Our school was founded in 1918 by Kate Sotham Matthews, an English immigrant, who moved from British Columbia to London, Ontario in 1912. The school started in a room at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral as a private school in the Anglican tradition for “young ladies and gentlemen”. Over time, St. Paul’s became the focal point of Miss Matthews’ personal and public life. She was much admired for her work in the parish and for her active support of the Guiding movement. Here, Miss Matthews was encouraged to open a school for children, which she did in the waning days of the First World War. The school was then known as St. Paul’s Private School, which is commemorated to this day through the dedication of a little chapel and heritage plaque to Kate Matthews in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Soon Kate Matthews’ school outgrew its space at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and in 1930 our school began a series of relocations, during which our school’s name was also changed to Miss Matthews’ School.
When Miss Matthews announced her decision to retire and close the school, a group of Londoners formed a financial foundation to continue the school’s operation. Generous donations were pledged, with additional funds committed towards establishing the new school as a corporate entity to be overseen by a volunteer Board of Governors. By 1950, Miss Matthews’ School was incorporated as an independent nondenominational school.
A few years before her death, Kate Matthews was recognized for her remarkable achievements and commitment to the education of children, by the University of Western Ontario with an honorary Doctorate of Letters. She died in 1955 after an impressive life of service to her church, school, community and country. In honour of our founder, Huron College (University of Western Ontario) established the Dr. Kate Matthews Prize, awarded annually to a student of theology – an award that is still presented today.
On June 1, 1977, the school’s name was legally changed to Matthews Hall in an effort to emphasize the coeducational nature of the school we know and love today.
Today, Matthews Hall continues to develop in fidelity to its heritage and independence under the leadership of current Head of School, Ric Anderson (2013 – ). As an accredited member of CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) and the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS Ontario), Matthews Hall is proud of its nationwide association with other fine schools, which are governed, led and advanced by a commitment to mission, vision and values.
While our school has changed locations a few times, we continue to respect its proud roots and Kate Matthews’ original ideals. To honour this, we gather each year for Closing Exercises at our school’s original location and first home – St. Paul’s Cathedral – where we continue to tell our story and honour our heritage and values we inherited from Kate Matthews.
Debeo, Possum, Volo