The first Principal was Miss A Grant and for many
years, this was the only girls’ school in Singapore. When Miss Sophia Cooke
took charge in 1853, there were only 20 students, but the school was so highly
reputed for its effective character building that many young men wrote to the
school in search of suitable wives. Miss Cooke, who also founded the Young
Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), was a devoted and fervent Christian. She
did much to raise the level of education in the school and her name is
synonymous with St Margaret’s. During her term in 1861, the school moved to 134
Sophia Road and was named the Chinese Girls’ School.
Miss Gage-Brown, was Principal from 1897 to 1911. In
1900, the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) took over the management
in school and the school was renamed the CEZM School. Several other missionary
principals served as principals after Miss Gage-Brown: Miss F. Abel (from
1911-1918), Miss Annie Tolley (1918-1925), Miss Ada Fearon (1925-1928), Miss
Elsie Thackrah (1928-1930) and Miss Mabel Lane (1930-1938).
Miss Jessie Kilgour, Principal from 1938 to 1948, was
a much-loved and respected figure in the school. She worked hard and successfully
raised the standard of the school in both academic, work and games. The school
became a government-aided school in 1939. After the Second World War, the
school was renamed St Margaret’s School by the Bishop Leonard Wilson, after
Queen Margaret of Scotland.
Miss Norah Inge became Principal in 1948 and many new
changes were introduced. Domestic Science became part of the school curriculum,
a netball team was formed and a Girl Guide Company was incorporated. It was
Miss Inge who first conceived the idea of building a separate secondary school.
1957 saw the late Mrs Martha Holloway as the new
Principal and after much planning and hard work, the secondary school was built
at Farrer Road. The Secondary and Primary Schools were separated in 1960. Mrs
Holloway became Principal of the Secondary School and Mrs Gertrude Song, a
former student of St Margaret’s, became Principal of the Primary School.
Several principals have since helmed the school after Mrs Gertrude Song: Mrs
Mary Cassim (from 1966-1987), Miss May Chew (1987-2003), Mrs Elsie Poey (2004-2012),
Miss Pang Wee Mian (2012-2018). In 2019, Mrs Ko-Tan Li Ling was appointed as
The familiar old building at 134 Sophia Road which
continued to house the Primary School in the 1960s was demolished in August
1984. In its place was a larger school, built to house future generations of St
Margaret’s Primary School girls. The school occupied a holding school in
Anthony Road while awaiting the completion of the new building. The move back to
the old site came in June 1986, with a new address – 99 Wilkie Road. The school
was marked as a National Historic Site by the National Heritage Board in 1997.
In 2000, the school underwent PRIME – Programme for
the Rebuilding and Improvement of Existing Schools – on site. Upgrading works
were completed in June 2002. Two new blocks, enlarged classrooms and added
facilities provided for enhanced teaching and learning. In 2020, the school
moved to Mattar Road so that MOE’s PERI (Primary Education Review and
Implementation) upgrading works could take place at the Wilkie Road site.
Founded in the spirit of charity, patience and devotion (school motto), our school, with a record of helpfulness good works and dedicated service, is well loved by all who have passed out of her gates and will be loved and honoured by those yet to come. This is our heritage – a girls’ school with a fine tradition of service to our neighbours, our community and our nation, a tradition we can justly be proud of.