In 1933, the school moved to Tyrwhitt Road and became known as Victoria School. The school had more spacious classrooms with high ceilings and Roman-like columns. The surroundings were also cleaner. The school had its first candidates for the Junior Cambridge Examination in 1933, and for the Senior Cambridge Examination in 1934. In 1935, Victoria School phased out her primary classes to become a purely secondary school for her district.
Under Mr E. H. Wilson in 1938, the prefect badge was introduced. The School motto “Nil Sine Labore” (Latin), meaning “Nothing without Labour” also came into existence. At the Amateur Athletic Association finals in 1940, Ali bin Ahmad won the 100 yards in 10 seconds and his name appeared in the Hall of Fame. In the years 1939 and 1940, the school won the Sir Arthur Young Cup in the Inter-School relay event. In 1941, the Old Victorians’ Association was established.
In June 1940, war drew near. Victoria School conducted blackout preparations and air raid drills were held. In November 1941, then-headmaster, Mr E. H. Wilson, reported that Victoria School was contributing by serving as an Aid Raid Precaution post and training centre and as a depot and aid post for the Medical Auxiliary Services.
During the Japanese Occupation in 1942, Japanese troops occupied the school and did screening of the people. Some staff, including some British expatriates, were taken away and never seen again. Schools were renamed based on the streets where they were located, and were only allowed to reopen in mid-1942. Victoria School, was thus renamed as “Jalan Besar Boys’ School”, and became one of the many Japanese public schools. Mr S. R. Williams was headmaster during this challenging period. The curriculum consisted of Japanese reading, Japanese songs, arithmetic, nature study, agriculture and writing. The teaching of English continued despite it being frowned upon. School children attended a daily flag raising ceremony to the Japanese national anthem, the Kimigayo. Bows followed, first towards Tokyo and then towards the Principal. Physical drill was also carried out together with music broadcasted by Radio Taisho. Food was scarce. All available school land was used for growing vegetables and tapioca. Teachers and students experienced hardship and improvised with what they had.
When war ended in 1945, Mr S. R. Williams gathered 16 boys and started classes again. Victoria School became one of the earliest schools to reopen, occupying the Kampong Glam Malay School premises from 1 Oct 1945, as the British Military Administration used the Tyrwhitt Road building as a temporary hospital. She only returned to the Tyrwhitt Road building in May 1946.
After the war, headmasters Reverend Colin King and Mr P. F. Howitt helmed Victoria School for brief periods and also oversaw the immediate post-war rehabilitation programme to restore the buildings and equipment. During this period, the Colonial Government launched a Ten Year Education Programme. The Old Victorians’ Association, with their expertise and resources, also contributed towards the school’s recovery.
 Santokh Singh Grewal, “History of VS”, The Victorian, 1990, 24.
 S.R. Williams, “History of Victoria School,” Victoria School Magazine, September 1948, 3.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 20.
 “A Brief History of Victoria School,” The Victorian, 1986, 2.
 Santokh Singh Grewal, “History of VS”, The Victorian, 1990, 25.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 35.
 The Straits Times, 26 November 1941.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 37-38.
 “A Brief History of Victoria School,” The Victorian, 1986, 2.
After Mr Howitt, Mr R. F. Bomford became the headmaster in 1948. He planned the construction of the Science Block, which opened in 1950. The Science Block housed the General Science and Biology Laboratories, and were reputedly Singapore’s best school laboratories. Students from Raffles Girls’ School and St. Andrew’s School also came to attend the science classes.Under Mr Bomford, Victoria School was the colony’s selected school to pioneer audio-visual teaching. Our annual Victoria School magazine also began its publication in 1948.
 “A Brief History of Victoria School,” The Victorian, 1976, 17.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 45.
Due to the Japanese invasion and occupation, those who sat for the Senior Cambridge Examination in December 1941 waited till 1946 to know their results. Our school did well, with 84 percent passes and 16 percent obtaining Grades 1 to 3. In 1951, the first Pre-University (then called the Post School Certificate) classes started and admitted girls. In 1955, 99.5% passed the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate Examinations, making it Singapore’s best boys’ school. In 1957, the school had the best results in the University Entrance Examinations. In addition, two of the three Queen’s Scholarships were awarded to Victorians Teh Ee Kheng (for Arts) and Yap Choon Teck (for Science).
Our school song was composed and set to the music in the early 1950s. Mr Bomford contributed his energy and talent to make Victoria a top school. Upon his death in 1953, grateful Victorians organised the Bomford Memorial Fund in 1954 (now administered by the Old Victorians’ Association) to award outstanding pupils.
 “History of Victoria School,” The Victorian, 1969, 20.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 41.
 “Milestones of Victoria School”, Victorian, 1997, 192.
 “A Brief History of Victoria School”, The Victorian, 1985, 3.
In 1954, Mr. M Campbell was appointed Principal of the school. During his stewardship, our school attained high academic honours. Mr. Campbell left in 1958 and within a period of seven years, we had eight principals.
From April 1966 to January 1971, Mr. A Kannayson became the Principal. This was a period of change and growth for the school. The school’s enrolment in 1967 was 1672 students for two sessions, although her capacity was for 400.
In 1966, a one-year $660,000 upgrade began. The extension consisted of four new laboratories, a new hall, canteen, staffroom, 14 classrooms, eight toilets and a basketball court. In 1969, the old building was modified for a bigger library and an Educational Television hall. The school could then accommodate 11 Pre-university and 11 Secondary Four classes in the morning; and 8 Secondary Three, 10 Secondary Two, and 7 Secondary One classes in the afternoon. Victoria School’s GCE ‘O’ Level passes rose from 50.1% in 1971 to 71.55% in 1975. During his time, the school also made great strides in extra-curricular activities. For example, in the Track and Field competition in 1981, she won three age divisions in the National Athletics Meet, a first in the history of schools’ sports. There was a considerable improvement in student and staff morale.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 63.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 63-64.
 Cheong, “Victoria School.”, 63-65.
From the Lee Kip Lin Collection. All rights reserved. Lee Kip Lin and National Library Board, Singapore 2016
Dr Sim Keng Yeow is a retired Professor and former Head of the Chemistry Department in the National University of Singapore from 1988 to 1996. This essay was first published in the 1955 Victoriana.
In 1969, the Junior College system was introduced. In 1979, Victoria School became a pre-university centre, offering three-year pre-university courses. The brightest Victorians went to junior colleges to study, instead of continuing with the pre-university courses. To cope with the competition provided by the junior colleges, and in pursuit of providing quality education, the Old Victorians’ Association and the Victoria Executive Committee worked together to establish Victoria Junior College, where Victorians could further their junior college education.
 “Speech by Dr. Ong Chit Chung, Chairman, Victoria Executive & Advisory Committees at Victoria School’s 127th Speech Day, 26 July 2003,” The Victorian, 2003, 70-71.