In mid 1918, during World War I, the school numbers had fallen drastically and the staff had been mobilised for war. Fresh staff members were not available. A controversy raged regarding the future of BCS. It was decided to close BCS and turn it into a preparatory school for the Army. The Head Master, Rev HM Lewis, MA (OXON) 1901-1918 resigned.
The old boys were up in arms against the proposed change, they objected most strenuously to their old school being used for a purpose foreign to its tradition.
The old boys were represented by WJ Lister, CIE, OBE (1879-84), thrice president of OCA, and WHD Ives (1883-86) both were on the board of governors of the school. They met the Lt Governor of Punjab and the Viceroy to object to the proposed change.
“THIS THEN WAS THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION OF THE OCs TO DATE”
“By their action, the old boys showed that though they had left the school, they still loved and honoured it, were mindful of its tradition and jealous of its future. This is the right spirit” – stated lord Chelmsford.
The Army had requisitioned the services of Rev FR Gillespy, MA, FRGS. After it was decided to continue BCS, Rev FR Gillespy was requested to be its Head Master. He required 50 boys to reopen the school; only 12 were registered in Jan 1919. Rev FR Gillespy who came from Quetta (now in Pakistan) was able to raise the admission to 125 boys by Mar 1919.
Earlier in 1913, 101 OCs presented the famous “The Good Shepard”, stained glass window in the school chapel. Recently the old boys have contributed about a crore of Rupees with DC Anand (R) 1947-51 leading by example.
In 1934, 4 chapters of the OCA existed with the Governor of Punjab as the Patron: – OCA (India) – Lahore; Calcutta; Peshawar and OCA (UK) – London.
At independence/partition in 1947, FM Brown (C, 1934-40, Staff 1942-47 and 1950-61), officiating Head Master 1953-54 wrote that there were only 11 life members on our ledger and by 1959 there were 200. Currently there are approximately 2500 members world wide.
CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS PART-I, 1813-1884 BCS, SIMLA
Research Done by Col. R Dewan
29 Oct 1813
George Edward Lynch Cotton born at Chester at the house of his grand mother, widow of Dr Cotton, Dean of Chester.
A fortnight later his father, Capt. Cotton, 7 Fusiliers , killed while leading a Brigade Attack at the Battle of Nivelle.
George joins Westminister School, Age 12 yrs
Entered Trinity College, Cambridge and took his Degree
Appointed by Dr Thomas Arnold to an asst mastership at Rugby soon became his favourite Housemaster and served Rugby for 16 years. He is “the model young master” in Thomas Hughes famous book “Tom Brown’s School Days” which gives a picture of the School life at Rugby.
Married his cousin Sophie Anne while at Rugby , the daughter of Rev H. Tomkinson
Appointed the second “Master” (HM) of Marlbourough School
First Indian Rebellion Mutiny.
13 May 1858
Consecrated in West Minister Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Appointed by Queen Victoria as Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan Bishop of India, Burma and Ceylon.
25 Sep 1858
Embarked at Southampton.
12 Nov 1858
Arrived at Diamond Harbour
13 Nov 1858
Arrived at Calcutta by Steam Ship “Candia”.
14 Nov 1858
Installed in St Paul’s Cathedral by the Venerable Archdeacon Pratt
15 Nov 1958
Notification of appointment issued by the Govt. of India
28 July 1859
Bishop Cotton preached in St Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta “St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, XII : 21. “Be not Overcome, but Overcome Evil with Good”. This date became our founding date and the School motto
29 Oct 1860
Bishop GEL Cotton recommended the foundation of a boys School in Simla or Mussoorie in thanks offering for His mercy. The Viceroy concurred.
Bishop Cotton’s great scheme and memorable Minutes confirmed by the Secretary of State became the Magna Carta of European Education in India.
Bishop wrote to the Viceroy that he had sufficient sums of money to establish a School in Simla and he wanted the benefit of the advice of the officers of PWD both as to the site and building. The PWD and Rev J. Robinson, Chaplain of Simla formed a committee and inspected Knollswood the Downs, Chota Chelsea, Jail Hill, Wheatfield, Tara Hall, Observatory Hill, Bouleanganj Hotel, Summer Hill, Sterling Castle and finally selected Jutogh , 4 miles West of Simla, as the site for the school.
PWD informed the Bishop that Jutogh was available as a site.
The land and four buildings were handed over to the Bishop free of cost. Purchased three private buildings for Rs 17,000/- from the India Public School Fund.
