Matthews Hall was founded in 1918 by Kate Sotham Matthews in a room at St. Paul’s Cathedral as a private school in the Anglican tradition for “young ladies and gentlemen”. Miss Matthews was born in England in 1878, and immigrated to British Columbia in 1895. In 1912, she moved to London, where St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral became the focal point of her personal and public life. Upon her arrival in London, Miss Matthews was encouraged to open a school for children, which she did in thewaning days of the First World War.
In the beginning, Miss Matthews had only intended for the school to be a kindergarten; however, as a result of her philosophy of education, personal example and special gift with children, the school flourished and grew to include eight primary grades. Soon Kate Matthews’ school had outgrown its space at St. Paul’s Cathedral and in 1930 began a series of moves relocating to a site on Dundas Street and then the corner of Richmond and Sydenham Streets where it remained until Miss Matthews’ retirement in 1950.
On June 8, 1949 a resolution was passed to form a corporation to acquire the interests and assets of Miss Matthews’ School and to reorganize and govern
Kate Matthews’ school. By 1950, Miss Matthews’ School was incorporated as an independent non denominational school and moved to the Dr. J. Thornley Bowman homestead at 562 Waterloo Street.
By all accounts, the school’s founder, Kate Matthews, was much admired for her work in her parish church of St. Paul’s Cathedral, along with her active support of the Guiding movement. She was also so esteemed by her fellow Londoners that the University of Western Ontario recognized her remarkable achievements and commitment to the education of children with an honorary Doctorate of Letters in 1950.
Kate Matthews died in 1955 after an impressive life of service to her church, school, community and country.
On June 1, 1977, the school’s name was legally changed from Miss Matthews’ School to Matthews Hall, in an effort to emphasize the coeducational nature of the school. Matthews Hall was re-located to the former Katharine Harley School at 1370 Oxford Street West, the site they occupy today.
In 2008-2009, they undertook a capital campaign to renovate the library and construct a Great Hall with gymnasium, performance stage, art gallery and school store, all of which have enriched the learning experience for generations of students and teachers.
Today, Matthews Hall continues to develop in fidelity to its heritage and independence under the leadership of current Head of School, Ric Anderson and are an accredited member of CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) and the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS Ontario).
While the school has changed locations a few times, respect for its proud roots and Kate Matthews’ original ideals have remained intact since 1918. As a testament to the founder and the community, students and staff gather each year for Closing Exercises at their original location and first home – St. Paul’s Cathedral.
To this day the school adheres and upholds the values inherited from Miss Matthews so many years ago which guides their decision-making.
You are invited to the Matthews Hall Kindergarten Open House on Saturday April 1st – 9am – 12pm. For more information, please visit matthewshall.ca