Victoria College, Jersey

Coordinates: 49°11′08″N 2°05′48″W / 49.1856°N 2.0966°W / 49.1856; -2.0966

Victoria College, Jersey

Victoria College is an example of Victorian Gothic Revival
Motto Amat Victoria Curam
(Victory favours those who take pains)
Established 1852
Type Selective, Fee-Paying State School [1]
Head Master Alun Watkins B.Ed. (Hons), FRSA
Chairman of the Governors Mr Brian Watt & Jonathan Giles (Vice-Chair)
Founders States of Jersey
Location Saint Helier
Staff 53
Students 693
Gender Boys
Houses 5
Colours Black     and gold    
Former pupils Old Victorians
Close links Pembroke College, Oxford; Jesus College, Oxford; Exeter College, Oxford; Bedford School; Jersey College for Girls
Rival Elizabeth College, Guernsey De La Salle College, Jersey
Visitor Reigning Monarch (Queen Elizabeth II)

Victoria College (French: Collège Victoria)[2] is a selective, fee paying States of Jersey-provided school in membership of the HMC, in St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. The castellated neo-gothic architecture (architect: J. Hayward) is a landmark overlooking the town.


Following the visit of Queen Victoria to Jersey in 1846, the merits of a private college for the instruction of Jersey's male youth were recognized. The grounds of the Mount Pleasant property were purchased to provide a site for the building. The architect J. C. Buckler was selected for the project,but as a result of unacceptable budget over-runs, he was replaced by John Hayward of Exeter. Hayward's Gothic Revival design – a tall medieval hall framed with hexagonal turrets – is predominantly faced in grey and pink granite with sandstone tracery.

Pomp and ceremony accompanied the laying of the foundation stone

The foundation stone of the new college was laid with great ceremony on Victoria's birthday 24 May 1850. Most shops in Saint Helier closed for the day and 12,000 spectators were estimated to have attended the occasion. A military parade crossed the town of Saint Helier to the site of the ceremony, followed shortly afterwards by the members of the States of Jersey who adjourned the legislative sitting to attend. The Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey joined the dignitaries at the Temple in the grounds of the site. The Bailiff of Jersey laid in the foundations a box containing copies of the Acts of the States relating to the college, Jersey coins, and two medallions, one of silver, the other of bronze, depicting the arrival of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Jersey in 1846, and a copper plate engraved with an inscription of the date of the founding of the college and the names of States Members, Officers of the Royal Court and the architect. With the foundation stone, carved with Masonic symbols, in place, the Lieutenant-Governor ceremonially laid the stone by striking it with a trowel. All the Members of the States in turn then proceeded to tap the stone with a mallet three times.[3]

The Great Hall originally accommodated simultaneous classes under the supervision of a master

The college was opened on 29 September 1852 with 98 students enrolled,[4] rising to 125 on 1 October 1852.[5] The opening ceremony once again involved a military parade. The Lieutenant-Governor and the States of Jersey again assembled in the Temple, and processed to the Great Hall where the Bailiff addressed the audience. He recalled the Royal visit of 1846 and stated that the intention of memorialising that visit had inspired the construction of a college for the instruction of youth and of promenades for the recreation of the public. He stated that the interest shown by the Queen and the Prince in the college had led them to present two portraits. The Lieutenant-Governor then formally presented the portraits of the royal couple which were unveiled. The quality of the portraits, copies of Winterhalter, was criticised in the press.[5]

Although French was still the sole official language in Jersey, and indeed speeches at the inaugural ceremonies had been in French,[5] the new college was consciously patterned after the English public schools. The medium of instruction was English from the beginning and was therefore one of the causes for the decline of French as the élite sent their sons to the new college.

Inside the Great Hall as presently laid out

Queen Victoria visited the college on her return to Jersey in 1859. The British monarch remains Visitor of the college, visiting as recently as 2002.

In the 1860s, the ancient grammar schools of Saint-Mannelier and Saint Anastase closed and their endowments were later used to fund scholarships at Victoria College.

The college was controlled by the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats until 1921 when the States took over the assets of that Assembly (including the college) along with most of its powers. The Governing body now consists of a board of Governors, some States appointed, others taken from parents of current pupils.

The main building of 1852 was supplemented with a new quadrangle to provide extra classrooms (architect: Edmund Berteau, States Engineer – 1911).

The WWI memorial, a statue of Sir Galahad (1924) by Alfred Turner with a quotation from Tennyson, stands in the new quadrangle. The WWII memorial in the form of a plaque is located inside the main building, at the bottom of the central staircase. Every Remembrance day the College holds a service to commemorate the pupils who died in the two wars, placing a wreath of poppies at the base of both the statue and the plaque.

