18 - 22 June 2013
The history of WHPS shows that Waterkloof House Preparatory School has grown substantially from its small beginnings in 1923 with a total of twelve pupils to a prestigious preparatory school for boys, currently opening its doors to more than 400 pupils every year.
The original Brooklyn House Preparatory School was located on the south-east corner of MacKenzie and Alexander Streets in Brooklyn without electricity or modern conveniences.
To cope with the rapidly expanding numbers, the school moved to its present seven and a half acre site on Charles Street (Justice Mahomed Street), then known as Bailey's Avenue early in 1925.
"When built, the school stood alone on the open veld without a bush or tree to be seen. However, we soon got busy planting and digging, and for many years it was custom for every boy who entered the school to plant a tree. Many of the Old Boys who visit the school are still able to point out the particular tree they planted. Waterkloof hardly existed; there were no defined roads, there were no houses between the school and the Pretoria University and one had a clear unobstructed view of the Union Buildings."
The Ruddells ran this private boys school until 1946 and established the relaxed teacher-pupil relationship coupled with firm but fair discipline, which have become part of the school's tradition.
The school was bought by Mr Wilfred MacRobert when the Ruddells retired in 1946. WHiPS, as the school eventually became known, was virtually a family institution for the 18 years that Mr MacRobert was associated with it.
In 1964 it was decided to turn the school into a non-profit company under the control of the School Council and a trust.
Step through the front door of Waterkloof House Preparatory School and there is a distinct feeling that time has stood still. Old world charm pervades the air; courtesy and the smell of old wood abound. On the wall of the headmaster's office hangs Captain Ernest's sword with the royal monogram of King Edward VII (1901-1910) and a handmade wooden strongbox originating from the Crimean War, amongst other mementos.
The Ruddells, and the headmasters thereafter, have certainly left a rich legacy for our boys today - not only in the grounds and facilities we use, but in those intangible elements such as tradition, integrity, sense of purpose and a strong ethos that throughout the history of WHPS has become the trademark of the school.
"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development."