The Houses

Founders

House Colour: Navy / dark blue

Named after the Founders of the School

Tredgold

House Colour: Green

Named after Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold CMG; born 2nd June 1899 | died 8 April 1977

Sir Robert was a barrister and judge who held a number of political posts in Rhodesia.

He was born in Bulawayo to Clarkson Henry Tredgold, the Attorney-General of Rhodesia, and Emily Ruth (née Moffat), and was the grandson of the missionary John Moffat. He attended Rondebosch Boys’ School in Cape Town, South Africa.

He held the posts of Minister of Defence in Rhodesia during World War II, Federal Chief Justice, acting Governor-General of Rhodesia from 21 November 1953 to 26 November 1954, and acting Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 24 January 1957 to February 1957. He later resigned in protest from his Central African Federation (CAF) position, criticizing the repressive actions authorized by Sir Edgar Whitehead against black nationalist opposition to minority white rule in Nyasaland, Lusaka and Northern Rhodesia.

He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1943 New Year Honours, Knight Bachelor in the 1951 New Year’s Honours and Privy Counsellor in 1957. He retired to Marandellas with his second wife, Lady Margaret Tredgold. He published the book, “The Rhodesia That Was My Life” in 1968.

A widower in 1974, Tredgold married his second wife, Mrs Margaret Helen Phear (née Baines; 1910-2012), a widow and mother of three children, originally from Aliwal North, South Africa. Together, Robert and Margaret researched the folklore of Southern Rhodesia and published children’s books based on them. They also researched edible plants, culminating in Food Plants of Zimbabwe, which she completed after his death and published in 1986.

Robert Clarkson Tredgold was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1943 New Year Honours. He was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1951 New Year’s Honours.

Oates

House Colour: Maroon

An illustrated portrait of Frank Oates, after whom Oates House at Falcon College is namedNamed after Frank Oates, explorer and naturalist who traveled extensively in southern central Africa in the 19th century

Born on 6th April, 1840, near Leeds, Yorkshire, Francis Oates was the middle of the three sons of Edward and Susan Oates. He studied Natural Sciences at Christ Church, Oxford. Unfortunately, his studies were disrupted by a serious chest infection in his first year there, which meant that he had to take a break from university until the middle of 1862 and when he left in 1864, it was without a degree.

After leaving Oxford, Frank suffered from reduced lung capacity – a result of the chest infection – and was not able to lead an active life. Instead, he continued to study natural sciences, enhancing his learning with a series of rambles around Ireland, Wales and the Lake District, documenting his observations on each occasion.

After some years, Frank’s health improved and in 1871 he was able to travel on a year’s expedition to Central and North America, documenting and collecting many birds and insects, including some that are now extinct. He followed this up with an expedition to Africa in 1873, travelling through the Transvaal and through to Matabeleland. He was the first European to see Victoria Falls in full flood since David Livingstone had done so in 1855.

The cover of Frank Oates' book about his Expedition to AfricaHis plan for Africa was to trek as far as the Zambesi River and then explore beyond this point, collecting as many plant and animal specimens as possible to take back to England. Sadly, many of his specimens were lost, but Frank was instrumental in discovering hitherto unknown species of fauna and flora, and documented precise locations where they could be found. His discoveries were significant enough that many of his specimens were given the ‘Oatesii’ classification, including the heather “Erica Oatesii” and the snake, “Dryiophis Oatesii”.

His recollections of the expedition are recorded in his book, “Matabele Land and The Victoria Falls: A Naturalist’s Wanderings in the Interior of Africa (1881)”, which was published by his brother Charles. On 25th September, 1873, having just visited Bulawayo, he wrote of having met Lobengula:

“The day I first saw him he was nearly naked, and lying on a skin inside his hut, to enter which you have to crawl in on your hands and knees through a little aperture in the front; in fact it is like a beehive entrance. He took me by the hand, and placed meat before me, and asked a few questions about my journey. I told him I should come again next day. Of course I had to make him a present, and I knew he would expect it next day, after which I should ask his leave and assistance to go through his country to the Victoria Falls if possible. I gave him a gun and ammunition, which pleased him very much, and he has done everything he could for me.

