Margaret Pugh (1889)

Margaret Pugh was the eldest daughter in the large family of Charles Pugh, a Birmingham businessman. Born in 1871, Margaret was at KEHS from its foundation in 1883 until 1889. Her affection and devotion to the school was clear, manifesting in a lifetime of generosity to the school and the Old Edwardians’ Club. Both have benefitted greatly from her kindness.

Margaret fostered a great interest in Chess and Debating, offering cups and trophies for the most able in our school and others in the Foundation. Her donation of the Margaret Pugh Cup for Debating fostered an interest in public speaking and rhetoric amongst other schools in the locality.

Between the wars Margaret personally supported a number of activities, including work at the canteen to support the unemployed; the Summer Lane settlement and the rehousing of the Club when the school moved from New Street to Edgbaston.

She was a passionate supporter of the Old Edwardians’ Club and spent a great deal of time and effort ensuring its long term prospects. After the death of her sister, Elizabeth, in 1938 Margaret set up the Margaret, John & Elizabeth Pugh Memorial Trust Fund to support the Club financially. Then in 1956 she offered the Governors £3000 to include a room in the school for the use of Old Edwardians. Though at this stage she was already a patient at the Calthorpe Nursing Home, she spent a great deal of her time ensuring the provision of the Old Girls’ Room.

In her private life, Margaret embodied our city’s motto ‘Forward’. Her thoughts on women’s suffrage, politics, the stock market and local government were advanced. She was one of the first two women to sit on the City Council, she created the Birmingham Musicians’ Memorial Trust and she was the second woman in Birmingham to drive a car (her sister being the first).

To the last, Miss Pugh had a lively mind and indomitable spirit. She was a true Old Edwardian in every sense and one we shall remember with respect, admiration and gratitude.