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Queen's College, Guyana


Queen's College, Guyana

Queen's College


Queen's College, Guyana is located in Guyana
Motto Fideles Ubique Utiles
(Faithful and Useful Always.)
Established 1844
Founder William Austin Percy
Status Open
Principal Jackie Benn
Vice principal Nadia Hollingsworth
Gender co-ed
Number of students 900
Classes offered CSEC, CAPE
Medium of language English
Language English
Classrooms 23
Houses Percival (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
Nickname Q.C.
USNWR ranking 1
National ranking 1
Newspaper The Lictor

Queen's College is a Georgetown, Guyana, 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 if the academic performance of the student at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate(CSEC) is satisfactory.


  • History 1
  • 1997 fire 2
  • School houses 3
  • House system 4
  • Notable alumni 5
  • Sports 6
  • Recent achievements 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1951, a history of the school History of Queen's College was published by Senior Master, N.E. Cameron 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 Percy 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 enrollment of fifteen 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 seventy 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

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

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 [1] 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

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 ten 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 ten 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 is named for Bishop William Piercy Austin, born on 7 November 1807 and died on 9 November 1892. He 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.

John Henry Dacres Cunningham, Admiral of the fleet, was born on 13 April 1885 in Demerara and died on 13 December 1962 in Middlesex. He was one of the college’s most distinguished alumni. He was born in 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 fifty 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.

Lieutenant General Benjamin D’Urban was born in 1777 in Norfolk, England and died on 25 May 1849 in Montreal, Canada. He 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.

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. The port city of Durban in South Africa and the major street and park in Georgetown were named in his honour.

Edwin Richard Denys Moulder was born on 9 October 1875 and died on 21 November 1942 in Barbados. He 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.

Captain Howard Nobbs was born on 29 October 1891 in London. He 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.

William Exley Percival was born in 1848 and died on 5 March 1893. He 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.

Edward Oliver Pilgrim was born on 9 January 1886 in Barbados and died in 1970. He was one of the longest serving masters, joining the staff of the college as a junior assistant master in 1905 and left in 1959. A Barbadian, he was educated at Lodge and earned a BSc (Hons) in Physics.

Edward 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.

Sir Walter Ralegh was born in Devon in 1552 and executed at Whitehall on 29 October 1618. He 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.

Walter Ralegh came into possession of a Spanish account of a fabulous golden city at the headwaters of the Caroní River in 1594. 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 (1596) 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.

Frederick Thomas Weston was born on 9 November 1908 in Wales and died on 31 August 1943. He was one of the most distinguished masters of Queen’s College. He was educated at the University College, Cardiff and earned the BA (Hons) and Diploma in Education. He 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.

Known as ‘Taffy’ and described as "the greatest all-rounder" the college ever had, Frederick Weston’s 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.

Sir Charles Campbell Woolley 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.

Charles Woolley was born in 1893 and died in 1981. He 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


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

Recent achievements

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. ^ Stabroek News
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External links

  • Queen's College alumni associations
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