control of its own assets, fees and governance.
The Royal Gazette remarked that Warwick
Academy now had the making of a “minia-
ture of an English college.”
James Morgan threw heart and cheque
book into making this vision a reality. His lar-
gesse added three new buildings to what was
quickly becoming an academic campus. More
classrooms were added to the existing building
and new buildings were clustered around it
centering the campus on what now became a
quadrangle. Morgan Hall with its innovative
ventilated roof provided more teaching space.
For the first time, Bermudian students, for
instance, had access to physics and chemistry
labs. Morgan’s benevolence then gave the academy an auditorium for assemblies. And, again
for the first time in Bermuda, Morgan arranged for motion pictures to be screened on
the campus. Films, he believed, opened new
avenues of instruction. Morgan also spearheaded the construction of a home for the
headmaster and new athletic changing rooms.
His passion for horticulture was evidenced in
the creation of gardening plots where students
could develop skills beyond book learning.
But book learning dominated Morgan’s
passion for Warwick Academy. He personally
oversaw the building up of the school library,
selecting and donating 600 volumes. To reinforce student motivation, Morgan financed
academic prizes and proudly attended the
academy’s sports day each year in the hope of
seeing students from Morgan House triumph
over those from rival Patton and Rhodes
Houses. The 1920s thus saw Warwick Academy hit its modern stride: enrolment grew and
better teachers were hired. In another first for
Bermuda, Warwick students went off-island
on school tours. The same decade saw three
Warwick students win Rhodes Scholarships.
The benevolent instincts of James Morgan
pervaded all these advances. In 1927, the
Royal Gazette likened the “noble hearted
James Morgan” to Cecil Rhodes—generous
and far-sighted. A year later, the trustees of the
academy unveiled a portrait of their benefactor, by Canadian artist Alfonso Jongers.
Even in paradise, death intrudes. “
Live-for-Ever” may be an uplifting philosophy
for life, but it does not confer immortality.
In 1928, Anna Morgan died and was buried
in a mausoleum carved into a quarry wall at
Southlands. Four years later, James died after
and England. School buildings decayed.
Not surprisingly, truancy became a constant
problem. In short, education in Warwick
became parochial to a point of dysfunction.
Ironically, the academy boasted some famous
Bermudian graduates, such as the Reverend
Francis Landey Patton who had risen from
his initial ill-education to become president
of Princeton University by the 1890s.
In 1896, help arrived from Scotland. Robert
Robertson was appointed headmaster and
soon removed the school from any oversight
by the Bermuda Board of Education. Robertson increased classroom size for the first time
since the school’s 1664 inception. But there
improvement stalled—chronic underfunding
and outdated pedagogy stifled further change.
In the wake of the First World War, Robertson luckily found two reformist allies: James
Morgan and Francis Landey Patton. Morgan
came to Bermuda steeped in that Carnegie-like conviction that education served as the
foundation of a stable and prosperous society.
Patton had returned to his native Bermuda
after a 14-year stint at Princeton University,
one of America’s progressive colleges.
In 1920, Patton wrote in the Royal Gazette
that the history of education in Bermuda was
one of “abortive efforts.” Teaching methods
were behind the times and access to schools
was limited to those with money. Morgan
agreed and launched the Warwick Academy
War Memorial Fund aimed at raising £2,000
to enable poor kids to attend. Patton, Landey
and Robertson determined that Warwick
Academy’s best hope lay in shedding any
central control over its affairs. In 1922, they
petitioned the Assembly to vest control of
the parish lands set aside for the sustenance
of the school in the hands of an autonomous
board of trustees. They modelled their vision
for Warwick Academy on that of the English
grammar school. Thus, when the Assembly
centralised control of Bermuda schools in the
Schools’ Act of 1922, the academy bowed out,
obtaining its own trust act which allowed it
Committee, lecturing it on the “importance
of keeping pigs.” Anna Morgan took a keen
interest in the provision of modern medical
equipment in Bermuda. In 1920, the colony
was in the throes of modernising its humble
Cottage Hospital into what is today King
Edward VII Memorial Hospital. The Mor-
gans’ son James was a doctor with wartime
service in x-ray stations near the front. So
when Anna used her Canadian Red Cross
connections to facilitate the donation of
beds and x-ray apparatus to the new hospital,
Dr. Morgan came from Montreal to oversee
the installation of the new machines. Anna
further supported hospital modernisation by
hosting fund-raisers—for instance, a “Gypsy
Tea” on the beach below Southlands.
For his part, James Morgan turned his
attention to the modernisation of Bermuda
education. At the core of the Scottish Enlightenment lay a belief in man’s rational improvement. Education mattered. Hence James McGill’s benevolent endowment of his namesake
university in Montreal and Andrew Carnegie’s
belief in the power of libraries. The provision
of education had been on the Bermuda agenda
since the days of the Somers Isles Company.
As early as 1664, Warwick offspring had been
schooled in a fledgling two-room school
presided over by the famed surveyor-turned-teacher Richard Nor wood. From the outset
Warwick Academy, as it came to be known,
laboured to survive. The colony proved stingy
in supporting education, so much so that by
the mid-1700s the school was obliged to seek
shelter at nearby Southlands, which at the
time was also housing the clergy of nearby
Christ Church Presbyterian. Inadequate funding persisted in the early nineteenth century.
In 1819, the Warwick Parish Council asserted
its control over the faltering school, appointing trustees and directing taxes to its support.
The new arrangement, however, did little
to improve the quality of pedagogy. Few of
the teachers were properly trained. Many were
missionaries from the Churches of Scotland
The 1920s thus saw Warwick Academy hit its modern stride: enrolment
grew and better teachers were hired. In another first for Bermuda,
Warwick students went off-island on school tours. The same decade
saw three Warwick students win Rhodes Scholarships. The benevolent
instincts of James Morgan pervaded all these advances.