Wolmer's Alumni Association:
Wolmers Crest THE WOLMER'S STORY

The history of Wolmer's began with the death of its founder, John Wolmer, an English goldsmith, on the 29th day of June, 1729. Little is known about John Wolmer, but from his will, dated May 1729, it appears that he was an altruist, who wished for the well-being of his fellow men. His altruism was most profoundly demonstrated in his gratitude to faithful slaves by bequeathing them their freedom. He also left his home, furniture, a silver quarter tankard and 20 for his good friend, John Williams. This suggests that he had no family, and it has been surmised that he was a kindly disposed bachelor who, perhaps, regretted that he never had children of his own and wished what he possessed to benefit the youth of his country. In his will, John Wolmer left 2,300 from his estate for the foundation of a Free School, in the parish where he should happen to die.

Wolmer died 105 years before the abolition of slavery, and among the provisions of his will was the granting of freedom to a faithful slave, Peter la Campaign. This slave was one of the attesting witnesses to the will. By giving the necessary proof of execution by the Testator in order to obtain probate, however, he had to release his right to his legacy. This did not deter him from carrying out his obligation as an attesting witness. Thus when the memory of the founder is celebrated, the role of Peter la Campaign should not be forgotten.

The Wolmer's Trust was established by an act of the Jamaica Legislature, and a co-educational institution was set up. The school at that time as situated in downtown Kingston and had an enrollment of five hundred (500) pupils. In 1895, the school was reorganized as a secondary school and in 1896 the schools were separated and independent Heads were appointed.

After the 1906 earthquake, the Schools were moved to Quebec lands, north of the Racecourse. This decision was taken after the earthquake destroyed almost all the buildings at the original site.

Since John Wolmer's bequest, there have been many other contributions to the schools by citizens. The largest recorded legacy to Wolmer's was made in 1831 when Ellis Wolfe donated 1000. In 1998, Vernon A Barrett, an Old Boy, endowed the trust with $5 million for the three schools. Houses have been named after several of the benefactors. Glasspole House was named after His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Florizel Glasspole, O.N., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.D., LL.D.(Hon) former Governor General and Old Boy, who chaired the 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee and was instrumental in the building of the joint sixth form block, completed in 1984. Sir Florizel died on November 25th, 2000.

The Wolmer's Trust owns all the lands housing the three schools, and is responsible for their maintenance and repair.


The Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (Toronto)
Tel: 416.498.9934 Email: info@ajaacanada.com