Our History

Our school is named after Mr. John Norman Henshilwood, who was born in 1896 and died in 1972 at the age of 76.



School Establishment Timeline

1960 - The Building is Sanctioned

The Executive Committee sanctioned the building of an English Medium high school for Constantia.

1964 - Naming of the School

The Executive Committee decided to name the school Norman Henshilwood High School.

John Norman Henshilwood was the second of six children, and joined the family firm of Thomas Henshilwood (Pty.), where he eventually became Chairman. His brothers Douglas and Thomas joined him later as Director and Managing Director. ‘Henshilwoods’ was one of the most prestigious outfitters in ‘old’ Claremont, standing on the site now occupied by part of Cavendish Square. He was also Managing Director of several other companies, including Golden Arrow Bus Services.

One of his main interests was governance and administration. He represented Claremont and Constantia on the Cape Provincial Council for twenty five years (1936 – 1961) and also served on the Executive Committee from 1954 to 1961.
However it was for his efforts in education that he will be most remembered.

He was a member of the Cape School Board from 1943 to 1954, where he served as Chairman from 1950 to 1954. During that time he was instrumental in ‘discovering’ and securing many large school and college sites such as:

  • Westerford High
    Camps Bay High
    Milnerton High
    Pinelands High
    Pinelands Afrikaans Medium School
    Sans Souci
    Hewat College
    Norman Henshilwood High

In a 1968 letter to Mr Pugh, our first Headmaster, the School Board Secretary wrote:

“After a long and eventful career, Mr Henshilwood retired from public life in 1961, due to ill health.”

The school was officially opened as a ‘Whites-only’ school in May 1968. In 1990 the school became multi-racial, in line with the transformation of South Africa from race-based policies and politics to a democratic dispensation. The school has had a total of five principals since 1968: Mr Pugh (1968 – 1982), Mr Abrahams (1982 – 1993), Mr Slater (1994 – 1998), Miss Johnson (1999 – 2003), David J Millar (2004 to 2016) and Jawaad Holland (2017 to present).