Pretoria Boys High School
|Pretoria Boys High School|
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
|School type||Public high school|
|Motto||Virtute et Labore (Latin)
("Through Courage and Labour")
|Established||3 June 1901(1893)|
|Founder||The Rt Hon. Lord Milner|
|Sister school||Pretoria High School for Girls|
|Headmaster||Mr AD Reeler|
|Second Master||Mr JW Illsley|
|Medium of language||English|
Red, White, Green
|Song||'Tis Here We Learn To Live,
Forty Years On
|Rival||Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool|
|Accreditation(s)||Gauteng Department of Education|
The Boys Highlights
|Main school building.|
Pretoria Boys High School, also known as Boys High or PBHS, is a public, tuition charging, English medium boys high school located in Brooklyn, Pretoria, in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Its academic performance places it among the best secondary schools in rankings nationally, as well as in all of Africa. Many alumni are well regarded in a variety of South African fields.
Its sister school is Pretoria High School for Girls.
The school enrolls approximately 1500 pupils annually, including 300 boarders. Its distinctive red-brick neoclassical style school buildings date from 1909, maintaining provincial heritage site status. The main building of the school, sited on Waterkloof Hill close to University of Pretoria, sits opposite to the distant Union Buildings on Meintjieskop. There are three boarding houses located on the school grounds: Rissik House and Solomon House are part of the original school complex completed in 1909, while School House was built later.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Pretoria High School (1901-1903)
- 1.2 Pretoria College (1903-1909)
- 1.3 The New Buildings and Bilingualism
- 1.4 Devolution and Re-Establishment (1920)
- 1.5 Headmasters since 1909
- 2 The school badge
- 3 The school songs and prayer
- 4 The Old Boys Association
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 External links
The antecedent of the current school is the historic Staats Model School, built from 1896-1897 by the Government of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (later Transvaal) in central Pretoria. This school was not in operation for very long owing to the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1899, during which time the building served as a prison; Winston Churchill was briefly imprisoned there.
Pretoria High School (1901-1903)
With Pretoria under British control, it became apparent to Lord Milner, the Colonial Secretary at the time, that the educational facilities in the city needed attention as there was no secondary school for English-speaking pupils. The Staats Model School was duly refurbished. It was renamed Pretoria High School and became the first of the so-called "Milner" schools in the Transvaal, opening on 3 June 1901 with Charles Hope-who also founded Potchefstroom Boys High as headmaster. Initial enrolment was 32 pupils, both boys and girls, which increased to 132 by August of that year. Mr Hope left 15 months later, along with the girls, who were finally accommodated into the old building of the former Transvaal Republic's Staatsmeischjeskool (State Girls' School). This was renamed the Pretoria High School for Girls.
Pretoria College (1903-1909)
Under the new headmaster, Harold Atkinson, enrolment increased to 100 boys by 1903. The name of the School was also changed to Pretoria College. Mr Atkinson left at the end of 1905 and was succeeded by J F Acheson who stayed with the School until it moved from Skinner Street to its current site in 1909. Formal devolution between primary and high school pupils only occurred in 1905.
The New Buildings and Bilingualism
Milner's intention was to create a stable educational infrastructure in the new colony's capital and duly set aside 2 km² of ground to the south-east of central Pretoria for the construction of new academic institutions. The southern most 0.6 km², which included the Waterkloof Kop (Waterkloof Hill), was chosen as the new site for Pretoria Boys High School. The architect, Patrick Eagle, met the challenge admirably and designed an impressive edifice rivalling its larger contemporary, Sir Herbert Baker's Union Buildings. Eagle chose to site the main buildings on the ridge of the hill giving the school its well-known dramatic setting.
