Somerset House School is housed in the original buildings of the farm Cloetenburg. The farmstead – one of the oldest in Somerset West – is named after Catherine Cloete who, in 1720, bought a portion of what had been Willem Adriaan van der Stel’s Vergelegen estate. The gable was added in 1785. The property changed hands (and appearance) many times. In 1948 Somerset House School was founded by Dr and Mrs Haydock and was originally situated in Station Road in Somerset West. In 1950 the school moved to its present site and the Cloetenburg homestead, formerly Oatlands Guest House, became a school.
Now a National Monument, the building Cloetenburg forms the heart of the school. It houses the dining room, kitchen, staff room, archives, Headmaster and Admission offices.
The Ould Hall Art Centre, also known as the “Barn”, the “Carriage House and Stables” as well as the “Buttress Building”, this structure was used as the school hall from 1976 until the library moved there in 1988. It was renovated in 2013 and is now the Ould Hall Art Centre, home to a full storage facility, class working space, senior upstairs space and exhibition space.
The Guild Hall Knowledge Centre, originally a wine cellar, served as the nursery school until 1987. It was then renovated and became the school hall until 2008 when it was sub divided for use as Grade 7 classrooms. The latest renovation, completed earlier this year, has seen this old building converted into a cutting-edge Knowledge Centre, where children can access books, work with media and technology, and enjoy the flexible space for any number of educational activities.
The beautiful buildings and oak trees are a valued and important part of the ethos of Somerset House. Undoubtedly this tranquil environment fosters an appreciation of beauty within the children fortunate enough to spend their primary school years here.