History

This page is dedicated to our dear, beloved Auntie Jeanne, who for so many years, diligently and conscientiously recorded our history and looked after our precious memories in the archives. She has remained in contact with many of our “old girls” through the years and has served as a bridge, linking the past with the present.  Auntie Jeanne has just turned 86, and is still as small (possibly smaller), as sharp and engaging as she has always been.  We credit her for being that bridge as well as the glue that keeps us connected.  Auntie Jeanne, we really do love you for all you have done for us through the years, but especially for being the person you have been all these years.  You truly embody…”with Spirit and Faith”.

People who have shaped our History

When we look back over a span of 140 years at our school, we can review recorded events, recount (via imagery) the many changes in buildings, uniforms, name changes, fads and fashions.  We therefore witness the evolution of our school, from humble beginnings to present day glory.  But pivotal in our history, are the decisions made by key people, those Principals and SGB’s and friends of KHS, whose decisions have resounded through the decades, and whose legacy we hold in our hands, in this year, 2015.

Fashions come and go, education is subject to many societal changes, but the decisions of dynamic, progressive visionaries, shape the changes and direct our history onward and upward.  We therefore acknowledge these individuals, for their courage, bravery, resolve and example.  We remember with much gratitude, those KHS (both Kaffrarian and Kingsridge) Principals, who have so responsibly handed the baton of their title and responsibility to their successor, while preserving our hard won reputation as a school of excellence.

We honour the following individuals (in sequence) for their leadership during their tenure.

1875-1878   –   Miss A Brewsher                      1879-1903  –    Miss J Martindale

1904-1909  –   Miss M Welsh                              1910                –    Miss D Flamsteed

1911-1921  –    Miss F Brice                                  1922-1931   –     Miss W Udall

1931-1945  –    Miss O Rowe                                 1945-1947   –      Miss S Macrae

1948-1951  –    Miss A MacDonald                   1952-1957  –       Mrs D Shearer

1957-1975  –    Miss R Slater                                 1976-1980  –        Mrs J Morgan

1981-1989  –    Mrs J Pennink                               1990-1999  –         Mrs M Esprey

1999-2005  –   Mrs L Funnell

From left to right:

Mrs Gerry Gericke, Mrs Margaretha Esprey & Mrs Lynn Funnell

A Brief History of Kaffrarian Girls High School


Main Entrance of the Original Building taken from Queens Road

In November 1873 Mr I Rose-Innes, as Civil Commissioner, wrote to the Cape Government asking their approval for the establishment of a “Seminary for Female Education of the highest order”. They hoped that the “First Class Undenominational Girls’ School”, so established, would “secure public support and bestow advantages which it is impossible to estimate.” As a result the KHS for Girls was started in 1875 and has, since then, been part of the educational, social and cultural life in the capital of Kaffraria (King Williams Town)

During this Victorian age a woman was not expected to be able to earn her own living. If she did not marry and take on her own household, she became attached to the household of a male relative. Teaching and nursing were virtually the only careers open to them. Dr Egan wrote in the Kaffrarian Watchmen: “to raise a body of cultivated, well-instructed young women, is a task worthy of the efforts of any ladies, and is one of the greatest social value” and he hoped the school would send many students to the Cape University., He spoke about sound religious instruction, a polite education and various other accomplishments.
The subjects studied were: Literature, Arithmetic, Art, Music, German, French, Needlework, Handwriting, Harmony and Drill.

As time went by the subjects and extra-mural activities expanded tremendously and in 1905 the foundation of a new school building on the corner of Queen’s and Alexandra Roads was laid by the Governor of the Cape. Four years later the Prime Minister, the Honourable John X Merriman, formally opened the new Girls’ High School building.

Original School Building (1909-1962) (Before the fire)

In 1930 there were 35 girls in the Matriculation class and the House system was started. By now the wearing of uniform – a box-pleated gym and school hat – was generally accepted. New ideas were being discussed by teachers and pupils: “should women take an active part in public life”, “education of the future – will it be programmed and teacherless?” By this time many Old Girls were going to University and at least five had achieved Masters Degrees.

Miss Rowe who was Headmistress from 1932-1945 did much to build up school spirit. It was during her time that the school gained the new distinctive name: the Kaffrarian. She composed the words of the School Song and inculcated in the girls pride in the uniform, and the colours, the badge and the motto.

In 1936 the Foundation Stone of Clarendon Hostel was laid. Education up to Std 8 or 16 years of age became compulsory after the Second World War and this combined with the growth of King William’s Town caused the number of pupils to increase rapidly.

Above: Original School Building. Shot taken from Queens Road and includes the War Memorial

On 24 July 1962, while Miss Slater was Headmistress, the original school block was destroyed by fire. Within 40 minutes this beloved home was reduced to ruins and ashes. School was closed for 2 days while the staff and committee found rooms and equipment with which to go on. An emergency fund was started and many people worked together and on 28 October 1966 the new KHS was opened by His Honour, the Administrator, Mr J N Malan. The waiting years were difficult, but it made one realise that a school is not built by hands, that a school is not its buildings, but a school is people – staff, pupils and ex-pupils.

An excerpt from The Mercury (Sat Aug 4, 1962) reads as follows:-

On Wednesday morning July 25, I visited the Kaffrarian High School. It was the day after one of the most tragic fires this 127 year old town had ever known, and I shall never forget the scenes of desolation I saw. There was a cold wind blowing which made loose sheets of corrugated iron flap with somber sounds and helped to keep smouldering some of the debris in the blackened ruins of King Williams Town’s historic school.
It was impossible not to be deeply moved by what I saw-or not to wonder why such things had to be.
After leaving the schools quadrangle, which presented perhaps the saddest sights I saw. I came to the schools second quad, and here was the most heartening sights of my tour.
It was the schools bell, standing virtually undamaged like a small oasis in a desert of much damage. That bell, affixed to its archway of facebrick, stood as if in mute triumph of its still being intact after defying the worst that the flames had done all around it…a proud symbol of things that can never come back and an even prouder heritage of the greatest glories that await this great school when it arises Phoenix-like from its ashes – as it so surely will.
The bell that has lived while so much around it has died, had an earlier baptism of fire and violence , when 47 earlier, in 1915, the second year of the First Great War. In that year it had been the bell that summonsed the ship’s company on S.S Mercia, a vessel that was used as a transporter for troops that landed on the Penninsula of Gallipoli in the Dardenelles Campaign – that bold and imaginative adventure that cost the lives of 40,000 men, and still ended in failure.
The bell later became the property of Mr. J. Robertson, who later presented it to Kaffrarian High School which he attended as a small boy . It was later mounted in 1953 by a generous donation by an Old Girl of KHS, Mrs. Martha Harty, where the fire of July 24th found it and left it.

Kingsridge High School for Girls (KHS) comes into being

Above: Dr Rev Paul Smit and Mrs Lynne Funnell

In 2004 all stake holders were invited to become involved in a name change and in October 2004 the new name of Kingsridge High School for Girls was announced.
The school campus is housed in four buildings:
Pre-Primary – 79
Foundation Phase – 219
Senior Primary – 284
Senior School – 440
Total 1022 girls.