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 A Brief History of Queen's College

The Queen's College of Guyana (originally Queen's College Grammar School for Boys) was founded in 1844 by the Most Reverend William Piercy Austin, D.D., Bishop of British Guiana. The first assembly was held on August 5, 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 August 15, 1844 in the Old Colony House (situated in the compound of what is now the Guyana High Courts - the previous 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 more moves 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 December 3, 1951. The building there maintained its original form until November 1997, when an arsonist struck and the entire middle section of the school - comprising the offices, auditorium, tuck shop and bicycle shed - was destroyed. Phase I of the rebuilding - the Administrative Block and Auditorium - has been completed and was dedicated on September 19, 2003. Queen's College celebrated its 160th birthday on August 5, 2004.

Dr. Laurence Clarke, a distinguished alumnus who now heads the World Bank country office in Angola, chronicled the school's history from its inception up to 1994, as a tribute to its 150th anniversary. The book, "Queen's College of Guyana - Records of a Tradition of Excellence (1844-1994)", is extremely detailed historically and full of nostalgia. This volume is a "must have" for every alumnus and alumna. A few copies are still available at a cost of US$50 each and can be obtained by contacting Gordon L. Wilson. Proceeds assist with the New York Chapter's effort at rehabilitating the school.