An all-girl Roman Catholic school in Abbey Wood, South East London. It was run by nuns with a more liberal outlook, waring modern clothes and encouraging a more free-thinking, progressive approach to schooling. However, pupils were expected to work hard with a view to continuing education at university.
The school’s main building was a Victorian construction, complete with period desks and wood-panelled corridors. During the 1960’s a modern extension to the school was added, an annexe out of keeping with the school’s existing architecture. Kate attended St. Joseph’s from 1969 to 1976, between both buildings. She did well in a number of subjects, including English, Latin, Biology and, of course, Music.
During her first year, she participated in the opera Noye’s Fludde. In 1972, she participated in a school production of Amahl And The Night Visitors.
Kate was already an enthusiastic writer and contributed various pieces to the school’s end of year magazine, including poems like The Crucifixion, Call Me, A Tear And A Raindrop Met, Death, You, Epitaph For A Rodent and Blind Joe Death.
She leaves the school with 10 ‘O’ levels.
The school closed in the late 1970’s. The name was used for the old wing of Erith College of Technology. It became known as Bexley College in 1993.
Kate about St. Joseph’s Convent Grammar School
I became very shy at school. It laid some very heavy inhibitions on me. I wasn’t exactly bullied, but there were people who picked on me and gave me a very hard time. I was very thin, and younger than most in my class, so I was rather like the runt of the litter. I’d get hit occasionally, but nothing that heavy. And I never fought back. (…) It was a very cruel environment, and I was a loner. But I learnt to get hurt, and I learnt to cope with it. (Kate Bush, ‘Testament Of Youth’. In: Flexipop, September 1982)