Simms Hall

Jamaica College
19th Century
Historic Structures

Simms Hall was completed in 1885, two years after Drax School moved from St. Ann to St. Andrew. The building at Hope was designed to accomodate boarders as well as day boys and was large enough to hold the whole school without difficulty.

Unlike Manning’s School and Wolmer’s, Simms Hall was designed with few concessions to a tropical climate. The heavily impressive facade, narrow windows and somewhat Gothic effect of the three-storied central section and arched main doorway suggest that the architect intended the school to be a small scale version of a solid seat of learning in the tradition of English public schools such as Eton. The covered verandah with its slender pillars is the only visible indication that some shelter from the sun might be needed. The upper windows are unshuttered.

After the move to Hope, Drax School changed its name to Jamaica High School. Later in 1902, the school amalgamated with the dwindling University College and the name was changed for the last time to Jamaica College.

For over a hundred years Simms Hall has been the core of the Jamaica College buildings, its strength and durability repeatedly demonstrated by its resistance to hurricanes and earthquakes, including the disastrous earthquake of 1907