AUC Press's Description
This book is at once the history of a remarkable and fascinating phenomenon—a British-style public school rooted in Egyptian soil boasting such alumni as King Hussein of Jordan, Omar Sharif, and Edward Said—and a reflection of the spirit of Alexandria during the first half of the twentieth century. Its publication in October 2002 is timed to coincide with the school’s centenary.
Victoria College, Alexandria, founded in October 1902, was named after the British queen Victoria, who had died the year before. It was the brainchild of a group of British businessmen who formed the nucleus of Alexandria’s small British community. Deliberately fashioned as an independent, secular school, open to anyone who could afford its fees, it attracted the children both of the elite—royalty, diplomats, magnates, politicians, landowners—and of very ordinary people. Its pupils came not only from all over Egypt, but from the entire Middle East and beyond.
This immensely readable history is, in the first place, a book about and for the Old Victorians. In a series of colorful sketches, backed by plentiful quotation from documents in the school archives, a series of engaging and distinguished characters come to life, not least Victoria’s first two headmasters, C.R. Lias and his successor R.W.G. Reed—the two men whose enlightened vision and skillful leadership made the school what it was.
Yet at the same time, this is a book whose appeal extends far beyond its immediate subject matter. In the process of putting together the story of a school, the authors have uncovered a wealth of material that will interest Middle East and postcolonial scholars as well as educationists, social historians, and students of human nature.