The building known as ‘Stubbs House’ was originally a private residence called ‘Townsleigh’. It was bought by Harry Stubbs in 1915 when he was Headmaster of Durban Preparatory School.
When Harry Stubbs opened Clifton in 1924 it continued as his residence, but the ground floor was converted into classrooms and a dining hall; whilst some boys, as boarders, slept in dormitories on the enclosed upstairs verandahs.
‘Stubbs’ House’ has served various purposes over the years but now is used as the Prep Library, IT Centre and classrooms.
From 1930 – 1931, well-known Apartheid Activist, Helen Joseph – as Miss Fennell – taught at the Prep School!
Helen Joseph had befriended Harry Stubbs’ daughter, Dorothy whilst they were studying in London. Helen had taken a job in India in the late 1920s and was returning to England when she was offered a post at Clifton to replace Dorothy Stubbs who was getting married.
Helen married a local dentist, Billy Joseph. In due course Helen became a social worker and began a journey of activism, embodied in her being part of the Women’s March to Union Buildings on 9 August 1956.
In 2020, the Prep School Library, now situated in Stubbs House was named in her honour.
The school motto of Prodesse Quam Conspici was only introduced in 1938 by the Headmaster, Kenneth Haworth.
The motto was at time being used by the ‘Rydal School’ in Colwyn Bay in North Wales; of which Mr. Haworth was past pupil, having attended it from 1916 – 1920!
The earliest evidence of the use of the motto can be traced back to John Somers, 1st Baron Somers who was the Lord Chancellor of England under King William III and who chose the saying when he was granted a coat-of-arms in 1697.
Prodesse Quam Conspici
To be humble in your achievements
‘Founders’ House’ was built in the 1920s and was originally called ‘Chesterfield’. It was built by the owner of the Coronation Brick Company as a wedding present for his bride.
The building remained a private residence until it was purchased by the school to house the newly established College which opened in 2002.
‘Founders’ House’ has always served a College classroom block and now also is where the ‘Heritage Centre’ can be found.
The President of the National Union of South Africa Students (NUSAS), Ian Robertson (Clifton Prep 1954 – 1958), received a banning order under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 when he was banned by the government only a month before Senator Robert Kennedy’s visit to South Africa in 1966.
Robertson was instrumental in inviting Senator Kennedy to be the keynote speaker at NUSAS’s Day of Affirmation. Because he was banned at the time of the visit, Robertson was not able to attend Senator Kennedy’s speech at the University of Cape Town. Senator Kennedy visited him at his apartment on the way in from the airport.
The bell that is situated in the Prep School is known as the MILLER MEMORIAL BELL and was donated by Keith Miller (Clifton Prep Old Boy 1954 – 1959) in memory of his parents who tragically died in an accident.