Sunday, 20 November 2011

Old colonial headmasters

The Penang Free School and the Hutchings School shared some common interesting bonds. It is a shame though that I'm unable to uncover more information of the Hutchings School apart from the facts that the school was named after the Revd Robert Sparke Hutchings who founded the Penang Free School in 1816 and that the Hutchings School took over the old premises of the Penang Free School in Farquhar Street after the latter had moved to bigger premises in Green Lane in 1928. i did hear that the Hutchings School occupied this building until the start of the Japanese Occupation in 1941. The Japanese destroyed half the building during one of their air raids on the island.

The names of the personalities common to both schools were that of LW Arnold, PF Howitt and HR Cheeseman, after which the sports houses in Hutchings School were named, but I'm sure there could be more.

Harold Cheeseman founded the Scouts movement in Penang at the Penang Free School in 1915, while both Arnold (1928-1929 and 1934-1946) and Howitt (1950-1951) were the headmasters of Penang Free School. Despite not being a headmaster at the Penang Free School, Cheeseman was such a respected character that the school had also named a sports house after him.

Interestingly, Arnold was Hutchings School's headmaster in 1931-1934 before his transfer to the Penang Free School. He was also a headmaster of the Malacca High School in 1931 while Howitt was a headmaster of the Victoria School in Singapore in 1941 and again 1946-1948. There was also D Roper who was a headmaster of both the Penang Free School (1947-1950) and Victoria School (1941). I'm sure in time, more people would unearth more information on the connecting histories of the old schools in Malaysia and Singapore.

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