The Methodist Boys’ High School (then Wesleyan Methodist Boys’ High School) was born on the 6th of April 1874 under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Claudius May as the first Principal. The founder was the Rev. Benjamin Tregaskis.
Rev. May was born at Charles Street in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the l4th of August 1845 to the late Rev. Joseph May and Mrs. Annie May.
In 1865 he sailed abroad to further his education at the Boroughs Road College in London – his father’s alma mater. Eighteen months later he qualified as an Educator, and went on to Queen’s College, Taunton, where he did some university work. While he was studying in England, The possibility of establishing a denominational school was being discussed by the Sierra Leone District of Wesleyan Methodist Society, under the General Superintendence of the Rev. Benjamin Tregaskis He realized that there was a great need for a “high class” school to benefit the Methodist youth’s of the community. Rev. Tregaskis communicated his views on this subject to the Methodist Missionary authorities at Bishops Gate Street, London.
He earnestly expressed his views as follows: “‘The people of Sierra Leone must be educated. They are desirous to have education and must have it at any cost. You may sooner think of closing your chapels than of extending religion in the settlement without education.” With the approval of the Missionary Committee a property at the King Tom area was sold, and with the authority of the same committee a house at Falcon-bridge Battery was bought by Rev. Tregaskis on the 21st of December l87l .
At about that same time, Rev. Tregaskis encouraged Mr. May to return to Freetown from London with a promise of becoming a future teacher at the proposed secondary school.
At seven o’clock on Monday morning the 6’h of April 1874, the Wesleyan Methodist Boys High School was born at the Falcon-bridge Battery facility in Freetown, with eight foundation pupils. Proceedings began with the Rev. Tregaskis reading the eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs followed by a fervent prayer- He then gave a kind and instructive address to eight pupils, urging then to diligence and perseverance. He bade them to be true to their God, their race and their country. Twenty-four hours later he left the shores of Sierra Leone for his home in England – his mission was accomplished!
Rather than a teacher, he had appointed Mr. May, Principal of the newly found school – The Wesleyan Methodist Boys’ High School. The school adopted a British-structured style of education. Mr. May remained in his office for twenty-eight years until his death on September 4th. 1902.
This institution of higher learning has been relocated a few times, during which it has produced many distinguished and responsible men and women in societies and organisations sprinkled all over the world. Today, the facility is located in Kissy Mess Mess, in the east end of Freetown. It is currently divided-up into Intermediate and Senior schools.