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Who was Con Cowan?


Mr Charles Conrad Cowan [1887 – 1967]

Charles Conrad 'ConCowan was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, in 1887. He moved to Johannesburg in 1902, where, in 1919, he married Florence Alice Jones and they had two sons - Allan and Conrad.

In 1911 he founded what later became the Burlington Printing Co. (Pty.) Ltd., of which he was chairman. For thirty years he served on the Executive Committee of the Associated Master Printers Association of the Transvaal and was President from 1946 - 1954. He was also President of the Master Printers Association of South Africa from 1955 - 1958 ​and was founder of the Young Master Printers' Association movement in South Africa.

He took an interest in public life, serving on the Committee of the Governor-General's National War Fund and on the Governing Body of the King Edward VII School for twenty years, part of which time he served as Chairman. He was a member of the Witwatersrand School Board and served as Chairman for eleven years. While Chairman of the Juvenile Affairs Board, he was instrumental in creating the magazine, "Careers Guide". The Con Cowan Junior High School* in Bunting Road, Auckland Park was named after him.

 In 1947, Mr and Mrs CC Cowan were presented to the King and Queen during the Royal Visit.

A keen sportsman, he played tennis for Johannesburg against the English team which toured South Africa in 1910.

He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa for over fifty years, remaining a member of the Session until his death on 10 April 1967.

*The Con Cowan Junior High School was incorporated into the Goudstadt College of Education (1961), Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) (1987) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) (2005). Throughout all the changes, the original school building retained the name and is currently known as the Con Cowan Building.The old school hall metamorphosed into the 180-seater Con Cowan Theatre, with raked seating, a control box, a box office, storage and technical equipment added over several years until 2011. The Con Cowan Theatre came into regular use in 2012.