In 1935, the Howard Hall, built with the benefactions of T.B. Davis to commemorate his son, Howard Davis, who died during World War I, was opened by the Prince of Wales. Davis had set up the Howard Leopold Davis scholarship trust in Jersey. One of this educational trust's provisions was that it should benefit boys who, like he, had attended an elementary school. The majority of boys benefiting from this trust went to Victoria College and a number went up to Cambridge or Oxford. In 1934 Davis decided he wanted his old friend, John St Helier Lander, a Jersey artist, to paint a portrait of King George V, to commemorate the endowment of the scholarship. When the commission was complete, the artist and Davis visited the College to discuss where the portrait might be hung. When Davis discovered there was no room remaining in the College's great hall he decided to build another hall for the school. On 18 October 1934 Davis and his wife laid the foundation stone to Howard Hall. It was built of granite from Ouaisné and matched the gothic style of the older Victoria College buildings. Inside there was seating for 238, almost exactly the number of boys at school when the building was opened. The paneling and woodwork were of teak, and the clock an exact replica of that at the Greenwich Observatory. On 23 July 1935 the Prince of Wales came to Jersey to open the Hall and unveil the portrait of King George V. The Hall was refurbished in 1996 and now exists as the Howard Davis Theatre where numerous types of drama are performed by the pupils.

College House was used as the administrative headquarters of the German occupying forces from August 1940 until May 1945. It reopened as a boarding house after refurbishment in 1948.

During the German occupation of Jersey during the Second World War, the college was commandeered for the Reichsarbeitsdienst.[6]

College House, a boarding house attached to Victoria College (architect: Edmund Berteau, States Engineer – 1901), was used by the occupying German army for the Feldkommandantur as military headquarters during World War II. It was subsequently incorporated into the new Jersey College for Girls building when that institution moved to a site adjacent to Victoria College. Despite some initial opposition from staff and parents at Victoria College to this development, the pupils of both schools now share Design and Art facilities.

The College's 125th anniversary was commemorated by Jersey Post in 1977 with an issue of stamps on 29 September 1977.[7]

In the late 1990s, the school was engulfed in a scandal as a teacher, A.J. Dykes, was accused and sentenced for six counts of indecent assault and one count of possession of an indecent photograph of a child. The headmaster, J. Hydes, resigned as a result of the handling of issue.[8] The Sharp Report, completed as a result of the issue[9] reviewing the case noted that "The handling of the complaint was "more consistent with protecting a member of staff and the college's reputation in the short-term than safeguarding the best interests of the pupil."[10] As a result, firmer guidelines on child protection were implemented under the new headmaster, R. G. Cook.

Headmasters at Victoria College

Although Victoria College is a state-owned school, the headmaster is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) which is one of the traditional definitions of a public school.

The First Headmaster

William Henderson, the First Headmaster of Victoria College (1852–1862). (Walter William Ouless)

William Henderson was born in 1819, the eldest son of Admiral George Henderson. He was a Demy (Scholar) at Magdalen College, Oxford. He received aa BA (Literae Humaniores and Maths) in 1840, an MA in 1843, a DCL in 1853 and an honorary Durham DD in 1882.

Academically, Henderson seems to have been distinctly 'above average', being awarded the Chancellor's Latin Essay Prize in 1842 and the Ellerton Theological Prize in 1843. In 1845, shortly after his ordination, he was appointed Headmaster of Magdalen College School, but a year later accepted a Tutorship at Durham University.

After one session as Principal of Hatfield Hall, Henderson went as Headmaster to Victoria College and remained there for ten years. This employment was followed by 22 years as Headmaster of Leeds Grammar School whence he was translated to the Deanery of Carlisle. There he remained for a further 21 years, until his death in 1905.[11]

