144 years ago, on 19 January 1880 the opening ceremony of the brand-new Cornwall Wesleyan Middle Class School for Boys in Truro took place in the school room of the Bethesda Chapel in River Street. The event was reported in the Royal Cornwall Gazette later that week. Apologies were given for the absence of the President of the Methodist Conference who had been forbidden to come due to illness. His speech was read out by the Rev S.J. Pawlyn, ‘… The educational work of Methodism, so far from being a divergence from its evangelistic mission, is the necessary compliment of that mission.’ The new school in Truro was the first to open under the recent Methodist initiative to establish middle-class schools to provide ‘the elements of a broad and liberal culture’.
During the following address of Mr Mawby, Connexional Inspector of Schools, the President unexpectedly entered the room and was met with an ovation from the room. ‘He was forbidden, he said to exert his voice by speaking in public, but he might assure the meeting that they were only just in time to be first in this movement, as steps were being taken in Salisbury to open a similar school there’.
The ceremony was followed by dinner at the Royal Hotel and a directors’ meeting where it was quickly determined to build their own premises capable of accommodating 120 boys, and in the meanwhile to obtain another house to supplement the boarding house in Strangways Terrace.
The furnishing of the boarding house in Strangways Terrace was still not quite complete at this time; the beds had not been delivered on time and the 25 boarders had to sleep on make-shift beds before school began properly the following day. As a result, on Tuesday 20 January 1880, 35 boys, several of whom wanted a good night’s rest, sat down to lessons for the first time in the newly opened Truro School.