The History of St George's Grammar School

St George's was founded on 11 April 1848 by Bishop Robert Gray on the premises of the present Cathedral at the top of Adderley Street in Cape Town. This makes the school the oldest independent school in southern Africa. St George's originally began as an all-white, all-boys school. Significant changes occurred in the demographics of the learner population in 1978 when the school admitted the first learners of colour. In 1989 St George's also became a co-educational school.

From the earliest days, we worshipped in the Cathedral and provided boys for its choir. In 1904, a magnificent new school building, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, was opened adjacent to the Cathedral and in 1950 another wing was added to the building in Adderley Street.

The lack of sport fields prompted a move to Mowbray, on the old Bloemendal Estate. From early in the 18th Century, the Bloemendal Estate was farmed alongside the Liesbeek River, in the area where St George's and part of the suburb of Mowbray are now situated. Gradually, the land was divided and the five large houses on the Estate were absorbed into the residential area that surrounds the school.

In 1936, the school purchased the main house, Bloemendal. For the first time, St George's possessed its own playing fields and permanent boarding establishment.

The Preparatory School was located in a prefabricated building on the Mowbray campus until it moved into the present building in 1966.

In 1973, the school ceased to function at the campus in the city. No longer were “Bloemendal boarders” required to travel to and from school by bus and train each day, instead they were taught in the classrooms and laboratories on the Bloemendal Estate. In 1984, the Graham Dods Audio-visual and Resource Centre was opened, together with the squash court.

The year 2000 brought further development at St George's with the building of the Jenny Mallett Hall, and a new foyer in the Prep School block, which also houses the school Reception and the Mike Smuts Centre. In 2008 we opened the new Science Centre and Art Gallery.