Friday, 21 December 2018

8th oldest Secondary School in Nigeria - Kings College Lagos needs our help

Dr. Raphael James standing in front of Kings College library  

On December 17th 2018, I visited the 8th oldest secondary school in Nigeria, the Kings College Lagos, (originally called King’s School, Lagos), located at 3, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, Nigeria. One of the oldest Government secondary schools in Nigeria founded by an Act of British Parliament on Monday September 29, 1909 with 10 students, (including J.C. Vaughan, Isaac Ladipo Oluwole, Frank Macaulay, Herbert Mills (from the Gold Coast), O.A. Omololu and Moses King) for the purpose of giving a higher education. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity of meeting with the Principal Mr. Kolawole Isaac Sola during my visit but comments have it that he is a great man, a product of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state and the University of Ibadan where he bagged Master’s Degree in Educational Evaluation.

O. A. Oluwole one of the foundation students became the first Senior Prefect of the school. The school building was erected and furnished at a cost of £10,001. It was made up of a hall to accommodate 300 students, 8 lecture rooms, a chemical laboratory and an office.  The school started with a staff of three Europeans (a principal who gave instruction in English Language, Literature and Latin, a Mathematical and Science Master) with two African assistant teachers. Occasionally, members of the Education Department were engaged as lectures of the classes.

Kings College first building 1914

Students were prepared for Matriculation Examination of the University of London, provided useful course of study to those who eventually qualified for professional life and those that entered Government or Mercantile service. It was also used then for the Cambridge Local Examinations. In fact, from among the very first set of twenty-five students that sat for the Cambridge examinations in 1914, twenty passed; eleven senior and nine junior. Presently the school conducts exams for the West African School-Leaving Certificate and the National Examinations Council.

Dr Raphael James standing in front Kings College building

History has it that in 1908, Mr. Henry Rawlingson Carr - the Nigerian Acting Director of Education in Lagos, advised Governor Walter Egerton among many others to the formation of King's College. Carr convinced the London Board of Education that King's College's education mission would not overlap but supplement the education initiatives of missionary societies. The school uniform consists of a white shirt (long-sleeved for those in the senior school and short-sleeved for those in the junior school), a school tie and/or a school badge, white trousers, black belt, socks and black laced shoes and a blue blazer. 

Front view of Kings College gate from the main road

I was conducted on a guarded tour of the school premises by one of the staff and an old student Mr Jamezany Ofonimeh 03set. I was told that the College occupies about 10 Acres of land, with Day and Boarding facilities. The main building is a long-stretched-L-shaped two story block, consisting: the Introductory Technology Workshop, Assembly Hall and the College Clinic on the ground floor. The first floor is a long stream of hostels, which accommodate the Harmans and Panes Houses. On the top of the Houses is the penthouse of four flats for Housemasters.

Kings College roll call of Principals 1909-date

The ground floor of the second segment of the building has three classrooms, while the first and second floors accommodate the McKee Wright House. The third segment, is the Administrative Block or Brick block. The complex is of Colonial British architecture.  The building has brick walls and wooden floors. It accommodates a classroom, three offices and the College Library adjoining the building at the rear end of the ground floor; while the first floor consists of staff rooms and offices. The Principal’s office, the General Office and the Bursary are located on the third floor. The fourth segment of the structure is a storey building that houses the Science Laboratories.

Other buildings include a two storey block housing 12 classrooms and 8 offices for teachers, beside the Laboratory Block.  This block was put up in 1999 by the College Parents’ Teachers Association (PTA). Behind the PTA block is the Senior Boarding Housemaster’s (SBHM) House. A block of residential rooms is also located near the SBHM’s quarters. Towards the Western end of the College is a storey building, which accommodates the Dining Hall (ground floor) and the oldest Dormitory in the College – Hyde Johnson House above. Beside Hyde Johnson is a residential block of two flats for teachers and a Squash Court building.

Dr Raphael James with an old student of KC, Alhaji Lateef Jakande,
former Governor of Lagos State and former Federal Minister of Works & Housing

The school has sporting and recreational facilities including a standard Football field, Badminton and Squash courts, Cricket pitch, Basketball court and Table Tennis facilities.

Their library as well as the entire school need support and rehabilitation. on that note i will be presenting books to their library come 2019.  
The first Principal was Mr. Lomax who was seconded from the Survey Department, not long after he was replaced by Mr. Hyde-Johnson who lasted for nine months and was succeeded by Mr. Rowden, but the first African principal was Rex Akpofure. 

Dr Raphael James with an old student of KC, Gen. Odumegwu Ojukwu, 
Head of State of the defunct Republic of Biafra