When D. P. Niles was transferred to Jaffna Central School Samuel Hensman succeeded him as headmaster of the school. However with the passage of time the number of students started growing and in 1875 it had become a necessity on account of the increasing numbers to shift the school to the present site while allowing the old site to be used for the girls school. It was at this juncture John Chickering Thamotherampillai Sherrard became the headmaster of this school.
He was so closely connected with the school and so popular among the parents of that area and everyone began to call and refer the school as Sherrard’s school, instead of using the name Point Pedro Wesleyan Mission Central School.
After the retirement of Sherrard the appointed S. A. Paulpillai as its principal. He was a disciplinarian and eventually died in 1906. After his death Stephen S. Kanapathipillai succeeded him as principal. He was a graduate of the Calcutta university. He was a keen sportsman and a soccer player. He taught mathematics and science. He functioned as its principal till 1908 and resigned to do law. In 1912 E. S. Abraham, a graduate of the University of Calcutta was appointed as principal.
The year 1915 marked a turning point in the history of the school when C. P. Thamotheram was appointed as principal. He was a graduate of the University of Madras and during his period of 28 years, significant changes took place. The school was named as Hartley College in 1916 when Rev. Marshall Hartley laid the foundation for a chemistry laboratory.
During Thamotheram’s tenure of office, he had capable assistants who played vital role for the development of the college. Notable contribution was made by W. A. Walton who was a veteran in Shakespeare’s plays. He inspired the students to take an active part in the Shakespeare’s play.
Further, during his time Hartley’s results at the Cambridge Examination were exceptionally good, Hartley College earned its recognition as a leading school during Thamotheram’s tenure of office. After a long period of 28 years as principal of Hartley College he retired in 1943 at the age of 60.
In 1943, K. Pooranampillai succeeded him as principal of Hartley College. He was a graduate of the London University and a post graduate trained at Selly Oak College, Birmingham.
Indeed, Poornampillai’s period was ‘golden era’ in the history of Hartley College. The academic standard was maintained. He made the college a place for the acquisition of skills necessary for life.
In order to achieve this objectives, he widened the scope for extra curricular activities and formed school societies. It was during his period the gymnasium was inaugurated, additional classrooms too were put up. Poornampillai had his own system of conducting the examinations. He conducted the weekly test, monthly test and the term test and examined the performance of every pupil and brought it to the notice of the parents.
After relinquishing of office by Poornampillai as principal of Hartley College, Ratnasabapathy (1967-1971), C. Rajadurai (1971-1973), P. Ahambaram (1973-1975) and W. N. S. Samuel (1975-1985) functioned as principals with great acceptance both by the students and the parents.
Thereafter S. P. Balasingam, a distinguished old boy of Hartley College who strained every nerve of his to keep the flag of Hartley College flying amidst tension and turmoil when he was appointed as principal of Hartley College.
Despite the turmoil and tribulations in the Jaffna peninsula in particular and the country in general Hartley College has not failed in its duty to hold the torch of learning, burning aloft and mould its students as useful citizens of the country. The present principal N. Theivendrarajah