It appeared that I was still in time to reach the Falls by going on foot, after leaving my waggon at the place marked on the map as Inyati. The King said it was possible to get to the Falls in ten days, and I suppose at my rate of travelling it ought to be done in a fortnight or three weeks at most, and the King says I have still two months of favourable weather, but so anxious is he that no white man should come to grief in his country, that he has been urging on me all possible haste from the moment the subject was first mentioned. He has given me two excellent men as guides; these two, having the King’s authority, will carry all before them.

I left GuBulawayo last Night, and came on as far as here, the house of Mr Thomson the missionary, for my first trek. Mr Thomson has kindly interested himself in me, and done all he could to assist me. He has a nice wife and children, and this morning I have had the luxury of a civilized breakfast, including tablecloth, bread and butter and eggs, and milk to one’s coffee – things that I don’t often see now.”

Five months later, on 24th February, 1874, he wrote this to his brother, William, from Tati:

“I took my waggon fifty miles on the way, as far as Inyati, and then put all out for fifteen carriers to take. It was a fortnight’s walk through ‘the fly’ to the Falls. After waiting nearly a week, it transpired that no boys were forthcoming as promised. Partly, I think, they were afraid of fever, and partly of the natives, with whom they are at war; partly also they wanted to get in time to cultivate their gardens. However, I believe I could have got them myself easily, had I not trusted to the man given me by the King.”

Frank finally reached Victoria Falls on 31st December, 1874, having aborted three previous attempts due to bad weather and opposition from native people along the route. On his way back from Victoria Falls he fell ill with a fever, possibly malaria, and, after 12 days, died on 5th February, 1875 some 80 miles north the Tati River near Makalaka Kraal. He was buried the next morning.

Frank Oates’ nephew was the Antarctic explorer, Captain Lawrence Oates (1880-1912). Gilbert White’s House and Garden Museum in Selborne, Hampshire, contains a unique range of exhibits known as The Oates Collection. The Collection reflects both Lawrence and Frank’s interest in the natural world as well as background information on their respective overseas expeditions.

Hervey

House Colour: Light Blue

Named after Hubert Hervey, adventurer, gentleman and soldier, who was killed in the 2nd Matabele war, and who was buried in the Matopos.

George Grey

House Colour: Gold (note, if you thought it was yellow or bright orange, ex-staff Paul Cannon says this is because the official clothing suppliers, McCullagh & Bothwell in Bulawayo, sometimes produced vests that varied considerably in terms of colour fidelity!)

George Grey was not one of the original houses. Its creation was announced by Sir Robert Tredgold in the prize-giving speech of 1960. He introduced the choice of name as follows (slightly edited):

The Board of Governors has decided that the New House is to be called the George Grey House.

Now, the ‘George’ is important because there are other Grey Houses in Rhodesia, but I don’t think there is one that is specifically associated with George Grey. And George Grey used to be one of the most romantic figures in the story of Rhodesia and one who might easily be named a schoolboy hero.

He had all the qualities that go with high adventure and belonged to a remarkable family, being one of three brothers, one of whom was the Foreign Secretary for England at the beginning of the 1914 War; he was the author of the famous phrase that some of you may have heard – about the lights going out all over Europe and which they would not see lit again in their lifetime. He was also a most attractive character, but I am not here to talk about him; I am here to talk about George.

Various memorials to the name of Grey exist in the country and people do not quite know to which Grey they are intended to apply. The other two brothers were George and Charles. George played a great part in the history of Rhodesia and Charles played a great part in the history of Nyasaland, till George was killed by a lion and Charles was killed by a buffalo. That might sound a remarkable coincidence – two animal casualties in one family – excepting for the fact that they looked for trouble! That was part of their code.

Now George Grey came here as an original pioneer – he was a little man with a stutter and no outward attributes to make him attractive, and yet, he had a strange personality which established an ascendancy over everybody about him, and he was one of the most loved and honoured men in the early days in Southern Rhodesia. He then passed on to play a great part in Northern Rhodesia. Some of you go to St John’s in Bulawayo; next time you go, look to the right hand of what ought to be the western door – but i think it is the southern door, because st. John’s is not set the right way round – and you will see a very fine memorial to George.

He raised Grey’s Scouts in the Rebellion and that attracted all the most dashing men and it played a most extraordinary and brilliant part in all the operations. When you come to read about it, you will find that Grey’s Scouts were always to the fore when things were difficult and when other people were retiring hastily.

