Thursday, March 10, 2011

Surely, Shirtliff Was a Dynamite!

Miss Shirtliff was surely a DYNAMITE to have a house named after her without being a headmistress. There was also a controversy if her name should be spelt with or without an 'e'

Initially, we had the perception that our Sports Houses were named after our headmistresses. However, in paying a tribute to the amazing pioneers and headmistresses of BBGS, we realised that Miss Shirtliff's name was not found among the list of BBGS headmistresses.

But then, Cooke House was not named after Miss Cooke (surprise! surprise!). And Miss Glasgow did not have a House in her name although she was a BBGS headmistress. Some super seniors have confirmed that Miss Shirtliff was never a BBGS headmistress.

Yuslina Haji Muhamad, a Shirtliff dynamite, did some investigative work and found some useful information at this site:

"Five Brethren missionaries left for Malaya in 1898. Four of them were single women: Miss Dron and Miss Shirtliff from Nelson, Miss Davies and Miss Reeve from Palmerston North.

Davies, a nurse, and Reeve, had to return within a few years for health reasons. Elizabeth Dron was only 22 when she left New Zealand. Although not a trained teacher she taught in a very isolated situation in Penang until 1902 when she married British missionary George Wilson and with him helped establish an orphanage and school in Ipoh.

Sarah Shirtliff began a ministry to leprosy patients near Kuala Lumpur. Apart from a few years in India she remained in Malaya till 1947. Four of her sisters, Bessie, Clare, Kath and Julia all became missionaries, serving in Malaya and India. Miss Hankins from Wellington went to Singapore in 1900 but after only a few months died of cholera.


  1. "Cooke House was not named after Miss Cooke (surprise! surprise!)"

    So Cooke House was named after who?

  2. Aaha Sailor Venus... we shall post that mystery on the blog one day. Stay tuned! BBGS OGA