Duke of York School

Nairobi Kenya

Old Yorkists' photographs

We went to school in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills . . .

The Ngong Hills (right) can be seen clearly from the upper level walkway of the Tuition Block.

Ngong Hills viewed from Nairobi

Now called Lenana, the School, is situated outside Nairobi near the village of Karen . . . which is named after Karen Blixen . . . who "had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills". (opening line of  the book and film of the same name - Out of Africa).
This page content remains the same but you may wish to access these other pages from here:
Photographic collections: Paul Tanner Tremaine's photographs; PeterCaton' photographs (1964);   House and Team Photos
Other items of interest: Headmaster's Letter to Parents Clothes List School Train Times


ADDED August 2015 - Visit Lenana in January 2011 - Photos by Glen Smith

Railway Bridge at Duke of York School, Nairobi

A Tribal Class 29 locomotive appears to rush west bound over the school bridge - but in reality it was simply that my camera couldn't cope!  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow  - see Train Spotting at Duke of York School

Aerial view of Duke of York School taken in 1962.  The long drive leading in from the Ngong Road under the railway bridge is visible top centre;  the domestic staff lines are top right.  All the school houses are visible except Grogan and James.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School, Nairobi - aerial view 2 1962

The armoury, swimming pool, squash court and tennis courts are at bottom left;  the "donga" is bottom centre.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School Official School Photograph 1960

Official 1960 Photograph of the School

Duke of York School Main Entrance

The impressive tower and hall.  Only visitors, staff and prefects were allowed to enter the building through the front doors - everyone else had to crowd through the side door to the right PHOTO - Malcolm McCrow

The School Library above the geography rooms and the side door referred to above - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

R H James, Founding Headmaster, Duke of York School

R H James, founding headmaster.  This portrait hung in the Library - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow
Foundation Stone, Duke of York School
Foundation Stone laid by Sir Philip Mitchell.  Initially the school started in Government House and the number of pupils steadily grew to such an extent that the new houses of Grogan and James were built in the late fifties - just as the number of pupils began to tail off.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Quad, Duke of York School Nairobi

The three-sided quadrangle where on Sunday mornings pupils fell in by houses and the head of school would report to the Headmaster before the Union Flag was either raised or broken - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Assembly Hall, Duke of York School, Nairobi

Benches are visible in the Hall which was used for assemblies before the dedication of the School Chapel in 1959.  The benches were also used for Saturday night film shows and, in 1958, one of the showings was "The Spirit of St Louis".  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

The Lecture Theatre to the right of the Hall was also used for staff-supervised Saturday Afternoon Detention - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Main Quad in 1964 - PHOTO Peter Caton

Altar, Duke of York School, Nairobi

Not the inside of the School Chapel, but the altar in the hall at the opposite end to the stage.  It was curtained off when not it use.  It was eventually moved to the School Chapel - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School Chapel

The School Chapel soon after its completion in 1959.  It wasn't long before it was used for christenings, weddings and, sadly, also for funerals.  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Chapel and Bell, Duke of York School, Nairobi

The Chapel shortly after its opening (left).  A Chapel Fund had been organized and parents invited to subscribe.  The amount which each parent donated was listed, somewhat insensitively,  on the notice board in the anteroom passage leading to the headmaster's study.  Nearby on the same wall a letter received from Field Marshall Lord Montgomery of Alamein was also displayed.  In it the Field Marshall hoped that "the boys of the Duke of York School will take as their motto the words 'Fear God, Honour the Queen'."  PHOTO Brett Langevad

The School Chapel and School Bell seen from above the main entrance - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Ship's Bell, HMS Duke of York
There were no classes on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons - but there were of course classes on Saturday mornings.  The bell is from the British Battleship HMS Duke of York and was presented by the Royal Navy when the ship was decommissioned.  To be presented with a ship's bell, particularly one from a battleship, was a great honour.  The technical classrooms are to the left of the photograph and the gym is in the background.  PHOTO - Michael Strange
Chapel Entrance, Duke of York School
Chapel (1964) - PHOTOs Peter Caton
Bell of Battleship HMS Duke of York
School Bell (1964) - PHOTOs Peter Caton

