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Staats Meisjesskool
Pretoria, Gauteng

DEPARTEMENT PUBLIEKE WERKEN - ZUID-AFRIKAANSCHE REPUBLIEK: Architect
TE GROEN BROS: Contractor

Date:1899
Type:School
Status:Extant
Street:Visagie and Prinsloo Streets

A pleasing building, simple and well suited to its function, was the Staats Meisjesskool (now the Hamilton Girls' High School), designed in the drawing offices of the PWD with TE GROEN BROS as contractors, and costing about £14,502. As ever, red brick with ochre adornments were the building materials used, and the facade is divided into the customary five sections. The austerity of this is broken by the central arched porch, above which is a balcony still emblazoned with the half-obliterated words Staats Meisjesskool. The entire aspect of the building is softened by the central and two end gables decorated with Swiss chalet bargeboarding and by the wide overhanging eaves of the steep roof. The interior was typical, too, with high pressed-steel ceilings, faience tiled floors and a grand but intimidating staircase. In 1893 the Government of the Z.A.R. had bought land on the corner of Visagie and Prinsloo Streets as a site for the proposed school; three years later further adjoining land was acquired and by 1897 work had begun on the new buildings for the Staats Meisjesskool, only to be finished in 1899 — just in time for the Anglo-Boer War: the building was therefore used as a military hospital. It seems that the children of Pretoria had little schooling during the war years, for it was from the Staatsmodelskool (another typical PWD edifice), where prisoners of war were being housed, that Winston Churchill made his escape.

(Picton-Seymour, 1977: 281)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.