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HERITAGE SCHOOLS OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – St. James’ School

St. James School Kolkata - One the most oldest private school in India

Located at 165, AJC Bose Road, St. James’ School, established on 25 July 1864 by Bishop George Edward Cotton, is a CNI (Church of North India) school. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious private schools in India and is associated with St. James’ Church, Calcutta.

During the first twenty years, the School had to struggle hard for its existence. In fact, due to intensive financial difficulties the School had to be closed in December 1904. As per available records, there was an upsurge of sentiment on the part of the parents, the old boys and the well wishers at the closure of the school. Though with financial assistance from the Church Education League, the school reopened in 1907, it ran into trouble again and closed again in 1918. However, tenacious spirit of the school helped it to open its doors again in 1924 under The Rev. Thomas H. Cashmore, the Rector, who was also the Vicar of St. James’ Church.

Rev. Cashmore established a new spirit in the life of the church and the school. He had a strong feeling for the traditions the school had established, particularly in the field of sport, especially the winning of the Beighton Cup in hockey in 1900. He encouraged sports as an essential factor for development of character. He left India in 1933 and was succeeded by Mr. I. M. Valentine, who followed his predecessor’s work during his tenure from 1933 to 1950.

Between 1942 and 1946, the School had to face the impact of World War II. During that period, air raid shelters were constructed in the school compound and the school premises was requisitioned by the RAF. The boarders were temporarily rehabilitated to Bishop Westcott School, Allahabad and to Christ Church School, Jabalpore. During those days the school had no other way, but to function from two rented premises on Lower Circular Road and Ripon Street. Finally, after the end of the Great War, the school moved back to its own premises in July 1947.

Since the beginning, St. James’ School has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back in adverse situation. It has reached new heights and living up to the motto of Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria – For the Church and For the Country. In the meantime, lots of structural changes have taken place during  the last decade. The school now has a state-of-the-art sports facility with a covered basketball court and two swimming pools and well equipped science laboratories and computer centre.

St. James School - One of the most oldest and prestigious private school in India
St. James School – One of the most oldest and prestigious private school in India
St. James School logo
St. James School logo
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.

2 thoughts on “HERITAGE SCHOOLS OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – St. James’ School

  1. Thank you Mr Banerjee for such a beautiful and detailed write up. I hail from St James and had no clue that the school was closed twice during the early days. It also thrills me in knowing that my schools shelter was used during the world war 2 days. It gives me goosebumps. Thank u for sharing the facts of my school.

  2. Thank you very much for your commendable comment. In future we would expect more such inspiring comment from you in respect of the other features.

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