Watsonians Linked

WatsoniansLinked - from the Archives

Minutes of meeting held in Room 5, St Georges House Cape Town on Friday 27th August 1909

Present:  Mr R R Brydone, Dr John Hewat, Prof Barrie Low & Mr T C Shaw

Mr Shaw having briefly explained the objects of the meeting it was moved by Mr Hewat  and seconded by Mr Brydone.

“That with the object of instituting a Watsonian Club whose members could  be drawn from the whole of South Africa the present meeting forms itself into a temporary initiative committee and further.

“That the gentlemen present be and are hereby constitutes as a nucleus of such a club to be known as the “South Africa  Watsonian Club” their formal membership thereof to be subject to the provisions of the Constitution to be hereafter framed, and that Mr Brydone and Mr Shaw be appointed to draw up a formal Constitution for submission to a subsequent meeting’’.

The foregoing Resolutions were unanimously approved and it was agreed that Mr Brydone be appointed temporary Chairman & Mr Shaw Secretary & Treasurer pro term. 

It was further understood that after the approval of the Constitution, active steps be taken to ensure that the institution of the club is brought to the notice of eligible members both locally & in up county centers.


Other facts about the South Africa Watsonian Club

By December 1909 there were 29 Cape Town members and 4 up-country members of the South Africa Watsonian Club. While the above appears as the founding statement of the South Africa  Watsonian Club,  the Cape Town club has over recent years sourced earlier information that in the early part of 1903 a Watsonian Club was being formed in Cape Town.

In The Scotsman, 22 July 1903,  it is announced that Mr Rutherford Brydone attended the annual school prize giving at Synod Hall, Castle Terrace, where he was named “President  of the Watsonian Club of South Africa" and handed over prizes – those given by the  South Africa  Watsonian Club”.

The Watsonian from July 1905 names  the President of  the South Africa Watsonian Club  as Dr John Hewat, and Vice President, R R Brydone.

Vice President, Robert  Rutherford  Brydon who was born in 1864 (arrived in  the Cape 1886),  assisted with initiation of the Two Minute Silence in 1919.  Read more here: https://www.gwc.org.uk/about-us/news/two-minute-silence-watsonian-contribution/

Prof. James Barrie Low, born in 1845 (arrived in the Cape 1893) M.A. Edinburgh, was the first Principal of the Cape Town Training College from 1 Jan 1894 to  9 Sept 1915 which was  founded under his charge.  

Dr John Hewat  - Colonel, Sir John Hewat, born in Sarawak, Borneo 1863, was schooled at Watson’s and Cape Town.

Thomas  C Shaw, born in 1869, later moved to Canada.  He was wounded at Ypres in May 1915, and was reported killed in August 1916. In the Jubilee edition of The Watsonian of 1955, it is noted that “ The North American & South African Clubs were born in 1898”.  Three of the above mentioned Watsonians were certainly in the Cape prior to 1898 so it is fair to assume they held gatherings.


Prepared and submitted: Douglas G Scott, June 2020, Cape Town.