Central to the story of Collegiate Girls School was one of change, growth and progress. The school never emerged at its current shape, fully formed. Instead it was a process of renewal. To underscore this, was the first giant leap from a small school in a large house at No. 15 Western Road to bespoke buildings in Bird Street.
It will serve us well to reflect that what is now viewed as a bold audacious step might equally have been a misstep. That required perspicacity and foresight and not 20/20 hindsight.
Let us again join the school on its next profound step.
Main picture: The first Collegiate School in Bird Street surrounding by a white trellis fence in 1878
By the 1870s the stark fact was that the girls in Port Elizabeth were receiving a second-rate education at the various private seminaries with their untrained and unqualified teachers. With the demand for quality education glaringly obvious, the residents called into question the lack of a sound establishment under a competent and qualified staff of cultured ladies.
The residents’ hopes were realised when on Friday 19th September 1873, a notice appeared in the local newspaper announcing the establishment of a girls’ school.
This would culminate in the birth of the prestigious girls’ school: Collegiate. Like all such endeavours, it would not emerge fully formed as it development would proceed through numerous iterations.
Main picture: No. 15 Western Road with its white front wall and white bay window, the original Collegiate School (looking up Whitlock Street).