Queen's College, Guyana

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Queen's College
Queen's College in Guyana, by coordinates
Queen's College in Guyana, by coordinates
Queen's College

Coordinates6°48′51″N 58°09′49″W / 6.8142848°N 58.1637347°W / 6.8142848; -58.1637347Coordinates: 6°48′51″N 58°09′49″W / 6.8142848°N 58.1637347°W / 6.8142848; -58.1637347
MottoFideles Ubique Utiles
(Faithful and Useful Always.)
FounderWilliam Piercy Austin
PrincipalJackie Benn
Number of students900
Classes offeredCSEC, CAPE
Medium of languageEnglish
HousesPercival (A), Raleigh (B), Austin (C), D'Urban (D), Pilgrim (E), Weston (F), Moulder (G), Wooley (H), Cunningham (K), Nobbs (L)
School colour(s)Black and Yellow
National ranking1
NewspaperLictor Live

Queen's College is a selective state secondary school in Georgetown, Guyana. It is situated at the south-easterly junction of Camp Street and Thomas Lands. Students can enter the school through the National Grade Six Assessment(NGSA), and at the Lower 6th Form Level on the basis of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate(CSEC) performance. The school's minimum admission score at the NGSA has historically been the highest in the country.


In 1951, a history of the school History of Queen's College was published by Senior Master N. E. Cameron. It was updated and re-published in 2009 by the QC Alumni Association in Toronto Toronto Alumni Association.

Queen's College was established in 1844 as the Queen's College Grammar School for boys by William Piercy Austin, D.D., Bishop of the Anglican diocese of then British Guiana. The female equivalent was the Bishops' High School.

The first assembly was held on 5 August 1844 with an enrolment of 15 boys. Although the school started out as an Anglican church School, Bishop Austin was interested in making it a more broad-based institution to include non-Anglicans. Its first administration, however, consisted only of members of the Church of England.

Formal classes commenced on 15 August 1844 in the Old Colony House (situated in the compound of what is now the Guyana High Courts, previously known as the Victoria Law Courts). The original fifteen students had two tutors, with Bishop Austin himself becoming the first Principal. In 1845 the school moved to Main and Quamina (then Murray) Streets. Its population was rapidly expanding and, with a student body of 70 and three tutors, another move was made in 1854 to its first formal building at Carmichael and Quamina Streets.

In 1876, the school became a colonial institution and was renamed Queen's College. Several additional changes in location took the school to the site of the present Ministry of Health building (Vlissengen Road and Brickdam) in 1918, and then to its present location in Thomas Lands (Camp and Thomas Roads), where the facilities were formally opened on 3 December 1951. The school became co-educational in 1975. This was accomplished by transferring approximately one hundred and fifty girls into the 2nd, 3rd, Upper 5th and Lower 6th forms from the Bishops' High School, which institution was also a single-sex institution. Girls were also admitted into the first form.

1997 fire[edit]

On 16 November 1997, the school was partially destroyed in a fire. The three-story centre block, housing the auditorium, offices and dining hall were destroyed. Damage was estimated at G$200 million (around US$1,000,000). Extensive reconstruction has been carried out, starting six years after the fire. Phase I of the rebuilding - the Administrative Block and Auditorium - has been completed and was dedicated on 19 September 2003.

School houses[edit]

The school's traditions include features that are characteristic of an English public school with a head boy, a head girl and prefects. Students are placed in groups called "houses" with a house master or house mistress, who is teacher, and head-of-house who was a student. The school's ten houses are named after past Headmasters and masters (teachers), members of the school, members of the British Guiana colonial government, and historical figures significant to the former British Guiana. The ten houses have their own colours. The houses are as follow:

  • A House - Percival (red)
  • B House - Raleigh (royal blue)
  • C House - Austin (emerald green)
  • D House - D'Urban (brown)
  • E House - Pilgrim (purple)
  • F House - Weston (light blue)
  • G House - Moulder (pink)
  • H House - Wooley (dark green)
  • K House - Cunningham (yellow)
  • L House - Nobbs (white; presently gold)

Extract from Stabroek News, 7 March 2010, written by David Granger: "Queen’s College is steeped in traditions that have been nourished for 165 years. The very name has been retained from the reign of Queen Victoria. Its anthem − Carmen Collegii Reginae − is still sung only in its original Latin although one stanza proclaiming loyalty to Britain was dropped after Guyana became an independent republic. Its motto − Fideles Ubique Utiles − also in Latin, inspires students and reminds alumni of two of life’s important values. Its newspaper used to be called the Lictor and its emblem is still the 19th century, three-masted, Royal Navy barque depicted on the coat-of-arms of the colony of British Guiana."

