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The history of the Oost-Eind [East End] School is inextricably bound with that of Dutch-South African relations of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The school was founded as independent education institution in 1897. The school had a succession of Dutch-born and educated school-masters which gave it an own cultural character. It was first situated at the corner of Church and Prinsloo streets in Pretoria. The headmaster was W Klooster. After the South African (Anglo-Boer) War the school was reconstituted as a so-called CNO (Christelik Nationale Onderwys) School. The design for the school continues in the tradition of the ZAR DPW where both KRAAN and WEIJERS were employed before the SA War. Wijers was a board member of the both Oost-Eindschool and its sister establishment for senior pupils, the Hogere Oosteindschool. The school is one of the earliest manifestations of Dutch-Afrikaans self-upliftment projects undertaken directly after the South African War. It operated independently until 1908 when the school was incorporated into the education system of the then Transvaal Colony. When the school converted from CNO to state school, all assets devolved to the colonial government except for the school building, as this may have been the property of a private company called the Pretoria Oost-Einde Skool Vereniging Beperkt.
The Oost-Eind School remained in Travenna until the early 1990s when it was relocated to a new building constructed especially for the pupose on the former grounds of the Normal College.
Thereafter the school was to make way for a rather megalomaniacal, failed, project of the City Council of Pretoria spawned in the mid-1980s, with continuing mutations presented throughout the early 1990s, for the redevelopment of the Caledonian sports fields as a lake-side office and shopping precinct. Murray and Roberts spearheaded the project, simply called ‘City Lake’. The Apies River was to be the source of the water for the lake. To this end the land surrounding the school building was transferred from the Transvaal Education Department to the City and plans made to yet again relocate the school. During this time the main building of the school was declared a National Monument (see SAHRIS).
For an image of the building shortly after completion see: The Heritage Portal. Note the clever ventilation system utilising Boyle and buoyancy ventilation for the class-rooms, with the roof void being separately cross-ventilated .
[Text by Nicholas CLARKE (edited RCF)]
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