A new era in education began when The Berkeley Institute opened at Samaritan’s Lodge on Court Street, Hamilton with 27 students.
Berkeley was the realization of a dream that began 18 years earlier when businessman Samuel David Robinson invited five men to his new home Wantley on Princess Street, Hamilton on October 6, 1879 to discuss the feasibility of opening a high school.
Six men joined the original five at a follow-up meeting on October 9. They established The Berkeley Educational Society, and spent the next 18 years raising funds and generating public support for the school.
All but one of the 27 students were black, several of them the children of Samuel David Robinson. (See biography of Wenona Robinson)