The proud history of Longmarket Girls’ School.
The modern visitor to the pleasant but undistinguished building of Longmarket Girls’ School might well be puzzled by both the name and the surprising intelligence that the school is the oldest surviving government primary school for girls in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The name certainly seems inappropriate as the school lies on the floodplain of the Umsinduzi River several blocks from bustling Longmarket Street (Langalibalele Street) and its venerable old age. The reason for this is that like the butterfly, Longmarket School outgrew its old cocoon, the imposing but noisy red brick building on the corner of Boshoff and Longmarket Street and fluttered gracefully down to its new location.
On the 1 December 1972 a moving Thanksgiving Service for 82 years on the old school site was held. Representatives from the Education Department attended as did the Mayoress, Mrs Wood. At 9 a.m. the girls assembled in their houses and took up their positions in Boshoff Street. Led by two pipers of the Caledonian Band, one being Mr Archie Grant, an old boy of the school, and the traffic police they marched down to the new school in Bulwer Street designed by Mr Noel Jackson. The girls carrying the school banner walked ahead, with the girls carrying the four banners of the houses just behind them.
The Chief Inspector of Education, Mr A N Montgomery and the Mayoress followed by car. On arrival at the new school, the banner was placed in position in the hall followed by the house banners. Three cheers were given for the new school and all who had marched down to 380 Bulwer Street returned to the old school (Longmarket Street Girls Primary School) for the final prize-giving. The old school building officially closed it doors for the last time after serving as an educational centre for thousands of pupils. Longmarket Girls’ School Badge It was to continue for a while longer to serve the needs of education as it served as a Teachers’ Centre for some years after the school’s departure. The new school was now to be named Longmarket Girls’ School.
On 4 December 1972 the Provincial Building Services began the removal of the furniture, equipment and books from the old building to the new school. Four days later a beautiful old oak tree that proudly stood for many years in the old school grounds was blown down in a violent storm as if it too, symbolically was marking the end of an era.
School began in the new building in January 1973. The swimming classes now had to be transported by bus to the Buchanan Street Baths and so it was imperative that the school seriously consider obtaining its own pool. This goal was achieved on 20 September 1975 when Miss Pechey and Mrs Waygood, the P.E. mistress unlocked the gates of the newly-constructed swimming pool.