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St. Mary’s College (CIC)

St. Mary's College (College of the Immaculate Conception), Frederick Street, Port of Spain | Chapel and Clock Tower 1943

Written by Geoffrey MacLean

Concern by Roman Catholic Archbishop Ferdinand English over the establishment of the Protestant Collegiate secular school in Port of Spain, invited the Holy Ghost Fathers to assume the responsibility for setting up a new college in Trinidad for Catholic boys.

By 1st August 1863, St. Mary’s College had opened on the site of the old St. George’s College, the southernmost part of the present St. Joseph Convent. Courses taught at this time were Latin, Greek, English, French, Spanish, History and Geography, Science and Mathematics and Music.

In the early years, St. Mary’s was considered a school for “the sons of the rich”, but the Holy Ghost Fathers, by the rules of their Constitution, went out and helped “abandoned souls” and offered scholarships to the poor. The reaction was mixed, and the policy was not generally supported, but it was a tradition that continued. St. Mary’s today is considered one of the leading boys schools having consistently recorded very high academic results.

The imposing structures facing Frederick Street, the Clock Tower with the administrative offices and the Chapel, were both built in 1943, in two different styles of architecture, the Chapel in a traditional ecclesiastical Gothic style, the Clock Tower reflecting a fine Trinidadian Art deco style.

Anthony de Verteuil

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