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College Street
Primary School

The very first school on the eastern bank of the Buffalo River was the Panmure Mission School, founded in April 1859 by Reverend Rodolph von Hube.

This was probably at his "Grace Chapel" on the corner of what is today Fleet and Station Streets, with its graveyard behind the Lock Street Gaol.

The school, however, lived under a cloud. Lack of financial support meant that there was no assurance for its future. It therefore closed its doors soon after Reverend von Hube left Panmure in 1862.

In September 1863 another day school was opened by CG Roske, but this second attempt would fail after only a few months.

In August 1864 there was a third attempt to establish a school, again under the auspices of the Church of England, with Reverend William Wallis as chairman of the school committee. By July 1869, however, this school too had failed.

A fourth and much more successful attempt at a school was undertaken in 1872 when the Lutheran Church founded an educational institution which would eventually take on the name "College Street School".

On this occasion the schoolmaster was Pastor Muller, with Miss Robson and Miss von Linsingen as his teaching assistants. Statistics reveal that it soon had three times more pupils on the roll than at the Church of England School on the west bank.

An inspection of March 1873 brought lavish praise for the institution. The chapel school-room was "fair-sized" and in good repair; the furniture was in good condition and the discipline "satisfactory".

Indeed, the inspector concluded that the school was well-conducted and the standard of work well above that of the ordinary 3rd Class Public Schools. As a result, the government grant was raised from £30 to £75 per annum.

In 1873 East London established a municipality and in 1877 the Town Council undertook to sell a portion of its land in the Quigney so as to raise funds to build a new school. The premises was occupied in about 1880.

By 1913, however, expansion had been such that yet another building was required to accommodate the growing pupil population. The old building was therefore demolished and a new one erected in its place.

Keith Tankard
14 October 2009

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