… 50 Years On
A short history of St. Andrew’s School
Written by Joe Percival
St. Andrew’s High School The early Days
The early history of the School is, if not shrouded in mystery, then open to differing interpretations of exactly how old we really are.
In the early 30s the colonial government, in conjunction with The Church of Scotland Mission, built the first St. Andrew’s, a primary school for European children located in the Mission grounds, enrolling its first pupils in May 1938. With many parents living ‘up country’ a hostel was opened in 1939 in Sunnyside. The school was taken over by the Nyasaland government in 1947, growing to cater for 512 junior children by 1958. By this time Nyasaland had been incorporated into the Central African Federation. This was a controversial move as the growing number of African nationalists like Dr. Hastings Banda recognised that it was a way for the European-dominated Southern Rhodesia to control its poorer neighbours and perpetuate white minority rule.
Despite rumblings of discontent, 1955 saw the decision by the Federal government to draw up plans to open this country’s first ever high school on a site in Nyambadwe.
The main school buildings c.1956 with no science block or lower field!
Even with building work still going on and classes interrupted with the noise of tractors and concrete mixers, the first senior classes started in January 1957. As befits the rather sketchy history of St. Andrew’s there are no records or how many were among the first batch of Andreans, but from around 75 Form 1 students, the school rapidly flourished with many expatriate parents taking advantage of a this new school for older children rather than packing their off-spring off to boarding schools around Africa and the wider world. In the first year alone 300 joined St. Andrew’s with bulldozers flattening the playing field and a science block rapidly going up. The first Headmaster, Mr Doug Eccles, established both the academic quality and the beginnings of the vast array of activities that St. Andrew’s history has been marked by, but in his 1957 report he noted:
“…we cannot afford to relax our efforts if the school tradition we expect, and indeed demand, is to be firmly established.”
However, the Federal government divided the various elements of St. Andrew’s into separate schools in 1958, creating St. Andrew’s High School (S.A.H.S.) at Nyambadwe, hence why we are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2008.
A rather bare view of the rear of St. Andrew’s from the late 50s with the newly completed science block on the left.
Despite this historic event (few realise when history is in the making), no official opening ceremony took place, but as the
original Form 1 pupils moved through the school, a plethora of others would follow creating the traditions that Mr. Doug Eccles was so hopeful of. The first headmaster of the High School was Mr. Bill Owen, working in conjunction with Mr. Hillary Parsons in his first term, taking the reigns full-time in 1959.