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Kingswood College
School Badge
Motto FIDE ET VERTUTE
Established 4th of May 1891
Type Government
Principal R Chandrasekara
Location Kandy, Sri Lanka
Colors Maroon and Royal Blue
Website [1]

Kingswood College is a school first started on Pavilion Street in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It was founded by L. E. Blaze on May 4, 1891.

Contents

History

Kingswood College was originally a high school for boys. When the school was first opened by Blaze, there were only eleven students. At this time, almost all of the schools on the island had been categorized as state aided government schools, and missionary schools. In the beginning, grants from the government were available until the school showed signs of having established itself with a solidcore of good teachers and a good and expanding complement of students.

The Main School Building

The first few years of the school's existence was a real struggle for Blaze. The income from the fees barely sufficed to cover the cost of running the school. As institutions run by individuals did not qualify for government assistance, Blaze had no option but hand over the struggling institution to the Methodist Mission to continue till 1961 the year during which the school was taken over by the stateUnder the aegis of the mission, Blaze left an indelible stamp over the school. From the outset, he modelled the school on the English Public School. It is not without significance that a house system was introduced to the school in 1922 and the names selected were those of some of the main public schools in England ( Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Rugby). He built up a cadre on the strength of his reputation as an educationist. He coined the term "Gentlemen of Kingswood" to describe the body of students of his school and in all his years as principal of the school (from 1891 until 1923) he endeavoured to give meaning and substance to that often repeated phrase “Gentlemen of Kingswood”. He chose a motto for the school in Latin, Fide et Virtute as was customary at the time. He then chose the distinctive school colours, maroon and dark blue, and he wrote the words of the school song.

Achievements

The school is known for the following achievements.

  1. The first boys school to employ lady teachers.
  2. The introducer of Rugby Football in Sri Lanka.
  3. One of the first five schools in the country to establish a Cadet Corps and the first ever Champions of the Herman-Loos Trophy in 1917
The school at the Pavilion Street
The school at the Brownrigg Street
Main Entrance Openeng Day at Randles Hills
Main Hall in 1920s
Same view in 2006
The Main Hall

The first “Prize Giving” was held as early as 1895, only 4 years after the school was founded. It became an annual feature thereafter. One notable feature of the Kingswood Prize Giving was the "Prologue" written by Blaze, a review in verse of the year's events in the country and the world. It was generally recited by the boy who won the annual Oratory Prize. Because of Blaze's skills as a writer, this witty and elegant commentary in the years gone by soon enjoyed a nation wide readership. Blaze continued to write the annual "Prologue" for the Prize Giving for three decades after his retirement as the Principal in 1923, indeed almost up to the time of his death in his 90th year.

Blaze deserves to be remembered for another distinction. In 1900, he wrote the first comprehensive school “text book” on the history of Sri Lanka. It went in to several editions and survived for many decades as the standard school “text book” until it was superseded by the works of one of his earliest pupils at Kingswood, who served for many years as a lecturer and later reader in the Department of History at University of Ceylon.

Blaze held the post of principal of Kingswood for 32 years retiring in 1923. He had seen the school through its formative years and had securely established it as a leading private school in the country. Before his retirement he planned the removal of the school from the small premises it occupied in Pavilion Street. As the number of students continued to grow the need for a more spacious and less noisy environment became a matter of increasing urgency. The first step in locating a new site for the school and designing the new building were taken up before he retired. The new location was in the village of Wel-Ata in Mulgampola then a quiet and seemingly distant suburb of Kandy.

The shift to the new site and the new buildings that came up were made possible by a generous gift of money from a British industrialist, Sir John Scurrah Randles. The complex of buildings that came up consisted of class rooms, an administrative building, a large hostel and some staff quarters. The school's new location and railway halt just opposite it were named Randles Hill to honour Kingswood’s main benefactor of modern times. The new buildings were opened in 1925 under blaze's successor Rev. E. Pearson who ran the school for 4 years. He was succeeded by Messrs O. L. Gibbon (1929 - 1937) and F. A. J. Utting (1937 - 1942). They consolidated the work that Blaze had begun, and during their administration, the school developed into one of the leading Methodist schools in the country.

