Bramley History

In December 1959, Peter van der Bijl wrote the following: “Demolition will start on the outbuildings of Rossall - the two new boarding houses will be built by the end of 1960.” He was referring to Bramley and Birt houses (later, in 1984, Birt was renamed Van der Bijl House).

Mr Charles Bramley attended Bishops from 1875 to 1878, and was President of the O.D. Union from 1941 until his death in 1956. He was 94 years old.

He left a considerable amount of money to Bishops and it was due to his financial generosity that Bramley and Birt houses were able to be built (of the £53 000 that he bequeathed, £36 000 was used for building at the Prep).

Herby Selfe was appointed as the first Housemaster of Bramley, with Doug Clark joining him as his assistant. Bramley was filled to its maximum with 42 boys.

In 1963-64 Bramley was used to accommodate teams for the Nuffield Cricket Week. The bell outside Bramley was donated by Mr Hamilton Russell (now a well-known winemaker). The bell is situated there as Bramley won the toss for it against Birt House!

Other housemasters to follow Mr Selfe were Mr Mervyn Wallis-Brown (who later taught Afrikaans at the College and became master-in-charge of cricket; he has recently “retired” and taken up the P.R.O. role for the school), and Mr Rick Skeeles. Mr Skeeles was housemaster of Bramley for 14 years.

The decline in the number of boarders led to the closure of Bramley as a boarding house, co-inciding with the end of “Scaley’s” tenure. The building is now used primarily to house the grade 3 classes.

When Bramley closed its boarding house doors, the Bramley boarders who were left moved in with the Van der Bijl boarders, under the housemastership of Mr Rob Riches – a potentially explosive situation! This ensured that the keen rivalry between Bramley and Van der Bijl remained at a peak. Inter-House matches between these two houses have always been ferociously contested.

The final Bramley boarder to leave the Prep (albeit via Van der Bijl!) was Richard Stanford, Matric at College.