Victoria School had its origin in an English Class established in 1876 in Kampong Glam Malay School. The first headmaster was Mr. M. Hellier, the man who organized and taught the English classes there. The school enrolment grew but there were teething problems.
The school provided poor shelter from the weather. On hot and windy days, clouds of dust blew into the classrooms with adverse effects on the boys and teachers. The school was often flooded. Our pioneers did not always find attending school a pleasant pursuit.
Owing to the efforts of Mr. Hartley, new buildings were put up in 1897. Under Mr. Hartley's administration, there was a general improvement in the tone of the school. He also organized the school's first soccer team. From 1900-1932, our school was known as Victoria Bridge School. The school functioned in the now premises at Victoria Street near the Victoria Bridge (the present Kota Raja Malay School). By 1920 the enrolment was 733.
The first annual sports meet took place in 1915. The first annual Speech Day was held in the following year. Until 1930,Victoria had only primary classes - Primary 1 to Standard 5. From 1931, the school became a secondary school. This was the period of Rev A.J Amery's headship.
When Mr. R.E. Smith became the principal, the first scout group, called the Sixth Troop, was formed under Mr. S R. Williams, a Mathematics teacher. In 1929, the 'House System' was introduced.
The House prefects were formed in 1930. A donation of $1000 by Mr. A.M. Alsagoff made it possible for a school library to be set up. The school presented its first candidates for the Junior Cambridge Examination in 1933, and for the Senior Cambridge in 1934.
On 18th September 1933, the school moved to Tyrwhitt Road and the school came to be known as Victoria School. School sports activities were given a boost. In the years 1939 and 1940, the school won the Sir Arthur Young Cup in the Inter-School relay event.
At the Amateur Athletic Association finals in 1940, Ali bin Ahmad won the 100 yards in 10 seconds and thus had his name etched in the Hall of Fame.
In March 1940, the School Literary Society was formed. Under Major E.H. Wilson's tutelage, the prefect badge was introduced. The School motto 'NIL SINE LABORE', meaning 'NOTHING WITHOUT LABOUR' also came into existence.
During the Japanese Occupation, Mr. S R Williams acted as the Headmaster. Those who sat for the Senior Cambridge Examination in December 1941 had to wait till 1946 to know their results. Our school did well with a percentage of 84.16 obtaining Grades 1 to 3.
The Japanese renamed the school Jalan Besar Boys' School. The Japanese Language was taught while the teaching of English was said to be forbidden.
After the war, Rev Colin King and Mr. P.F. Howitt held the headship for brief periods. The immediate post-war period saw a rehabilitation programme to restore the buildings and equipment. During this period, the Colonial Government launched a Ten Year Education Programme.
After Mr. Howitt, Mr. R.F.Bomford became the headmaster. He had been a Science Master of the school. He planned the Science Block, where the General Science and Biology Laboratories were housed, which was opened in 1950.
In 1951, the Post School Certificate classes were started. A few girls joined the classes. Our school song was composed and set to music in the early fifties.
Mr. Bomford gave abundantly of his energy and talents to make Victoria a member of the top league. On his death, grateful Victorians of that time organized the Bomford Memorial Fund (now administered by the Old Victorians' Association) to give awards to outstanding pupils.
In 1954, Mr. M Campbell was appointed Principal of the school. During his stewardship, our school attained high academic honors. Mr. Campbell left in 1958 and within a period of seven years, we had eight principals. From April 1966 to January 1971, Mr. A Kannayson became Principal.
During his time, there was a considerable improvement in student and staff morale. Four laboratories, a new hall-cum-canteen and a block of classrooms were also built in 1967.
Mr. A Kannayson was succeeded by Mr. T.P.Naidu who remained Principal till September 1975, when Mr. Looi Sik Cheong, took over the school.
The school has made great strides, in the field of academic as well as in ECA. In 1979, Victoria School became a Pre-University Center, offering 3-year Pre-University courses instead of the normal two years.
A new chapter began when Victoria Junior College opened its doors at Marine Parade in 1984, and Victoria School moved to its present Geylang Bahru site that same year. In 1993, Victoria School was one of the six pioneer schools, which received autonomous status and is today, a premier secondary school. Since its establishment in 1876, Victoria School has made significant contributions to Singapore by producing Queen's scholars, lawyers, doctors, engineer, teachers, trade unionists, and army officers. Members of Parliament, Ministers and businessmen. We are very pleased to record all these for future Victorians.
In May 2003, the school moved to new premises at Siglap Link. This is the fifth location since Victoria School's founding in 1876. The story continues.