Early 19th CenturyAugust 5, 1844 was the inaugural date of The Queen's College Grammar School - the then all boys institution. With only 15 students and two teachers, it was situated in the "Old Colonial House Building" in the Victoria Law Courts' compound. At this time, The Anglican Church owned and governed the school. In 1845, the local government awards 10 exhibitions to students that allowed them free tuition at the school.
The Late Nineteenth Century
The Reverend George Fox (1851-1971) was appointed as the principal of the Queen’s College Grammar School in 1841 and he served in that position until 1871. Changes came in 1854 when the school relocated to Carmichael and Murray (Quamina) Streets where the Bishops' High is currently located. The erection of the building cost €5000. 1866 saw the largest student population of 70 during the school’s status as a private institution.
The first Guyanese and Queen’s College student to win the estimable Gilchrist Scholarship was Charles Sinclair McKenzie who won it in 1872. In 1876, Queen’s College became a government institution and has remained so ever since.
In 1877, Queen’s College appoints its youngest principal Exley Percival, aged 29, who further had an exhibition [^*] and “A” house named after him. The school library was inducted in 1880 and in that same year, the school’s first newspaper, “Our College Gazette”, was first published. In 1882, J.H. Conyeers becomes the first winner of the Colonial Scholarship of British Guiana, now known as the Guyana Scholarship. 80% of these scholarships were won between 1882 and 1945.
Following the death of Exley Percival in 1893, he is succeeded by J.A. Potbury who serves until 1903. The eponymous Percival exhibition is awarded in 1894 to B.W. Braithwaite, who was the top-performing fifth- form student at the Cambridge Local Examinations. The 1890’s was marked by the emphasis placed on the Science department. In 1896, a new Science Laboratory and Class Room were installed and in 1898, an official enquiry recommended that increased attention be placed on the Queen’s College Science Department.
The Early Twentieth Century
One of the distinguished Queen’s College headmasters, E.O. Pilgrim, began his teaching career as an assistant head master in 1905. He then went on to serve as headmaster for a number of years.
The first scout troupe was formed in 1909 and won the Challenge Flag in an Open Competition among West Indian scout Troupes in 1915. In 1915, the longstanding Prefecture system was introduced though prefects were then called monitors. The following year, two houses were founded – “A” and “B” house and the 99 students were divided into them.
The school had another location change in 1918 when it moved to the Orphan Asylum Buildings at Brickdam and Vlissengen Road where Ministry of Health is now located. 1919 is historical for musicians as the school song, Carmen Collegii Reginae, of which the music was composed by Governor Sir Wilfred Collett and the words by the Colonial Secretary, Cecil Clementi, is sung publicly for the first time at a concert at the Assembly Rooms.
In 1920, E.R.D. Moulder, a Guiana scholar and a member of staff from 1901-1914, became the first “old-boy” to be appointed as principal succeeding T.A. Pope and serving until 1928. In 1921, a third House, “C” House, is formed and the names of the three Houses are changed to Percival(A), Ralleigh (B) and Austin. In this year, keeping with the athletic spirit, shields for Inter-House Competitions in Cricket, Football and Athletics are provided.
At the turn of the quarter century in 1925, The school football team wins the Russell Cup and its most distinguished athlete, Phil Edwards, beats three records at the school’s annual sports and lowers several national records later in the year at the open meeting.
In 1931, Capt. Howard Nobbs assumes service as the principal and becomes the longest-serving principal of Queen’s College (1931-1952). A Preparatory Form was introduced in 1933, initially with only 9 students expected to be prepared for the main school. This same year marked the beginning of Inter-Collegiate Sports Competitions between the three leading boys’ schools- Queen’s College, St. Stanislaus, and Berbice High School. The competitions were in athletics and cricket, the latter for the Jacob Cup, named after the donor, C.R. Jacob. The competitions were extended to football in 1935, for the Dias Cup, donated by the Hon. Francis Dias, the acting Chairman of the QC Board of Governors. In 1940, hockey was introduced at Queen’s College.
The Late Twentieth Century
The first issue of the school’s new newspaper, “The QC Lictor”, is published in March, 1950. The school relocated to its current site in Thomas Lands in 1951. The QC Educational Tour Club which aimed to provide recreation and education for senior boys during the vacation periods was formed in 1956. The first Guyanese substantive principal, Doodnauth Hetram, is appointed in 1963. A change in school regulation permits fourth- form students to wear long trousers to school in 1968 and the following year another change in school uniform occurs where the wearing of ties is discontinued and the use of crest is introduced. That same year, Queen’s College students attain 35 distinctions at the GCE “A” level examination and win 4 Guyana scholarships with both achievements being unprecedented. The year 1975 heralded change for Queen's College when the first female students entered. At that time, the headteacher to welcome the girls was Mr. Clarence I. Trotz. In, 1989 the appointment of the first female principal, Mrs. Dianah Rutherford, was made. In 1993, Queen’s College wins six of the seven Guyana Scholarships and produces the top 4 students in the country in the CXC examinations. The 150th Anniversary was celebrated in 1994. In 19997 the chook suffered a significant infrastructural loss when parts of the building were consumed by fire. The destroyed parts were later rebuilt and the renovations can be seen in the current building although the structurally sound parts still remain to this day.
The Early Twenty-first Century
Here we are celebrating an excess of a 175-years rich history. Queen’s College continues to excel at the Caribbean Examinations Council’s Examinations – The CSEC and CAPE examinations. We have continued to cop the School of the Year Award at both levels – producing fine students. We celebrate our history.[^*]:exhibition - an amount of money that is given as a prize to a student. (Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, n.d.)