Lucknow’s La Martiniere College Turns 175
The oldest educational institution in Lucknow, La Martiniere College, turned 175 on October 1, 2020. La Martiniere College (for boys) was founded in 1845.
La Martiniere College, Lucknow’s oldest school, turned 175 years old on October 1. The college, part of the La Martinière family of schools, has two schools on separate campuses - La Martiniere College for Boys (founded in 1845) and La Martiniere Girls' College (established in 1869).
The prestigious college was established by Major General Claude Martin who was first an officer in the French army and later in the British East India Company.
During the 1857 uprising, the first war of Indian Independence, students of La Martiniere were called to assist the troops in defending the Lucknow residency. The names of 67 boys and one ensign (old boy) and eight staff members are inscribed on the 'Roll of Honour, defence of the Residency 1857'. They were also awarded the ‘Indian Mutiny Medal’.
The Boys' College is the only school in the world to have been awarded royal battle honors.
In the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, La Martiniere emerged as a preferred school for the aristocracy of Awadh.
After India’s independence in 1947, La Martiniere dropped Urdu and replaced it with Hindi as a compulsory subject . In 1951, Mr Meredith Doutre became the first Indian principal of the college.
In 1976, La Martiniere was affiliated to the Indian Council for Secondary Education (CISCE).
La Martiniere has been discussed in literary works like ‘Aag ka Darya (River of Fire)’ by Qurratulain Hyder and Rudyard Kipling's ‘Kim’. The institute has also been the setting of a number of Bollywood and Hollywood films.
In October 1995, on the 150th anniversary of the school, President Shankar Dayal Sharma released a postage stamp of Rs 2 denomination as mark of honour. The two La Martinière schools in Lucknow are one of the few educational institutions in India depicted on postage stamps.
In its 175-year history, the school has seen two World Wars, India’s freedom struggle and independence, and two pandemics - the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the ongoing COVID-19.