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Merl Grove High School began as a preparatory school shortly before 1920 on Marverly Lane, off Molynes Road. This was the home of Nathaniel Speid, a retired elementary school teacher. By 1920, the Speids had moved to 77 Constant Spring Road where the school was conducted in a little, red, two-roomed building in front of their house. The numbers increased to approximately 30 pupils and soon after, the "Little Red School" began to experience significant growth.

The school name is derived from the initial letter of the names of the five children of the founders: Miriam, Effey, Reginald and Ruth and Lucille to form MERL. The area around also had lots of different fruit trees, hence the name Merl Grove. Notably, Merl Grove was the first secondary school in the island to form a Parent Teachers' Association (PTA).

At the request of Mrs Speid, in 1955 the school was taken over by the Associated Gospel Assemblies and a period of accelerated expansion followed. The school became Government grant-aided in 1957 and designated a school for girls only, and so reluctantly, Merl Grove stopped admitting boys.


Miriam Speid              

Merl Grove High attracts students across the socio-economic spectrum of the Kingston Metropolitan area and beyond. It has an enviable record of academic performance particularly in English. Individuals from both the student body and faculty have gained prominence in the areas of leadership and pedagogy. In 2012, a student was named Deputy Junior Mayor by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and two teachers have been chosen by the Ministry of Education as part of a team to train other colleagues in best practices in English.


Ms Miriam Speid 1924 -1959

Mrs. Carol Dawes 1959 - 1960

Mrs.Muriel Lynch  1960 - 1968

Mrs Ellorine Walker  1968 - 1980

Mrs Enid Kerr 1980 - 1993

Mrs. Barbara Martin 1993 - 1998

Mrs Vera Nugent 1998 - 2002

Ms Amy Allen 2002 - 2011

Mrs Carol Alexander 2011 - 2014

Mrs Jocelyn Douglas-Smith-Acting Principal -2014-2016

Dr. Marjorie Fullerton 2016

MGHS through the decades

  • Founded in 1919 by Nathaniel Speid and his daughter Miriam Speid in a little red house, off Maverly Lane.

  • The school was named MERL using the first letters from the names of Mr. Speid’s five children ("M" for Miriam, "E" for Effey, "R" for Reginald and Ruth, and "L" for Lucille).

  • In 1920 they moved to 77 Constant Spring Road in a two room house with 30 students.

  • Miriam Speid became the first headmistress in 1924 following her father’s retirement.


  • Labor Omni Vincit- Hard Work Overcome All difficulties became the new school motto under Miriam Spied.

  • Merl Grove was classified as a Grade 1 school by the Jamaican Government in 1920; a major achievement for a private school.

  • In 1954 a domestic science building was erected and classes that were previously taught on Saturday afternoons at a staff member’s home moved into the new building.


  • In 1955 Merl Grove faced major financial limitations and entered into a partnership with Associated Gospel Assemblies.

  • 1957 Merl Grove became an all girls school at the request of the goverment.


  • In 1958 saw the addition of six new classrooms and purchase of additional land to accommodate a playfield and the Rehoboth Gospel Assembly.

  • Miriam Speid retired iin 1958.


  • The Enid Kerr Library sits on 79 Constant Spring Road which was acquired during the eighties.