House system[edit]

The house system is a tradition associated with 19th-century British public schools in which a "house" originally referred to a boarding house or dormitory of a boarding school. The word was borrowed by day schools such as Queen's College, where a "house" was used to refer not to a building but to a group of students.

The house system was introduced into the college in 1916 on the suggestion of a master, Edward Pilgrim. Students were grouped at first into two houses − "A" and "B". A third house, "C", was added in 1921; "D" in 1932; "E" and "F" in 1945 and "G", "L", "H" and "K" in 1954. At that time, there were ten houses.

The practice of naming the houses after famous persons was started in 1921; each was given a colour. The 10 houses therefore possess their own names, letters and colours.

The primary purpose of the house system is to encourage team spirit and foster group solidarity. It is also the basis of competition as sports, debates and other activities are usually organised along inter-house lines. A trophy was awarded in 1954 for annual competition in academic work − based on year-round class work and external examinations − among the houses.

The 10 houses are named after the College's founder; an explorer; an alumnus who became an admiral; three headmasters and two masters, one of whom died in the Second World War and two colonial governors.

Austin House — Bishop William Piercy Austin (7 November 1807–9 November 1892) was the patriarch of Queen's College, which was founded on 5 August 1844. He was Prelate of the Order of St Michael and St George, first Primate of the West Indies and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of British Guiana and was personally responsible for the development of the College.

Cunningham House — John Henry Dacres Cunningham, Admiral of the Fleet (13 April 1885–13 December 1962), was one of the college's most distinguished alumni. He was born in Demerara, British Guiana, entered Queen's College in 1896 but returned to England after his parents died in a sailing accident. He sent a personal letter to the principal in 1946 referring to the educational foundation he received at Queen's 50 years earlier. He was a naval cadet at HMS Britannia from which he graduated in 1901. His first service was as a midshipman on the cruiser HMS Gibraltar and, just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he was promoted to vice-admiral. He was knighted in 1941 and appointed 4th Sea Lord in charge of naval supplies and transport and remained in this position until June 1943, when he was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean as Commander-in-Chief Levant, as Acting Admiral. In August he was promoted to admiral and later took the role as C-in-C of the merged Mediterranean commands. John Cunningham retired from the Royal Navy in September 1948. He died in Middlesex.

D'Urban House — Lieutenant General Benjamin D’Urban (1777–25 May 1849) oversaw the amalgamation of the former colonies of Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo and served as the first Governor of the United Colony of British Guiana. He began his service as a military officer in 1793 and later fought in the Napoleonic Wars in which he won distinction in the Peninsular War as a quartermaster general. Born in Norfolk, England, He was sent to the West Indies as governor of Antigua in 1820 and became governor of Demerara-Essequibo in 1824. He was then sent to Cape Colony, South Africa, in January 1834, where he assumed the dual role of governor and commander-in-chief. His tenure was controversial and, although he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 1837 and continued in his military capacity until 1846 when he was transferred to Canada, he was relieved of the governorship in 1838. He died in Montreal, Canada. The port city of Durban in South Africa and the major street and park in Georgetown were named in his honour.

Mouder House — Edwin Richard Denys Moulder (9 October 1875–21 November 1942), born in Barbados, was the first alumnus to be appointed principal of the College. He was born at Friendship Village, East Coast Demerara, British Guiana, the son of a former vicar of St Augustine and Christ Church. He was educated at Queen's College, won the Guiana Scholarship in 1891 and read modern history at New College School and Merton College, Oxford earning his BA (Hons) in 1896 and his MA in 1908. Edwin Moulder taught at schools in Kent, Winchester and Barbados from 1899 to 1901 and was appointed Assistant Master at Queen's College in 1901. He also served as Inspector of Schools, Director of Primary Education, Examiner to the Education Department and as Censor in the First World War (1914–18). He was appointed Principal of Queen's College in 1920 and retired in 1929. An outstanding cricketer, he represented British Guiana and the West Indies between 1902 and 1911.

