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La Martinière Calcutta

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La Martinière Calcutta
La Martinière Calcutta (c. 1850–1870) by Francis Frith
11, Loudon Street (Boys)
4, Rawdon Street (Girls) 54

West Bengal
700 017

MottoLabour et constantia
(By Labour and Constancy)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian (Anglican)
DenominationChurch of North India
Established1 March 1836; 188 years ago (1836-03-01)
FounderMajor General Claude Martin
Sister schoolLa Martinière Lucknow
La Martinière Lyon
School boardICSE (year 10)
ISC (year 12)
SessionApril to March
Chairmanthe Rt. Rev. Dr. Paritosh Canning (Bishop of Calcutta)
PrincipalJohn Stephan (Boys)
Age2+ to 18+
Campus typeUrban
HousesHastings (Red), Charnock (Green), Martin (Blue), Macaulay (Yellow)
Colour(s)White, Black and Amber (Boys)
White and Dark Blue (Girls)
Song"Hail! Hail! The name we own" by Frederick James Rowe
YearbookThe Chronicle (Boys)
AffiliationCouncil for the Indian School Certificate Examinations
BenefactorPaul Chater (Boys) (Girls)

La Martinière (informally known as LMC) comprises two independent private single-sex schools for day scholars, with a few boarders, located in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), West Bengal, India. They were established in 1836 in accordance with the will of the French soldier of fortune and philanthropist, Major General Claude Martin. They are Christian schools, controlled by the Anglican Church of North India and independent from the government, with English as the primary language of instruction.[1][2] La Martiniere Calcutta is often ranked among the best day schools in the country.[3]


Founder of the school

La Martinière, Calcutta, was founded by Major General Claude Martin, a French soldier, born and brought up in Lyon, France in 1735.[4] Claude Martin came from a bourgeois family in France, where his father was a casket maker.[5] Not stepping into his father’s shoes, Martin decided to go into the French army. As part of the army, Claude Martin was sent to Pondicherry, India, in 1752, to serve as a troop member of the French army stationed in India.[4] From 1752-63, Claude Martin served in the French Army before joining the East India Company.[4] As part of the British Army, Claude Martin was stationed to serve in the Calcutta base of the Company. Later, Martin commanded the cavalry for the Nawab of Awadh, Shuja-ud-Daula.[4] During his military career in India, Martin became known as a reputable soldier and commander and became very wealthy.

As part of his job, Martin traveled a lot between Calcutta (modern-day Kolkata) and Awadh (modern-day Lucknow). Inspired by Masonic ideas, Martin decided to set up relief measures and charities to help the poor in Lucknow and Kolkata.[4] Among his many pursuits, Martin wanted to set up educational institutions in both these cities, and left a large portion of his wealth for the founding of such schools in his will, before dying in 1800.[4]

Claude Martin in his will, regarding the founding of La Martinière Calcutta, writes-

"I GIVE and bequeath the sum of two hundred thousand Sika Rupees to the town of Calcutta for to be put at interest in Government Paper or the most secure mode possible, and this principal and interest to be put under the protection of Government, or the Supreme Court, that they may devise an institution the most necessary for the public good of the town of Calcutta, or establishing a School for to educate a certain number of children of any sex to a certain age, and to have them put prentice to some profession, when at the conclusion of their school and to have them married when at age, and also wishes that every year premium of few rupees or other thing and a medal be given to the most deserving or virtuous boy and girl or both to such that have come out of the school".[6]

Establishment and Early Curriculum

The settlement and enforcement of Martin’s will were complicated and required significant legal proceedings.[4] Nearly 40 years after Claude Martin’s death, in 1840, the Supreme Court of Kolkata finally approved Martin’s will and gave permission for the establishment of La Martiniere, Calcutta, with one school for boys and one for girls.[6] The rules and regulations for the La Martiniere Schools in Calcutta were founded in 1836 and reflect the educational priorities of that era.[6] The primary objective of the schools was to equip the children with the skills required to earn an honest livelihood.[6]

The curriculum for boys included English, grammar, writing, geography, history (with a particular emphasis on Britain and British India), Hindustani, Bengali, mathematics, natural history, and mechanical philosophy.[3] Girls were taught the same subjects, with the exception of mathematics and mechanical philosophy, and also learned needlework, knitting, straw plaiting, and music.[6] Classes were held six days a week, and students had half a day off on Saturdays. Regular breaks were taken during Easter and Christmas, and the anniversary of Claude Martin's death (13 Sep) was also celebrated as a holiday, with a dinner for the students and medals awarded to deserving boys and girls.[6]

Founder's Day

Founder's Day continues to be celebrated on 13 September every year with a service in the school hall, usually, although not always, attended by an Old Martinian as the Chief Guest, and medals awarded to students. The Founders Gold Medal (for academics) and silver medal for Good Conduct have been awarded since the school's founding with the Principal's Medals for Best Sportsman and Best All-Round Student being awarded from 1960 onwards. There is also a social dance attended by the senior boys and girls and a football match between the school team and a team representing La Martiniere Old Boys.

See also


  1. ^ La Martiniere history at Tripod Archived 30 June 2012 at accessed 10 August 2007
  2. ^ Oudh fish coins at the British Museum accessed 10 August 2007
  3. ^ "Loreto, La Martiniere among top-10 schools in the country - Times of India". The Times of India. 11 September 2013. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, A Very Ingenious Man. Claude Martin in early colonial India (Oxford University Press, 1992) [British Library reference: YC.1993.a.3360]
  5. ^ Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, 'Martin, Claude (1735–1800), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 , accessed July 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Rules and Regulations of La Martinière, founded in Calcutta, under the Will of Major General Claude Martin. With An Extract of the Will of the Testator, The Decree of the Supreme Court with regard to the same, And other Documents. (Calcutta, 1835) [British Library reference: 8365.c.2]

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La Martinière Calcutta
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