Northwood traces its origins back to the founding of the co- educational Durban North High School on the site of the present Northlands Girls’ High in September 1949. It started with 12 staff members and 215 pupils under Headmaster, Mr George J. Armstrong. By 1951, numbers had grown so rapidly that it was decided to build a second high school in Durban North, and split the existing school into a boys’ school and a girls’ school.
On 30 September 1953, the boys marched out of the gates of the old campus to the present Northwood campus in Kensington Drive. Northlands Boys’ High School opened with 338 boys and 17 staff members, under Mr Percy Hardaker. It made rapid progress in both academics and sport, and numbers continued to grow, requiring the building of yet another boys’ school in the area.
The new Beachwood Boys’ High School opened in Gleneagles Drive in 1963 with 135 boys and 7 staff members under Headmaster Mr E.T. (Ted) Lewis. Both schools continued to make fine progress as they rivalled each other for the enrolment of the best academics and sportsmen in Durban North.
At the end of 1971, Mr. Lewis retired from Beachwood and was succeeded by Mr A.J.M. Wilkinson. In 1975, he became Headmaster of Northlands Boys’ High. The thaw in the relationship between the two schools had begun, but the rivalry continued. During 1989 it was proposed that, for economic reasons, the two boys’ schools in Durban North merge to form a single school. In 1990 Beachwood and Northlands merged to form Northwood. It was possible, with an adjustment of colours, to merge the school badges and retain both mottoes. Mr. Ian Corbishley was made Headmaster of the combined school until 1996, when Dr P. Hawkey acted as Headmaster until Mr A.P. Jordan succeeded him during 1998 for a period of 14 years . Mr P L McAvoy was made Headmaster in 2013.
Northwood has built on the firm foundations established by its founder schools to produce a proud reputation of academic, cultural and sporting achievements. Its management and staff continue to provide leadership and expertise which enable each boy at Northwood to develop according to his potential.
The School Museum, under the curatorship of retired history teacher and old boy Mr. Theunis Eloff, has a number of interesting artefacts collected over the years from both Beachwood and Northlands Boy’s High Schools. The museum is now housed in what used to be the original Northlands Refectory.