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   History of The Prince of Wales School / Nairobi School


History of
The Prince of Wales School / Nairobi School

(Webmaster would like comment from anyone out there who has information or details
to help build up a more comprehensive picture of the history of our great School)


  • The European Nairobi School was established.


  • The Government took over the running of the European Nairobi School, which consisted of a few rooms near the Railway Station.


  • European Nairobi School moved to the hilly grounds of Protectorate Road (current grounds of Nairobi Primary School)


  • His Excellency Sir Edward Grigg (later Lord Altrincham), Governor of the Kenya Colony, supported Lord Delamere’s idea of establishing a Senior Boy’s School, to run as a Public School
  • Captain B.W.L. Nicholson from Royal Naval College Dartmouth was appointed Headmaster of European Nairobi School while planning for the New Boys School to be built at Kabete (the present Nairobi School grounds).


  • Sir Herbert Baker was commissioned to plan a school similar to Winchester Public School where Sir Edward Grigg was educated
  • Captain Nicholson continued to design the School uniform and discipline based on Naval system. Mrs. Nicholson and Rev. Gillett worked on the gardens of the new School at Kabete


  • The foundation stone of the new School was laid on 24th September 1929 by Sir Edward Grigg, in the area directly beneath the Clocktower. Under the foundation stone was placed a copy of the then East African Standard and coins of the colony at that time were placed. Generations of boys would walk over this stone daily.
  • The three original boarding houses were increased to four.


  • The School opened not for the 80 boys it was designed for but with 84 boarders and 20 day boys
  • The headmaster felt the old name ‘Kabete Boys Secondary School’ was too clumsy and it was given the name Prince of Wales School; as a special case, the Prince of Wales feathers were to be inserted between the horns of a Royal Impala as the School badge, accompanied by the school motto "TO THE UTTERMOST"


  • Whenever school teams for example Rugby, Hockey and Cricket went to play, they used to call themselves Old Cambrians hence the name ‘Old Cambrian Society’ (Old Boys of the School).
    Cambria is the old name of Wales.


  • Mr. Bernard A. Astley appointed Headmaster


  • The high enrolment called for new classrooms but there was a general shortage of cement and the first wooden classrooms were erected


  • The School population increased further because of the war and the Governor authorized the building of corrugated iron dormitories (the group of buildings that was later to become Intermediate/Fletcher House - the current Music Room). It was called ‘Lacey’s Landies’.


  • The war became more felt when the Italians joined in - because of fear of their bombing the School, it was made a day school.
  • June: The military hospital took over the buildings and students were moved to European Nairobi School (the present Nairobi Primary School.)
  • July: The Examination class started work at Naivasha.
  • September: All the boarders were moved to the Lake Hotel, Naivasha, while the day wing remained at European Nairobi School.


  • December: During the Christmas holidays, the whole school came back to Kabete on its own grounds and the space at European Nairobi School taken over by the Girls' Secondary School.


  • European education was made compulsory and enrolment increased so much that new temporary classrooms were needed. The wooden classrooms were erected as a "temporary wartime measure"!
  • Clive, Grigg, Hawke and Rhodes houses (the only four houses at the time) were all accommodated in the permanent building adjacent to the tuition block.


  • Rhodes/Nicholson complex was built.
  • Nicholson House was created with Ginger Gledhill as the Housemaster




  •  Grigg/Hawke complex built
  •  Scott House formed
  • A sister school was started - Duke of York School (now known as Lenana School)


1956 - 1958 


  • School Chapel built. Here is a copy of the Chapel Appeal that was produced in 1954/5 to raise funds for the building of the Chapel.



  • The School became multiracial with 1 African and 5 Asian boys admitted


  • The first black African teacher was appointed to the staff in January 1965 - Mr James Gitau who taught mathematics. Tragically he was killed later that year in a car crash.
  • The name of the School changed from The Prince of Wales School to Nairobi School at the end of 1965, and was officially adopted for the start of term in January 1966.


  • The Board of Governors became multiracial with Hon. J. Nyamweya as the first African Chairman
  • Mr. G.E. Ironside appointed as Headmaster


  • Art Room built




  • Mr D.M.Mureithi appointed as the first African Headmaster


  • School became Government maintained and the school fees were lowered
  • Responsibility for School employees was taken over by the Board of Governors
  • House names were changed:
        Clive became Elgon
        Grigg became Kirinyaga
        Hawke became Baringo
        Nicholson became Serengeti
        Rhodes became Athi
        Scott became Marsabit
  • Four permanent classrooms and 2 staff houses built


  • Mr. S.K. Kibe appointed as Headmaster
  • Three permanent class rooms built
  • A harambee meeting for the purpose was held (Guest of Honour was Hon. Njenga Karume)


  • Two 80-bed dormitories for Tana House built


  • A harambee meeting was held. (Guest of honour - His Excellency D.T.Moi - Vice President)
  • One 80-bed dormitory built to complete Tana House
  • 5 new permanent classrooms built


  • Parents Teachers Association was formed


  • Mr. B.M. Nyaga appointed as Headmaster


  • Mr. S.P.M. Kyungu appointed as Headmaster


  • Mr. S.A. Abdullahi appointed as Headmaster (January to April only)
  • Mr. E Owour appointed as Headmaster


  • Mr. J.J. Ngatiari appointed as Headmaster


  • Mr. R.N.M. Masese appointed as Headmaster
The basic material for this article was gathered and compiled by
Oscar Khamasi (Tana/Kirinyaga (Fletcher/Grigg) 1988-1991)

Soon to be published on this web site, when transcripts can be scanned:
  • The Ph.D thesis of Dr. David Oxlade (staff member in the 1960s and 1970s) entitled "A Study of the English Public School tradition in the former Government European Secondary Boarding Schools in Kenya and its influence on other Secondary Schools"

  • Sir Edward Grigg's speech when he laid the foundation stone for the School in 1929.