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History of St Jago High

The Early Years

St Jago High School is the amalgamation of a number of academic institutions, Beckford and Smith's High and Cathedral High which started in 1744. The School has an intriguing history and is the result of the amalgamation of more than three different educational institutions.

Beckford & Smith High

St. Jago High School is the offshoot of the Free School of Saint Jago de la Vega which was born when its major benefactor, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, Colonel Peter Beckford, in his will dated 1730, bequeathed the sum of 1,000 pounds sterling towards the construction of a free school or hospital.

The institution was intended to benefit the poor people of the town of St. Jago de la Vega, later renamed Spanish Town. Several other smaller endowments were made, resulting in the establishment of the St. Jago de la Vega Free School in 1744. A century later, Francis Smith, then custos of St. Catherine, bequeathed 300 pounds sterling in his will dated 1830, to the founding of a school in the parish. Called the Smith's Charity School after its benefactor, it was opened in 1833.

Cathedral High

In 1876, this school was to merge with St Jago de la Vega Free School to form Beckford and Smith's Boys School. In 1956, the final merger to form the present day St. Jago High School took place. At that time, Cathedral High School for Girls was amalgamated with Beckford and Smiths Boys School and a new building housing the new St Jago High School was declared open in 1958 by then governor general of Jamaica, Sir Kenneth Blackburne.




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