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Peterhouse Boys

Ellis House



Assistant Housemaster–  Mr Luke Kunatsa

Head of House – Connor Burdett


Ellis House was the first boarding house built at Peterhouse in July 1954 and the foundation stone was initially laid in its incomplete walls by Sir Ellis Robins, a Rhodes Scholar, the resident director of the British South Africa Company, Chairman of Ruzawi Schools Limited and the first Chairman of the founding governors of Peterhouse. It was opened in 1955, initially known as “House No 1” and officially named Ellis House in 1956, together with Paget and Grinham Houses. Its first Housemaster was Mr Hugh Hodgkinson.


Ellis is a double storey building housing a maximum of 73 boys. When full, C and B Block boys are accommodated in dormitories but work in ‘toyes’. A Block boys sleep and work in ‘super-toyes’ housing four boys each, whilst 5th and 6th year seniors have their own single rooms. There are presently 63 boys resident in Ellis and a further 13  D Block boys at Tinokura.
A common room is shared by all Ellis boys and contains a table tennis table and its own satellite television reception. “Corridor Cricket” and four-a-side soccer are daily occurrences within the House.  The House was completely gutted and refurbished in 2010.


Since January 2014, Dave Kirkman has held four positions at Peterhouse Boys : Sports Director, Head of Rugby, 1st XV Rugby Head Coach and Housemaster of Ellis House.

Dave was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved often throughout the country in his youth due to his father’s profession in farm and game reserve management. He attended six different primary and secondary schools with most of his time spent at Plumtree High School. His last two years of high school were at Falcon College (aka, “finishing school”).

After graduating high school, Dave journeyed to America to study Horticulture at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. Following university, he worked in the flower industry — first in the United States and then in Zimbabwe — specialising in growing, consulting, distribution, supply and logistics. Dave returned to the US in 2003 as Branch Manager for Kennicott Brothers, a leading flower wholesaler headquartered in Chicago. In Nov 2005, Dave’s spirit and love for Zimbabwe called him home. He and his family have been living in Zimbabwe ever since.

During his time at Michigan State University, Dave met Jenny — a Chicago native. They married in Chicago September 2002. They have four children — Anne (16 yrs), Liam (14 yrs), Ayva (12 yrs) and Taidhg (10 yrs) — all who are educated through the Peterhouse Group of Schools. Jenny works part time at Peterhouse as a Careers Officer.

Dave has extensive rugby experience as both a player and a coach in America and Zimbabwe. In 1990, he captained the Collegiate Select Side in Michigan and represented CARFU (Chicago Area Rugby Football Union). He Captained the Michigan State University Rugby team for 4 years and in 1992, led MSU to a National title that has not been repeated for 27 years. He represented Zimbabwe Rugby from 1993 through to 1998, and was Zimbabwe Captain from 1996 to 1998. His professional career began with a test match against Wales in May 1993. In total, Dave acquired 56 caps, 21 of which were during his tenure as Zimbabwe Rugby Captain. Since retiring from professional rugby, he has coached many years in the Zimbabwe Independent school system at St John’s College, St George’s College and for the past six seasons, at Peterhouse Boys.