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Dr. Barcroft Boake 

Dr Barcroft Boake, B.A.; D.D. (Dublin); TCD was Born in 1814, educated at Trinity College, Dublin and University of Dublin. He served as the Principal of the Colombo Academy from October 1842 to September 1870. He also was the Secretary of the  Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon), Secretary of the Friend in Need Society (1869) and Official Clergyman to troops in Colombo (1859-1869). Parish Priest, Panadura and Kalutara.

Actg. Colonial Chaplain - Holy Trinity Church. After retirement Boake was Pastor, St. Kilda's Church, where he passed away on 9th September 1876, in Melbourne, Australia. He wrote two books "Brief Account of the Origin and Nature of the Connexion* (between) the British Government and the Idolatrous Systems of Religion prevalent in the Island of Ceylon" (1854), and "National Education in the East and Ceylon in Particular (1854)."

Principal Boake retired on the 1st of  October 1870 on a pension of £ 412 per annum. Boake’s the son-in-law of Rev. Joseph Marsh was a personality sporting long side whiskers and clergyman's cassock. Boake was appointed Principal by the Secretary of State for Colonies. The date of his appointment is given as 4th April 1842, the date he sailed from England, and others from 10th October 1842 the date he assumed office. Boake arrived in Ceylon on 19th September 1842. Appointed on a salary of £500 per annum and £150 contingencies allowance and allowed to reside in school buildings. An excitable Irishman who took even well meant criticism as an attack on him personally, and was in constant conflict with the Central Schools Commission and later with the Governor. Boake brooked no opposition. As a forthright personality his head-on confrontation almost brought about the abolition of the Colombo Academy in 1851. Boake was a great scholar well versed in Latin and Greek and bent on having higher education at the Academy (again, something which brought him in conflict with leading personalities such as R.F. Morgan). Boake might be termed the originator of the University of Ceylon of today. The Academy produced excellent results at the Calcutta University Examination.

The changes in his time were:
• Instituted First in Arts Examination
• He established a Boarding House
• Affiliated Colombo Academy with University of Calcutta (1859)
• Started the second College Magazine (Students Magazine) in July 1860
• Started the First Debating Society called the "Improvement Society"
• Name of the school was changed to COLOMBO ACADEMY and QUEENS COLLEGE (1859)
• Renamed Colombo Academy (1869)

"Boake's authority was such that the Academy was known as 'Boake's School' or 'Boake Gedera' and not as a Government Institution. Boake was a commanding personality. His pupils raised Rs.7000/- as a parting gift. He made a study of fresh water fish and wrote on their habits. On the morning of his departure from Colombo, all the students and many past pupils assembled at 6.30 a.m. at Galle Face before he set off by coach to Galle to board ship. It was a spontaneous farewell from a multitude that adored him."Some good came out of Boake's constant quarrels with the Central Schools Commission which included Church dignitaries who never viewed the Colombo Academy with favour. Due to Boake's complaints against the Central Schools Commission and its general handling of educational affairs the Commission was abolished by the Governor and the Department of Public Instructions established in February 1869 with its Director appointed by the Secretary of State. Boakes attitude towards Buddhism and Hinduism was very critical.

Boake was fond of using the "birch." He carried a thick Malacca cane. His standard punishment was 6 strokes on the hand followed by 6 more on the back. Boake first married Mary Catherine Slade on 22nd March 1843 in Colombo. On her death Boake married a second time, Agnes Jane, daughter of Rev. Joseph Marsh (First Headmaster of the Colombo Academy) on 27th August 1861. His son W.J.S. Boake (of the Ceylon Civil Service) by his first marriage was Police Magistrate Kalpitiya (1869) and Asst. Government Agent in various Districts in the island. Another son Rev. W.H.S. Boake served as Pastor in a church in Melbourne, Australia.


George Todd 

George Todd B.A. (Oxon); I.S.O. Balliol College, Oxford. He served as the Principal from  February 1871 to April 1878 on a salary of £ 750 (Rs.7500/-) per annum. Acted as the Director of Public Instruction in 1875. On retirement from Ceylon, Todd served in the Department of Education in Scotland.

