Milton High School

Selborne Avenue, Bulawayo

History - About Milton High School from 1910

Milton School started life on the 25th July 1910, named after Sir William Milton, however the buildings situated on Borrow Street Bulawayo, are now home to Milton Junior School. Milton and Eveline  first state-maintained high schools in Rhodesia. Milton and Eveline were officially opened on the same day by Sir William Milton, his wife Lady Eveline, Sir Charles Coghlan and the Mayor and Town Council.

It was in September of 1927 that some 300 boys and staff moved to Milton's present home, which is situated between the suburbs and the racecourse. However it wasn't until the 1st June 1928 that the School was formally opened by Sir John Chancellor as "The Milton School". The school's colours are plumbago (dark grey) and Oxford blue with the school crest based on an early version of the City of Bulawayo's crest, whereas the motto is Greek and translates as "Quit ye like men". In 1925 initailly there were three houses, Pioneer and Charter for boarders and Oppidans for Day-scholars. Then the school was divided into four houses; Charter (boarders), Pioneer (boarders), North Town and South Town, however due to the dominance of the "boarders" four new houses were introduced in 1938, they were; Birchenough, Borrow, Fairbridge and Heany.

At the start of 1950 Milton had 420 boys, but by the end of 1951 this figure rose to 581 creating a "housing crisis", two classrooms were built in 12 days along with two marquees which were erected on the open space between the main block and the dining hall. In 1953, after ten years of planning and fund raising (£5000 from State Lotteries and £1000 from the Baron family as a memorial to their father), Milton's swimming pool was opened at a cost of £17,500

In 1954 there were 644 pupils, by 1957 this figure had risen to over 700, a year later there were in excess of 900. With over 200 boys per house four new games houses were created; Brady, Chancellor, Malvern and Rhodes.

In 1961 Milton had 1150 boys, which made it the largest school in the Federation. Malvern and Brady Houses were dropped and the boarding houses of Charter and Pioneer were re-established once again. 1961 also saw the completion of the new economics block, commerce department with a staff room, a double story administration block and the official opening of the Department of Sixth Form Studies by the Minister of Education D.B.Goldberg.

During 1962 rooms were built to house the woodwork shop, metalwork shop, technical drawing office, storerooms and construction of locking cycle sheds, a rifle range, even stands were erected on the playing fields. The Old Miltonians were relocated into new premises just across Third Street from Milton High School. Funds were raised to enable the first part of a new clubhouse to be built in 1964 and by 1970 there were facilities for rugby, hockey, cricket, basketball, baseball, bowling and tennis.

Houses: Birchenough, Borrow, Chancellor, Charter, Fairbridge, Heany, Pioneer and Rhodes

Very early days - the beginning

By the end of 1894 work was underway on a stand in Abercorn Street and the new church was dedciated in the name of St. John Baptist on 10 March 1895. The work of equiping the new chucrh proceeded slowly throughout the rest of the year and in 1896 the Matabele Rebelllion brought development and progress at St. John's to a standstill.

St. Johns was becoming financially insecure, by the beginning of 1910 it was £850 in debt. A resolution was approved by the Legislative Assembly for the Western District and when the London of the B.S.A Company gave Milton permission to build separate boys' and girls' school in Bulawayo, the fate of St. John's was sealed. St. John's closed its doors in June 1910, and the government assumed responsibility for the debt and the entire enrollment of St. John's was transferred to the new government schools. Milton and Eveline thus became the first state-maintained high schools in Rhodesia.  The original buildings in Abercon Street became St. Gabrial's home when the new St. John's was built in Rhodes Street.

The original St. John's chapel in the 1890's with foundation stone 1894 and current pictures today 

st.gabriels chapel_1895_1910_iron_extension    st.johns_old_school_became_ milton

st.johns_church_1894_plaque    st.johns_church_side_dec1894

st.johns_church_side    st.johns_old_church_2012

st.gabriels_chapel    st.gabriels_chapel_decor


In 1978 the two boarding houses, Charter and Pioneer, changed their system yet again. At one time in the history of Milton, boarders had been mixed with day scholars in games houses, doubtless to the bene­fit of the day scholars. Later, the two houses had been combined as a single games house, Boarders.