Duke of York School, Nairobi

Hurdles were held on the grass between the Chapel and the well fitted out workshops - one for woodwork (Mr Yates) and one for metalwork (Mr Alcott)  - PHOTO Brett Langevad


Before the chapel was completed, services were held in the gym when the hall was being used for the Prelims and the School Certificate examinations - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Gym and Music Rooms, Duke of York School

Gym, changing room and music rooms - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School gym

A path leading from Brooklands to the well equipped gym.  On the right of the gym were the music rooms and changing room.  - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Swimming Pool, Duke of York School

Goals rigged for water polo - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow
Swimming Pool and Squash Court, Duke of York School

The tennis courts and squash court by the swimming pool.  Out the picture to the right was the Combined Cadet Force parade ground and armoury.  - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Sunday afternoon swimming, Duke of York School

Sunday afternoon swimming - completely unsupervised - no lifeguards and no life saving equipment.  Nothing ever happened.   Are we perhaps being just too cautious today?  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Swimming Gala 1960, Duke of York School

Swimming Regatta 1961 - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Swimming Pool, Duke of York School Nairobi

The swimming pool seen from Brooklands.  Changing took place in the banda next to the water purification shed. - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Swimming Pool, Duke of York School Nairobi

The swimming pool in the mid 1960s - PHOTOs Peter Caton

Swimming Pool, Duke of York School Nairobi

The swimming pool in the mid 1960s - PHOTOs Peter Caton

Swimming Pool, Duke of York School Nairobi

The swimming pool and squash court in the mid 1960s - PHOTOs Peter Caton

Cricket at Duke of York School, Nairobi

Cricket seen from the railway embankment.  When the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, passed one evening in the Royal Train on his way to Kampala, the school was assembled to cheer him - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Lower Junior, Duke of York School Nairobi

Lower Junior to the left with the Junior Dining hall to the right.  Each house had its own dorm and prefects were seconded from senior houses. The prefects were allowed bicycles and this looks like one of them.  The bungalow behind Lower Junior belonged to the Honourable Charles E Kitchener, who was often to be found of an evening working in his garden.  - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Upper Junior, Duke of York School Nairobi

Upper Junior taken from the Tuition Block Quad.  Between Upper Junior and Thomson Houses was the bungalow occupied by E K Fergusson who had a superb Great Western model railway in his garage.  On Sundays a small group of railway enthusiasts would sometimes congregate by the open doors to watch the proceedings.  - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Thomson and Delamere Dining Hall

Brooklands - Thomson and Delamere Dining Hall is in the centre of the photograph; the Tuck Shop was up the stairs to the right.  - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Thomson House, DOYS

Thomson House seen from the stairway in the Tuition Block - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Delamere House DOYS

Delamere House with the dining hall to the right. - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Delamere dormitory, DOYS

There was little difference between dorms, let alone houses.  Here boys in Delamere typically congregate on beds, possibly of a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  The boys at the end of the dorm - in Mitchell at least - were responsible for ensuring the cupboard doors were shut before supper in the evenings and before morning inspections.  Blazers and long trousers were kept on the coat hangers - each boy having a drawer for all his other clothes. Hats are visible on the cupboard shelf dating the picture possibly to before the arrival of Victor Laing from Southern Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] in 1960.  Victor made the unpopular hats optional for town wear and they rapidly disappeared thereafter. Hats, unlike at primary, were never worn in school - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Junior Dorm in all houses was next to the dining hall, no doubt because the catering staff started work - with enthusiastic clattering and banging - at 0530 each morning.  This is again Delamere House - PHOTO Brett Langevad

Mitchell House, Duke of York School, Nairobi

Mitchell House viewed from the stairs leading to the housemaster's house who in 1961 was Nigel Skerman. PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Mitchell House, DOYS

From right to left - Junior, Inter and Senior dorms in Mitchell House - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Third Year study, 1960

Third Year Study. Mitchell House - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Fourth Year Study, DOYS

Fourth Year "outside" study with "rabbles" at the window prior to supper - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Kitchen Staff, Mitchell-Kirk

Mrs Radcliffe with some of the Mitchell and Kirk Houses kitchen staff - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Kitchen Staff, Mitchell-Kirk

Kitchen staff preparing grapefruit for following morning's breakfast - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Supper Time, Mitchell House 1960

Supper - prefect at head of table.  The jug contains soup and the main course has yet to be served - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Kirk Quad