Although Kingswood was a Methodist missionary school, the student body contained Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Muslims. Methodist students did have some advantage when it came to the award of scholarships, but the special scholarships were awarded on merit and open to all. The 1940s was a crucial period in the development of the school. Wartime conditions put an end to the practice of sending Englishmen as principals of the school and in 1942 Mr. P.H. Nonis became the first Sri Lankan to head the school. He held the post for 15 years. The school had to share its premises with St Thomas' college Mt. Lavinia, when the latter had to vacate its ample premises, and had to relocate in Kandy. Even a more momentous decision had to be taken as the Free Education system was introduced in the late 1940s, and the methodist mission had to decide whether the school would opt out of it and retain its independence as a fee levying school or to join the national education in which the state would pay the teaching staff and relieve its students of the need to pay fees. Some elite schools in the island decided to opt out. But few missionary schools could afford to forgo the advantage to cover salaries of the staff. Kingswood was one of them.

Mr. P.N. Nonis presided the transition from an independent school to a school in the national school system. Although not yet a state school. The autonomy of the school was not disturbed, and the control of the education department bureaucracy were neither very vigorous nor rigid. Thus the change in status was a very subtle one and the school was able to maintain both its independence and its traditions almost undisturbed.

Even at this time, Kingswood was a relatively small institution (with about 700 students and about 35 teachers) compared to more reputed schools in the hill country.

During this period, the school built up a high reputation in various sports. Kingswood always held a reputation for hockey and during Mr. P. H. Nonis’ period that reputation was enhanced. Himself was a well known school cricketer in his day, he built up a good cricket team. If one single individual personified the schools' achievements in sports during this era it would undoubtedly be Frederick A. White, younger brother of the famous Duncan White.

After the retirement of Mr. Nonis, Mr. B. A. Thambipillai took over as principal and he was succeeded by Kenneth M. de Lanerolle (1958 - 1967). His was a much more difficult task than that of his predecessors, for in 1960 - 1961 the school became a state school. The link with the Methodist mission which had lasted for seven decades was broken at last.

Once the state took over the school the number of students kept increasing as in other state run schools in the country. Although the state financed the salaries and wages of the teachers and the support staff, It became more difficult to maintain sports and other extra curricular activities and to manage facilities to the same old degree. Nor was it easy as in the past, to finance the construction of new buildings. Nevertheless new buildings came up thanks to the initiative of Mr. de Lanerolle and his persistent search for funds from parents, old boys and well-wishers.

In the 20 years or more since Mr. de Lanerolle's retirement in 1967 there had been nine principals. The present one, Mr. N. Ratnayake took over in 1998 after Mr. Abeyratne. Mr. E. S. Liyanage who was principal from 1977 to 1984 was the first old boy to become the principal of the school. Out of these, the period of Mr. Nihal Herath and Mr. R. B. Rambukwella were of much importance. Mr. Nihal Herath brought changes to the college bringing about progress in discipline, standard of education and sports. He also made preparations for the centenary year that was to come in 1991 before he left as the Principal of Dharmaraja College, kandy.

The post-1961 principals have had a much more difficult task in the management of the school than their predecessors. They were part of a complex administrative system and were in transferable service. Their control over the admission of students was very limited. They had little influence in the choice of teachers for the school. Thus they faced formidable challenges to maintain the school as a distinctive entity within the state system and to keep alive school traditions of the past.

The solid and elegant old buildings are a legacy from the past. None of the modern buildings can match them in style and quality of construction. Even the playing field had been expanded to a limited degree. Thus the physical shape of the school is much the same as in the days of the Methodist mission. Those who lead the school during this century would need to preserve as much of t he original shape as is possible, just as they need to add to the number of building to cope with the increase in the number of students, seeking admission.

College anthem

Hill-throned, where Nature is gracious and kind,

Home of our early youth, grant us the love of truth,

Health for the body, and light for the mind.

KINGSWOOD, O may we be loyal and true to thee,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and Faith our guide.

Chorus

Loyally, Manfully

All of us true to thee,

'No room for trimmer, coward, or fool;

Word and will true and clean,

Work and play strong and keen,

'None for himself, but all for the school!

School! School! None for himself, but all,

All for the school!

Nor shall the world destroy our love and pride,

For both, we know, the stronger shall grow,

And whatever thy fortunes, we stand at thy side.

Present and Past shall be one in the heart, all for thee,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and Faith our guide.

Chorus:

Then in all things, whatever Duty's voice many call

Ready we follow and spring to our work;

Country or School may call; play the game, Forward, all!

Shoulder to shoulder, disdaining to shirk!

Duty we dare not flee, heavy the cost may be,

Holding what'er betide, Virtue and faith our guide.

Chorus:

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