August 1984 in Chateau Margot, East Coast, Demerara. There were no cellphones, text messages or chat messengers at that time, but the word got around from neighbor to neighbor very quickly. The Common Extrance Exams results were out. The parents were anxious to know which schools their children were awarded, while the young kids like myself viewed such news as if it was doomsday. With other classmates, I trekked over to the LBI primary school, and we were re-directed over to the LBI Community Center. The Regional Education Officer had his office there, and he was checking and informing us one at a time which schools were awarded to whom. Finally, it was my turn.
“Whats is your name,” he asked.
“Marlon Khan,” I replied nervously, thinking that if I failed my exam, ,my parents would freak out on me.
He looked at the report in front of him, and a big smile appeared on his face. “Congratulations,” he said, extending his hand, his face beaming with delight. I reached out and shook his hand, still nervous as can be. He then continued and said the magic words, “Queen’s College.”
The first day of school at Queens College, we were given our chairs in the auditorium, and then had to fetch these into our classrooms. After the introductions from our class teacher, and the issuance of time tables were completed, the first week started off in full swing. It was also the beginning of assignments and projects, including history.
Our history teacher gave us our first assignment, All of us had to complete a project, on the history of Queens College.
After school was over, several of us trekked down to the school’s library and procured a book Titled “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana,” written by Norman E. Cameron, and published in 1951.
The book “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana” is an old book, 33 years since it was first published at that time, and we had to compete with the “Granny Sugar” to read the book. “Granny Sugar” was the nickname given to the small crawling insects that sometimes drill holes in library’s books to such as extent that it was possible to see straight through the middle of a book from cover to cover.
The Original “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana”
Guiana was ruled/invaded by several colonizers over time. In 1844, Guyana was still under British rule, when Reverend William Percey Austin, the then Bishop of Guyana, and one of the governing Council of the Church of England, decided to start the Queens College Grammar School. Among the plans for the school, was to offer both classical studies and commercial opportunities for all students. Also, the graduates would have the opportunity to further their studies in England.
Queens College was officially opened on the 5th August, 1844. The initial location was at the Colony House, located in the compound of the present day Victoria Law Courts in Georgetown, Guyana.
The Original “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana” was written in a time-frame of years. There’s 1893-1898, 1899-1903, 1904-1914, 1914-1918 (The World War Years), 1919-1923, 1924-1928, 1928-1931,1931-1944, and 1945-1951.
It was in 1951 that the author, Norman Cameron, completed the “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana.”
Professor Norman Cameron
Norman Cameron was the senior Master at Queens College, and later the Deputy Principal from 1934 to 1962. He was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice in 1903, and later attended Christ Church Primary School. Throughout his life, he would be awarded many awards and scholarships, including a Master of Arts (M.A) from Cambridge University in the UK. He would publish many scholarly works on art and culture in his life. In 1968, he was granted the status of “Professor,” and occupied the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Guyana. There is a more complete autobiography of Professor Norman Cameron in the Revised and Updated “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana.”
The Revised and Updated “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana.”
The above autobiography was not included in the initial book. In 2009, the Toronto Queen’s College Alumni Association undertook the mammoth task of re-publishing the original book. Dr. J. Loncke compiled a lengthy biography of the author, Norman Cameron, and former principal C.I Trotz (from Essessiquibo) added a chapter on “reminiscences from 1945-1980, N.P. Chan added a chapter on the reflections of an alumnus, and many appendices included information on the school that occurred after 1951, including the infamous fire that destroyed the central section of the school in 1997.
Mr. C. I Trotz, wrote on of the entry of Mr. Doodnauth Hetram, a former member of the English Army, who was appointed as the principal of Queens College in 1963. He introduced ideas to change the old uniforms into something more practical for the day. He abolished the Khaki pants and introduced “tetrex” instead. He was the first to abandon the practice of wearing suits.
The Revised and Updated “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana” includes an additional forty three (43) pages of anecdotal information and includes in full the original text penned by Norman Cameron.
For anyone who reminisces in the details of their former school, whether as a student or staff, the The Revised and Updated “A History of the Queen’s College of British Guiana” is a book to be procured and kept. Its sold by Toronto Queen’s College Alumni Association.