Thurstan School was dawned with the end of the world war two. That was in nineteen forties.It was not started as a result of free education concept brought by famous scholar and minister of education Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara. Thurstan School could be introduced as an institution of technical education, started after gaining political independence in Sri Lanka from the British rule. Thurstan was planted in an educationally rich soil. On one side was one and a half century years old Royal College and on the other side was the Colombo Campus which was of similar age. The location is a significant feature.
Reverend father A. J. Thurstan started a private technical school in 1859 in this beautiful environment and maintained it out of his own funds. This institution had been a agricultural and multimedia technical training centre for many years but had to be closed down after a few years. In 1884 with the assistance of the British Government an agricultural school was started in the same place. There was historical evidence to show that around this agricultural school there had been a flourishing cinnamon cultivation, and today Colombo 7 is known as Cinnamon Gardens due to this cultivation. The agricultural school was started by the then Director of Education Mr. H. W. Green. In 1910 it was closed down.
There was a problem of space faced by Royal College and there was a need for another school for those students who could not gain admission to Royal. This problem went up to then Premier D. S. Senanayake and he suggested to occupy the buildings left vacant due to the shiftily of the teacher training school to Maharagama.
A new School was opened by then Minister of Education by Mr. E. A. Nugewela on January 11th, 1950 named as government Senior School at Thurstan road. There were 26 students who entered the grade one, to grade six 112 students were enrolled. There are all who passed grade 5 at Royal College. The principal of the new school was Mr. D. E. A. Shokman. During his term he tried to raise the standard of the school curriculum in many ways. Making use of the experience at Kingswood College Kandy with his ideas about high schools he introduced a house system for sports, student leadership (Prefects), cadetting, and literary associations not second to a high school which gained high standards in sports, literacy etc. over many years. He named the houses after the for directors of Education during British rule namely Denham, Macrey, Robison and Sandeman. The first Sports meet was held under the patronage of Dr. H. W. Howes, CMG, Director of Education on Saturday the 9th of February 1952. The teacher in charge of sport was Mr. Kingsly Fernando. Inter house champions were Robison House.