King George V School is one of the oldest schools in Hong Kong. When the school first opened it was very different to the school students attend today.
The first KGV School was built in a small building on Nathan Road in 1894. It was called Kowloon College. Then it changed its name to The Kowloon British School and then again to The Central British School. The first ‘proper’ school was opened in 1902. A rich Hong Kong businessman, called Sir Robert Hotung, paid for the building.
By 1930 the school had more than 300 students but the playground was only seven metres long and lacking in space. To accommodate more students work a new school was built in the hills of Homantin. The Headmaster who first suggested a new building was Mr. Nightingale; the teacher who found the best design for the building was Mr. Rowell; and the first Headmaster in the new building was the Reverend Upsdell. Years later KGV decided to name its houses after these men. There was a grand opening ceremony of the new school on the 14th September 1936. The school really was in the middle of the countryside. After lessons and before going home students would walk through the fields for a swim and a picnic on Hung Hom beach!
In 1939 the Second World War broke out in Europe and Japan began to threaten Hong Kong. By August 1940 the situation had become dangerous and so the Government ordered the evacuation of all European women and children. They were sent away to the Philippines and then later Australia. The school had to close because there were no children to teach. The Japanese attacked Hong Kong in December 1941. Some of the children who left would never see their fathers, who had stayed in Hong Kong, again.
As soon as the school closed in 1940 it was turned into a hospital for British soldiers stationed in Hong Kong. It was surrounded by sandbags and barbed wire to protect the buildings from air raid attacks. In December 1941 the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. Hong Kong surrendered on Christmas Day and all Europeans were sent into POW (Prisoner of War camps) – including many teachers and ex-students of CBS (Central British School). When the surrender was announced the Japanese left the school in a procession led by Lieutenant-General Saito, who was holding up his sword! As soon as they had left a Union Jack was flown on the clock tower. This was probably the first British flag to be flown in Hong Kong after the war.
After the war the school buildings were generally in much better condition than most in Hong Kong. The school was now taken over by the Royal Air Force as a military hospital. One of the doctors engraved the words ‘Never in the Field of Human Conflict’ above the entrance to the hall. The school re-opened in the summer of 1946. The Principal was Mr. Ferguson and one of the teachers was Mr. D Crozier (also later to have a House named after him). When he held the first assembly of the year in September 1946 the flag of the Rising Sun could still be seen painted at the back of the stage in the hall. The field looked like a vegetable garden and there were only 79 students. In 1947 children of all nationalities were permitted to attend the school. The school was no longer just a British school. On Speech Day 1948 it was announced that the school would be called King George V School. King George had been king in 1935 when the Foundation Stone of the school was laid.
In 1979, after a long tiresome debate, the school joined the English Schools Foundation (ESF). King George V is still well known throughout Hong Kong and has become a very popular school. It still has some features from the war such as incredibly low handles that were used for people in wheel chairs when the school was used as a hospital, but now has modern facilities that are the envy of many schools in Hong Kong.
The following list contains only those Principals who were appointed directly to the post. Whilst the school was under government control, during the absence of a Principal on long leave, a deputy or an Education Officer assigned from another school would fill the post temporarily.