The Prince of Wales School - Itís Emergence and First Thanksgiving Service - By the Late Sylvannus Juxon Smith
The Government Model School could be rightly called the mother of the Prince of Wales School.
I entered the Government Model School in the year 1917 and was in Class 2, under E.W.B. COLE, M.A., later to be known as the Reverend, E.B.COLE.
We worked up to Class V, the then top class in the school; the Reverend, W.T. THOMAS M.A. was then the Head Master, and the Principal was Mr. H. Evans, Bsc.
In 1922, we were transferred to the newly opened Government Secondary School, housed in the same premises in the Government Model School, in the building formerly used for the Manual Training School.
Mr. H. Evans was still the Principal, and the teachers were Mr. E.W. Turner, M.A, Reverend Ejesa Osora, M.A. Oxon, Mr. R.B. Mark, B.A., BCL.,LLB.
The Government was at that time making all efforts to acquire a suitable site for the Government Secondary School. They ultimately acquired the building at Kingtom, formerly owned by the Sierra Leone Coaling Company and used as a Coaling Station.
(The old derelict jetty at the back of the building can prove this)
The building was later acquired by the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, and finally acquired by the Sierra Leone Government.
General repairs and reconditioning etc were quickly commenced by the Government. The Operation having been completed, the Government Secondary School was then transferred in October 1924 from the premises of the Government Model at Circular Road to the building at Hennessy Square, Kingtom.
It was a great day for us the pupils, when Lorries arrived that morning from the Public Works Department (P.W.D.) for the transfer operation.
We were all very much excited, delighted and happy, enjoying the loading of our schoolís desks, blackboards, etc into the Lorries to Kingtom and back, making so many trips. We enjoyed the whole operation with pleasure and pride. We all were justly proud to be the old boys of that decade.
The school was now in full operation with an addition of pupils and staff, still known as the Government Secondary School.
On the 5TH OF APRIL 1925, the Prince of Wales arrived in Freetown on the H.M.S. Hood, with many other battleships in the convoy.
On the 6TH OF April 1925, His Royal Highness arrived at the school for the grand reopening ceremony. The pupils were all lined up in front of the building in two flanks, facing each other.
The Principal and Vice Principal received H.R.H. , the Prince of Wales after alighting from his car, and escorted him to the entrance of the building(the door had been closed by then) and the First Head Prefect Mohammed Sanusi Mustapha presented to his Royal Highness the Gold Key with which the door was officially opened.
The Prince of Wales, escorted by the Principal and Vice-Principal, entered the building and the two Science Blocks: Chemistry and Physics (he also watched some experiments in the Chemistry Laboratory by the then Laboratory Assistant, Mr. Arawala Miller); they then returned to the entrance of the building, where all the pupils were still lined up.
The then First Head Prefect, Mohammed Sanusi Mustapha, read the welcome address, after which His Royal Highness responded and named the School, THE PRINCE OF WALES SCHOOL.
His Royal Highness also stated that the FOUNDATION DAY School will be APRIL 6 and the SCHOOLíS BIRTHDAY will be JUNE 23RD, his birthday.
His Royal Highness then proceeded to shake hands with each pupil in the lineup.
After this he was introduced to the Headmaster and Staff, who were all dressed up in their full academicals. He shook hands with each of them. His greatest moment was his reunion with the Reverend Osora with whom he had been in Oxford University; they really had a memorable greeting with a little chat. The ceremony ended with loud cheers from the pupils.
Up to this stage there was no school uniform so the Principal and Staff decided that we use white trousers with navy blue jacket.
On the following day April 7th 1925, the whole school; Principal, Teachers and Pupils all congregated at the Government Model School premises, from where we marched to the Parade Grounds at Tower Hill where all the Schools in the City converged to welcome the PRINCE OF WALES SCHOOL.
When the PRINCE OF WALES marched into the Parade Grounds there was a thunderous ovation of Jubilation from the crowd. YES! THE PRINCE OF WALES had created a remarkable impact on the people of Freetown.
Now for a description of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales: He was medium build, height about 5ft 3ins., dressed in Shantung suit, with a smart shaped kaikai helmet, which afterwards became known in Freetown as the Prince of Wales helmet, with brown suede shoes and curved handle cane walking stick, and oh boy, see how he marched along, he was a real bluff. He also had on a gold watch and gold bracelet with the inscription; Edward P. I really had and took a good mental photograph of him as he stood very near to me.
FIRST THANKSGIVING SERVICES OF THE PRINCE OF WALES SCHOOL
Our first thanksgiving was held at the Manual Training Building at the right hand side of the schoolís Building.
The First Christian Service was conducted by the Reverend Professor Harry Sawyerr.
The First Muslim Service was conducted by the Hon. Alhaji Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Mustapha in collaboration with Madiana Sanusi.
There was no band and no marching after the service. We only enjoyed the company and a brief reunion amongst ourselves.
The following are the names of some of the pupils at the FOUNDATION OF THE PRINCE OF WALES SCHOOL:
FORM IV (THE TOP FORM THEN)
M.S.MUSTAPHA: HEAD PREFECT
A.C.NELSON-WILLIAMS (FATHER OF FORMER PRINCIPAL)
Original content, Courtesy of Mr. Galba Bright Senior and Dr. Kayode Robin-Coker, both Former Presidents, Old Princewaleans Association U.K. & Ireland Chapter.
The views expressed in this article are the authorís own and do not necessarily represent The New Rising Sunís editorial policy.
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