Nobbs House — Captain Howard Nobbs, born on 29 October 1891 in London, was the longest-serving principal. He was appointed in 1931 and retired in 1951. He was educated at Brockley County School and the University College, London where he gained his MSc degree and became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. He served with the 1st Battalion, Northampton-shire Regiment and the Royal Engineers in France during the First World War and was demobilized with the rank of captain. He devoted his energy to preserving the college's best traditions, introducing developments in education, encouraging the staff to implement extra-curricular activity and gaining the co-operation of alumni. His greatest success was the realisation of the new College building in Thomas Lands, which was opened in 1951. For his services to Queen's College and to education in British Guiana, he was awarded Order of the British Empire in 1951.

Percival House — William Exley Percival (1848–5 March 1893) was the youngest person to be appointed principal in the history of the College. He assumed duty at the age of 29 years on 5 March 1877 as the first principal after the College had become a government institution and remained until 1893. Born and educated in England where he took the BA in Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford, he was regarded as a disciplinarian. At the start of Exley Percival's tenure, there were 28 students but, by the end, the number had risen to over 100. He was a botanist and made a list of 114 bird species in the Botanic Gardens and this was published as a book. He published Wild Flowers of Georgetown in 1889. Following his death, a group of alumni and friends subscribed a sum of money for the founding of an annual bursary − the Percival Exhibition.

Pilgrim House — Edward Oliver Pilgrim (9 January 1886–1970) was one of the longest serving masters, who joined the staff of the college as a junior assistant master in 1905 and left in 1959. A Barbadian by birth, he was educated at Lodge and earned a BSc (Hons) in Physics. Pilgrim served as a master and acted as principal on several occasions, the first time being 1919. He is credited with introducing the house system in 1916. For several years, he was Honorary Representative in British Guiana for the Royal Schools of Music and member of the Board of Examiners, Land Surveyors and of the National Library Committee.

Raleigh House — Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–29 October 1618) was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer. He rose rapidly as a favourite in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, being knighted in 1585. In 1594 Raleigh came into possession of a Spanish account of a fabulous golden city at the headwaters of the Caroní River. A year later he explored the territory that is now eastern Venezuela in search of Manoa, the legendary city. Once back in England, he published The Discovery of Guiana an account of his voyage which made exaggerated claims as to what had been discovered. The book contributed to fostering the legend of El Dorado. After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh fell into disfavour and was imprisoned for allegedly being involved in a plot against King James I who disliked him. He was released in order to conduct a second expedition in search of El Dorado in 1616 and, after his return to England, he was arrested and executed.

Weston House — Frederick Thomas Weston (9 November 1908–31 August 1943) was one of the most distinguished masters of Queen's College. Born in Wales, he was educated at the University College, Cardiff, earning a BA (Hons) and Diploma in Education. Known as "Taffy" and described as "the greatest all-rounder" the college ever had, Weston served as an assistant master of the Grammar School at Wallingford-on-Thames and assumed a position at Queen's College, where he remained for six years. His favourite recreations were cricket, rugby, scouting and swimming. He introduced swimming sports and the shot put, revived boxing and became scoutmaster of the 27th British Guiana (Queen's College) Boy Scouts. He also became the Colony Commissioner for Scouts, served on the BG Boxing Board of Control and represented the colony at rugby. He departed to serve in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War but was killed in an aircraft accident.

Woolley House — Sir Charles Campbell Woolley (1893–1981) was Governor of British Guiana from 12 April 1947 to 14 April 1953. It was during his administration that the major, post-war, 10-year development programme covering all aspects of economic and social welfare transformation was introduced. This led to improvements in public health, public transportation and the social services and the introduction of the ‘Waddington’ Constitution introducing universal suffrage. The new building for the college was constructed at its present site in Thomas Lands and the removal of students from Brickdam was completed. Woolley was a captain in the South Wales Borderers Regiment and saw active service in the First World War, during which he was awarded the Military Cross. Educated at the University College Cardiff he held the posts of Secretary to the Governor in the Ceylon Civil Service; Colonial Secretary in Jamaica; Chief Secretary in Nigeria, and Governor of Cyprus before being appointed as Governor of British Guiana.

Notable alumni[edit]


Former West Indies player Roger Harper attended Queen's College. The school participates in the annual Barbados Relay Fair.

Recent achievements[edit]

Awards from the Caribbean Examination Council include Best Overall Student in the Caribbean, Best English Language Student, Best Science Student in the Caribbean, Best Business Student in the Caribbean, Best Agricultural Science Student in the Caribbean and Best CAPE Performers.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ http://www.uwi.edu/VCBiography.asp
  3. ^ http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/34827/1/93-0217.pdf

External links[edit]