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History of our old building

Over a century ago, the Presbyterian Church of scotland founded a school in a house on the land which would then have been on the outskirts of durban. We have been blessed with incredible staff, parents of the Parents’ Association and Governing Body members who through the years, have worked so hard to develop the school. They have left a part of themselves here in what they have achieved. each year parents have worked to improve or add to the facilities so that the next group of children can benefit from their work – paying it forward!! our beautiful old building has remained the core structure of the Education that has taken place. New parents often comment about it and the atmosphere it engenders – elegance, graciousness, beautiful lines and detail, a sense of peace and homeliness. It feels like an old family home when one walks through its passages

Livingstone Primary School - Our History


TIn 1906 the old house and grounds on which the original school was established was donated to the Natal Education Department. In 1910 the present building, designed as a school, replaced the old house. Old pictures show some little girls dressed in the Edwardian fashions with many bows and frills, wearing very smart, fancy hats, standing outside the school in Livingstone Road. A far cry from the fashions and practical uniform of today.


In the early 1960’s the school was renamed “Natalia Premere Skool”. Natalia closed down in 1981 and the 60 Afrikaans pupils were transferred to ‘Die Afrikaans Hoerskool’ in Durban North, now Durban North College. The building remained closed and empty until the Remedial School was transferred from Hunt Road in 1982/3. Unfortunately, during the interim old records were lost.


in 1989 Livingstone was presented with the Durban City Council Conservation Award. This school has remained a dynamic learning environment. The original building has inspired the development of all the new sections surrounding it, and remains the centre and heart of the school.


From 2001 until 2015, Charleen Butt ably led Livingstone Primary School in 2013 our school Media centre was revamped and we opened the Charleen Butt Resource Room which caters for the development and training of Educators in Remedial skills and strategies


In 2017 our front office and reception was refurbished creating a modern inviting space.


In 1896 the first Headmaster was Rev T. Tonkin. “Stamford Hill Govt-Aided School” was opened to all races at a cost of 10 pounds per annum. This area was known as the County of Durban. The founders could not have conceived of the number of people who would be blessed and educated in this place, and of the wonderful, varied journey of education that they were
beginning. It was started as a place of faith and has continued as such. It has continued to grow and develop, and has met the varied needs of many children, starting them on the path of life.


During the 1930’s the school became
Stamford Hill, a dual-medium school, i.e. English and Afrikaans school. A cellar and bomb shelter beneath the school was used during the 2nd World War and parts of the building were also used as a hospital base. The cellar has been transformed into a classroom with a smart board (2009). Our library/media centre is at the top of the stairs of the main building. Part of the media centre used to be a gallery above the hall.


In 1982 the school was re-opened and
renamed Livingstone Primary School – a short term remedial School. “Livingstone” is a very appropriate name and just as David Livingstone set out in faith in the “dark continent” so many of our children feel the same way when they first arrive at Livingstone. Like David Livingstone, they also soldier on bravely, achieving great success at the end.

The Remedial School, Livingstone Primary School, was ably led by Colleen Rulten and Mike Backhouse for about 20 years. The school was nearly closed in 1991 by the Education Department but fortunately the Governing Body fought against the closure of the school.


Mandy Williams was appointed principal in 2016 and retired in May 2020


Our prayer is that it will continue and remain the beautiful, loved building that it is today,
serving our very wonderful children.

Building Additions

Principal house and main building-now the speech therapy wing

Occupational therapy section was the wood working and domestic science section

Psychology wing

Large block on field

Pool built

Upgrade of the psychology centre

Hall upgrade and gallery

Speech therapy department (old headmaster’s house) called the Tina Brown speech therapy centre.
Veranda and 2 classrooms converted into four grade 1 classrooms.

Developmental unit built with a very generous grant 4 new prefabs installed for temporary pre-school and grade 3 classrooms

Occupational department offices – dry walled and upgraded. Major roof repair to the north facing classroom building

Team teaching room/offices/workshop/maintenance staff quarters/tuck shop and pa kitchen.
Repair to the retaining pool of the swimming pool.

Toilet upgrade & major repair to the of department roof.
Purchase of new prefab for grade 5 classrooms

Building of 11 additional classrooms – replacing five old prefabs and providing new classrooms

Completion of 11 classrooms
A proposed new extended media centre and teachers resource centre in the beautiful old building
Repair to main school building roof
Development and upgrade of I.T. department.

We acquired 1 new grade 7 classroom

Refurbishment of the front office and reception area