Rev S. S. Slater appointed HM at the age of 42.
27 Oct 1862
Rev S S Slater left England
Arrived in Simla
15 Mar 1863
School opened under the name of Simla Public School at Jutogh, Simla, however locally known as Bishop’s School.
16 Mar 1863
First Boy Frederick Naylor arrived, “creeping like a snail, unwilling to school!”
17 Mar 1863
Three more boys arrived and in the first year 35 boys were admitted.
With the addition of more dormitories, 65 boys were taken in during the second year.
13 Mar 1864
Bishop G E L Cotton promulgated the first Statute (constitution) of BCS.
The Bishop personally reconnoitered ten sites with the aim of removing the School from Jutogh to Simla. Finally selected south-end of Knollswood Spur.
Simla becomes Summer Capital of India.
BCS built “The Old School” house now an officer’s Mess in Jutogh, as stated by the Viceroy in 1919.
boys admitted. Max at Jutogh.
1 Jan 1866
School affiliated to the Calcutta University upto FA standard.
Raja of Keonthal was persuaded to surrender the Knollswood property covering 54 acres, 2 rods, 24.8 poles in exchange for a village near Sabathu on an annual value of Rs 492/-.
Foundation stone laid by the Viceroy Sir John Lawrence at Knollswood. The direction given by the board “the building should consist of only one room in breadth so as to allow a free circulation of air….”.
06 Oct 1866
At 6.30 p.m. Rt. Rev GEL Cotton accidentally, drowned at the River Gorai while on duty, in Assam at Kushtia in the Governors yacht “Rhotas”.
20 Mar 1867
Name changed to “Bishop Cotton School”.
Salary of HM fixed at Rs 300/-.
In two years the building to accommodate 150 boys in 6 dormitories , a small library, quarters for 5 Masters, a Chapel, HM’s house, hospital quarters for Sgt & Matron was ready and the boys shifted from Jutogh to Knollswood. The buildings were erected by Maj. Innes on a plan furnished by Crawford Campbell Esq. , CE. Built in Gothic Style cost Rs 2,12,551/-. 71 boys moved from Jutogh to Simla. It took 2 years to build BCS at Knollswood Spur . Capt. R.B. Pemberton, RE reported that there is no building in Simla which can be compared to BCS for solidity of construction.
Bishop GEL Cotton’s painting by Mr. Eddis for Rs 720/-, contributed by the boys, parents and staff, installed in the School Dining Hall. A similar painting of GEL Cotton in 1852, by the same painter, hangs at the Arnold Library at Rugby, England.
School strength 100; 7 day boys admitted for the first time.
Punjab Government also shifts to Simla during summer. HM declares a holiday for crossing 100.
21 Sep 1871
School Chapel consecrated on St Mathew’s Day.
26 Sep 1871
School Chapel named “Holy Trinity Chapel” to accommodate 30 members of Simla Public, 160 staff and boys.
First Asst. Masters double stored House erected at a cost of Rs 9,342/10/-.
07 Nov 1873
Certificate of Registration Society 18/73 filed by Rev S S Slater at Lahore.
The School strength was the largest from 1863 to 1913, that is, 124 Boarders and 17 Day Boarders = 144.
HM granted 1 year furlough after serving 12 yrs in School.
27 Jul 1878
First Founder’s Day celebrated. 28 OCs attended. Could this be our date of establishing OCA ?
05 Dec 1879
Bishop of Lahore came on the Governing Body in place of Archdeacon of Calcutta.
29 Jul 1880
First recorded dramatic performance in BCS and Simla. “A Remarkable Tragedy” by William Shakespeare. 40 boys and staff participated. Gaiety Theatre erected in 1887.
First Indian boy Suren Tagore joins BCS.
20 Dec 1881
Cricket ground (second flat) completed.
Rev SS Slater conferred DD by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Second Indian boy Vishnu Saran Singh joined BCS.
BCS introduces and joins “D Coy” Simla Volunteer Rifles (Now NCC).
23 Jul 1884
Rev SS Slater resigns w. e. f. 1 Feb 1885. Letter sent to the Lt. Governor of Punjab, Sir Charles Aitchison and granted a pension of Rs 250/-.
01 Feb 1885
After 23 years as Head Master and at the age of 65, Dr SS Slater left BCS. He died in 1904 at the ripe old age of 84 at Slemjot, South England.
[ History of BCS ]