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HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF MGHS WILBERFORCE
The Methodist Girls’ High School is one of the leading girls’ secondary schools in Sierra Leone.
It was established in 1879, when the Rev. M Godman, General Superintendent, of the Wesleyan Mission Society, saw the need for a girls’ secondary school to complement the Wesleyan secondary school for boys— the Wesleyan Boys’ High School.
In collaboration with a group of businessmen, including Mr. James Taylor, Treasurer of the District Building and Extension Fund on the Wesleyan Missionary Society, they envisioned the Wesleyan Female Educational Institution, with Mr. Taylor as the manager.
On January 1st, 1880, The Wesleyan Female Educational Institution was inaugurated. The school was located at what is now known as Lightfoot Boston Street.
The institution’s actual work started on January 9, 1880 under the supervision of its first principal, Mrs. E.H.C. Weymouth, assisted by several deaconesses of the Methodist Missionary Society. However, her administration was cut short, due to illness.
In 1901, the manager of the school, James Taylor died after struggling to keep the school afloat for twenty years. The school was moved to a house donated by Mr. James Macfoy located at George Street. There were about 130 students from kindergarten to class 10, the highest grade at the time.
In 1905, the Board of Governors decided to hand over the school to the Wesleyan Missionary Society. Mrs. W.T. Balmer, wife of the principal of the Wesleyan Boys’ High School, devoted her time to the improvement of the school which was open to both boys and girls. Staff was recruited from the Wesleyan Deaconess College in England and the name was changed to Wesleyan Girls’ High School.
In 1921, the school was moved to its permanent location at Wilberforce. It was a distance from the city and the hardship caused the Board of Governors to institute a boarding department in 1925, as many of the deaconesses and teachers were resident at the school.
In 1932, the name of the school was changed to the Methodist Girls’ High School.
Because of the need for a barracks for World War II soldiers (1944-
By then, the school was attracting students from Nigeria, Ghana, and the Gambia among other countries.
In 1953, Miss L. Oliver was sent from England to serve as principal under a five year contract. At the end of Miss Oliver’s tenure, the position was offered to Mrs. Fashu Collier, an alumna, who subsequently pursued a year’s principal course in England. During her absence, two British teachers— Ms. Dina Atkins, and Mrs. Jarvis Reid filled the position as acting principals. Mrs. Collier returned in 1959 to begin her tenure as the first Sierra Leonean-
Mrs. Collier was succeeded by other Sierra Leonean-
The school has not been exempt from encountering challenges dating back to Sierra Leone’s ten year civil war. Lack of classrooms has resulted in a two-
The school curriculum includes Liberal Arts, Science and Commercial subjects offered to the 2,500 students currently enrolled. Extra-
The year 2020 marked the celebration of 140 years of excellence of the Methodist Girls’ High School as a girls’ institution. The school has contributed to the lives of thousands of women, who during their time there gained academic excellence and afterwards pursued distinction. The women through the years hold prominent positions in religious, legal, social, medical, financial, educational, secretarial, political, and administrative fields in Africa, Europe, and the USA.
The Methodist Girls High School Old Girls Associations in Freetown, Sierra Leone founded in 1905. Today, there are branches founded by alumnae in London, England, the USA, and Canada. These branches continue to support their school by providing scholarships for needy students; science lab and library materials; teacher/staff financial support; and improvements of the school’s physical structure. These women continue to take pride in their Alma Mater and to support access to quality secondary education for the present pupils.
Floreat Methodist Girls High School!