Every year on 24 November, we celebrate St Catherine’s Day. As a day that is treasured by Habs students past and present, this year’s celebrations were as busy and exciting as ever.

But did you know, we have been commemorating the patron saint of The Haberdashers’ Company for over 100 years?

In 1927, the custom was introduced by the Headmistress of the Girls’ School, Miss Sprules. She not only saw St Catherine as a good role model for her pupils, she also believed it would strengthen the link between the livery company and the school.

The Story of St Catherine

St Catherine was made patron saint of the Livery Company of Haberdashers’ due to their members meeting in the side chapel dedicated to her. In the 14th century, the chapel was located in the old St Paul’s Cathedral, which later burnt down in the Great Fire of London.

While alive, St Catherine refused to marry Emperor Maxentius, despite his strenuous efforts at persuasion. Furious at her snub, Maxentius ordered her to be put to death on a wheel.

The association of Catherine with the wheel then led to wheelwrights, mechanics, millers and spinners adopting her as their patron. Her link to the spinners and clothing trade is most likely the reason Haberdashers have continued the tradition.

Seniors celebrate together

In the Senior School, the theme was Community, with all readings and songs echoing this important School value.

Attended by the immediate past Master of The Haberdashers’ Company, Christopher Hardie, the service featured music performed by St Catherine’s Singers. Readings also took place for a selection of faith groups within our community, from Christian and Hindu, to Jewish and Muslim.

After the service, students and staff took part in a variety of House activities, including our traditional St Catherine’s Day quiz, netball and egg race. Meanwhile, students in Upper 5 and Lower Sixth heard about the school’s work with Mencap, before the Upper 5s enjoyed a performance of this term’s senior drama production, Alice.

The day rounded off with our ever-popular House Singing, a well-supported event that is always fiercely contested. If House spirit was measured purely by the rapturous cheers greeting the announcement of each place in the final standings, the noise dial would be well and truly turned up to eleven.

Juniors join in the fun

The Junior School celebrations were packed with activities with the girls playing an active part in the service and many making cards for local business, Cards for Bravery.

Following the service, the students took part in an entertaining stacking cup challenge, before getting creative and making their own gingerbread houses.

There was even time for a visit from Electric Umbrella, a charity that delivers sessions to students, encouraging the idea of celebrating diversity.

Thank you to all who took part across the Girls’ School. It was a special way to honour St Catherine and a ringing endorsement of the Habs community spirit.