Milner Kindergarten


Popular collective name given to a group of young civil servants, mostly ex-students of Oxford, who were recruited from the British civil service by Alfred Milner to help him in his administration of the conquered Boer republics. Almost without exception they were able and devoted officials who rendered outstanding service, especially in the Transvaal Colony. The most important of them was Patrick Duncan, previously Milner's private secretary, who later became Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal and finally Governor-General of the Union of South Africa. Others were Geoffrey Dawson, Richard Feetham, John Buchan, Philip Kerr, Basil Williams, Lionel Curtis, DO Malcolm, WL Hichens and RH Brand. Curtis, who was responsible for the introduction of municipal government in the Transvaal, was initially Town Clerk of Johannesburg with Hichens (later Colonial Treasurer of the Transvaal) serving as City Treasurer. Buchan was responsible for repatriation and reconstruction in country areas. Curtis, assisted by Brand, Kerr and Malcolm, was the author of the famous Selborne Memorandum, which played an important part in the unification of the colonies. Taken as a whole, the Kindergarten had a lasting influence on the history of South Africa. All of its
 members became prominent in public life in South Africa and elsewhere. BAKER was both senior member of the group and housed them in his Stonehouse (House Baker), and architect to many, including 'The Moot' for R Feetham, where the Kindergarten relocated after Baker's marriage.