Port Rex Technical High School has its roots in the Technical Section of the East London Technical College [1928 - 1968]. In 1968, day scholars of the Technical and Commercial divisions separated from the Technical College to form the East London Technical High School and the East London Commercial High School.
In 1974, on a suggestion by the then headmaster, Dr Johan Brittz, the East London Technical High School changed its name to Port Rex Technical High School. The name Port Rex has its origin in George Rex, a British sea captain who landed at the mouth of the Buffalo River in 1823. Until 1847, East London was named Port Rex. Dr Brittz was also instrumental in the design of the current Port Rex school badge.
By the early 1980s, the premises in Lukin Road had become too cramped to house three separate educational institutions. Urgent attempts were made to look for an alternative location for Port Rex Technical High School. The De La Salle College [1935 - 1976] in Devereaux Avenue became available. The premises were purchased from the Irish Catholic Brothers, for R6 million. Dr Brittz was again influential in negotiations with the Public Works Department so that the De La Salle property was allocated to Port Rex Technical High School. After major extensions amounting to R3 million, the pupils and teachers trekked to the new premises on 9 August 1982. In recognition of our former tenants, the school hall was named the De La Salle Hall.
In 1983, Mr Piet Venter was appointed as the new headmaster and an immediate effort were made to find suitable sportsfields. Port Rex Technical High School made use of the John Griffin sportsfields before building its own rugby fields, which were officially declared open in 1988.
In 1989, girls were permitted to attend Port Rex Technical High School. In 1993, Port Rex Technical High School became a Model C School with other race groups being enrolled. Mr Neville Rudman became headmaster in 1997. He was succeeded, in 1999, by the current headmaster, Mr Rob Piderit.
The school colours, Cambridge University blue and maroon, have an interesting history. Mr Lorton, early Head of Technology at the East London Technical College, studied at the Imperial College in London, where maroon was worn. Similarly, Mr Shannon, early Head of Commerce at the East London Technical College, studied at Cambridge University, hence that institution's blue colour. Our motto, "Mente-et-Manu" - meaning "With mind and hand", has its origin in the former East London Technical College. The four Houses : CHRISTOPHER, BISSEKER, COWIE, and BOWIE were named after four Board Councillors who served the East London Technical College and contributed much to Technical Education in the Border Region.