In writing the history of this Institution, we pay tribute to all those persons who have selflessly worked to bring it to what it is today and many thanks to those who are today pursuing the same vision


In 1900, Reverend A.W. McGregor was sent by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) as a pioneer missionary to Kikuyu-land. Rev. McGregor was already involved in missionary work having started his work among the Taita in Taveta in early 1892.

Thus, Rev. McGregor arrived in Fort Smith in Kikuyu on October13, 1900. He started looking for suitable land for his missionary work.He had been offered land at the site of Fort Smith but declined due to its reputation for atrocities against the Kikuyu. He therefore went further in search of suitable site. He finally purchased a parcel of land at Kabete locally known as Mayombo (the rocky place) from Cege Kanyi of the Muthemba family. He took possession of the site in 1901 and named it Kihuruko (a place of rest and quietness). He started teaching the Word of God and literacy. By November 1901,he had five students. The local people had nicknamed him “Kabora”. It was on this land that Mary Leakey Girls’ High School really started.

In early 1902, Rev. McGregor was joined by Rev. Harry Leakey who continued with the work. Rev. McGregor later moved to Weithaga in Murang’a a few months after Rev. Harry Leakey arrived, he was joined by his wife Mary, their two little girls and a companion, Miss Oakes. The locals nicknamed Rev. Leakey “Giteru” because of his bush beard. They were teaching a mixed group of boys and girls. However, school work among the women and girls was slow at first. In 1904, Miss Alicia Higgnbothan,a missionary from Mombasa,joined the Leakeys. She assisted in teaching taught them sewing and basic reading.

The Leakeys returned to Kabete in 1906. Many boys had come to school by then and the first two girl pupils were sisters to one of the boy pupils and were actually orphans under the care of the boy pupil.They lived with the Leakeys and became the nucleus of the schools for they attracted more pupils.

In 1909,Mrs.Mary Leakey opened a school for girls which met on the veranda of her house. From that time, girls as boarders became a regular feature,for many came from up-country and others had run away from home for various reasons such as circumcision. Until 1921, Kabete was the only C.M.S. station with accommodation for boarders in Kikuyu County.The school however, never became regular due to the intermittent illness of Mrs. Mary Leakey.

In 1922, when Julia Leakey (her daughter) returned to Kabete after training in England as a teacher and a missionary in her own right, the school reopened on a regular basis.


The school has since its inception been under the sponsorship of the Anglican Church (then C.M.S) and has enjoyed a good working relationship with the following bishops:-

  1. The late Bishop Heywood
  2. The late Bishop Reginald P. Crabbo
  3. The late Bishop Beecher
  4. The late Bishop Obadiah Kariuki
  5. The late Bishop Sospeter Magua
  6. The late Bishop George Njuguna
  7. Emeritus Bishop Peter Njenga
  8. Bishop Timotny Ranji (the current Diocesan Bishop of Mt. Kenya South)

The Early School

The school under Julia Leakey met in the cramped quarters of huts behind her house.

In 1923, new stone dormitories and classes were built. They were designed by Julia and paid for with the help of the colonial government and a Nairobi businessman, Mr. Ernest Carr. These dormitories are the current “Thundaiyu” houses. “Thundaiyu” was a nickname the girls had given to one of the teachers,Miss Bourne. She would get annoyed with the girls and stammer. The girls would giggle making her more annoyed, and that’s the origin of the name, her angry facial expression. The girls who were among the first to live in Thundaiyu called themselves ‘Thundaiyu’.

Among the “Thundaiyu” are Mrs. Gladwell Ruguru, Mwawa, Isabella Kamanathi, Salome Wanjiku Munuthi, Salome Gachiku, Jerusha Njeri etc, some still alive today.

The school was known as “watho-ini” a place for rules and regulations. The school went initially up to standard five when the students sat the common entrance exam. The lessons were taught in Gikuyu except the top classes where Kiswahili was taught. Girls who had passed through the school were asked to come back and teach others but often they got married. Some of the earliest European teachers were Miss Edith Wiseman, Mrs. Butcher and Gladys Leakey(Canon Leakey’s daughter).

Gladys Leakey married Rev. Beecher (later Bishop Beecher) in 1930 and Julia also got married in 1931. Both ladies moved away and were replaced by two missionaries, Hilder Risdale and Janet Stansfield. Canon Hervey Leakey and Mrs. Mary Leakey retired in 1933.

From 1930 to 1940, the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) government. Some of the teachers at that time were Miss Bourne,Miss Miles and Miss Unah.

After Kenya African Preliminary Examination (K.A.P.E) was established,the girls did the exam and were then trained as teachers and nurses. K.A.P.E.was done at form two.

From 1946- 1948, the school was chosen to establish the first women teachers college in Kenya and was given the name “Government African Girls’ Teachers College” The college was latershifted to Embu in 1949. Mrs. Sarah M. Gichuhi was the matron of the college and she was trained as a domestic science teacher.

Some of the beneficiaries of the college were:

  1. Muthoni Likimani
  2. Priscila Abwao – who attended the Lancaster House Conference during the formulation of the first Kenyan Constitution.
  3. The late Emma Njonjo
  4. The late Hannah Rubia
  5. The late Joyce Kanina Karago
  6. The late Gladwell Ruguru Mwaura
  7. Grace Wanjiru Gideon
  8. The late Grace Wagema

Kabete Intermediate Girls’ school

From 1950 to 1952, Miss Comme, an Australian Missionary headed the school. At that time, the school was known as ‘Kabete Intermediate Girls ‘School’. The school went up to form two where the girls sat for their K.A.P.E.

Mrs.P.R. Wilson 1964
Mrs.C.Rathjens April 1965
Miss.N.Kimani March 1966
Mrs.G.Wang’ombe June 1966
Miss. R.W. Mwaniki Dec 1966
Miss.C.E. Scoones April 1967
Mrs.C. Chitsiga November 1967
Miss.H. Gituku Feb 1968
Mrs.M.W.Wanjohi Jan 1970
Mrs.C.M.Waichungo Aug 1971
Mrs.A.W. Wang’ombe April 1972
Miss.Hellen Guttery May 1973
Mrs.J.Macharia June 1976
Mrs.Kamau July 1976
Mrs.K.Gikonyo Nov 1976
Mrs.E.Bageine Sept 1977
Mrs.G.Wang’ombe Oct 1977
Mrs.Rahab Mwangi Jan 1980
Mrs.Phyllis Mwangi 1995-2000
Miss.Hilda Ikahu 2000-April 2007
Madam. Rose Wairimu May 2007 to date

The Chairpersons of the Boards of Management have been:

Ven. Archdeacon E.K. Cole – 1961-March 1964
Ven. Archdeacon Sospeter Magua – March 1964-Feb 1967
Mr. Njiiri Karago – Feb 1967-Feb 1989
Mr. Amos Kiriro – Feb 1989-March 1992
Mr. Moses G. Mbugua – March 1992-to date