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Name: TURNER, Harold Agnew

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Birth Date: 27 May 1889 Mumbai, India

Death Date: 21 Nov 1970 Brighton

First Date: 1915

Profession: DC; Founded Pembroke House School

Area: Kijabe, Nairobi

Married: In Leckhampton 3 Sep 1919 Norah Walker b. 9 Oct 1888 Nasirabad, India, d. 9 Feb 1978 Colchester

Children: Kathleen; Charles Hawkins Agnew (3 Mar 1923 Bognor Regis-1990 Surrey)

Book Reference: Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Pembroke, East African Annual 1931/32. Hut, Red 22, O&C, Gazette, Red 19

School: Cheltenham, Pembroke College Cambridge MA, LLB

General Information:

Pembroke - EA Syndicate land - ' ...... A Captain Alan Gibson acquired some of this land, hoping to farm flax. A man of ambition, he set about building himself a mansion, but ran out of money when the programme was about three quarters finished. Forced to sell the incomplete shell - known as Gibson's Folly - and 110 acres of land about it was bought by one Harold Turner, who completed the building as a preparatory boarding school for boys of European descent: Pembroke House. [1927]. .........…  
Harold Turner, son of a British father and Swiss mother, was educated at Cheltenham then Pembroke College, Cambridge. Coming to East Africa as an officer in the Colonial Administration, he rose to be District Commissioner of Embu, during which time he became fluent in the Embu language, before resigning and turning his hand to other matters. He worked briefly with the East African Standard, then farmed but lost money and fell on such hard times that his wife had to run a boarding house. It was at this stage in 1925 that Harold Turner became interested in education and joined Jesse and Cramb in setting up a preparatory school - Kenton College - at Kijabe. This was not Cramb's first attempt: he had come to Kenya in 1920 and was associated with a short-lived school - The Grange - at Lumbwa.
Turner's association with Cramb did not last long. He and Cramb (the Moke as he was known to two decades of Kenton pupils) clashed as personalities and their relationship did not improve when Turner (a tennis blue at Cambridge and winner of the Kenya Doubles championship more than once in the 1920s) drove a tennis ball into Cramb's eye, blinding it permanently. For the rest of his life Cramb wore an eye patch. Turner left Cramb to start his own school at Gilgil. Not having sufficient money of his own to buy the land (even though it sold at less than three shillings an acre) from Captain Alan Gibson or to complete the buildings, he brought in a junior partner - Gerald Pink (nicknamed 'Kali') - who also served as a master until the end of 1932 when he resigned..
Turner named the school Pembroke House after his Cambridge College, with the aim of making it a 'normal' British boys' prep school. ........ Inevitably Turner's pupils gave him nicknames. In his early years he was known as 'Tinker'. The origin of this is obscure and Richard Wilson, who was there at the time, suggests that it was possibly a bowdlerisation of 'Stinker'. In the 1940s Tinker, which never really caught on, had changed to 'Tunk', and Tunk he remained until he retired. His wife was 'Ma Tunk' who ran the catering and his mother, who lived with them, 'Grannie'. Again, as is so often the case with nicknames, they gradually evolve, which makes it difficult to establish any exact origin. Suffice it that Tunk seems to have been a single syllable with roots in both Turner and Tinker (or Stinker).
The Turners had two children, the elder a daughter Kathleen, who briefly served as a stand-in teacher in 1934/35. She was initially nicknamed 'Girlie', but later and with a little more imagination and despite her glamorous looks 'The App.' - (short for Apparition). The younger Turner was a boy, Charles, who was a pupil in the school in the mid 1930s and in his father's footsteps became a teacher. Pembroke was thus very much a Turner family concern. In 1947, in Pembroke House's 20th year, Harold Turner sold the school to Christopher Hazard and retired. A humane man who, despite not being a professional educator at the start, had established a good British prep school on the equator and become a great Headmaster. For this he is remembered affectionately by the majority of those who passed through his hands.
In leaving Pembroke House he did not entirely abandon education. He moved to Nairobi and established a small, personal service for coaching pupils needing extra tuition.
Pembroke - Richard Wilson's recollections - 'Turner epitomised the benevolent dictator and we saw little of Mrs Turner. In the background was his mother, Grannie Turner, chiefly notable among us for her wig which kept slipping, and their daughter Girlie (Kathleen) who was looked on  as a mysterious and embarrassing part of the Turner menage. Their son Charlie fitted in as a pupil surprisingly living his double life without any embarrassment to anyone.
Red 25 - Master, Kenton College, Kijabe.
Red 31 - Pembroke House, Gilgil
Red 22 - H.A. Turner, Farm 584B, Rumuruti
Gazette - 10/3/15 - Harold Agnew Turner - Asst. DC; 24/3/15 Asst. DC Eldoret
Gazette 23/2/1921 - Resignation as Asst. District Commissioner wef 1/2/1921
Hut also has H.A. Turner 1922 Farm 584B Rumuruti ?

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