George Stanley Farnell

In November 1893 headmaster George Stanley Farnell was arrested and charged with assault following an incident in which he beat, by means of a cane, a 17-year-old student. On 5 December 1893 the magistrate heard evidence from the prosecuting Centenier, a doctor, the student's father, and the student himself, among others. The doctor gave evidence of the severity of the beating. The magistrate decided that since the student's father had been assured that corporal punishment would not be inflicted, there could be no justification in law for the caning, especially given that the student was not a child but of military age. He reprimanded the defendant, bound the headmaster over to act with less severity in future and released him.[12] The headmaster's cane was confiscated by the court.[13] This case sparked controversy. The use of corporal punishment at the college was represented among French speakers as an imposition of English culture and an attack on the liberties of the Jerseyman as enjoyed up until then at the college.[14] The introduction of corporal punishment to Jersey on the model of English public schools was contrasted with the absence of such punishments in French schools.[15] The magistrate's decision was attacked by the Solicitor-General. The governing body (of which the Solicitor-General was a member) supported the headmaster, who was able to produce a petition signed by his students, supporting the continued use of corporal punishment. All this was in contrast to the tradition established by the first headmaster, Dr Henderson, who had never resorted to the cane.[16] The Constable of Saint Helier (also a member of the governing body) immediately lodged an amendment to the law on compulsory education then under debate, to outlaw corporal punishment in schools subsidised by the States.[17] On 8 January 1894 the States debated the amendment. The Constable of Saint Helier stated that he had felt obliged to put forward the amendment in the light of the recent incident at Victoria College, and that corporal punishment was a barbaric relic. The amendment was rejected by 14 votes to 12.[18]

On 4 November 1895 Farnell went out for a coastal walk in the west of Jersey, it being half-term holiday at the College. The alarm was raised when he had not returned home by midnight, and at 7 a.m. the next morning search parties were sent out, including boys from the College. Farnell's disfigured body, showing signs of having been in the water for a length of time, was discovered in Saint Ouen below Plémont by late morning.[19] The body was discovered by two Victoria College students, Charles Organ and Reginald Beale. The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death.[20]

List Of Headmasters

Headmaster 2000–2010, Mr. Robert G. Cook
The then Headmaster, Mr. Martyn Devenport, with the Prefects of 1979
Brian Vibert, Headmaster 1991–1992 (as President of Le Don Balleine at launch of the Dictionnaithe Jèrriais-Angliais, 2008)
Year Year
From To Duration Headmaster
1852 1862 11 Rev Dr WG Henderson, MA, DCL
1862 1863 2 CJ Wood, MA
1863 1881 19 Rev WO Cleave, MA, LLD
1881 1892 12 Rev RH Chambers, MA
1892 1895 4 GS Farnell, MA
1896 1911 16 LV Lester-Garland, MA, FLS
1911 1933 23 AH Worral, TD, MA
1933 1940 8 JH Grummit, MA
1940 1945 6 PA Tatam (acting headmaster)
1946 1967 22 R Postill, TD, MA
1967 1991 25 MH Devenport, MA
1991 1992 2 BH Vibert (acting headmaster)
1992 1999 8 J Hydes
1999 2000 2 P Stevenson (acting headmaster)
2000 2010 10 RG Cook, B.Ed (Hons), FRSA
2010 AD Watkins, B.Ed. (Hons), M.Ed

On the front of the main school building, Below the battlements, the heads of former headmasters can be seen in the form of gargoyles overlooking the college lawn. As there were not enough headmasters for all the gargoyles, the headmasters are accompanied by fictional, gurning faces.



In the style of the English public school system, the school operates on a house system.

The house system was first introduced in 1904. Houses were based on the geographical provenance of the boys:

The sizes of the houses were very unequal, with School House (the boarders) being much smaller than the others. In 1912 the boundaries of the catchment areas for the town and country houses were adjusted, but the geographical system was replaced in 1919 by a new house system based on numerical parity.[21]

The college lost many of its students to the First World War and the Second World War. Each house is named after a former pupil distinguished for military service:

Each house bears its own colour in order to distinguish it from other houses. These have led to the development of house mascots, often in the form of costumes.

Braithwaite House Choir (2007)
House Colour Mascot
Braithwaite Green Crocodile
Bruce Blue Goose
Diarmid Purple Shark
Dunlop Yellow Lion
Sartorious Red Dragon

Houses have each developed songs for chanting at Sports events and more notably the annual "House Music Competition". At the same event, each student dresses up according to his house colour in order to show his support.

Traditionally, if a student has a paternal lineage at the college, he will join the house of his ancestry on becoming part of the school. Otherwise, house assignment is typically random.

House Flags

Robert G. Cook, Head Master from 2000–10, introduced a new house flag system.[22] At the beginning of each month, a flag on the turrets of Victoria College is changed according to the successes of houses at certain events. The flag bears the colour of the house.

The Sartorious House Flag Flying
Month Success celebrated
January House with most credits (as at December)
February Leader in the Blomfield Cup (as at 31 January)
March Winner of House Music
April Winner of House Art
May Overall winner of the Cross Country
June Winner of the Landick Cup
July Newly appointed Head Boy's House
August Winner of Sports Day
September Winner of the Blomfield
October Winner of Knight's Shield
November Winner of House Drama
December Most money raised for Charity in previous academic year.


