Hamilton Primary School, 328 Visagie Street, Pretoria Central, Pretoria

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Condition Good
Date of origin 1897
Previous names Staatsmeisjesskool

Pretoria High School for Girls
Commercial Primary School
Commercial High School
Hamilton Senior School
Hamilton Junior School

Place Corner of Prinsloo and Visagie Streets
Street 328 Visagie Street
Town Pretoria
Magisterial district City of Tshwane
Province Gauteng
Country South Africa
GPS coordinates 25°45'05.40"


Planning authority name City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
Architect/Firm Unknown
Project architect/Designer Unknown
Commissioning owner Government of South Africa
Current owner
Current occupant Hamilton Primary School
Previous uses School, Hospital, School
Current use Primary school
Classification/Typology School
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[edit] Significance

Historical significance: during the Anglo-Boer War the structure was used as a military hospital and only in 1902 was the building reinstated as a school, the Pretoria High School for Girls.

The building has architectural and typological significance in terms of its layout and the materials used in the design. It is regarded as a visual landmark and place of sentiment within the community.

[edit] Current known heritage status

The building is listed as a National Heritage Structure and falls under the protection of the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999.

[edit] Known interested and affected parties

Government of South Africa

Pretoria Institute for Architecture

Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria

[edit] History

In 1878 the first attempt to establish a government school for girls failed. For 15 years no progress was made and in the early 1890s efforts to do so resumed. In November 1893 the South African Government bought two lots, 711 and 712 on the corner of Prinsloo and Visagie Streets, from Mr. Percy Bouet. In November 1896 the two adjacent lots, 710 and 709, were bought from Barend van Erkom.

During the following year construction of the building to accommodate the dual-medium Staatsmeisjesschool was started. The building was completed in July 1899. The goal of Miss Lorentz was to bring Dutch and English together in a school.

Three months after the school building was finished, the war broke out and the school was closed. The building was utilised as a hospital for wounded Boer soldiers and British prisoners. It is said that Winston Churchill escaped from this building. When it was re-opened as a school in 1902 the name Staatsmeisjesschool was dropped because British forces occupied Pretoria at that time. The school then became known as the Pretoria High School for Girls. According to one of the students of the time the teachers were very straight-laced and the rules very strict.

In July 1915 the Pretoria High School for Girls moved to its current location in Arcadia. Following this event two schools occupied the building, one being the Commercial Primary School on the ground floor and the Commercial High School on the upper floor, each with its own headmaster. The Commercial Primary School changed its name in April 1926, under headmaster Mr. W.H. Atteridge, to avoid confusion regarding the similarity of the names of the two schools.

The school was named after Robert Hamilton, a city outfitter and benefactor of the school and its next door neighbour. At the end of 1929 the Commercial High School moved to the corner of Church and Du Toit Streets to become the College for Advanced Technical Education. In 1931 the school split to become the Hamilton Senior School on the top floor and the Hamilton Junior School on the ground floor. The two amalgamated in 1946 to form the Hamilton Primary School.

In 1946 the school’s motto was changed to “For Others”; no record is available of the original motto. The school received an award in the 1920s for its outstanding swimming teams.

[edit] Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces

The building is a two-storey structure with a steeply pitched corrugated iron roof. Two prominent gable walls project from the corners and the centre of the building is reached via a portico under a balcony. The walls were constructed with red bricks and feature horizontal cornices of sandstone which were painted at a later stage.

The gable walls are constructed of timber units. The windows were refitted with steel frames at a later stage. Timber studs support the roof overhang and as a whole the building is raised slightly on a stone foundation wall. The school hall was erected after the initial construction.

The building is in a very good condition and a secondary entrance was added to the main façade (the southern facade) next to the existing portico entrance. The classrooms that were built as an addition to the school were designed as a visual extension of the existing building. The original structure wasn’t changed in any way except for the additional door inserted into the front façade.

A new school hall was built, after which the old one was utilised as a staff room, kitchen and bathrooms. The residential building was a low white building, but it was demolished to make room for the school’s new dental clinic.

[edit] Links


[edit] Sources

Allen (1971), Kuijers (1985),
Meiring (1980), Picton-Seymour (1977),
RNG-1Ber 3/1/3/Pre/3.
Le Roux, S.W. 1993. Plekke en Geboue van Pretoria, Vol. 1 and 3. Pretoria: Stadsraad van Pretoria.

[edit] Photo's

Centre gable wall
Dr. Brand Hall

Later Additions (2)
Later Additions (3)

Later additions
Fountain courtyard

Eastern gable wall
Hamilton Primary School hall

Hamilton Primary School from entrance
Stair entrance on western facade

Staats Meisjes School
Top view

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