Todd a brilliant Classics Scholar was another to sport side whiskers, according to accounts partially lame. Todd never courted popularity and changed most of the Text Books in use in Boake's time and sent away number of slack teachers. He was a stern disciplinarian and applied the Motto. After Principal Boake’s virtual austerity programme Todd commenced some innovations.

• The English University Scholarships was first awarded
• Instituted the Admission Register
• Cricket got under way with the arrival of Ashely Walker in 1876
• School Colours of "Royal Gold and Blue" are first mentioned
• School Motto first mentioned
Todd's house in Rome where he lived and died was named "San Sebastian". Earlier while living in London the house he lived in was named "San Sebastian". Todd’s sons visited the college and addressed the boys at assembly during the Easter Term 1955.
He passed away on the 25th of December 1912 in Rome.  


John Barnabas Cull 
John Barnabas Cull, M.A. (Oxon). Born on the 1st of September 1849 he joined the Colombo Academy staff as 2nd Principal Asst. on 3rd July 1874 and promoted Principal Asst. in  January 1876. He succeeded as Principal on the 1st of December 1878 and served until January 1890 on a salary of £ 750 per annum. Cull married Archdeacon Tullochs' daughter. He also served as the Director of Public Instruction October 1890 to 1892.

Another volatile character, mostly in connection with internal affairs of School, and not matters connected with the government. Short, red-haired and with a reddish coloured beard plus stinging slaps administered on the cheeks of his charges earned him the nickname "Dimiya", (red Ant). Cull is the first Principal to have earned a nickname. Cull was fond of Rowing. He always wore a white tunic coat when going about his duties." He was a strict disciplinarian, and inspired awe, but used the cane sparingly. Drill was during schools hours.
Cull's devotion to the development of studies and extra curricular activities saw the commencement of a building for a Science Block in 1879. He wrote to the D.P.I. before going on leave in May 1881 that he wished to form a Cadet Corps and to have the name changed to Royal College. Both items were granted during his absence.

The changes in Principal Cull’s period were

• Gazette Notification giving Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s approval to change the name to ROYAL COLLEGE appeared on the 31st of July 1881
• CADET CORPS were formed in August 1881
• The biggest milestone of Cull's regime was the first cricket match with S. Thomas' College on 27th and 28th July 1879. It was the first Cricket match played by Royal College.
• The science Laboratory was completed in 1881. Royal College became the First school to introduce Science Subjects in to the Curriculum. The College went on to produce brilliant Science Scholars - the first of whom was H.M. Fernando. Although Director of Public Instruction in 1891, Cull took a keen interest in the formation of the Royal College Old Boys Union.
"A tireless worker he took the Sixth Form in England, History, Latin, Classics and Political Economics. On Saturday morning he had French Classes and read the Greek Testament with the Boarders. "An inspiring and stimulating teacher, who in later years became intemperate and was a failure as Director of Public Instruction, the end of his life, after retirement was a pathetically inglorious one." He passed away on the 25th of  August 1902.


Joseph Henry Marsh 

Joseph Henry Marsh (Jnr.) M.A. (Edin) was born on the 27th December 1836. He joined staff on the 1st of May 1857. He served as the Actg. Principal from 1870 to 1871 and May 1888 to 18th October 1890. He also served as  First Principal Asst. from 1871 to 1883.  He was also Inspector of Schools from September 1883 to 1890. He subsequently became Principal of Royal College from 18th October 1890 to 30th March 1892 on a salary of Rs. 7500/- per annum

He later retired and settled down in England. Marsh had a son (H.W.) who was a student at College. Marsh (Jnr.) the son of the first Headmaster Rev. Joseph Marsh (Snr.) Like the father he was a mild mannered religious individual, who tried his best to stop boys from smoking, tired his best to get the boys to drill and came up against all sorts of pranks, even with an Englishman as Drill Sergeant. From reminiscences written by Old Boys of the period Drill sessions seem to have been a bit chaotic. "Marsh was a dry old soul and his teaching was far from stimulating”. He passed away in1898 


