History: One Man's Dream
|Arthur Francis Broadhurst
In 1924, at the age of 34, Arthur Francis Broadhurst, a proud young Scotsman, Oxford scholar and World War veteran, left his family’s prosperous cotton business in Manchester, England to follow his aspirations in education - firstly to become a teacher and, subsequently and more ambitiously, to own and administer his own preparatory school for boys. Ten years later Broadhurst embarked upon a worldwide quest to locate a site for his dream school.
The site he found was in Cambridge, New Zealand. With mature oak trees, charming town square and rural environs, he must have felt confident that his dream would soon become reality; this very English town – and more precisely, a 90-acre farm on the outskirts of the town - would make an outstanding location for his modern preparatory school. The farm surrounding the school has grown to today’s 550-acre profitable dairy unit.
To design his new school, Arthur Broadhurst chose an American architect, Roy Alston Lippincott, who had already gained a reputation within New Zealand. Lippincott designed the main building at St Peter’s to resemble a large English country home. Designs for the gatehouse, dining hall and chapel soon followed. The Lippincott style has been maintained in many of the new buildings on campus.
The opening of St Peter’s School, on 22 February, 1936, was a grand occasion, attended by the Minister of Education, The Hon. Peter Fraser; Primate and Archbishop of New Zealand, Dr Walter Averill; a former prime minister, The Right Hon. Joseph Coates; and over 800 invited guests. The architect, Roy Lippincott, presented the Minister of Education with the gold key to open the front door of the main building.
The first school term commenced with seven full-time staff and a roll of thirty-six boy boarders.
In 1939, Arthur Broadhurst generously gifted the school, built entirely with his own money, to the St Peter’s School Trust Board. Broadhurst remained an innovative and much-respected headmaster until his retirement in 1960 at the age of 70
The School crest incorporates Athene’s Owl of Wisdom holding St Peter’s keys: The key of life and the key of knowledge, above the motto ‘Structa Saxo’ (St Peter’s, founded on a rock). The development of the ‘whole person’, the body, mind and spirit, was the Broadhurst philosophy; his innovative teaching practices were later to earn him the OBE for services to education.
Today’s Prep School students continue to wear the original uniform colours of light blue/grey. When secondary pupils were enrolled in 1971, dark blue was chosen for their formal uniform.
In 1987 the introduction of 25 girls into the school was another major change. St Peter’s is now a fully co-educational day and boarding school for Years 7 to13 with a roll of between 1000 and 1100 students. The School has a reputation for its beautiful, spacious environment, up-to-date purpose-built facilities and excellent teachers.