Jeppestown High School – 1902 – 1919


After the war, the new Director of Education for the Transvaal, Mr. E.B. Sargant, decided that Johannesburg needed four high schools, and early in 1902 he acquired the buildings of the old Jeppestown Grammar School and opened there Jeppestown High School for Boys and Girls. Mr. C.D. Hope, previously of St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown, and of Pretoria Boys’ High School, was appointed Headmaster. But after three years he moved to open a new high school in Potchefstroom in 1905.
Mr. C.D. Hope
Mr. C.D. Hope

The enrolment in the School’s first year was just over 100. Many eyebrows were raised at boys and girls being together in the School, and divisions of opinion continued for the next seventeen years. There were always many more boys than girls at the School, but the girls more than held their own in every department of work and sport.

Games were played on the nearest waste-land, or on borrowed ground. In 1905, the girls’ hockey team won seven of the eight matches played. There were six teams of boys playing league football. Cricket flourished under Handford, a professional coach (paid by Abe Bailey). A house was rented in Op de Bergen Street to house the two classes that had been using the gymnasium.
Academically, one pupil, the future judge Leslie Blackwell, stood head and shoulders above his fellows. After him, T.A. Letters began a brilliant scholastic career (to be cut short when serving with the Gordon Highlanders in 1915 in France).
The buildings of Jeppe High School from 1902 - 1910, before the move to the present buildings in 1911
The buildings of Jeppe High School from 1902 – 1910, before the move to the present buildings in 1911

A number of changes of staff took place initially, but by 1905 the staff had settled down. Four of the pioneer teachers served the school for a total of 100 years – Miss Cummins, N.B. Vines, M.D. Manduell and J.H.A. Payne. James Humphrey Allan Payne took over the school from Mr. Hope in 1905.