Date Posted... Mar 14th 2024


School Archive

Archive Attic: 90 years as a Public School

Truro School was first recognised as a Public School by the Headmasters’ Conference in the Spring of 1934.

The following was recorded in the school magazine published in March 1934.


The Truronian

The Magazine of Truro School

General News

“We are very proud to become an officially recognised Public School, and cherish the honour of being the first school in Cornwall to gain the distinction.”

A Public School

The distinction gained in attaining the status of a public school marks another striking advance in the development of the School, which has been continuous during the past ten years. This recognition is not surprising in view of the School’s record. Over £30,000 has been spent on buildings and equipment during that time.

The buildings and playing fields cover forty acres. The list of successes is outstanding, there being at present in the universities twenty-seven Old Boys, many of whom have obtained University scholarships. These facts which have been taken into account by the Headmasters’ Conference in bestowing this distinction on us. The association limits the number of public schools to one hundred and fifty. Admission to and continuance of membership depends upon the scheme under which the school is administered, taking into account particularly the measure of independence enjoyed by the governing body and the headmaster, upon the numbers in the school who, having passed the School Certificate, are continuing their studies beyond that stage, and upon the number of boys from the school who become resident undergraduates of Oxford, Cambridge or other British University. Dr Magson has now been invited to attend the Headmasters’ Conference, and the name of Truro School will be included among those appearing in the next issue of the Public Schools Year Book.

D. Vage (TS 1927-36)

Dr E.H. Magson, Headmaster 1921-46

Aerial view of the school c.1934

The Celebration

Friday, February 23rd, was a day of great rejoicing for us all. Truro School had become a Public School and to celebrate this there was a half holiday in the afternoon and a dinner in the evening.

In the dining hall we welcomed several guests among whom were Mr H.W. Vinter, former Headmaster of the School, the Rev Ezra Kendall, representing the Governors, Mr J.A. Jennings, the first Chairman of the Old Boys’ Association, Messrs W.R. Lobb, E.S. Beard and F.W. Truscott, all past Chairmen. Mr W.A. Jennings, the present holder of that office, and Messrs E.F. Vincent and A.P. Parrett, Secretaries of the O.B.A.

The toast of “The School” was proposed by Dr E.H. Magson, the Headmaster, to which Mr H.W. Vinter replied. He gave an interesting account of the history of the School, and congratulated all associated with it, on the honour to which it had attained. Mr E.B. Willday replied on behalf of the staff, and Mr J.A. Jennings, Truro, one of the first pupils, and his son, Mr W.A. Jennings, replied on behalf of the Old Boys’ Association, presented Mrs James, matron of the School with a mahogany clock, suitably inscribed, as a mark of the Association’s appreciation for services rendered in connection with its annual dinners held at the School.

D.J. Britton (TS 1930-34)

H.W. Vinter, Headmaster 1890-1921

A Brief History of the School

by H.W. Vinter, (TS 1883-1921)

Mr G.O. Turner, M.A. (London) was appointed Headmaster in 1879, but at that time there were no pupils and no premises. The School opened at 4 Strangways Terrace in January 1880 as a boarding house, and the school carried on in rooms connected with the Congregational Church. The school opened on January 20th 1880, with 25 boarders and 10 day scholars. The field up the hill just beyond Lander’s Monument witnessed the first football practices. The standard of work was very low and it is said that no pupil knew how to work a vulgar fraction and knew very little beyond the three R’s. Many tramps were made up the dusty hill sides to view a suitable site for building a school. At the last moment the present site was chosen, which I think could barely be surpassed as it is seen by all entering the city by road or rail.


In December 1880, the first speech day of the school was held and your present school motto “Esse quam videri” was adopted, an eternal enmity to all shams and hypocrisy and a lasting alliance with the good and true. In the first prize list we see the names of F. McCoskrie, J. Jennings and T. Jennings.

In the first term on 1881 a house was taken in Lemon Street when the numbers rose from 25 to 36. In 1881, on June 7th, the foundation stone was laid by W.A. McArthur, MP, Lord Mayor of London, and at that time Mr Amos Jennings was Mayor of Truro. In Spring 1882, the present building was ready and the total consisted of 70  Boarders and 30 Day Scholars. I came to the school as Second Master in the Summer Term of 1883, and I have very lively recollections of my first experience. The building was incomplete and the grounds in a deplorable condition and very little thought was given to the general comfort of the boys. In May 1883 there were 96 Boarders and 38 Day Boys, and in the Spring of 1884, we reached the total of 109 boarders. In December 1883, the carriage drive was made on the occasion of the visit of the President of the Conference. In 1886 the present [sic] cricket field was rented and before it was purchased as a War Memorial at least £600 had been paid in rent. The old pavilion – now the scoring box – was put up at the cost of £50. The cricket material was kept in a cow shed at Lambessow.

Mr Turner was Headmaster from Autumn 1879, to September 1887, and we remember with deep gratitude the splendid pioneer work done by Mr and Mrs Turner during this period. Mr T. Jackson, MA (London) succeeded Mr Turner in September 1887, and remained as Headmaster till December 1889, and I continued to hold the post of second master.

Mr Jackson was a fine athlete, a great teacher, and raised the standard of work and sport. During his time, we had our first matriculant – E. Coleman – who afterwards became a doctor. I became Headmaster in January 1890 and remained until July 1921. I will not say much as to what was done in my time, but perhaps it is worth noting that during this period there were provided a Chemical Laboratory, a Gymnasium, a Work Shop, New class-rooms, reading rooms, tennis courts and £1,420 was raised for providing a tablet, purchasing a cricket field and erecting a pavilion at the cost of £900 in memory of the 54 boys who fell in the War. From time to time Old Boys have helped in equipment.

In August 1921 I handed over the school to Dr Magson, and I could wish that it had been in a better condition, but he knows the difficulties under which I worked during the War time and was sadly hampered for lack of funds. Still, I hope some humble foundation was laid and I rejoice that Dr Magson has so developed the school and made it a great school.

Now the crowning success, owing to Dr Magson’s genius and ability, has been secured, and I heartily congratulate him on the fact that now Truro School is a recognised Public School. It is indeed a very great honour and gives the school unique prestige in the county. Now I should like in conclusion to appeal to the boys to do their best to uphold the honour of the school in every way. You have obtained a great position and the responsibility is yours to show that you are in every way worthy of it. Do your best at school, think kindly of the school when you leave, and do not forget, as success may come to you, to do something for the school, which gave you such a splendid start in life.



The Truro School Identity

Our school motto, Esse Quam Videri (to be, rather than to seem to be), captures the essence of our identity and is defined by the 5 C's below. Underpinned by strong Christian principles, we are a caring and inclusive community which values, nurtures and develops each individual.

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