[From King William's College: Centenary Notes & Pictures, 1933]


Three names stand out during the history of the last forty years among those who have devoted themselves to the building up of K.W.C. ; they are George Leaver Colbourne ; Hilaro Howard Walhen Dickson; and William Gilchrist Wilson. To a very large number of O.K.W.'s their strongest memories and associations of College are connected with one or other of these three great men and great masters. Few Schools, probably, can boast of the possession of such a trio over so long a period.

George Leaver Colbourne

" G.L.C." came to College at the age of twenty-four in 1886. He was a Cambridge " double blue," President of the University Athletic Club and Secretary of the C.U.R.U.F.C. He was a mathematical scholar of his College-Corpus Christi. He was a fine teacher and organiser. While still young, it fell to his lot to take a leading part in the reorganisation of the Hostel, which during his early years was virtually a single House. At its division into three, he gave his name to the House which was in his own care for so long a period.

In 1911 he retired from his mastership and became Secretary to the College Trustees ; a position he held until his retirement in 1924. He was then co-opted to the body of Trustees. He died 2nd October, 1931, at his house on the estate which he bequeathed to the Trustees for College purposes. He did much to encourage sports ; he was a keen cricketer-an excellent wicket-keeper. He was a man of single aim, unswerving loyalty, great judgment and tact; and utterly unselfish.

Hilaro Howard Walhen Dickson

H. H. W. Dickson-" Dido " as he was affectionately known to the long line of boys who passed through his hands-like Mr. Colbourne a scholar of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, came to College as a temporary master for a few weeks in 1888 and remained for thirty-eight years until his death in 1926, more than a third of the School's life. He was Vice-Principal from 1913- He was a great sportsman and helped to lay the foundation of the College's athletic tradition. He was a great teacher-one of the greatest the College has ever had. He was a man of wide and ripe wisdom. Generations of old boys acknowlede that to his counsel and his wise handling of them in days of youth, they owe their later manhood. His name is commemorated by one House, and he left the impress of his character on two, and indeed on the whole School.

William Gilchrist Wilson

W. G. Wilson took an exhibition at Worcester College, Oxford, from St. Peter's, York. He gained his blue at Oxford and but for a serious accident might have had his Cap for England. He came to College in 1898 and remained until his death in 193o. After being House Tutor in School House, he succeeded G.L.C. in charge of Colbourne House in 1911, and followed "Dido" as Vice-Principal in 1926. He had an immense sense of humour, springing from a big heart, combined with a deep knowledge of human nature. Here lay the secret of his success as teacher, man, and disciplinarian. W. G. W. was a magnificent rugby coach and as such was chiefly responsible for the subsequent achievements of College XV's. For twenty-five years he edited the " General Knowledge Paper." Beloved in the Common Room he was, as his senior successor described him, "our best man."


THE REV. EDWARD CUNLIFFE OWEN, M.A., Scholar of Pembroke College, Oxford (first class Lit. Hum.), was appointed principal in 1913 and held office until his retirement in 1930. Canon Owen had a wide scholastic experience, having been an assistant master at Manchester Grammar School ; Bromsgrove School and headmaster of St. Peter's York, 1900-12. Canon of Strensall in York Minster, he was also in 1929 made Canon of St. Maughold in the Diocese of Sodor and Man. Canon Owen ably guided the College through the difficult years of the War, and the (in some ways) equally difficult post-war years. The list of honours was well maintained; and the College reached its highest numbers in 1924. New buildings were added, the additional wing of the junior House in 1917; the Promenade Houses purchased in 1919 and 1920 ; the miniature range was presented by Mr. T. Eastwood in memory of his two sons, both O.K.W.'s, killed in the War; the Walker Library was completed by the benefaction of the Rev. J. M. Walker, D.D., in 1925. The War Memorial gateway at the western quadrangle was added in 1926, and the last block of new buildings to be completed, filling up the north-east side of the quadrangle, was finished in the same year. In 1927, Trentham House, on the Promenade, was made over to the Trustees by the gift of Lady Reynolds.

Canon Owen was successful in opening up avenues through which large numbers of College boys have secured posts with some of the largest concerns at home and abroad. Shortly before his retirement, Canon Owen wrote and published " A Hundred Years of Education: King William's College 1830-1930."

KWC - College from the air 1918
College from the air 1918
(picture from a Naval Airship)

KWC - The New Buildings, 1926
The New Buildings, 1926

KWC - The Walker Library
The Walker Library


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