The History of St George's Grammar School
ST GEORGE’S – CAPE TOWN
St George’s is the oldest private school in South Africa. On 11 April 1848, Bishop Robert Gray founded our school where the present Cathedral now stands at the top of Adderley Street in Cape Town. St George’s originally began as an all white, all boys school. Significant changes occurred in the demographics of the learner population, when in 1978 St George's admitted the first learners of colour and in 1989 became a co-educational school.
From our earliest days, we worshipped in the Cathedral and pr ovided boys for its choir. In 1904, a magnificent new school building, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, was opened adjacent to the Cathedral, with another wing added in 1950.
ST GEORGE’S – MOWBRAY
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 Liesbeck River in the area where St George’s, Rhodes High 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.
The “Jonker Huis” of Bloemendal manor is now the large, private house that adjoins the Drama Department. The Coach House next to the squash court, was the garage in which the first motorcar to be brought to this country was kept. During the final decade of the 19th century, the present Headmaster’s house was the home of the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, John X Merriman.
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. Parts of Bloemendal are two hundred and forty years old.
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 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 newly opened next to Bloemendal. 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 construction of the Jenny Mallett hall, including a new foyer, which now houses the school Reception and the Mike Smuts Centre. In 2008 we celebrated 160 years of education with the opening of our new Science Centre and Art Gallery.