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St Anne’s School, Ibadan (1869-2019). by Temitayo (f): 12:16pm on October 21
Adelani Temiloluwa
School Of Nursing Ondo
Nursing Student
300Level, Nigeria.

Exactly ten years after the first boys grammar school was established, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) opened a female institution in Lagos known as CMS Girls School. This was on May 1, 1869, a year before Anna Hinderer left Nigeria for England. Mrs Abigail Macaulay, daughter of Bishop Ajayi Crowther and wife of Rev. T. A. B. Macaulay agitated for the founding of this CMS female institution in Lagos. At that time, her husband was the principal of CMS Boys Grammar School in Lagos. The reason for agitating for an equivalent female institution was that she was not too comfortable with the way rich people in Lagos were sending their female children abroad to study. The school was initially known as Girls Grammar School, but later renamed CMS Girls Seminary. However, the school moved to Ibadan and was merged with Kudeti Girls School, Ibadan. In 1950, it metamorphosed into St Anne’s School. The school was named after Anna Hinderer, one of the most loved missionaries of that time, fondly called “mother of Ibadan”

Source: https://punchng.com/st-annes-school-ibadan-1869-2019/

Thus St. Anne’s School, Ibadan can be said to be the oldest girls’ institution in West Africa. It was 150 years July 26, 2019. The Patron of the school is St. Anne, who is regarded as the mother of the Virgin Mary. July 26 is her feast day, hence the school’s birthday. St. Anne’s school is also said to be the patron saint of miners and sailors and a protector from storm. She is also known as the patron saint of equestrians, housewives, women in labour, and cabinet makers. Anne in Hebrew is “Hannah”, “grace”, “the gracious one” or the “loving one”, hence students of the school are taught to be gracious and loving. Popularly known as St. Anne’s on the hill, it has a great history.

In those days, St Anne’s was a boarding school, with six houses and each house had its own colour. The houses were St. Catherine (Red); St. Claire (Yellow); St. Faith (Green); St. Hildas (Brown); St. Mary (Blue) and St. Margaret (Orange). All the houses were named after different saints.

St. Margaret was the Queen of Scotland and her feast day was originally June 10. Even though the feast day was moved to November 16 on the day of her death, when the churches Liturgical calendar was renewed, in St Anne’s, the feast day is celebrated on June 10 of every year. It is the orange house. Located not far from the entrance of the school, St. Margaret house is undoubtedly the oldest of the houses it housed the staff room and sickbay then. It had pit toilets during my time. During inter-house sports, usually held at Liberty Stadium, St. Margaret’s house usually came last or second to the last. However, in 1970, St. Margaret’s house did the unimaginable by coming first. St Margaret’s students with the trophy given for coming first, went round the school to other houses singing “oke ga ju oke, St. Margaret ga ju won lo’ This win gave the house a respite from the “pokiti” (pit toilet) image. Students of the house had to rub it in as St Margaret did the impossible that year.

When I was in the school Ms Howard was the housemistress of St Margaret’s house, and also a mathematics teacher. She used to have a green Morris Minor car and always had wooden scholl slippers on. It was her signature. Two thousand miles away, one could discern the sound of the slippers, there was no mistake about it. You would know it was Ms Howard, especially during prep time (study period at night) or lights outs. The sound of the slippers was the beginning of wisdom for us, as anyone caught walking about or in class making a noise would have themselves to blame. However, the silence that followed on hearing the sound of her slippers was like that of a graveyard. If a pin should drop, one would hear the sound!

Unfortunately, one night, she drove into the classroom area and nobody heard the sound of her car or slippers. I guess the noise we were all making drowned the sound of her car and slippers. She parked right in front of one of the classrooms without putting off the ignition (that was her usual practice, the country was very safe that time), walked into the first classroom to scold the students making a noise. Before one could say Jack Robinson, the car was driven away by unknown persons. Of course, we all ran out of the classrooms and tried to run after the vehicle, it was an exercise in futility and the car was never found. A few months later, she got a Volkswagen car. She never left her car again without putting off the ignition!

