CYCLOPEDIA OF NZ 1897
The Wanganui Boys' School, usually known as the Boys' High School, under the control of
the Wanganui Board of Education is situated in a very prominent position in Victoria Avenue.
The site comprises about five acres of land situated on a sandy elevation affording magnificent
drainage and being thoroughly healthy in every respect. The school buildings which were
erected in about 1879 or '80 from plans by the late Mr. Toxward, architect, of Wellington,
were built by Mr. Tawse, contractor, whose business is now carried on by Messrs. Russell and
Bignell. The buildings, which are of wood and iron, are very lofty, being fully 30 feet from floor
to ridge. The rooms are thoroughly well ventilated by the windows, which open both from top
and bottom, as well as by special ventilators on the roof. The headmaster is assisted by a staff
of three certificated teachers, two pupil teachers, and two cadets. There are 330 boys on the
school roll, comprising standards II to VII, and the average attendance is about 250. There is a
cadet corps in connection with the school, numbering forty-two. The officers are Captain
Aitken, headmaster, and Lieutenant Stewart, assistant master. There is a good playground with
gymnasium, and a large football and cricket paddock for the use of the boys.
Mr. James Aitken, B.A., the Headmaster, was born in Scotland, where he received part of his education, matriculating in connection with the London University, in 1881. Mr. Aitken came to New Zealand by the first trip of the ill-fated S.S. `Wairarapa,' arriving in Dunedin in 1882. He at once commenced teaching under the Board of Education, receiving his D3 certificate in consequence of his having matriculated in England. Mr. Aitken was appointed temporary assistant master at the Caversham School, and subsequently temporary mathematical master at the Girls' High School, Dunedin. He at once commenced to study for his degree at the New Zealand University, Dunedin. He was appointed head master of the Ravensbourne School in 1883, holding the position until 1887. In 1888, Mr. Aitken gained his B.A. degree. He was head master at Geraldine from 1887 to 1892, and in the latter year was appointed to the school over which he now presides. There is a cadet corps in connection with the school, of which Mr. Aitken is captain.
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