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Old 23-08-20, 01:32 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Mr. W.T. Keble (1942-1956)

Former Headmasters: St. Thomas' Preparatory School and College Bandarawela

Mr. W.T. Keble was born on the 4th of August 1901 in Staffordshire, England. He obtained his Bachelor and Master of Arts Degree from the University of Oxford and Diploma in Education. In 1923, Mr. Keble took up an appointment as a teacher at St. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia.
The idea of forming an up country school first entered his mind in 1929 after a visit to Nuwara Eliya, on which occasion he expressed that a school like St. Thomas' should take advantage of the amenities provided in the up country. But he felt that the cold climate of Nuwara Eliya was not suitable for an average low country boy and therefore explored the possibilities of finding a suitable site. He felt that Bandarawela would be an ideal place and set about acquiring land.
As a result the St. Thomas' Preparatory school, Bandarawela branch was started on the 20th of January 1942 by Mr. Keble in a rented house at Walden Place, Welimada Road, Bandarawela. No sooner it was started the war in the South and South Asia intensified and the premises of St. Thomas' Kollupitiya was taken over by the Navy. This situation paved the way for the Kollupitiya branch which was also founded by Mr. Keble to be temporarily shifted to Bandarawela. The small rented house was not sufficient. Mr. Keble bought an empty dairy shed which was for sale in Nugegoda and transferred every bit of the frame and corrugated sheets to a friend's land (Mr. H.A.J. Hullugalle's on Golf Links Road, Bandarawela, and erected a large shed to house the school rooms. The whole school consisted of a Chapel, Office, classrooms and a tiny 2 roomed
apartment for Mr. and Mrs. Keble. The house built by Mr. Hulugalle was also given to be used for the school until the land for the school premises was acquired. While the school was thus going on, Mr. Keble was able to acquire 10 acres of land in the patnas nearby on a 99
year lease to put up the Headmaster's house and a farm.

The school was inaugurated as St. Thomas' Preparatory School, Bandarawela. In 1944 construction commenced. The first building of the present school was built with the help of parents and friends of Mr. Keble, who generously helped with gifts of materials and donations to
the building fund. Mr. D.R. Wijewardene helped to put up the first building which housed a variety of departments of the school. This building is known as Wijewardene Dormitory now. Since Mr. Keble was a great scholar he wrote two books at this time. "First Term" and
"Life of Sir James Peiris" (the latter with Deva Surya Sena). Both these books provided the funds for buildings. The present Peiris Dormitory was such a building. Sir Claude and Lady Corea helped with Corea House (now Corea Dormitory). The late Mrs. P.E.P. Deraniyagala, Mr. Hayes Jayasundera and Mr. J.H. Sri Chandrasekera along with parents were able to raise funds to put up more buildings.

In 1946 an open air theatre, built after the fashion of ancient Greece, was put up. This was the first of its kind built in Sri Lanka. The cost of this was contributed by two parents later this was converted to an agricultural site.

In 1949 the swimming pool was constructed. Mr. Keble was the first swimming coach. Later due to lack of water this site was used to put up the present Edirisinghe Dormitory.
In 1951 the Science Room was gifted by Mr. Sydney Ellawala. The present Upper School classrooms where built. The Headmaster's Office was shifted to this building.

On the 17th of August 1956 Mr. Keble and his family left for Canada for good with his parting words "Your children have been my life".
Mr. U. Obeysekera was appointed Acting Headmaster when Mr. W.T. Keble left Ceylon for good on the 17th of August 1956. When Mr. Obeysekera fell ill, Mr. D.N. Edirisinghe took up duties as Acting Headmaster.

Last edited by sriyanj; 23-08-20 at 01:39 PM.
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