William Archer Way, Rector from 1911–1928, felt that one of the weaknesses of the old School on the Donkin Reserve, was the absence of a Boarding House. Under his energetic leadership, the Grey buildings at the present site in Mill Park were built. The work on the new school started in 1913 but the buildings were only ready for occupation in 1915. These new school buildings included a Boarding House. The first group of boarders was 11 boys who followed Mr Way from Graaff Reinet where he had been Headmaster. The new Boarding House boasted a Rectory, four dormitories, studies and day rooms for 60 boys and an English, country-style dining room that could cater for 120 boys. By 1919, Grey had 124 boarders, far too many for the now too small building to hold. The two balconies off Crusader and Halse dormitories were enclosed to accommodate the increasing numbers and it was only in 1974, under Rector Edkins, that some major alterations were made and additional dormitories were added. The balconies have become balconies again. It was then the first time that dormitories were arranged by standard and the present junior dorms, Black Watch East and Black Watch West, then accommodated the seniors. The seniors were later moved to Crusader and Jerusalem dorm where they still are today.
The Boarding House was divided into two separate houses, namely Way House and Meredith House, and they competed as such against each other and other day-boy houses during inter-house competitions. Way and Meredith Houses even had their own separate Senior Housemasters and the building is still divided into a Way House side and a Meredith House side. As the numbers of pupils in the school increased without much of an increase in the Boarding House numbers, it was felt that the Way and Meredith Houses could not compete against the larger numbers in the day houses and it was decided that the Boarding House would compete as one House against the other day Houses. Thus, in 1980, Meriway House was born. Today, boys are still divided into Way and Meredith, but only for the sake of tradition. Boys still sit in the Dining Hall on the Way House side, or Meredith House side. Way House boys traditionally wear red during inter-house competitions and Meredith boys wear black.
Over the last few years, the number of applications to the Boarding House continued to increase as more space had to be created to accommodate the increase in numbers. The Boarding House now has a capacity of 150 boarders.
Traditions and Ethos
Like many other traditional schools boarding houses, Meriway House has many traditions which have developed over the years. Gentlemanly behaviour is one of the top priorities of the House and one of which the “Bodas” are extremely proud. Waiting at doors for any senior (Grades 11 and 12, prefects and staff) is taken very seriously. Greeting all visitors, staff and parents and standing up when an adult passes is deemed as very important. “Fangs” are handed out to any boy who breaks a rule. After a certain number of “fangs” in a week, a detention session could be on the cards.
One of the older traditions is the “Old Pot/New Pot” system. Every Grade 8 student (New Pot) has an “Old Pot” (Grade 12). This Grade 12 student will guide and help the Grade 8 throughout the year, from helping with home work, to helping the Grade 8 on how to deal with the break-up of a girl friend! Any problems that a new pot might experience, is first handled by the Old Pot. If he cannot solve the problem, then it is then brought by the Old Pot to the Senior Housemaster who then deals with the problem. This creates a special bond between the Grade 8 and his Old Pot which has lasts for many years after school. In return for his services, the New Pot will do some chores for the Old Pot.
All New Pots must learn the names of the students as well as the rules in Meriway House. New Pots that have passed this test may wear a button on the lapel of his blazer. Students are always very proud of passing this test and becoming a New Pot. The learning of the names does create a great team spirit as the boys get to know each other fairly quickly after the start of the year as they can call each other by name.
At the end of the year, the New Pots put on a New Pot play in which all the experiences of the past year are acted out. This is part of being “de-newpotted” and the Grade 8’s then become fully fledged “Boda” students.
All boarders must wear their bashers/cheese-cutters downtown. This has been a tradition for many years.
Many traditions exist in Meriway House – too many to mention here, but all aim to improve the spirit and camaraderie amongst the boarders.
Meriway House has eight large dormitories which caters for 11- 16 students. In addition to this there are four smaller dormitories which sleep 4, 5, 6 and 7 students respectively. All prefects have their own 2/3 bedrooms which are located close to the dormitories for control purposes.
Each bed has built in drawers under the bed and a cupboard at the end of the bed. This is standard for all beds in Meriway House.
A computer laboratory with 25 computers is available for the boarders to use. This laboratory is linked to the school network via a 10GB fibre-optic backbone. There is Internet access so that school projects can be researched.
The entire hostel has WiFi coverage for students and staff to use to assist with school related work and comes with certain terms and conditions. The WiFi system is linked to the school's Internet and is managed accordingly. No games, downloads or movies are allowed and a fair usaged policy is in place.
There is a small project room that is utilised by boys when projects have to be done for school.
A games room is available for the boarders. It has two billiard tables, two table-tennis tables and a dart board. A music centre is also available.
A large television room is available for the use of the boarders with two large televisions, with access to certain DSTV channels, especially Super Sport, National Geographic, and the History Channel.
All the boarders have access to the braai area which is situated right next to Meriway House. It has become tradition that the boarders who stay in for the weekend have a braai every Saturday evening and then relax around the fire until late at night.