St. George’s College is a Catholic High School in the Jesuit tradition located at Winchester Park, North Street, Kingston. Our mission is to prepare our students for tertiary education and to enable them to become men of competence, conscience and compassion, who will assume positive leadership roles in transforming societies.
A Brief Historical Sketch of St. George’s College
St. George’s Colonial College - founded in 1850 by twenty-one Spanish Jesuits who had been exiled from Colombia, as part of a religious persecution, amidst a storm of protest against Roman Catholic priests. The College began its long and proud history on the 2nd of September in 1850 in a rented house at 26 North Street, located on the southeast corner of North and Orange Streets. At its head was Fr. Emmanuel Gil, S.J., a distinguished scholar and former court preacher to the King of Spain. As Jamaica's first secondary institution for classical and scientific education, the school started with thirty-eight day students and thirty boarders teaching Latin, Greek, French, English, Rhetoric, History, Mathematics, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Drawing and Calligraphy.
After only two years, the Spanish Jesuits departed Jamaica to teach in Guatemala, turning St. George’s over to the English Jesuits. The school moved to 5 Upper King Street and changed its name to the St. George’s Presbytery Secondary School.
First Closure, January 1866 - when, for unclear reasons, it was closed. A few months later, thanks to Father James Jones, S.J., the school was reopened with twenty-five students and moved back to its original site at 26 North Street, again under the name of St. George’s College.
Second closure, 1871 - Only three years later, the school was closed, a second time, at Christmas of 1871. On this occasion the strong petitions of ninety-two influential Kingstonians convinced the Jesuits to reopen St. George’s in March 1873, but on a smaller scale, with only two Jesuit teachers.
Third closure, 1877 - The school prospered until September 1877, when it was closed a third time, but this closure, however, lasted only a few days. The return of Father James Jones, S.J., and the leadership of Father Thomas Porter, S.J., assured the continued life and irrepressible growth of St. George’s College, which has endured to this day.
Winchester Park, February 1905 - The Jesuits brought a large property called Pawsey’s Pen (what is now Winchester Park) from Mr. Alfred Pawsey. They converted the Pawsey residence into a classroom building and had classes started before the end of March. That original building stood until 1979, when it was demolished to make way for the new Issa Auditorium.
In 1913 the construction of a new building was authorized by the headmaster whose name it bears, Father William O’Hare, S.J. Its architect was Mr. Braman Judah, whose two sons, Sydney and Charles, later became Jesuit priests. The O’Hare Building has become the landmark of St. Georges College.
In March 1939 St. George’s College built the first Science laboratory on the island. Chemistry was introduced in January 1955 and Biology in 1945. In January 1947 the present Biology lab was completed. The College had the first Chemistry and Biology laboratories on the island. Continuing the emphasis in the sciences, the Physics lab was built and completed in January 1953.
In 1936, St. George’s College became a Grant-in-Aid school and it was now a part of the Government’s educational system.
The campus has continued to grow. The Emmet Park pavilion was completed in 1951, the lawn tennis courts in 1955 and the roadway to link Emmet Park with the rest of the campus in 1956. The Abe Issa Auditorium and the Fr. William Hannas Buildings which houses the Canteen and Father Crutchley, S.J. Computer Laboratory was completed in 1986. The U.S. A.I.D-funded Butler building expansion and the Student Development Centre were completed in 1993, and the Archbishop Samuel E. Carter, S.J. Library was completed in 1997. The Thomas Brodley, S.J. computer laboratory was completed in 2002.
The size of the student population has continued to grow steadily over the years. In 1905 when the College moved to Winchester Park, the student population was approximately 100 students and eleven teachers (six Jesuits and five lay men). Most administrators had been foreign Jesuits, but in 1945, after ninety-five years of existence, the College welcomed its first Jamaican headmaster, Fr. Dennis Crutchley, S.J., who was an Old Boy of the College. Today the school’s population consists of 78 teachers, 32 support staff and 1460 students including 60 girls at the sixth form level. The principal of the College is Mrs. Margaret Campbell.