The four houses are named after politicians who were prominent at the time of the founding of the school, and the owner of the original homestead, Bedford Court.
Athlone (green) was a new house introduced in January 1947 at St Andrew’s School for Girls. It was named after Major General Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone. He was educated at Eton College before moving on to Sandhurst for training as an officer. He rose in rank through his service in African campaigns and the First World War. In 1923, Athlone was appointed by the King as both a Major-General and the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa in 1927. The Earl of Athlone died at Kensington on 16 January 1957 and he was interred in the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.
Farrar (red), another new house was introduced in 1985 to St Andrew’s. It was named after Sir George Herbert Farrar, 1st Baronet, born 17 June 1859. He was educated at Bedford Modern School. He was a mining magnate and one of the leading figures in Johannesburg’s politics at the turn of the century. After the war, Farrar laid out the township of Benoni. He became the president of the Chamber of Mines. He built a house, Bedford Court, in what is now known as Bedfordview. During World War 1 in May 1915, he died in a train accident in South West Africa. Lady Ella Farrar and their six daughter’s stayed on the estate until 1920 when she sold it to Jean Fletcher to house St Andrew’s School for Girls.
Milner (yellow), along with Selborne (blue), was one of the first houses at St Andrew’s. Milner house was named after Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, born 23 March 1854. He was a British Statesman and colonial administrator who played an influential leadership role in the formulation of foreign and domestic policy between the mid-1890s and early 1920s. While serving as High Commissioner for Southern Africa and Governor of the Cape Colony (1897 – 1905), he was noted for mentoring a gathering of young members of the South African Civil Service. He founded a series of schools known as the “Milner Schools” in South Africa. Milner died 12 May 1925.
Selborne (blue), along with Milner (yellow), was one of the first houses at St Andrew’s. Selborne was named after Sir William Palmer, the second Earl of Selborne who was born in 1859. As a liberal Unionist he held a number of political positions and in 1905 he succeeded Lord Milner as High Commissioner for South Africa and governor of the Transvaal and Orange River colonies. Lord Selborne married Lady Maud Cecil. They had three sons and one daughter. Lord Selborne died in February 1942, aged 82.
Each house is under the care of a housemistress who is assisted by the grade 7 girls.
- A captain and two vice-captains are elected from this senior group.
- From grade 4 – 7 the girls of each house are divided into ‘families’. Every family is comprised of girls from each grade and they become a little group in order to share with and care for each other. The families often combine to set up market stalls or carry out other fund-raising activities.
- There is friendly rivalry and passionate competition among the four houses. In addition to music and, on occasion, public speaking, inter-house competitions are eagerly contested in most of the sporting disciplines.
- The main focus of the houses during the year is to assist various community or charitable organizations. The girls are encouraged to be as ‘hands on’ as possible and visits are arranged to promote interaction and deepen understanding.