The new school buildings were officially opened in 1909 by General Smuts, then colonial secretary of the Transvaal. One year later, the four colonies of the Transvaal, Orange Free State, Natal and the Cape formed the Union of South Africa. Keen to forge unity between English and Dutch (Afrikaner) South Africans, Smuts' influence was evident when, on 6 April 1910, the school absorbed 100 boys and staff from the Dutch-medium Eendracht High School to form a dual-medium high school. The combined school was now named Pretoria High School for Boys - Pretoria Hogere school voor Jongens. Smuts would later send his own sons to the School.
Devolution and Re-Establishment (1920)
The dual-medium institution would last ten years. By 1920, the divide between English and Afrikaans speakers had become apparent nationwide; this was reflected in the need for a separate Afrikaans high school in Pretoria. Consequently, the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool was formed immediately south of its parent, becoming the first Afrikaans-medium high school in the country, several years before Afrikaans attained official recognition as a language (and not a semi-creole of Dutch). The two schools enjoy close ties to this day, especially in an enthusiastic but friendly rivalry in sporting events. PBHS would now be left in its present form, known only as Pretoria Boys High School, an English-medium public school.
Headmasters since 1909
William Hofmeyr (1909-1935)
General Smuts handpicked the first headmaster of the institution - William Hendrik Hofmeyr, a Cambridge graduate who would become the school's longest serving headmaster. He was with the school for 25 years. Hofmeyr had seven sons and they all attended the School; three went on to become Rhodes Scholars. One of his sons, Will, became a member of staff and a famous coach. The Hofmeyr Cricket Oval, named after him, is regarded as one of the finest school cricket ovals in the country. Hofmeyr senior stayed as headmaster throughout the First World War. The war cost the school 28 Old Boys and a memorial in front of the main building, along with a bell chime, was erected in their memory with the inscription, "To the Glory of God and in memory of those of this school who gave their lives in the Great War this clock is dedicated". The chimes are identical to those of the Union Buildings and are based upon the Westminster Chimes.
Daniel Matheson (1936-1949)
Hofmeyr was succeeded by Daniel Duff Matheson in 1935 and under him the enrolment increased from 450 to 800 boys. Matheson saw the School through the Second World War when once again the cost was felt and the School lost 93 Old Boys. Matheson left in 1949 and in 1960 a drinking fountain at the pavilion was erected in his memory.
Noel Pollock (1950-1955)
Noel M Pollock was the first Old Boy to assume the position of headmaster. Pollock's office was marked by many changes and he did well in maintaining morale within the School. In his final year, 1955, the School achieved their best matric results and the first cricket side went through the season unbeaten. It was at about this time that Boys High had a fruitful turnout of great cricketers. Among others were Ken Funston, Eddie Barlow, Syd Burke, Glen Hall and Jackie Botten. Hockey was also introduced at the school and in 1976 Boys High became the first school to send a hockey team to England.
Desmond Abernethy (1956-1973)
Another Old Boy, Desmond Abernethy, left his post as an Inspector of Education to become a headmaster, a move he described as "downward promotion". Before Abernethy left in 1973, the School reached an enrolment high of 1000 boys and Art became a popular subject. Great schoolmasters of the time included Walter Battiss, Larry Scully and Clinton Harrop-Allin. Music became very popular as a school subject and Boys High produced Leo Quayle, a renowned musician.
In the early 1960s, renovations began once again as new classrooms were built and the old school hall was demolished and replaced by the current school hall, opened on 26 August 1964 by the Hon Mr Fox Odendaal. This hall was named 'The Abernethy Hall', following the death of D.F. Abernethy in the late 1990s. 1961 saw another record when Alan Hector, Peter Corbett and Neville Holmes were awarded their S A Schools' Caps. 1972 saw one of the greatest years in Boys High rugby when the school lost only one match.
Malcolm Armstrong (1974-1989)
Malcolm Armstrong was the eighth headmaster of the School, while being only the second born in South Africa. Armstrong placed great emphasis on a balanced life and for this reason a great number of clubs and societies were founded during his term of office. In 1989, 90% of the matriculants gained a university entrance certificate, a great achievement in terms of academics. He was also responsible for the building of 13 staff houses, a new gymnasium, laboratories, a new swimming pool and the moat that would be named Loch Armstrong in his honour.
