Be that as it may, after 14 years, it was moved to the present spot where Nairobi Primary School sits in what was then called Protectorate Road, now Mamlaka Road.
Fortunes changed for the school when Sir Edward Grigg turned into the Governor of Kenya in 1925 when there was interest for a senior young men’s school.
Sir Grigg contracted Sir Herbert Baker, the famous engineer, to plan the school after the Winchester Public School where Sir Grigg was a graduate.
He respected its uniform (which clarifies why Nairobi School has outstanding amongst other regalia in the nation) and the train which was fleshed from the naval force.
The establishment stone was laid by Sir Grigg on 24 September 1929, and Kabete Boys Secondary opened in 1931.
But do you know that a copy of the East African Standard newspaper and some coins were placed under the foundation stone? The coins and newspaper had the date and year in which the stone was laid in a ‘time capsule’ custom not only meant to connote the year of construction, but also to bring good luck.
This was a Masonic tradition dating back centuries when human sacrifice and later animal sacrifice became the norm. But Freemasons replaced blood with corn, oil and wine and later a book, newspaper or coin of the day as ‘protective ghosts,’ according to ‘The Masonic Trowel’.
Sir Baker was a Freemason who also designed State House Mombasa, the Nairobi Law Courts and Jamhuri High School. He continues: “…all the detached classrooms and houses were designed and built with connecting colonnades, in which respect I followed the excellent example set by President Jefferson in his beautiful University of Virginia.”
In her book, ‘White Man’s Country: The Making of Kenya,’ Elspeth Huxley noted that these schools were “solid, enduring buildings, walls of whitewashed stone and roofs of red close-socketed tiles, cool, open balconies and lofty rooms; they dominated the little up-country towns, still in the chrysalis stage of hotly shining corrugated iron, near which they were built.”
The onset of World War II in 1939 coincided with increased enrolment. But the war led to a shortage of cement in Kenya, hence the wooden classrooms and ‘mabati’ dormitories. Fear that Italians might bomb the school saw boys transferred to Lake Hotel in Naivasha.