDA


     Left – Right       Miss Joan Duggan,  Miss Eleanor McArthur, Miss Florence Pedrick   Mrs Joan Fisher, Mrs Anne McMurray

                                        2000 Liverpool Hope   BFNDA AGM & Conference- ‘All the Presidents’

A photo of Liverpool 2000, "All the presidents".

Back Row L – R  Fr Dearman (Chaplain), Margaret Lawton (1988-1991),Veronica Miles (1991-1994)

                                                                                                       Joan Kentleton(1985-1988), Anne McMurray(1973-1976)

                                                                            Front Row L – R  Sr. Susan Mary SND , Joan Duggan (1976-1979), Josie Spanswick (2000-2003)

                                                                                                       Mary Kendal (1997-2000), José Sear (1994-1997)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             For more Photographs look in Archives

Former Presidents of BFNDA

1928-31        Mrs W de L’Hopital OBE         Clapham NDA                                                                                1982-85       Miss M Jeffrey                   Manchester NDA & MPCA

1931-34        Miss C Mc Donnell                    Liverpool MPCA                                                                            1985-88       Mrs J Kentleton                 Battersea Old Notre Damians  

1934-37        Miss A A Walker                        Sheffield NDA & MPCA                                                                 1988-91        Miss M M Lawton             Leeds NDA

1937-45        Miss M K Duffy                          Battersea Old Notre Damians                                                    1991-94         Miss V  Miles                      Manchester NDA

1945-48        Miss E M McArthur                  Dumbarton Boarders Assoc.                                                       1994 -97        Mrs J Sear                          Northampton NDA

1948-51        Miss M C Lord                            Blackburn NDA                                                                            1997 -00        Mrs M Kendal                     Manchester NDA

1951-54         Miss K A Rowe                           Plymouth NDA                                                                             2000-03        Mrs J Spanswick  MBE      Southwark NDA

1954-56        Mrs M W Kearney                     Manchester NDA & MPCA                                                            2003-06        Miss P Clayden                    Leeds NDA

1956-60        Miss M Forbes                           Manchester NDA & MPCA                                                            2006 -09       Mrs M R Silcock                 Liverpool NDA

1960-63        Miss  M K Hare                          Liverpool MPCA                                                                            2009-12         Mrs M W Lewis                  Direct Member

1963-66         Miss E W Gray                          Southwark NDA                                                                             2012-15         Mrs M Bradbury               Northampton NDA

1966-69        Mrs A M Clarkson                     St Helens  NDA                                                                               2015-18         Mrs B Shaw                      Manchester NDA

1969-73        Miss F M Pedrick                       Plymouth NDA                                                                               2018-21         Mrs D Donovan               Southwark NDA 

1973-76         Mrs A McMurray       Manchester NDA & MPCA

1976 -79        Miss J Duggan                           Sheffield NDA

1979-80        Mrs J Fisher                               Liverpool High School NDA

1980-82        Miss J Duggan                           Acting president