Adisadel Historical Sketch

By Gilbert N. O. Addy
Knight House, 1973
(With excerpts from the Diamond Jubilee Booklet & "Reminiscences of Adisadel")

Adisadel College, at Cape Coast , Ghana is one of the oldest modern educational institutions for boys in Africa . It was founded on the 4th January, 1910 and modeled on the typical English Public School. The school’s original name was the S.P.G. (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) Grammar School. It later on became St. Nicholas’ Grammar school and finally became Adisadel College when it moved to its current location at Adisadel on the outskirts of Cape Coast in Ghana.

The School was established in 1910 in a storey building at Topp Yard, near Christ Church and the Castle, at Cape Coast. From a humble beginning with only twenty-nine boys, the School has grown over the past ninety seven years. When it was twenty-five years old in 1935 the School had about 200 boys on the registers. At the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1960 the enrolment had gone up to 545 and now in 2007 there are over one thousand five hundred (1500) boys.

The school’s Founder was the Right Reverend Dr. Nathaniel Temple Hamlyn of the Anglican Church. His purpose in establishing the School was to provide for sons of Anglican parents, opportunities of education of the grammar school type. In particular, his objective was to provide a training ground for turning out well-equipped personnel for the Church's work. Bishop Hamlyn amply realised his objective, and in so doing has immortalised himself in the annals of the School.

The School has, during these ninety seven years, attained remarkable heights of achievement. Today, it stands as the second oldest secondary school in Ghana, and indeed one of the most famous institutions of learning in sub-Saharan Africa. The first secondary school to be established in Ghana was Mfantsipim School, also in Cape Coast, which was founded by the Methodist Church in 1876. 

 S.P.G. Grammar School

The records of the School show that the pupils to be first enrolled included the following:

Augustus James Fry

Albert Sunkersette Mends

Joseph William de Graft Johnson

Clement Henry Elliott

James Victor Mayne

John Stephen Crankson

Lewis Augustus Brydow Brown

Samuel Cobbah Sagoe

Ebenezer Benjamin Quashie Quaynor

Jacob Tawiah Stephen

George Christian Mends

Robert Dougan Mends

George Christian Heywood

Albert Henry Addo

John Thomas Green Ackon

William Thomas Flight Davidson

Joseph Jonah Mefful

Robert Ekow Wryter

James Hector Mayne

Ishmael Thomas Williams


The life of the School, during its first decade, was shaped by the headmastership of four outstanding clerics and a layman:

  • the Reverend George Barton Brown of Lichfield Theological College, 1910 and again in 1912;
  • the Reverend Benjamin Philip Haines, M. A. (Durham),
  • Mr Hugh Hare, M.A. (Oxon), 1911; 1913;
  • the Reverend Robert Fisher M.A. (Cantab) 1914-1918,
  • and the Reverend William Hutton Mensah, the only Ghanaian among the pioneers, 1918-1924.

These early Headmasters gave themselves unstintingly to the service of the Church and the School. Animated all along by their steadfast faith in the true and living God, they nurtured the growth of the infant School. They also well and truly laid for the School a sound foundation on which over the years, a magnificent superstructure has been established.

It will be well here to give the Reverend William Hutton Mensah, the first Ghanaian Headmaster, honourable mention. It must be said that Hutton Mensah was a man of a rather small stature, yet, he was a man of immense charm and courage.

By his own industry, Hutton Mensah of Cape Coast developed as a finished scholar well read in English Literature and Theology. Without the advantage of a university education, he was a scholar whose erudition was comparable to the best products of any university. He was a teacher much admired by his pupils. His ordination to the Anglican priesthood in 1916 much improved his chances of becoming the Headmaster from 1918 to 1924.

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Bishop Nathaniel Hamlyn
Bishop Nathaniel          Temple Hamlyn - School Founder in 1910




School Compound


View from Katanga

The Headmasters of the school to date are as follows >>>