On 28 July 1860 Bishop Vaughan invited six Sisters of Notre Dame to Plymouth from their Mother House in Namur, Belgium. On their arrival here they were taken to a former priest’s residence in Stonehouse, which became their convent. A day school was opened there soon afterwards and it is from these humble beginnings that the modern Notre Dame School for Girls, in Crownhill, has its origins.
Their first move however was back in 1864 when they relocated to a purpose-built convent near the Cathedral. Expanded over the years this served well until the Convent was burnt out during the Blitz and the Sisters and their charges relocated to Teignmouth.
After the war the School was housed temporarily in Wyndham Street with the Convent moving to Trenley in Seymour Road, Mannamead. In 1946 the site at Crownhill was acquired, but building work was delayed until 1954 when work on the Convent finally began, with the School itself following a decade later – it opened, at the end of Notre Dame Close, two years later, in 1966.
A representation of Notre Dame – ‘Our Lady’ – the Virgin Mary, Madonna and Child, is affixed to the side of the school hall.