John Henry Harward 

John Henry Harward, M.A. (Oxon) was born on the 27th of May 1858 at Worksworth, Derbyshire. Educated at Durham School (1869-1877) and University College, Oxford (1878-1881) and graduated B.A. First in Classical Moderations. 2nd in Greats at Oxford. 2nd Classics Master at Brighton College (1882-1891). He became Principal Royal College from 3rd May 1892 to the 30th August 1902 on a salary of Rs 9,600/- annum. He acted as the Director of Public Instruction (1898-1902) while being principal and then as Director of Public Instruction  from January 1903 to 1915
A slight pale figure whose appearance was deceptive, it was surprising that one who looked ill could work so hard. Was efficient and expected others to fellow the high standard set by him. He taught 20 of the 25 hours a week and collected fees himself as he had no clerical assistance. "As a teacher he was of the class that is born and not made" The First Principal to allow the students full reign to form Debating societies

The associations formed were:
• The Y.M.C.A., Literary club, Juvenile Association, Philosophical society
• A permanent Magazine commenced (1893)
• Football was introduced (1896)

He was an excellent Sinhalese scholar. After his arrival his application to the study of the language was at the dinner table with A. Samarasinghe one of the masters. Later he spoke Sinhalese with ease. Prizes were given for Sinhalese and Tamil for the first time in the history of the school. A good cricketer, he played for the College XI against Clubs. He umpired at matches including the Royal-Thomian match. His 10 year reign has been called the "Golden Age" at Royal. He hardly used the cane, a complete departure from the regimes of Boake or Cull.

Harward played a good game of golf. Harward, who was the son of Arthur Harward of Worksworth Derbyshire, was a bachelor and his sister Mary Harward kept house for him. On retirement he settled down in Warwick, Queensland, Australia. The home he lived and in died at Warwick in Queensland was named "Montrose", after the name of the home he lived in at Ward Place, Colombo 7. He passed away on the 30th of September 1932 at Warwick, Queensland, Australia.

 “If I once start talking of Royal College, I shall never stop"¾ (Principal Harward at Royal College Prize Day Speech 1904).


Charles Hartley            

Charles Hartley, M.A. (Cantab) was born on the 12th of February 1865 at Beccls, Suffolk, Educated at Fauconberg Grammar school, Beccles, then at Malborough (1879-1883) and Magdalen Cambridge where he graduated B.A. (1887) Wrangler, 2nd class Tripos ; He was the Captain of Magdalen College Cricket Team, Classical Master Cathedral School, Worcester; Modern Language and classical Master at Christ college Brecon and later at Malborough College;

He joined the staff of Royal College as Lecturer in Modern Languages and English in September 1896; He served as Actg Principal from October 1897 to August1898 and Actg. Principal Asst; from April 1902 to January 1903. Hartley became Principal on the 23rd of June 1903 until May 1919 on a salary of Rs. 9600/- per annum.  

 He was Asst. Censor in Ceylon (German) in 1915. He also served as Actg Director of Public Instruction 1910.

The MOSES of Royal College. He led the young Royalists away from the dirt and grime and the millions of lake flies and bats of San Sebastian Hill, Pettah and Hulftsdrop to the more salubrious surroundings and fine buildings of Cinnamon Gardens in 1913. Like Harward he was very fond of cricket although he did not play cricket as frequently as Harward. Hartley Umpired in School Matches and in the Royal Thomian match. "He was found of riding the bicycle-his mode of transport, even to get to the "Queens House". Always had his coat buttoned up to the top. A strict disciplinarian but a simple soul, a man of few words who made his appearances at Queens House in Cannanore suit and faded green tie, a Shakespearan collar, white shoes and a crumpled hat, ("a monstrosity of the hatters art") shattering Vice-Regal fashions." During his period as Principal, Hartley overcame efforts to abolish the Royal College between 1908 and 1916. Hartley who never spared the cane created history when he caned the whole Upper 6th Form in 1897.

"Hartley came out with a reputation as a cricketer, which he did fairly maintain on the one only occasion in which he played. He found Colombo too warm for cricket" He owned the Yacht "Fiona". He lectured on Yachts and Yacht building. Hartley was Hony. Secretary. Of the Colombo Sailing Club(1900/04).
During his time the following were introduced:

• Boxing (1913)
• Rugby (1916)
• Hockey(1916)
• The House system was inaugurated.
• First Inter Schools Athletics Meet (1907) (Empire Day Games)
Principal Hartley passed away in 1935 in British Columbia, Canada.      


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