School History

Kingswood College derives its name and ideals from an 18th-century college established by John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist Church) in Bristol, England in 1748 and is one of the oldest Methodist educational institutions in South Africa.

During the course of the late 1800s, several attempts were made to establish Methodist schools in the Grahamstown district, the Wesleyan High School for Girls being the most successful. However, there was no equivalent school for boys. It was through the inspiration of four members of the Commemoration Methodist Church that the Wesleyan Collegiate School for Boys was established, which later became known as Kingswood College.

Kingswood College has been a co-educational school for more than 40 years, with girls first being welcomed to the school in 1973. This was not just a necessary step in affirming our commitment to diversity, social equity, and inclusion as a school, but it was the realisation of what Kingswood meant to its community: a family. Boys and girls made up that family. 

While the school is founded on Methodist teachings, children from all other denominations are all welcome at Kingswood. The Kingswood philosophy has always been, and remains; to provide a liberal education rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and that it should help to foster every pupil’s development – spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, cultural and physical.

The first 100 years of Kingswood College’s history is contained in a book called Still Upon a Frontier by former Kingswood Chaplain, Rev Howard Kirkby and his wife Joyce. It provides a detailed account of the events which helped shape Kingswood’s traditions and ethos.

Museum and Digital Photo Archives

The museum, situated next to the Memorial Dining Hall off Burton Street, has recently been revamped and features interesting information about Kingswood’s history that includes a very well- illustrated timeline. A visit to this facility will enable visitors to get a really good understanding of Kingswood’s history and how it has progressed from the humble beginnings when housed in the “Tin University” in 1894 to the world-class school that it is today.

All the photographs from the school archives have recently been digitized and can be accessed by clicking on this link. Simply login and enter your search details. This can be done from the comfort of your home, or when visiting the museum simply pop into the media room and make use of the computers that are available there.

If you have any queries please contact Carey Hobson at the OK Office.