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HERITAGE SCHOOLS OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – Pratt Memorial School

Dedicated to the memory of Archdeacon John Henry Pratt, an educationalist, Pratt Memorial School, situated at 168, Lower Circular Road (AJC Bose Road), was founded in the year 1876, primarily for the education of Anglo Indian community and the Christian Children of the locality.

An extremely kind hearted man, Archdeacon John Henry Pratt was keen to impart education to the girls, who were mostly neglected in the society. It is said that, one morning while walking toward St James Church, he came upon a few girls playing on the road. When asked why they were not in school, they replied that they are not attached to any school. Investigating the matter, he found them to be orphans from the nearby orphanage, which was known as the European Asylum Orphanage. The kind hearted gentleman made arrangements for the children to attend the St James School. The church community under the leadership of the said Archdeacon Pratt realized the urgent need for a girl’s school in the locality and arrangements were made to purchase an old vacant building near St James Church. However, Archdeacon Pratt did not survive long enough to see his dream come true as he became a poor victim of the deadly disease cholera and passed away on 28 December 1871, while in Ghazipur, India.

A girl’s school was the vision of a great man, but the actual founders of the school were the Clewer Sister. In 1881, the Clewer sisters arrived in Calcutta to take charge of the hospitals. However, the Bishop of Calcutta was so impressed with their dedication and hard work, that he invited them to run Pratt Memorial School. With time, the news of the committed hard work and persistent tenacity of the Sisters spread all over India and even to England. As a result, financial assistance from generous people in support of the School began to pour in. The nuns and students also raised money by sewing clothes and binding books.

Since the old building was far from adequate for the growing numbers of students attending the school, an old vacant orphanage building in the same area, was purchased for the school. In the meantime, part of the old building was also demolished for further extension of the School building. By 1883, the renovation of the school building was completed. The front compound was bought in 1889, and further renovations of the main building of the school, which now looked L-shaped, were completed in 1913.

The school prepares students for the Indian certificate of secondary education (ICSE) examination (class X) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination (class XII).

Pratt Memorial School - Inside the main gate
Pratt Memorial School – Inside the main gate
Pratt Memorial School Building
Pratt Memorial School Building
Pratt Memorial School Basket Ball Court
Pratt Memorial School Basket Ball Court
Pratt Memorial School inside Staircase
Pratt Memorial School inside Staircase
Pratt Memorial School Laboratory Corridor
Pratt Memorial School Laboratory Corridor
Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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