The initial uniform consisted of jacket, waistcoat and trousers in black or dark green, and a cap of the same colour.[4]

Early students wore a mortarboard or trencher, although this had been discontinued by 1871. In 1876, a straw boater with ribbon of broad diagonal stripes of black and white was introduced. The black and white stripes led to the boys being nicknamed magpies. A metal cap badge was being worn by 1883, and it was around this time that the black and gold colours were first associated with the college. Under the headmastership of R.H. Chambers (1881–1892) the chocolate and white colour scheme was introduced, along with differences in uniform between the junior and senior schools. Juniors wore a chocolate-coloured pillbox hat with a white Maltese cross on the front; seniors wore a chocolate-coloured cap with the coat of arms of Jersey in white. The tails on the heraldic leopards in this badge were so long that the boys were nicknamed College congers as a result. In 1893, black and gold replaced chocolate and white, and straw boaters were black and white with a ribbon of black-gold-black. The coat of arms of Jersey on the badge was depicted as black leopards on gold. These designs lasted until 1927, when chocolate and white made a return under headmaster A.H. Worrall in the form of caps with concentric rings of black, white and chocolate. At the same time, the four house colours appeared as backings to the badge on boys' caps according to their respective houses. Until the Second World War boarders had a maroon cap with blue ribbon. Under conditions of military occupation, clothing was scarce. In 1945 a navy blue cap was adopted as a temporary measure, and in 1947 a chocolate cap with radiating piping of black and white was chosen from a range of options; worn with a blazer of royal blue, gold and crimson. In 1952 black and gold made a definitive return: a black cap with radiating piping and a badge, both gold; a black blazer with gold badge on the pocket. Chocolate and white were retained as sports colours.

Throughout these changes, the Preparatory school retained black and gold. Until 1940 the black cap had radiating spokes of gold on the top only, with a black on gold badge of the coat of arms of Jersey. From 1945 to 1952 the gold spokes were replaced by a circle of the respective house colour. In 1952 the previous colour scheme returned.[23] Later, the cap badge represented the respective house colour.

Headmaster Ronald Postill re-introduced the wearing of boater hats in the summer to formal events in the 1950s. This practice was discontinued under Headmaster Martyn Devenport, but later revived under Headmaster Robert Cook.

The College Carmen

Victoria College has its own school song, traditionally sung in assemblies in the Great Hall or at functions such as Prize giving or Leavers Day. The Carmen was composed in 1918 by the then Headmaster, Arthur Hardy Worrall. The Latin lyrics are as follows:

Carmen Caesariense
Olim hoc collegium
Priscus rex dotavit
Multis annis postea
Reginae benignitas
Ubi stat locavit
Reginae Victoriae
Floreat Collegium!
Litteris nos erudit
Doctrina carentes
Moribus ingenuis
Corporisque viribus
Instruit languentes
Reginae Victoriae
Floreat Collegium!
Numquam desit copia
Hac e disciplina
Qui Deo ac patriae
Diligenter serviant
Opera divina!
Reginae Victoriae
Floreat Collegium!
Arthur Hardy Worrall (1918)

The English translation is as follows:

Long ago an ancient King
Endowed this College
Many years afterwards
The kindness of a Queen
Placed it where it stands
May the College of Queen
Victoria flourish
In letters it educates us
Who lack learning
It instructs us as we
With innate habits
And strength of body
May the College of Queen
Victoria flourish
Never may there be lacking
A supply from this seat of learning
Who will serve God
And their country diligently
With God’s help
May the College of Queen
Victoria flourish


The motto over the entrance

The school motto is the Latin phrase Amat Victoria Curam. The translation of the motto is ambiguous. Literally it may translate as "victory loves the care". However, other scholars suggest it could also be "victory likes careful preparation" or more loosely "victory favours those who take pains".[24] Further, the phrase is a play on words, referring to either the school's name or indeed the name of the patron, Queen Victoria. Thus, of the numerous other possibilities are "Victoria (as in Queen Victoria or Victoria College) loves industry".

The Prefect Body

Each year, Victoria College chooses between approximately 15–25 students to become Prefects.[25] The Prefect Body are senior students of the College, typically chosen for their dedication, commitment and ability to contribute positively to life at Victoria College. The Prefect Body comprises: the Head Boy, the Deputy Head Boy, the House Captains, the Sports Captain and the remaining Prefects.

