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HERITAGE SCHOOLS OF COLONIAL CALCUTTA – St. Paul’s School

St. Pauls School Calcutta

The pivotal role played by the Christian Missionaries in establishing a modern system of education in India and in spreading education to the varied sections of society, can never be denied. They came forward to spread the light of education side by side with evangelism.

At the beginning of the 19th century a tremendous interest was seen among the common people to learn English. The missionaries took the opportunity and an English Medium school was opened in front of the Mission office building in April 1822, known as Mirzapur English School. The first superintendent of the school was Mr. J. A. Jetter, a German Missionary. By November there were just sixteen students in the school.

Rev. Krishna Mohan Mukherjee
Rev. Krishna Mohan Mukherjee

Located at 33/1 Amherst Street, the School is adjacent to the Holy Trinity Church and opposite to the Vishudhanand Saraswati Marwari Hospital. From 1832 to 1836, Rev. Krishna Mohan Banerjee was in charge of the said school. It was for his earnest intention and persistent efforts that the school was able to start a hostel. He was also the first Bengali teacher in the school. Rev. James Long was in charge of the school from 1841 to 1848. Apart from his regular duties, Rev. Long translated the much controversial drama “Nildarpan”, written by Dinabandhu Mitra.  As a result, the drama was banned and James Long was jailed and fined by the ruling British. However, after serving his terms, he again continued to serve the school for more than twenty years. Throughout his tenure, the Institution did not charge any fees from the students, it remained a free school, while the mission took the  responsibility to bear all the necessary expenses to run the institution. James Long was also closely connected with the Holy Trinity Church, which is very near to the School. In fact, in those days the Church was popularly known as Long Sahib-ka Girja.

James Long
James Long
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church
Vishudhanand Saraswati  Marwari hospital
Vishudhanand Saraswati Marwari hospital

In 1872 a two story building by the name of Jubilee House was added to the school. In 1958 the institute became a Higher Secondary school with the Arts and Science departments. The Primary and the Secondary Departments of the school came under the West Bengal Government Free Scheme on 1st January 1980. Accordingly, the Calcutta Diocese formed two separate Steering Committees for the Primary and the Secondary Departments, with permission from the West Bengal Government.  These two committees have ever since worked in close compatibility and solidarity for the betterment of the school.

Surprisingly, in the calendar of Calcutta University the name of the School was not mentioned as St.Paul’s School till 1970-1971 – till then it was mentioned as Mirzapur Mission School. In 1997 the school completed 175 years of its glorious existence. The school, which once started by the Missionary Society with only sixteen boys, has now become a reputed institution of quality education. At present, St. Paul’s School is under the Diocese of Calcutta, Church of North India.

Main gate St Paul's school and St Paul's Cath Mission college
Main gate St Paul’s school and St Paul’s Cath Mission college
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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