Glenwood History

From humble beginnings in 1910, when there were just 26 boys on the roll, Glenwood High School has grown to be one of the leading schools in KZN and South Africa. Sport was introduced from the very beginning and has remained an integral part of the School ever since.


In 1907 the town of Durban with a population of approximately 60 000 was in the middle of a slump that followed the Anglo Boer War. Dr Sam Campbell, a well-known medical doctor, was greatly concerned at the poor outlook for boys who had left primary schools and lacked opportunities for further education and employment. After great efforts, he was able to establish an institution for technical and higher education in Durban. Evening classes began at the Durban Technical Institute in September 1907.

It was decided to start day classes as soon as possible and so it came to pass that on 1st August 1910 a high school was opened under the name of ‘The Day Continuation School for Boys”, which was eventually destined to develop into the present day Glenwood High School.


The School rapidly outgrew its original building (a double storey house where the kitchen served as a science laboratory) and moved in with the Technical College. The numbers had by now increased to 150. The name was changed to the “Technical High School, Durban” in 1915. By the end of WWI in 1918, 25 Old Boys and 1 staff member had made the supreme sacrifice. To this day, they are still remembered (together with WWII casualties) on memorials around the School and at annual Remembrance services.

A family of institutions now existed in one building, not an ideal situation. It was not until January 1929 however, that the School was able to move into its present premises in McDonald Rd. In 1934 the name was changed to its present name, “Glenwood High School”. In 1935 the “Government Schools Hostel” was opened; after WWII the name was changed to “Gibson House” in memory of Roy Gibson, an outstanding sportsman and one of the original boarders who had died in WWII.

The School continued to use the Technical College badge until 1937 when the present badge was designed. The green in the badge has now become synonymous with the School and its sports teams.

The outbreak of war in 1939 saw hundreds of Old Boys volunteer for service. By the time the war ended in 1945, 124 Old Boys and 2 teachers had died in service of their country. At the beginning of 1947, a War Memorial fund was established in order to perpetuate, in tangible form, the memory of those who had died in both world wars. In 1951 the Memorial Swimming Pool was opened.


The 1950s and 1960s saw the School go from strength to strength, establishing itself as one of the top schools in KZN in both academic and sporting fields. As numbers increased, so did the School’s appearance. A Drawing/Science wing was added in the 1950s, the fields were extended in 1964 and the “Fortress Block” overlooking the main field was added in the 1970s. This addition of more than 30 classrooms was most welcomed, as was the new School Hall which could seat over a thousand boys. Further additions included 3 squash courts, the Mike Turrell Pavilion overlooking the swimming pool in 2000 and the Ivan Clark Pavilion in 2012.

The academic programme on offer is wide and extensive, catering for the needs of all learners. In addition to writing the NSC exams in Grade 12, learners are also able to write Cambridge exams, if they so wish. Talented sportsmen are catered for in the various sports academies which include rugby, cricket, hockey, soccer, tennis, squash, swimming and water polo.


Over the last century, Glenwood has produced over 150 international sportsmen, including seven rugby Springboks; Rhodes scholars, mayors, Olympic and Commonwealth medalists and many leaders in the business world. However, Glenwood is much more than the achievements of a few talented individuals; it has provided an education for thousands of boys over the last one hundred years and, hopefully, will continue to do so for many years in the future.