Adisadel Historical Sketch

By Gilbert N. O. Addy
Knight House, 1973

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Adisadel College

Without doubt, Knight's significant achievement was how he succeeded in moving the School from Topp Yard to the site of Adisadel Hill. The story of this episode is well known. It will be well to pay tribute here to all who worked tirelessly at the very early stage. They gave of their time and talent to encourage the boys to undertake by their own labour the first phase of the building programme. This consists of the present Hamlyn House, the Acropolis and the Sanatorium.

In particular, it is worth recording the part played by the late John Buckman, M.B.E., a land surveyor and architect. Buckman was well known to devote a great deal of his leisure time to promoting voluntary activities. He travelled frequently in 1932-33 from Accra to Cape Coast, in order to supervise, free of charge, the work of construction on the Hill. A local architect in Cape Coast, I.R. Fynn, also gave generous assistance.

The dogged effort of the boys that came to be described as the 'Adisadel Spirit' attracted financial support from within and outside the country, especially from Britain. The Government gave a substantial grant which enabled construction work to be undertaken on proper basis. It was thus possible, in December 1936, for the Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Arnold Hudson KCMG, to open formally the new buildings and name the School - Adisadel College. This was done before a great a company of local Chiefs and people.

Knight is regarded as the creator of the present School. He was indeed an inspirer. His results were attained by an energetic ubiquity. He was everywhere. He went everywhere and he was felt everywhere! No one gave a more practical refutation to the theory that school masters belong to a sedentary profession.

One of Knight's great gifts was his power of discovering hidden talent in the most unlikely quarters by something which might be called intuitive genius. It was in Knight's time that the School Ode was composed and it was he who inspired a pupil of the School, the late Jack Wilmot, to write the music.

In 1937, Alan Knight went on furlough, but did not return to Adisadel. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, who had evidently been struck by Knight's stirring qualities, as he campaigned in Britain for funds in aid of Adisadel, appointed him Bishop of Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana). He later on became the Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies.

The Rev. Robin Decimus Hudson, M.A. (Oxon), Chaplain of Eton College, was appointed to succeed Knight. The news of his appointment was hailed with joy by many. Coming from one of England's old Public Schools, it was believed, Hudson would communicate the urbanity that was Eton's to the milieu at Adisadel. He was a man of magnificent and imposing appearance. He also combined sound scholarship with a keen sense of humour. He was a rugby enthusiast, a great swimmer and a lover of outdoor games.

It was during Hudson's term of office that the teaching of Science was introduced. A small room by Hamlyn House was converted for use as a laboratory. This greatly encouraged those boys who had decided to pursue advanced courses for which a knowledge of science was desirable.

Whatever plans Hudson had for improving the quality and content of the curriculum could not be carried out, because he had suddenly to leave Adisadel in 1940 in order to serve in the British Army during the Second World War. Hudson made an impact on the School, and deservedly won the respect of all who worked with him.

From 1941-43, Stephen Nicholas was in charge of the School. He left for Nigeria to take up an appointment with the Church Missionary Society and he was ordained. The man whom the Board of Governors selected to hold the fort was E. N. Agbettor, B.A.(Lond.), then a senior master of Mfantsipim School. Agbettor was a very sincere person, with a reputation as a good Latin teacher.

He came to Adisadel at a rather difficult period, for the war had seriously disrupted life in the School. Adisadel was one of the few schools which had to be given over for use by the Military during World War II. The School therefore had to move to Cape Coast and be housed in widely scattered premises. Agbettor had to cope with the formidable task of managing the School during this unsettled period, and he undoubtedly did his best. He left the School in 1947.

The headmastership next fell to the Revd. W. G. Harward, M.A. (Oxon) who had come to Ghana originally to work as a parish priest. He found an able lieutenant in the Rev. J. W. A. Howe, the Chaplain of the School. Harward's first preoccupation was with the teaching staff which he tried to improve. He built a block for science laboratories, and also two additional dormitories. One of these was named Canterbury House, in token of the generous support that Archbishop Lang, then Primate of all England, had given to the cause of Adisadel; and the other, Knight House.

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The 83 steps between
 Leopoldville & Katanga



Inside St. Nicholas Chapel




Canterbury House




School Compound




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