From there he went up North – he was one of the pioneers of the Copperbelt and he opened up the Katanga: I cannot give you any more of his history, but I just I would like to say one or two things about him. I think I have said them to the boys before – but they will pardon me repeating myself because they just illustrate that he was a man indeed. He opened up the mines in the Katanga at the time when, to get there, you had to go to the mouth of the Zambesi; you went up the Zambesi in a boat; you went up the Shire in a boat until you came to the Murchison Falls; you walked round the Falls and you got into another boat and you went up the rest of the Shire and you went up Lake Nyasa and then, having got to Karonga, you walked 800 miles to the place where you were going to mine, and you had to mine there and get your machinery there and get your copper out. When the Railway reached the Falls. George Grey thought that that would probably be I better way out, so he got on a pushbike – you must remember there were no road, just Native paths – he got on a pushbike and took a revolver and one blanket and he rode from near where Ndola is today to the Falls in ten days – and I’d like to see any boy trying to do that now along the relatively good roads that exist there at the present time.

I don’t want to give you a complete biography, but he was a romantic figure, a gallant figure, in his living and in his dying, and I think that this name associated with a House of this School will give the boys of that House something real and something true to live up to.

Chubb

House Colour: Brown

Named after Geoffrey Chubb, who died the same year in which Chubb House was built. The following extract from The Falcon Magazine of 1982 is his obituary:

MR GEOFFREY WALTER ASHTON CHUBB
Mr. Geoffrey Chubb, a former Springbok cricketer and president of the South African Cricket Association, died in the Mater Dei Hospital, East London, on Saturday, the 28th August 1982. He had been ill for the past two and a half years. Mr Chubb was 71.

After matriculating at Grey High school in Port Elizabeth, he served articles and qualified as a chartered accountant with a local firm. He then went to Johannesburg in 1933, where he practiced as a chartered accountant. After World War II, he became a partner in a leading firm of accountants in Johannesburg. When he moved to Rhodesia in 1953, he worked for African Associated Mines as a financial director. In 1974 he became chairman of African Associated Mines. He resigned this position in 1980.

Mr. Chubb was among the first to join up on the outbreak of World War II – he held the rank of lieutenant with the Imperial Light Horse brigade – and was captured at Tobruk. He spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps in Italy and Germany.

Mr. Chubb made his mark at both cricket and rugby in East London. He was a member of the Bohemian Cricket Club when he was chosen to play for Border as a batsman in 1931-32. As a rugby player, he was known for his outstanding versatility, representing the Buffalo Football Club at centre, fullback and loose forward. It was during the period he was associated with the Buffalo Club that Border rugby reached its greatest heights by sharing the Currie Cup with Western Province – 1932 and 1934. When Mr Chubb left East London for Johannesburg, he played one season for Wanderers before hanging up his rugby boots to concentrate on cricket – his first love.

In the seasons leading up to World War II, Mr Chubb was a prominent member of Wanderers’ senior cricket side and made a few appearances for Transvaal. It was during this period that his bowling developed at the expense of his batting. It was not until several seasons after the war, however, that he reached his peak, which ended in his selection for the Springbok tour of England under the captaincy of the late Dudley Nourse in 1951 at the age of 40. In achieving this feat, he became the oldest player ever to win his Springbok colours for cricket. He ended the tour with 76 wickets in 800 overs. In the five tests he claimed 21 wickets and his best performances were at Lord’s (5 for 77), and Old Trafford (6 for 5 l ). In all he took 160 wickets in first-class cricket for an average of 23.9 runs. Mr Chubb also had an impressive record as a batsman in first-class cricket, totaling 855 runs for an average of 18.1 runs. His highest score was 71 not out

Mr Chubb retired as a player at the end of the tour, but made an equally big impact on the game as an administrator. He was president of the national body on two occasions – 1955 to 1957, and 1959 to 1960. He gave evidence of his tremendous determination and courage after receiving multiple injuries in a motor accident in 1971. Within a few months he was back on the golf course but, to his regret, he had to give up squash. He also served on the Red Cross committee for many years. He was interested in education, and was the chairman of Falcon College in Zimbabwe.

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