EARLY CORRESPONDENCE WITH OLD BOYS

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Albert Meester, a Master of the School, is officially considered as the founder of the Old Boys Association. In his letter addressed to the Old Boys, he outlines the plea to resource capital to buy a piece of property in Pretoria, which would later become the Old Boys Club. Below is the full article.


PRETORIA HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS' ASSOCIATION
CIRCA 1932


Dear Sir,

A scheme is being considered by the Pretoria Boys' High School Old Boys' Association which has as its object the purchase of grounds in Pretoria for -

(a) the building of a Club House where Old Boys may meet;
(b) the laying out of playing fields;
(c) the advancement of the Association as a means of providing for the interests of Old Boys and Present Boys.

A Special General Meeting of the Association appointed a Committee to consider and report on the scheme to a subsequent General Meeting. This Committee has taken great pains to investigate the matter thoroughly and to obtain detailed information, and begs you to give this circular your very careful consideration and to add your assistance by sending a prompt reply.

The Committee has come to the conclusion that the only suitable site is a piece of ground about nine morgen in extent, situated on Bailey Road, Waterkloof, behind the Boys' High School and to the West of Waterkloof House Preparatory School. An option expiring on the 16th August 1932 has been obtained to buy this ground, for £2,450 cash against transfer.

This piece of ground is well situated, fairly level, and the price is considered very fair. There is ample space on which to lay out tennis courts, cricket, hockey and rugby fields, bowling greens, and a swimming bath, and to build a Club House. A sketch plan of the proposed lay-out is attached hereto.

The Capital cost of completing this lay-out would be approximately as follows:-

(a) Purchase price of site £2,600, being the sum mentioned in the above option, plus transfer duty and the cost of closing off a portion of Jeppe Street which  traverses the site and the expenses of forming the Association into a limited liability Company.

(b) Erection of Club House, £2,600. This is the Architect's estimate in the sketch plan made by him. The amount to be spent on the Club House will of course depend on the support given by Old Boys, and if necessary could be reduced.

(c) Fencing

(d) Four Tennis Courts £240. This number may be increased as the need arises.

(e) Levelling cricket, hockey and rugby fields £1,000.

Items (c), (d) and (e) are only rough estimates.

It is considered that if the Association can be reasonably assured that the purchase price of £2,600 mentioned in (a) above will be available in cash at expiry of the option on the 16th August 1932, and also that an adequate subscription income will be forthcoming, it will be justified in launching the scheme.

In order to provide the necessary funds it is proposed to form the Old Boys' Association into a limited liability Company which would issue unproductive shares of £5 each, payable either in full or in installments. The Committee wishes to emphasize the facts that a member's liability will be limited to the unpaid capital on his share(s) in the Company, and his annual subscription, and that by buying a share a member becomes part-owner of a valuable asset, which will increase in value year by year, as locality is a very valuable one.

It is considered that the Association would have to be assured that at least 600 such shares will be taken up and paid for by the 16th August 1932, being the date of expiry of the above option, before it would be justified in embarking on the scheme.

It is proposed to admit to membership of the Company Old Boys, Present Boys, Members of the Governing Body and Staff of the School, Parents of Old and Present Boys, Wives of Old Boys, and a limited number of sisters of Old Boys and Present Boys. Each would have to buy one share to become a member.

To provide for the expenses of the Football, Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Clubs, for upkeep of the grounds and the interest on monies raised to complete the suggested layout, it is proposed that members, in addition to the above share, should pay an annual subscription as follows:-

(a) Two Guineas for those, including ladies, who participate in one or more of the games. This would be an inclusive subscription entitling the member to take part in any or all games. (It is of interest to point out here that an Old Boy who plays several games has at present to pay the following subscriptions, as compared with the inclusive subscription here suggested: Rugby, 10/6; Cricket, £2.2.0; Hockey, 10/6; Tennis, £4.4.0.)

(b) One Guinea for other members resident in Pretoria.

(c) Half a guinea for members not resident in Pretoria. Such members would have the use of the grounds and other facilities while on a visit in Pretoria.

It is considered that it is essential for the success of the scheme that the initial number of members should be such as to assure an annual subscription income of £750.

Before the Old Boys' Association can take the responsibility of launching such an ambitious scheme as is above outlined, it is obviously essential to know whether the Association can be reasonably certain:-

(a) That the minimum of 600 participating shares of £5 each will be taken up and paid for by the 16th August 1932; and

(b) That the initial annual subscription income will be £750.

You will therefore readily appreciate the importance of accurate information to the Committee, and if it is not your intention to support the scheme as here outlined actively and to pay your subscriptions regularly, a definite refusal would be preferable to a promise unfulfilled.

It is considered that with the available potential membership, the proposed scheme is practical and sound and certain of success, but its success depends wholly upon the co-operation of all Old Boys. Similar schemes have proved successful with the Old Edwardians and other large Associations in Johannesburg, and it is felt that with an ambitious project such as this, our Association will take a great step forward, by placing before Old Boys the definite object of advancing the interest of the School and of themselves. You are earnestly requested to give the matter your fullest consideration, to discuss it with Old Boys and other who would be entitled to membership, and fill in and post the attached form to the Secretary High School Old Boys' Association, Boys' High School, Pretoria, immediately. A General Meeting of the Old Boys' Association will be called as soon as possible to decide whether to launch the proposed scheme or not. This decision will depend to a very large extent on the response to this letter.

You can personally assist very substantially by encouraging others to join. Do not wait because you think your friends have already been approached. The names will be sorted out here. Make it your duty and if you have no form, send his address to the Secretary. Country members can admittedly not gain the same material benefits from the scheme as members in Pretoria, but they will have the satisfaction of knowing that their co-operation is in the interest  of the School and the Association as a whole, and that they will provide for themselves a place where they may meet their fellows when they do come to Pretoria.

Space is provided on the attached form for the addresses of Old Boys. Please fill in the names and addresses of any Old Boys you know of, abroad, in your neighbourhood, or anywhere else. Do not take it for granted we have them.

To Parents: One of the objects of the scheme is to interest present boys in the Association as early as possible, so that they may feel that their actual school days form only a part of their real connection with the School and its traditions. They should automatically pass from the School into the Association, which will endeavor to provide them with all the usual facilities for sport and healthy club life. Ultimately it is hoped that a Junior Section of the Association, managed by the boys themselves, will be formed. We are asking you therefore to buy a share also for your son, to be paid for in installments if you prefer it, so that he may be a full member the moment he leaves school. Your son will be given the freedom of making his choice of walking into the Association once he has finished at the School.

Taking into account all above information, the Associative wishes to:

(a)  Invite you, a current parent to become a member of the scheme;

(b) Ask you to pay monies in lieu of a future membership for your son(s).

The Committee kindly asks by way of an urgent reply by post to this plea.

It is now or never.

A. MEESTER
Honorary Secretary
Pretoria High School Old Boys' Association
   


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