From MARSH to BOAKE-The Founding Fathers of Royal College
This recently released book details the history of the first 35 years of this leading public school under the stewardship of Rev.Joseph Marsh and Rev. Barcroft Boake–the founding fathers of Royal College. It traces its origin from the arrival of the British Colonialists to Ceylon and then the arrival of the Church Missionaries, to the establishment of the school. Apart from these two founding fathers details of the three acting Headmasters, the dedicated Masters many of whom were also from England, and the galaxy of illustrious Students are described in full.
Rev. Marsh arrived in Ceylon in 1831 as a missionary and was head of the Church Missionary Society in Kotte. In 1835, the Governor Sir Robert Wilmot – Horton appointed Rev. Marsh as the acting colonial chaplain of St. Paul’s Church Wolfendhaal where he established his Hill Street Academy in the verandah of the Church. Rev. Marsh’s little school made excellent progress and the leading Burgher citizens petitioned the Governor for more of their boys to have the opportunity to receive this English education. Governor Horton accepted this application to be a very laudable one, and had no hesitation in saying that he would establish an Institution of such importance for the permanent welfare of the Island. This was a momentous decision, the benefits of which are very evident up to this day.
On January 4, 1836 the “Hill Street Academy” was named as the Colombo Academy and Rev.Marsh was appointed as its Headmaster. This school was first located in Moor Street, but soon moved to San Sebastian, Hulftsdorf in July 1836. In 1881, the school was re-named as the Royal College, by Royal decree of Queen Victoria. After 77 years in San Sebastian the school shifted to a more salubrious location in Colombo 7.
This school was first located in Moor Street, but soon moved to San Sebastian, Hulftsdorf in July 1836. In 1881, the school was re-named as the Royal College, by Royal decree of Queen Victoria
The author of this book D.L.Seneviratne who is a vice-president of the Royal College Union, has embarked on a truly rewarding adventure in locating and photographing the former school building, now the stables for the horses of the Colombo Mounted Police; and the 300–year old Dutch-built Principal’s bungalow at San Sebastian. These buildings were hitherto unknown to exist and their revelation embellishes the narrative of the life and times of the early history of the school. The author has made a plea that these venerable buildings be preserved and protected from being brought down in the name of development. This hard cover coffee table type book with 64 photographs and the Foreward by distinguished old- Royalist S. Skandakumar our former High Commissioner in Australia, will give a new perspective of the school to all Royalists.
It is very reasonably priced at Rs.1,500/- and is available at the school’s Merchandise Shop and other leading bookstores.