Pembroke House was founded in 1927 by Harold Turner, himself an alumnus of Pembroke College, Cambridge. This year the school celebrated its 85th Anniversary.
Harold Turner, son of a British father and Swiss mother, was educated at Cheltenham then Pembroke College, Cambridge. Coming to East Africa as an officer in the Colonial Administration, e rose to be District Commissioner of Embu, during which time he became fluent in the Embu language, before resigning and turning his hand to other matters.
He worked briefly with the East African Stanfdard, then farmed by lost money and fell on such hard times that his wide has to run a boarding house. It eas at this stage in 1925 that Harold Turner became interested in education and joined Jesse Cramb in setting up a preparatory school – Kenton College – at Kijabe. This was not Cramb’s first attempt: he had come to Kenya in 1920 and was associated with a short-lived school- The Grange – at Lumbwa.
Turner’s association with Cramb did not last long. He and Crambu (The Moke as he was know to tow decades of Kenton pupils) clashed as personalities and their relationship did not improve when Turner (a tennis Blue at Cambridge and winner of the Kenya Doubles championship more than once in the 1920s) drove a tennis ball into Cramb’s eye, blinding it permanently. For the rest of his life, Cramb wore an eye-patch.
Tuner left Cramb to start his own school in Gilgil. Not having sufficient money of his own to buy the land (even though it sold at less than three shillings and acre) from Captain Alan Gibson or to complete the buildings, he brought in a junior partner – Gerald Pink (nicknamed ‘Kali’) – who also served as a master until the end of 1932 when he resigned.
Turner named the school Pembroke House after his Cambridge College, with the aim of making it a ‘normal’ British boys prep school.