Jane Luker Honoured with Blue Plaque

Published 27 January 2022

On Thursday 20 January, Ms Mortimore joined Newbury Town Council, former pupils of the Newbury Girls’ School and members of the public as a blue plaque to Esther Jane Luker (1872-1969) was unveiled by the Mayor of Newbury, Cllr Billy Drummond.

Photograph of Miss E. J. Luker. Image courtesy of West Berkshire Museum. NEBYM:2021.23.2.

Jane Luker served as the first headmistress of Newbury Girls’ School from 1904 to 1933. The first Newbury school to offer secondary education for girls to University standard, Newbury Girls’ School was at the forefront of a period of rapid development of girls’ secondary education. By the 1920’s, its girls were gaining entrance scholarships to Cambridge and, under Jane’s leadership, were encouraged in a love of art and music, travel, sport, and community service. In 1910, the school moved to the purpose-built premises in Andover Road which were later known as “Luker Hall”. After her retirement, in 1945 it became Newbury County Girls’ Grammar School and was merged with St Bartholomew’s School in 1975. With the construction of the new St Bartholomew’s building in 2011, the Luker premises were converted to flats. The plaque is situated at the northern entrance of the Luker building.