In those days, Government College Ibadan (popularly known as GCI) was the “boyfriend school” of St Anne’s School. The principal of GCI then was Mr Derek Bullock and St Anne’s was Ms Christine F. Groves (we gave her the name Funmilayo, the F initial, which actually was Florence). Later in life, the two of them got married. The two schools combined used to act plays, especially Shakespearean plays. Some of the plays were Julius Caesar; Romeo and Juliet; Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew etc. The plays were usually at GCI and St Anne’s girls would go on a bus to watch the plays. On our way, we would sing songs like:

If you go to St Anne’s School,

You will see some Yankie girls,

Yankie girls are on their way,

On their way to GCI.

Lala lula lala (3times),

On their way to GCI


Aside from acting plays with GCI, we acted plays in the school, especially during the annual inter-house Festival of Arts. Some of the plays were Trials of Brother Jero; The Lion and the Jewel; etc. We had a cloakroom (called green room), beside the school hall, where all costumes of yesteryears for plays, were kept. It was a small room with a door off the stage to the right. It led to a room, where actors dressed up and walked out to the stage.

We used to start our day with songs and prayers. Lining up and going to the chapel across the road, there must be absolute silence. And if mistakenly, we made a noise before the service started, Ms Groves was bound to chastise us by reading to us an appropriate text. Her favourite, a verse from Julius Caesar, was ‘You stones, you blocks, you worse than senseless things.’ She would then tell us to pray and ask for forgiveness.

Every Thursday morning, the first lesson for us all was hymn practice. We had to be very good singers, whether you were a member of the school choir or not. And as good singers, we were taught not to ‘glue’ our eyes to the hymn book (Songs of Praise) when singing. Quickly memorise the next line and with your head up sing with pride! Expectedly, many of us learnt the words of most of these songs (Songs of Praise) and I guess I can sing them today without the book.

During the annual harvest, each class would sing a song of thanksgiving, dancing to the altar for prayers. But form five students song was usually different, as the song showed they were about to graduate from the school. The song was:

Ebenizeri tumo , eyiti se ,

Titi de ihin l’oluwa ran wa lowo de,

Latodun karun t’awa tiwa ni St Anne’s school,

Sugbon nmipa ife Jesu, a kore w’ole .

Ope loye wa awa omo form five (2ce),

Pe ‘kore yi s’oju emi ,

Awa dupe l’owo Jehovah o,

Ase yi se amodun o (4 times).


Some danced in such a way that one would think they had just been released from prison as their happiness knew no bounds. Perhaps at that moment, they were sure of not returning to the school for their Higher School Certificate.

St Mary’s house is the blue house. In St Anne’s those days, the birthday of St Mary was celebrated on March 2 St Mary’s house had a pop group “The Marytones”. Members of the group were Yemi Shoga (vocalist), Dedun Adio-Moses (guitarist), Dotu Dawodu (tambourinist), and Flora Ukoli (pianist). We all had a pleasant surprise when they first performed on stage. We were all mesmerised by their performance. This was because it was the first time we had a pop group in the school. They were later allowed to play outside the school.

The story of St Anne’s school is incomplete without the unique phenomenon of a two-headed palm tree. It is still in the school till today, I have never seen a two-headed palm tree in my life. We usually gathered under this two-headed palm tree when going for outing and also waited there for the bus that would take us for swimming lessons (in our form two), arranged by the school.

On October 18 and 19, all old girls celebrate their alma mater. It is a kind of homecoming. It is another opportunity for a happy reunion. The glorious past and heritage of the school must not be forgotten. All old girls must remember these lines of our school song:

“What shall we hand on to those who come after us?

Treasures of beauty, of thought and of skill”

St Anne’s (2ce), May none of us here fall behind,

Proud of our name, may we add to its fame,

By true service to God and mankind,

St Anne’s! St Anne’s!

As we celebrate, we must give our best to the school that we love.



Dr Bello-Fadaka, an old girl of St. Anne’s School, is a Deputy Registrar at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

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