Lenana School

Nairobi Kenya

January 2011

Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
Arriving off the Ngong Road and approaching the railway bridge past the site of the hockey pitches. There were two murram hockey pitches:   to the left as you approached the school from Ngong Road was the pitch called “Banks” and across the road on the right was (inevitably) “Braes”, both of them deserving the “bonnie” accolade, especially Banks* which was the No 1 pitch, having greater audience capacity.   They were the only two murram pitches in the school, the others all being grass.  Beyond Braes was low-lying forest, with a track running past it to “The Glade”, a grass pitch at the very corner of the school boundary, across the rail track from [what was then] Speke and Lugard.  The Glade was used for football, rugby and cricket, and when it was flooded the small figure of Captain "Benjy" Morwood could be seen plodding around in his wellies and shorts, collecting samples for biology lessons  - PHOTOs Glen Smith
*from the Scottish folk songs "On the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" and "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon"
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
The sanatorium was run by the formidable nursing sister Miss Baird on the right of the road leading up to Brooklands.  The sanatorium was run by the formidable nursing sister Miss Baird assisted by Mrs Monkhouse - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
The Tower, the main doors of which were for the use of staff and prefects only.  Lesser pupils were obliged to use the side door below the library.  In the mid 20th Century there was no railing and each morning a dutyt prefect was tasked to ring the Duke of York bell and raise the flag.  The board shows the succession of headmasters - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
The bell of the Brirish battleship HMS Duke of York outside the chapel.  The bell was presented to the school by the Admiralty but was unfortunately cracked after a christening in the school  in the mid 1950s when it was accidently dropped.  In keeping with a tradition of the Royal Navy, the ship's bell was being used as a font  - PHOTOs Glen Smith
The walls of the chapel were originally a mushroom colour and for several years only the front few rows were equipped with proper pews.  The original gym has been converted into a Roman Catholic chapel and the old armoury into a mosque  - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School Chapel, Nairobi Lenana School Chapel, Nairobi
Until the [Church of England] chapel was opened in 1959 services were held in the hall where the altar was erected at the opposite end to the stage.  When not in use the altar was curtained off.  Among the many school productions, HMS Pinafore took place in 1959 and The Boat Race Ball was held in the school hall every year during the Easter HolidaysThe Hall now doubles as a gym - PHOTOs Glen Smith
The Foundation Stone in the ante-room behind the HallThe small office to the left of the above photograph housed the manual telephone exchange which was manned during school hours.  Pupils could pay the operator and make personal calls on a telephone which was kept on the shelf outside the exchange - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
The Main Quad and classrooms where each Sunday morning before chapel houses fell in and the flag was raised. On Sunday evenings houses again fell in and the flag was lowered before evensong.  First and second years classroom were on the ground floor and the end room nearest the hall was a reading room where air mail copies of The Times was made available along with the Illustrated London News.  Note that a two storey block has been added at the end of the quad opposite the Hall - PHOTOs Glen Smith
A classroom during the school holidays.  The parquet floor seems to have survived remarkably well.  At the back of each classroom was a clock - for the teacher's benefit!  PHOTOs Glen Smith
The main classrooms and the Hall.  While classroom doors are now blue, they were originally green and a discreet label bore  the name of the teacher whose classroom it was - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
The Lecture Theatre (to the left of the physics lab) was used for Saturday afternoon detentions which could be for up to two hours and were supervised by a school prefect.  Visiting lecturers came to give talks to various clubs and societies and the lecture theatre was also used by the CCF on Thursday afternoons where classes were taken by cadet NCOs. There are six labs - two each for physics, biology and chemistry.  At the far end of the row of labs was a small gas production plant - PHOTOs Glen Smith
The science labs - two each for physics, biology and chemistry  - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Mitchell House, Lenana School, Nairobi
Approaching Mitchell House from Brooklands (left) - the common room and fourth year studies were to the immediate left of the photograph. The nearest dormitory was for mainly fourth year, the next mainly third and the furthest away mainly for second year.  In the late 1950s first year pupils were accommodated in Upper and Lower Junior House.  The communal kitchen and dining hall for Mitchell and Moi (previously Kirk) Houses (right).  An arch has been removed and blue has replaced the original green colour scheme  - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Moi House - PHOTOs Glen Smith
Lenana School, Nairobi Lenana School, Nairobi
Fading memories as Mitchell and Moi are left in the lengthening shadows of late afternoon - PHOTOs Glen Smith

East Africa

Duke of York School