Pembroke House is one of the oldest prep schools in Kenya. Founded in 1927 it has been educating children for more than 83 years. The school has been a charitable trust since 2nd June 1959, meaning that all income is re-invested into the improvement of education standards.
Pembroke House was named after the Cambridge College attended by its founding Headmaster, Harold Turner, who established the school in 1927. The unfinished farmhouse and over 100 acres were bought from a Capt. Alan Gibson who had intended to farm flax but had run out of money.
From the outset, Turner conducted the School along the lines of a traditional British Preparatory school, a policy that has continued ever since. The records tell of an unannounced visit by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1928 during the boys’ tea time. He stopped his car on the way to Gilgil Club, climbed through the school fence and insisted on seeing the school.
Within a few years Pembroke House had earned a reputation as a successful academic and sporting school, able to compete on equal terms with the English preparatory schools upon which it was modelled. Pembroke’s academic excellence was evident in the quality of the secondary schools that old Pembrokians would go on to in the UK, Kenya and around the world.
In 1947 Harold Turner retired and sold the school to Christopher Hazard. Improved roads meant that more fixtures were possible and the sporting reputation for which Pembroke House is so well known blossomed. The teams travelled in some style, in the Hazards’ 1914 Rolls-Royce tourer! Hazard introduced the carrier pigeon communication system for delivering scores home from away matches, which continued until the early 1990s, a tradition which will shortly resume!
In the 1950’s Hazard designed a chapel for the school and the boys built it themselves, complete with stained glass windows made from recycled bottles, and lead from car batteries and toothpaste tubes. Named the Christina Chapel after the Head boy’s mother and consecrated in 1961, it is still used today.
The School has been part of the Kenya Educational Trust Limited since 1959. This body, accepted by guarantee without having a share capital, is an independent institution with all income received devoted to the management and improvement of the school. Down the years, Pembroke House has built up an excellent reputation with the independent secondary schools in Britain to which many of its pupils go, either winning scholarships or passing Common Entrance. Pembroke is a proud member of the world renown Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).
Christopher Hazard had hoped to run the school until 1970 but he unfortunately suffered a heart attack and had to retire in 1965. After a few difficult years for Pembroke, David Opie was employed as new Headmaster in 1970. He changed the school motto from ‘Anglus in Africa’ to ‘Fortuna favet Fortibus’ (Fortune favours the brave), which former pupils claim was appropriate to his teaching style! Meanwhile the number of boys increased to 120. Opie drowned whilst fishing on the Malewa River and Richard Foster took over, introducing the first girls in 1988. After a couple more Headmasters and on the cusp of a new decade, Pembroke appointed its first Headmistress, Mrs Deborah Boyd-Moss.
In 2016 Jason Brown took over as Headmaster.