Each of the Prefects wear an academic gown or robe. The Head Prefect's status is signified by the college crest on the back of his gown whilst both the Head and Deputy Head Prefect's gowns bear a white and chocolate striping. The House Captains each have the colour of their house on the edges of their gowns. The Sports Prefect's gown bears the traditional sports colours of the college, brown and yellow. The remaining Prefects wear plain black robes.

Head Prefects

The head boy acts as a vehicle of communication between staff and students, whilst often representing the College at public functions. In recent years, the school eagerly anticipates the Head Prefect's final speech on Leavers' Day. The event is often humorous and occasionally controversial.

|- ! Year ! Head Boy |- | 1967–1968 | J.E.C. Arthur |- | 1968–1969 | P. de Ste. Croix |- | 1969–1970 | E.J.R. Boston |- | 1970–1971 | P.N. Hartle |- | 1971–1972 | P.J. Le Feuvre |- | 1972–1973 | K.G. Podger |- | 1973–1974 | N.J.M. Bell |- | 1974–1975 | R. Gasston |- | 1975–1976 | S.P. Ringsdore |- | 1976–1977 | T.J. Herbert |- | 1977–1978 | D.S.A. Campbell |- | 1978–1979 | C. Scholefield |- | 1979–1980 | S.R.G. Howard |- | 1980–1981 | J.W. Rothwell |- | 1981–1982 | A.C. Lavery |- | 1982–1983 | W. Jenner |- | 1983–1984 | P.L. Lalor |- | 1984–1985 | A.E. Staite |- | 1985–1986 | B.J. Murray |- | 1986–1987 | D.L. Hedditch |- | 1987–1988 | A.N. de la Haye |- | 1988–1989 | M.K. Hedditch |- | 1989–1990 | D.K. Bower |- | 1990–1991 | J.M. Weaver |- | 2002–2003 | T. Le Feuvre |- | 2005–2006 | T. Wherry |- | 2006–2007 | T. Rees-Davies |- | 2007–2008 | T. Falle |- | 2008–2009 | C. Gillies |- | 2009–2010 | T. de la Haye |- | 2010–2011 | W. Southall |- | 2011–2012 | B.Cochrane |- | 2013–2014 | Robbie Powell (debated, some evidence points to Thomas Spackman) |- | 2014–2015 | Max Corbridge |- | 2015–2016 | Josh Le Cornu | 2016–2017 | James Dempsey

Notable former pupils

Past students of Victoria College, Jersey are referred to as Old Victorians.

Victoria Cross holders

Five Old Victorians have been awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Sartorius brothers are noted for being one of only five pairs of brothers to have won the Victoria Cross.

See also


  1. "Education (Provided Schools) (Jersey) Regulations 2005". 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  2. "Loi (1860) au sujet du Collège Victoria". 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  3. La Chronique de Jersey, 25 May 1850
  4. 1 2 La Chronique de Jersey, 29 September 1852
  5. 1 2 3 La Chronique de Jersey, 2 October 1852
  6. Balleine's History of Jersey, Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens (1998) ISBN 1-86077-065-7
  7. "Postage stamps". Jersey Weekly Post. 1 September 1977.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2007.
  9. Archived 11 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Ahmed, Maria (2008-02-27). "Jersey: child abuse allegations multiply – 2/27/2008". Community Care. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  11. "Hatfield College History". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  12. La Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey 6 December 1893
  13. La Chronique de Jersey 6 December 1893
  14. La Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey 9 December 1893
  15. La Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey 3 December 1893
  16. La Chronique de Jersey 9 December 1893
  17. La Chronique de Jersey 16 December 1893
  18. La Chronique de Jersey 10 January 1894
  19. Jersey Times and British Press, 5 November 1895
  20. Jersey Express, 6 November 1895
  21. Victoria College, Jersey, 1852–1972, Cottrill, D.J., Phillimore & Co Ltd, ISBN / EAN: 0850332850
  22. "Victoria College ::: ... ::: Flag Information *". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  23. The Victorian, Volume 21, Number 1, May 1952
  24. Expert: Maria – 10/29/2007 (2007-10-29). "Ancient Languages: Latin to English translation, amat victoria curam, latin to english translation". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  25. "Victoria College ::: 6th Form *". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  26. Editorial Team, Société Jersiaise, (Autumn 2006), Société Jersiaise Newsletter, vol.45, page 7, (Société Jersiaise: Jersey)
  27. 1 2 "Victoria College, Jersey: Sartorius House Webpage". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  28. "Victoria College, Jersey: Bruce House Webpage". 1914-12-19. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  29. "Victoria College, Jersey: Diarmid House Webpage". Retrieved 2013-03-18.


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