William E. Schroder (1990-2009)
In 1990, William ("Bill") Schroder succeeded Armstrong as headmaster. A former head prefect of Rondebosch Boys' High School, Schroder embraced the changing political landscape of South Africa and successfully oversaw racial integration, private funding for additional staff (beyond the government-subsidised quota), extensive administrative modernisation while maintaining the school's high academic, cultural and sporting standards. Schroder has been quoted as saying: "I have no doubt that we can withstand any problems that the future may throw at us. I believe that a school such as ours must try to remain ahead of change, as it has in the past. I believe Boys High can become a genuine microcosm of the new South Africa."
Antony Reeler (1st July, 2010 - present)
Tony Reeler was a Deputy Headmaster at Rondebosch Boys' School in Cape Town from 1999 to 2003. Between 2004 and 2009 he was Headmaster at Pinelands High in Cape Town.
The school badge
According to John Illsley's "PBHS - The story of a SA school 1901 - 2001" (Pages 22 – 23), each component of the badge has a special meaning relating to the history and spirit of the school. The shield component of the badge is divided into four quadrants, with the book representing learning, the tools the wealth of the Transvaal through gold mining, the tree growth and the ox wagon the Transvaal. The background colours of the four quadrants were the colours of the first four houses when given permanent names, i.e. Town red, Solomon gold, Sunnyside black and Rissik green.
The school songs and prayer
The official school song, 'Tis Here We Learn To Live, was written in the 1930s by two Old Boys (the composer of the music, Dr George Findlay, was a prominent Pretoria dermatologist). However, the School later adopted Forty Years On (originally the School song of Harrow School.) It is this song that is sung at all School Valedictions. The official school song was relegated to obscurity until it was revived as the School's rugby anthem.
'Tis Here We Learn To Live
We are entering life together,
Free of sorrow, and of care,
With a youthful fire and vigour,
Naught can e'er our hope impair.
Though we know indeed but little
Of the life we have to dare,
'Tis here we learn to live;
'Tis here we learn to live.
Forty Years On
Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play.
Then, it may be, it will often come o'er you,
Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song,
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along.
Follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up!
Till the fields ring again and again,
With the tramp of the thirty good men -
The School Prayer
O Lord, God of Truth, Whom to know is everlasting life, and to serve is perfect freedom, grant that we may draw near to Thee in thought, word and deed. Inspire us with the love of Thy creatures and Thy laws, that in all humility and teachableness, with patience and understanding, by honest and earnest labour, we may seek after knowledge as a blessing that cometh from Thee.
Whether it be our part to teach or learn, to rule or obey, make us feel Thy presence in our several duties, filling us with reverence for the beauty and wonder of Thy universe, and pouring on us a spirit of justice, gentleness, and mutual goodwill.
Thus by Thy grace, may we use this house of learning, that we may prepare our powers of body, mind and spirit, to advance the good of man and the Glory of God.
The Old Boys Association
PBHS has a vast and active network of Old Boys, forming one of the largest alumni organisations in South Africa. The Association publishes an annual journal and review, The Phobian, which is distributed to Old Boys across the globe. Members of the Association meet annually at the School for the Annual Dinner, and regular reunions of each matriculating group are organised 10, 20, 30 and 40 years on (echoing the refrain of the School song, "Forty Years On.")