Kirk House Quad - mid 1960s - PHOTO Peter Caton

Kirk pupils, Duke of York School
Kirk rabbles with green snake - PHOTO Peter Caton

Eventually the new buildings came as here - the new Grogan House which was very grand compared to all the other houses.  But by this time the school role was declining and envisaged numbers never materialised - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Sanitorium, Duke of York School

The sanatorium on the entrance drive before you came to Brooklands - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Class School Uniform, Duke of York School

School dress was grey drill shirt and shorts - no tie - with optional maroon long or sleeveless jersey.  In the evening shorts were replaced with long trousers and a tie was worn.

Town Dress, Duke of York School

Town dress was white shirt, shorts, tie and school blazer. (Photo shows Fred Lichtenstein - taken by Mrs Lichtenstein).  Sunday dress was town dress with long trousers instead of shorts.

Clothing List - remember what you had to take to school in your tin trunk

School Train Times at start of term  Train times back to Nairobi

Headmaster's Letter to Parents  Victor Laing's letter to parents - July 1960

Kenya Schools uniforms
Leaving home at the start of term - Allan Pitt-Pladdy (left) is about to discover what Duko has in store for a rabble - PHOTO from Allan

Dassies Hyrax, Duke of York School

Vulture, Duke of York School

Various small animals were acquired from time to time - a favourite was hyrax (left).  A vulture took up residence for a while (right).  The bangles on the boys wrists are made from elephant hair - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

East African Green snake, DOYS

Pets - Duke of York School

Some boys would appear with an East African Green Snake (left) from time to time, but the snake was usually released soon afterwards. Sometimes more "exotic" animals appeared like this bushbaby (right).  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Pupils with matron's puppies

With Mrs Radcliffe's dog's puppies in 1960.  On Sundays, between matins and evensong, you could wear what you liked - until things got out of hand and "acceptable" clothing had to be worn to lunch.  Malindi shirts were banned - Bermuda shorts were unheard of!  Sunday dress - town dress with long trousers instead of shorts - was, by default, required for breakfast and supper due to morning and evening services.  - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Wednesday afternoon shopping in  Nairobi

It could almost have been England in this 1960s. This shot was taken during a Wednesday afternoon shopping trip to Nairobi - PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School party visit to East African Airways

Afternoon visit of the Aeronautical Society to Embakasi Airport. The engine is a Rolls Royce Avon used in the recently introduced East African Airways Comet 4s.  Visits to BOAC [British Overseas Airways Corporation - now British Airways] and East African Airways were always popular as these two airlines always treated us to afternoon tea in the airport restaurant!  PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Duke of York School party visit to Air India Boeing 707 at Nairobi Embakasi

When an airline introduced a new type through Nairobi the Aeronautical Society invariably was taken over the aircraft - in this case an Air India Boeing 707.  The little boy in the blue shirt is Dennis Cooper's son. Dennis, was Patron of the Aeronautical Society. PHOTO Malcolm McCrow

Lenana - Duke of York School today

Lenana/Duke of York School - early 21st Century

Lenana/Duke of York School sanitorium - early 21st Century

The Tower and Assembly Hall (left) and the sanatorium (right) as they appeared in the early 21st Century - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

The Tower (left) and the Bell and Chapel (right) - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School - chapel early 21st Century

Chapel Entrance - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School - chapel early 21st Century

After 50 years growth the trees give the Chapel and its surroundings a completely different look.  The technical block as it was in the fifties is just visible left of centre - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School - chapel interior early 21st Century

Not much change in the Chapel after 50 years - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School Nairobi - quad early 21st Century

Only the trees mark the passage of time in this recent shot - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School Nairobi - science labs early 21st Century

The trees have grown and blue has replaced green in the paintwork around the science labs - PHOTO Oliver Keeble

Lenana School Nairobi - Tom Mboya House early 21st Century

Former Upper Junior has become Tom Mboya House.  Mr Mboya addressed the Debating Society in the Lecture Theatre in 1960 - PHOTO David Lichtenstein

Lenana School Nairobi

Former Thomson House seen from the stairway in the Tuition Block - PHOTO David Lichtenstein

East Africa

contact me: malcolm@mccrow.org.uk go to my home page: www.mccrow.org.uk