Queen's College, the oldest private school in the Bahamas, operates as a grant-aided institution under the auspices of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church.
The school’s history began in 1870, when the Reverend Henry Bleby, Chairman of the Methodist Church of the Bahamas, proposed to the Methodist Missionary Society in London that a Methodist school be established here. He noted that several members of the Trinity congregation had expressed interest in establishing “a superior kind of educational institution for boys and girls with a Methodist Minister as Principal”. As a result, the Reverend George Terry was appointed principal and The Bahamas Wesleyan Propriety Institution opened its doors on January 2nd, 1871.
In 1879, the Reverend Francis Moon replaced the Reverend Bleby and, in 1884, the Methodist Synod appointed a committee made up of all Methodist Ministers and ten laymen for the purpose of setting the school on a firmer foundation.
On June 21st, 1887 the foundation stone of Victoria Hall, named in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, was laid on property purchased between Frederick and Charlotte Streets, and on January 13th, 1890, under the name Queen’s College, the school opened its doors.
From 1890 to 1925, the school continued to prosper under the guidance of Mr. S.B. Wilson, M.A. and his successors. Then, in 1925, the Rev. R.P. Dyer, M.B.E., M.A., took up the appointment as Headmaster and it is he who made Queen’s College the school it is today. He began to groom students for the day they could move into positions of leadership and it was Rev. Dyer who urged Charles Sweeting into education, predicting, in 1957, that he would one day be the first Bahamian Principal of the school. Rev. Dyer remained as Headmaster until his retirement in 1959. Upon his death in 1961, he was buried in the churchyard of Ebenezer Methodist Church, Shirley Street.
The Rev. Dyer was succeeded by Rev. Geoffrey Litherland (1959 – 1964), Rev. Neville Stewart (1964 – 1971) and Mr. Hayden Middleton (1971 – 1979), each of whom made outstanding contributions to the development of Queen’s College during their tenures.
The first Bahamian administrator of Queen’s College, Mrs. Yvonne Noronha, was appointed Vice Principal of the College and Headmistress of the Primary School in 1978. This was closely followed by the appointment of Rev. Charles Sweeting in 1979, the first old scholar and first Bahamian to be appointed Principal. Reverend Sweeting served as Principal until 1993. Vice Principal, Mr. Philip Cash was appointed Principal in 1993 and served the school until his death in June 1997. In November 1997, Miss Andrea Gibson, the first female and third former scholar to serve the school, was appointed Principal. Mrs. Virginia Minnis was appointed Head of the Early Learning Centre in September 1999 and is the first Bahamian to serve in this post.
Mr. Alexander Roberts served as Vice Principal/Head of High School from 1987 until 2000. Mrs. Shawn Turnquest, another old scholar, became the first female Vice Principal/Head of High School in September 2002. Mrs. Yvonne Foulkes succeeded Mrs. Noronha as Vice Principal/ Head of the Primary School in September 2002. Also in September 2002, Mrs. Sylvia Beneby was appointed as Deputy Head of the Primary School, and Mrs. Heather Wood and Mr. Henry Knowles were appointed Deputy Heads of the High School. In 2007, Miss Maria Tsavoussis was appointed as Deputy Head (Curriculum) of the High School and in 2008, Mr. Clint Higgs was appointed as Deputy Head (Administration) of the High School. In 2010, Mrs. Sylvia Beneby was appointed as Vice Principal/Head of Primary School and Mrs. Angela Culmer was appointed as Deputy Head of the Primary School.
By the late 1960’s, the school had grown to over two thousand students. One hundred of these students came in as boarders from the Family Islands. In 1975, “The Out Island Hostel” was closed as a result of the Government withdrawing a subsidy that had been given. By 1975, Government had opened high schools on all major islands. Following this, the school made a conscious decision to reduce its enrollment, as with greater personal contact with the students, there are fewer discipline problems. In 1990, as part of the Centennial Celebrations, a Centre for Further Education (C.F.E.) was begun.
Queen's College Principals
Mr. S. B. Wilson, M.A 1890-1894
Rev. R. P. Dyer, M. B. E., M. A. 1925-1959
Mr. Roger Kelty (Vice Principal/Head of High School) 1971-1981
Mrs. Yvonne Noronha (Vice Principal/Head of Primary School) 1978-2002
Mr. Alexander Roberts (Vice Principal/Head of High School) 1987-2000
Mrs. Heather Wood (Deputy Head—Administration/High School) 2002-2007
Mr. Henry Knowles (Deputy Head—Curriculum/High School) 2002-2008
Mrs. Yvonne Foulkes (Vice Principal/Head of Primary School) 2002-2010 Mr. Hubert Albury (Finance Manager) 1992-present
Mrs. Virgina Minnis (Head, Early Learning Centre) 1999-present
Mrs. Délice Lynch (Human Resources Officer) 2001-present
Mrs. Shawn Turnquest (Vice Principal/Head of High School) 2002-present
Miss Maria Tsavoussis (Deputy Head—Curriculum/High School) 2007-present
Mr. Clint Higgs (Deputy Head—Administration/High School) 2008-present
Mrs. Sylvia Beneby (Vice Principal/Head of Primary School) 2010-present
Mrs. Angela Culmer (Deputy Head/Primary School) 2010-present