By Alan Megahey
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Extra info for A School in Africa
One other school in Rhodesia employed the term - St George's. I found during my time that the Ministry of Education or the press might sometimes address me as 'Headmaster', 'Principal', 'Head Teacher' or 'Director'. Despite its ecclesiastical connotations, the title did not imply any religious content, though Fred Snell was always amused when addressed as 'The Reverend'. 'Peterhouse School', was incorporated under Southern Rhodesian law on 13 March 1953. The Rector always insisted that the school be called, simply, 'Peterhouse'.
But he was realistic enough to admit that the Hanmer land 'might easily make a splendid school site in fifteen years when good communications have opened up the Eastern Districts', and that meanwhile a portion of it could be used for a school camp - which is precisely what happened. Another powerful committee, including Sir Ian Wilson, the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, and several members of the Meikle family, was established at Umtali, near which was the preferred location for the new school.
Calling in at Gabbitas Thring - the educational clearing house - he saw an advertisment for the headship of a public school in South Africa. Almost on a whim, he applied. He got the job. At the age of 35, a few months after the Munich Crisis, Fred and his family arrived at Michaelhouse in Natal. It was one of some half a dozen schools in South Africa which were, as a history of the schools is entitled, 'little England on the Veld'. Many of them had English heads and staff; all of them perpetuated the traditions and styles which are easily recognisable as 'English public school'.