History of King’s College

History of King's College On Monday, the 20th September, 1909, King's School (as it was then called) came into being. There were 10 pioneer students, who included I.C Vaughan, I.L Oluwole, Frank Macaulay, Herbert Mills [from the Gold Coast], O.A Omololu and Moses King. Oluwole was the first Senior Prefect of the School.
The School building was erected and furnished at a cost of 10,001pounds. It consisted of a hall to accommodate 300 students, eight lecture rooms, a chemical laboratory and an office.
The philosophy of King's School was "to provide for the youth of the colony a higher general education than that supplied by the existing Schools, to prepare them for Matriculation Examination of the University of London and to give a useful course of Study to those who intend to qualify for Professional life or to enter Government or Mercantile service."
The Staff of the College consisted of three Europeans amongst them a Principal who gave instructions in English Language, Literature and Latin; a Mathematical and Science Master, together with two [African] Assistant teachers. Occasionally, members of the Education Department of the colonial administration were also engaged as lecturers of the evening classes.
The Government awarded three Scholarships based on merit yearly, and also organized three exhibitions annually. The beneficiaries of the scholarships were entitled to free tuition and a Government grant of 6 pounds per annum. Conversely, those whose works were featured in the exhibitions received free tuition only. The Hussey Charity Exhibition, tenable at the College, was established for the students from the investment proceeds of the premises of the defunct Hussey Charity.
The average attendance of students as at the end of 1910, was 16. This rose to 67 as at the end of 1914, when the First World War began, and also when the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated.
In 1926, the book "The Development of the Education Department 1882-1925", was published. Chapter 1 of that publication entitled, "Annual Report on the Education Development, Southern Provinces, Nigeria, for the year 1926", unearthed certain interesting facts about King's College.
It reads in part "...1909 is chiefly noticeable for the opening of King's College [in the early days, it was known as King's School] as a Government Secondary School under the headmastership of a Mr. Lomax who was seconded from the Survey Department, and who was assisted by two European Masters. The number of boys on the roll was 11. In 1910, Mr. Hyde-Johnson was appointed headmaster of King's College, but nine months later , he succeeded Mr. Rowden as Director of Education ..."
That the first Headmaster of the College was Mr. Lomax was an outstanding revelation; outstanding because the general conception had always been that Mr. Hyde-Johnson held that enviable position. Until 1954 when the first edition of the brief history of the College was written, the popular myth was that Mr. Hyde-Johnson was the first Principal of King's College. Except for the few surviving foundation students then, there was hardly any Old Boy who had ever heard of Mr. Lomax. This pioneer's name was curiously sunk in obscurity.
An insight into life at K.C. in its early years is provided by F.S. Scruby's article dated 24th February, 1924, in The Mermaid entitled "Further Glimpse of the Past": "It revived many memories which are never very dormant to read Ikoli's very flattering recollections of my all too short "régime" at K.C. Having taught the young Australian out in the "Bush" in sunny New South Wales and spent holidays in Fiji and the Pacific Islands, it was the pleasurable anticipation that I came to Lagos and was a great disappointment to me to have to resign the post so soon.
"It is a curious thing that Ikoli should have noticed that some boys run the risk of being spoiled. To this day, Old Boys from Schools in which I taught in England before going to Lagos, remind me of the lasting impression that was made on them when they showed any symptoms of such deterioration. The feasts so generously described in the December number were really only meetings of the Matriculation class - Oluwole, Vaughan and Macaulay- who use to come up to my quarters once or twice a week to read Shakespeare. "
"In looking back on the Physical Training, I am afraid Ikoli has taken off his rose-coloured spectacles. The Sergeant of the W.A.R.F.F. who used to come and give lessons was really not very old or peppery. He was a very good Instructor and very fond of boys but the fact remains that P.T. was not popular, and one small boy in particular used to come and report to me regularly that he was 'sore-footed', and take his big dose from the bottle and an hour's work as well. It was my great ambition that a cadet Company should be formed at K.C. as the first company of a Lagos Cadet Battalion School were circularized by the Education Department, but the scheme fell through. "
"It is a great joy though it is not a matter of surprise to know that K.C. has prospered during the last 13 years with the development of the House System and Inter-house Sports."