In 1978 they returned to this position. Pioneer was allocated the task of introducing boarders to the Milton way of life and Charter was to be the House where they matured into the rigid backbone of the School. 1978 was a very difficult year with seniors from Pioneer moving into Charter and juniors from Charter moving across to Pioneer House. Loyalties were strained and boarders searched for an identity. This year the changes are behind us. The juniors of Pioneer and the seniors of Charter seem happier with their peers. The two houses ran smoothly and continue as a back, and often the only, supporting group at inter-house activities. Boarders are conservative and stoutly defend their own traditions and those of Milton. They are the custodians of the Milton system, an ever-present reminder to the people of Bulawayo of the true image of a Miltonian.


From the beginning of 1987 Milton's five day game houses will be renamed in honour of the school's first five headmasters (Boarders, the sixth house, will remain Boarders) and each will meet in the quadrangle that bears the appropriate name; quads are already named after the first four headmasters and the Sixth Form quad/car park area will in future be known as the Gebbie Quad.

BORROW HOUSE              - BRADY
RHODES HOUSE               - GEBBIE
HEANY HOUSE                  - DE BEER

The first five headmasters of Milton were:

E.D. DE BEER (1910-1924)
'Dab', as he was known to all, was the founder headmaster and the longest serving of all Milton's twelve headmasters. Throughout that time he also ran the hostel and coached gymnastics which was compulsory for all but intolerably uncoordinated. He left Milton to go to Salisbury as Chief Inspector of Schools and two years later left Rhodesia to take up the position of Headmaster of St. George's, Cape Town, in which city he died in March 1 948.

COLONEL J.B. BRADY (1925-1930)
'Bimbo' Brady certainly had the most varied career of all Milton's headmasters: he came to Africa as a soldier and served throughout the Boer War, remaining in the country to become Headmaster of Grey College, Bloemfontein at the remarkably early age of 27. Two years later he became an Inspector of Schools in the Orange Free State and came to Rhodesia in 1909 as a result of General Hertzog's pro­ Afrikaner policies. He became Inspector of Schools in Rhodesia and, on the advent of war, joined the forces in France. Four years later he was in command of the Fourth Battalion of the King's Royal Rifles, had been wounded twice, mentioned in dispatches four times and received both the D.S.O. and Croix de Guerre. He returned to Rhodesia in 1920 as Senior Inspector of Schools and succeeded Mr. de Beer in 1925. After his retirement from Milton he became Member of Parliament for Bulawayo North and in 1939 was back in the army as liaison officer with the Rhodesian forces in West Africa, subsequently Egypt. He was invalided out of the army in 1942 but his services were recognised with the award of the O.B.E. He died on 13 February 1952 at the age of 76 and, at his semi-military funeral, the Headmaster and Head Boy of Milton were two of the pall-bearers.

H.G. LIVINGSTON (1930-1941)
Col. Brady's successor, H.G. Livingston, was another soldier - he had ended the First World War with the rank of Major and the Military Cross. He was also one of the country's most distinguished scholars and was described as its leading classicist. He came to Milton from Umtali Boys' High, where he had been Headmaster, and stayed for eleven and a half years. The most visible sign of his tenure is the vast number of trees he planted and it was also his decision in 1937 to divide "the school into four houses for games, the object being to put day boys and boarders side by side in the same houses so that the former may take a more active part in the life of the school". He left in 1941 to become Headmaster of Prince Edward since, in those days, it was common policy to appoint comparatively young men as headmasters and transfer them in due course.

L.R. MORGAN (1941-1942)
Mr. Morgan was another experienced headmaster- he had been at Chaplin for 14 years when he was transferred to Milton. He was a Rhodes Scholar and great things were expected of his tenure at Milton but he was destined to be the shortest-serving of the school's headmasters: after a mere four terms he was appointed Assistant Education Officer in Salisbury and went on to become a distinguished Secretary for Education.

W. GEBBIE (1943-1946)
Mr. Gebbie was perhaps the most experienced of all Milton headmasters for he had been in charge of no fewer than four schools before coming to Milton! He had taught at the school back in the twenties and had then become headmaster successively of four junior schools - Gatooma, Sinoia, Prince Edward Junior and David Livingstone. After only three years at Milton he was again transferred, this time to Allan Wilson in Salibsury.

Flags through the history of Milton


1910-1923                                                       1923-1953                                                   1953-1963                                                       1964-1968


1968-1979                                                             1979                                                              1980                                                             1980-2015