Our School History
A message from Cardinal George Basil Hume O.S.B, Archbishop of Westminster on the event of the Golden Jubilee of our Parish.
‘Abbots Langley has the privilege to be the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspear who was elected Pope Adrian IV in 1154. This is a unique privilege. No other village or town in this country can boast of having one of its sons called to be Vicar of Christ.
The Salvatorian Fathers came from their Motherhouse in Rome to Wealdstone, Middlesex, in 1901.
In 1928 the Salvatorians found it necessary to provide a house of studies for the priesthood. Cardinal Bourne, then Archbishop of Westminster, welcomed the fathers to open a college at Abbots Langley and establish a new parish for the few catholics living in the area. The house was appropriately named Breakspear College and the parish dedicated to St Saviour.
It is now fifty years since these early beginnings. The parish from a handful of people attending mass in the College Chapel has become a large parish with a beautiful modern Church, a Parish hall and all the activities of a thriving parish.
God has blessed with much fruit the efforts and hard work of the salvatorian Fathers and the parishioners of Abbots Langley these fifty years. May He reward them and bless their work especially in this Golden jubilee year’
Basil Hume 3rd April 1978
From its beginnings as the home of the Salvatorian College our Parish has flourished. In March 1930 the first Salvatorian sisters came to the parish, Sisters Claudia and Illidia. As soon as they arrived they started making preparations to open a small infants or kindergarten school in accordance with the wishes of Cardinal Bourne. In September 1930 the first of the sisters trained to be a teacher arrived in the parish, Sister Bonosa by name, and took up residence in the Convent on Gallows Hill.
The original school continued to thrive and in January 1952 opened with the future Sister Josephine teaching in the Parish School during her postulancy, prior to going to Rome for her Novitiate.
On July 26th 1961 the original Parish School closed and, until the new school opened in 1966 all children attended a Catholic School in Oxhey.
Our church, as it stands today, was officially opened and blessed by His Grace Archbishop Heenan on June 28th 1964. The building of the new Catholic Primary School for the Sisters and the Parish began on the 2nd November when Father Philip blessed the site in the Convent grounds and turned the first turf.
The first meeting of the Board of Managers of Divine Saviour School was held on 6th April 1965.
We are delighted to say that the hand recorded minutes of the first meeting of the board are still safely stored in the school and from these we know that at that meeting;
‘The election of the chairman then took place. On Mother Josephine’s proposal, Rev. Fr. Philip McCabe was elected chairman and took the chair for the rest of the meeting.
Then followed the official appointment of Mother Josephine O’Malley as headmistress of the new school. The title ’Divine Saviour School’ chosen by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Saviour was also approved.’
Then followed the appointment of the teachers and preparations to welcome the children to the new school. The number on role when the classrooms opened in January 1966 was 91.
Our school has been led by 6 headteachers in all.
Sr Josephine who opened our school to pupils in January 1966 oversaw our school through its infancy and saw it grow considerably over her 17 year tenure as headteacher. She handed the reins to Anne Sparksman, who was in charge until 1999. Lisa Barton became the next headteacher and led the school until 2004 when Philip Gibbs became the first male headteacher at the school. He in turn handed leadership to Stephen Wheatley who became executive headteacher of Divine Saviour School in 2016. Our current headteacher is Helen Wilson who took on the role of leadership in September 2022.
The Divine Saviour Archives
A selection of photos from 1966 onwards