Office Bearers of the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys Association
- A Carson-Cross 1919 - 1940
- Edwin De V Stegman 1949
- Colin G Ritson 1950 - 1977
- A Sandy Scattery 1977 - 1980
- Gordon K Hay 1981 - 2002
- Eugene M Ashton 2003 - 2012
- Thomas A Rundle 2013 -
- Albert Meester 1919 - 1932
- William C Brooks 1933 - 1939
- George P Fenwick 1940 - 1997
- Roderick W Stewart 1997 - 2001
- Gavin Beckwith 2001 - 2003
- Roderick W Stewart 2004 - 2006
- Matthew J Blackmore 2007 -
- Albert Meester/Robin Abernethy 1919 - 1932
- Robert Dougall 1933 - 1935
- William C Brooks 1936 - 1939
- William C Brooks/Victor SJ Schmulow 1940
- S Eden Greyville/Derek Lane 1941 - 1942
- S Eden Greyville/George P Fenwick 1943 - 1944
- S Eden Fenwick/William C Brooks 1945
- William C Brooks 1946 - 1948
- William C Brooks/Douglas E Fenwick 1949 - 1955
- Douglas E Fenwick/A Sandy Scatterty 1956 - 1957
- David Reeves 1958
- Nigel J Leathern 1959
- The Club Secretary 1960 - 1961
- Douglas E Fenwick/Ronald A Edwards (Former President of the Association) 1962
- Timothy B Hill 1963 - 1970
- William C Brooks 1971 - 1975
- William C Brooks/Roger W Herbert 1976
- Roger W Herbert 1977 - 2008
- Lincoln J Keeton 2009 - 2011
- Eugene M Ashton 2012
- Kyle R Schmulow 2013 -
The school has produced two Nobel Prize laureates, 18 Rhodes scholars, eight Supreme Court judges, an archbishop, two English Premier League football players, five national cricketers and four Springbok rugby players.
- Eddie Barlow, Springbok cricketer,
- Jackie Botten, Springbok cricketer,
- Charles Kimberlin Brain (C. K. 'Bob' Brain), paleontologist, cave taphonomist
- Edwin Cameron, Supreme Court judge and AIDS activist,
- Rik de Voest, professional South African tennis player
- David Epstein, mathematician and Fellow of the Royal Society
- Philip Evans, South African national football player
- Mark Fish, South Africa international football player
- Bernard Friedman, politician, writer and surgeon and founder of the Progressive Party
- Ken Funston, Springbok cricketer and hockey player
- Damon Galgut, novelist
- Peter Hain, British Cabinet Minister
- Glen Hall, Springbok cricketer
- Dennis Jensen, Australian politician
- Bernard Kantor, Managing Director of Investec Bank
- Ian Kantor, co-founder of Investec Bank
- Richard Kunzmann, novelist
- Gerard Moerdijk, Architect best known for designing the Voortrekker Monument
- Elon Musk, internet, space, motor car and renewable energy entrepreneur
- Oscar Pistorius, 100m Paralympic sprint champion (Beijing, 2008)
- Vause Raw, South African politician and leader of the New Republic Party (NRP)
- Chiliboy Ralepelle, Springbok Rugby player 
- John Smit, captain of the RWC 2007 winning Springbok team
- Max Theiler, Nobel Prize laureate who produced the vaccine against yellow fever
- Francois Viljoen, U.S.A men's national rugby union Eagles player
- Roy Wegerle, US international football (soccer) player
- Michael Levitt, Nobel Prize laureate for Chemistry - 2013
Notes and references
- Shingirai Huni (2013-08-03). "14 Zim schools named in Top 100". The Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "The school". Pretorian.co.za. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Staats Model School, C/o Nana Sita and Lilian Ngoyi Streets, Pretoria City Centre, Tshwane". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Staatsmodel School". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Gauteng Department of Education
- John Illsley: Pretoria Boys High: The Story of a South African School (2001)
- "Profile: Peter Hain". BBC News. 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- "Profile: Elon Musk". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Jacobs, Elize (2004-09-23). "High praise for 'phenomenal' Pistorius". Edition 1. The Cape Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- "Profile: Chiliboy Ralepelle". sarugby.co.za. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- "Profile: John Smit". sarugby.co.za. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Pretoria Boys High School Official Website
- Pretoria High School School Old Boys Association
- Pretoria High School for Girls