St. Charles College, Pietermaritzburg

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St Charles College
TypePrivate, Boarding
MottoFideli certa merces – To the faithful one, a certain reward
HeadmasterAllen van Blerk
Exam boardCambridge International Examinations
Number of students800 boys
Colour(s)Blue and Gold

St Charles College, founded in 1875, is a Christian, independent boys college situated in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, catering for day boys from Grade 000 to Matric, with boarders from Grade 4 upwards.


St Charles Grammar School for Boys was established on 26 July 1875 by Bishop Charles Jolivet of the Order of Mary Immaculate (OMI), in Loop Street, Pietermaritzburg. The School was later sold to the Marist Brothers in 1912 who renamed it St Charles College. Growth was so substantial that 14 years later it was necessary to move the College out of its cramped buildings in the city to the suburb of Scottsville, also in Pietermaritzburg. Undergoing rapid expansion, particularly in the 1950s, the future of St Charles was seemingly assured until, with declining interest in vocations in the Catholic Church, the College almost closed its doors in 1978. It was saved by the eleventh-hour intervention of a small group of Old Boys who worked to re-establish the College, resulting in a non-denominational school with a secular Headmaster.

An Aerial view of the college in early 2011

Significant dates[edit]

  • 1875 – 26 July – St Charles Grammar School (SCGS) for Boys founded by Bishop Charles Constant Jolivet, Catholic Bishop of Natal, at Allard House, Loop Street
  • 1877 – SCGS moves across Loop Street to Bishop Jolivet's Episcopal Palace
  • 1883 – SCGS moves to St Mary's Parish Hall, Longmarket Street
  • 1901 – SCGS moves next door to St Charles School buildings, Longmarket Street
  • 1913 – St Charles School bought by the Marist Brothers – buildings re-vamped and enlarged for the whole of 1913 – no teaching takes place
  • 1914 – January – St Charles School, renamed St Charles College, re-opens for classes
  • 1925 – January – St Charles College moves to new buildings in Harwin Road, Scottsville. Old school buildings become the Ansonia Hotel
  • 1973 – 18 September – Board of Governors formed to assist Marist Brothers in the management of the School
  • 1979 – 1 January – first non-Brother Headmaster, Mr Wynne Bowden. St Charles now non-denominational, Christian school. From Class 1 to Matric, 136 boys form St Charles College
  • 1991 – O'Meara House disbanded
  • 2012 – 800 boys in the school, of which 190 are boarders.
  • 2012 – O'Meara House reinstated


Cambridge International Examinations[edit]

St. Charles College offers Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in the senior school. In 2002, Previous headmaster Ronnie Kuhn, implemented CIE Examinations into the school system and 2012 marked the tenth anniversary that St. Charles College has benefited from using CIE. Students in grade 10, write IGCSE and students in grade 11 and 12 write AS and A Levels, the GCE Advanced Level.

Subjects offered[edit]



SCC boasts one of the largest Cricket Ovals in Pietermaritzburg

The school is situated on 15 acres of land in Scottsville Pietermaritzburg. St. Charles College provides a large variety of sports. Facilities include:

  • 11 fields used for Cricket, Rugby, Football and Hockey
  • 1 High Performance Gym and Conditioning centre
  • 1 Indoor Basketball Centre
  • 4 Outdoor Basketball courts
  • 1 Provincial size cricket oval
  • 3 Indoor Cricket Nets
  • 20 Outdoor Cricket Nets
  • 6 Tennis courts
  • 1 Artificial hockey surface
  • 2 Squash courts
  • 2 Swimming Pools

Sports offered[edit]


Entrance to St. Charles College on Harwin Road

There are currently four houses at St. Charles College, with equal numbers of students in each. O'Meara House was disbanded by former Principal, Mr Ronnie Kuhn, in 1991 due to small numbers at the College in the early years of his Principalship. Kuhn's reasoning for disbanding O'Meara House was that the numbers at the Senior School were at about 180 which meant four Houses had approximately 45 boys each – three Houses meant 60 boys per House.

  • O'Meara House (Green)      – O'Meara House was named after arguably the most prominent benefactor of the School – after founder, Charles Jolivet. Thomas Patrick O'Meara was a very successful timber merchant in the city with three sons at the School: G O'Meara, James Justin O'Meara and Michael Henry O'Meara. The last two were killed in the First World War – and are duly recorded on the Roll Of Honour in the Chapel. TP O'Meara was a great benefactor of the College and a good friend of founder Bishop Charles Constant Jolivet. He was still going strong in an officiating role at the College in the late 1920s – he died on 19 February 1929 at age 90.
  • Conway House (Red)      – was named after Miss Mary Conway – the singing and music teacher who arranged the concerts in the Old Scott's Theatre. Mary Conway, daughter of James Patrick Conway (1885–1914) had her sister, Ellen Hunter (née Conway) a music teacher at St Charles College as well.
  • Delalle House (Yellow)      – was named after Fr Henri Delalle, Principal of the School in 1896 – he later became Bishop. He was instrumental in getting the Marist Brothers to take over the School in 1913.
  • Smith House (Blue)      – was named after Mr John Leslie Smith, a model pupil at the School in the early to late teens of the 20th century – and a great benefactor of St Charles College – as have his family members over the years subsequently – Mr Patrick Leslie Smith and Mark Leslie Smith.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°36′30″S 30°24′31″E / 29.608375°S 30.408557°E / -29.608375; 30.408557