St. Michael’s College was the predecessor of all the Jeppe Schools. This was an Anglican private school on the corner of Commissioner and Crowns Street in Fairview. There were 25 students when the school first opened. The headmaster of the school was Rev. H B Sidwell. His successor was Rev. George Perry, in 1891.

The buildings of the college and the site on which its grounds lay were bought by the Witwatersrand Council for education, in 1896, as the school was struggling to function. The school was re-opened, in April 1897, by the council as Jeppestown Grammar School. 15 boys enrolled into the school and the first headmaster of the school was Mr. H Hardwick. However, school financial issues forced the council to reduce its disbursement. As a result, Mr. Hardwick and the rest of the school’s staff were given notice. On 1 October 1898, a group of Jeppestown parents bought the school from the council for £2,500. The staff had been replaced, but Mr. Hardwick remained the headmaster of the school.

In 1899, at the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, with the number of students slowly decreasing, the school was forced to close down. Mr. Hardwick left in September 1899.

The school re-opened, after the war, as Jeppestown High School for Girls and Boys using land donated by Sir Julius Jeppe. It was opened in the same building of the Grammar School, and was one of the first co-educational schools, opened by the Transvaal Education Department (T.E.D). The precise date of the re-opening is unknown, however it is believed to have been during the first quarter of the year 1902, as a letter sent to the Department of Education by the school, about the teachers being unwilling to teach under the conditions of an unfinished building as well as there not being enough space for the number of children, was sent on 9 April of that year.

The Parents’ Committee experienced financial hardships at the same time as the school’s construction. In September 1902, the Education Department was presented with an ultimatum, which stated that either they purchase the premises or vacate it, by October that year. The Public Works Department advised that purchase be made, until a new school building could be constructed.

The new headmaster of the school, in 1902, was Mr. C D Hope. He remained headmaster until he left in 1904 to found a fellow “Milner School”, Potchefstroom High School for Boys. He was succeeded by Mr. J H Payne, who became a staff member in 1902 and remained headmaster until his death, in 1917, during his service in the First World War (170 boys and staff members died in the border conflicts and two World Wars). Mr. Payne acquired the building that the Jeppe Boys students currently occupy.

By 1912 the new school’s grounds were not sufficient enough for the accumulating number of pupils at the school. Owing to the boys out-numbering the girls, and pressure from the Governing Body of the school, who were against the co-educational system of the school, it was decided that the girls would be moved to other premises. The split would occur in 1919.

When Johannesburg celebrated its centenary, in 1986, the main building of Jeppe High School for Boys, as well as the First World War Memorial, were declared national monuments

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