The populations of Cairo and Alexandria in the early 1900s were essentially conglomerates of diverse cultures and nationalities. Although this was not unusual for regions that had been under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt's unique geographic position, magnificent climate, welcoming people, and the wealth of opportunities to achieve material prosperity throughout the Nile Delta and the Suez Canal corridor, had drawn English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Armenian, Syrian, Lebanese and many other foreign nationals to settle there. As these various communities had prospered, churches, synagogues, community centres and schools, funded either by private contributions or by grants from their respective governments, had been established and had flourished.

For children of the British community, only an elementary school existed in Geziret Badran: Dean's Building School, named after Dean Butcher, a former chaplain of All Saints' Church. In the normal course of events, when boys and girls had outgrown governesses or elementary levels of schooling, they were sent to England to continue their education. For this reason, at the outbreak of war in 1914, there existed no establishment in Cairo dedicated to providing