Thursday, 3 May 2018

Lawrence School, Sanawar. a tradition-bound colonial school founded by Brig.Gen. Henry Lawrence

Lawrence school, Sanawar, HPKasauli Castle
The Lawrence School, Sanawar, founded in 1847 is one of the
most prestigious and oldest surviving boarding  schools in Asia. The institution is co-educational.

This  boarding school in Himachal Pradesh, is located in the picturesque Kasauli Hills, District of Solan. The founder of this school  is Sir Henry Lawrence, a distinguished British military officer of that time and he was ably assisted by his wife Honoria.  Brig. Gen. Lawrence died in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1847. He is remembered in the Indian subcontinent as founder of the four Lawrence Military Asylums. Sanawar is about an hour's drive from Chandigarh, Punjab and six hours from New Delhi. The school is  set on a serene  land covering 139 acres in the  mountainous, heavily wooded  terrain with pine, deodar and other conifer trees. 
The nearest railway station is Sonewara.   
The name "Sanawar" is the name of the hill (height 1,750 metres MSL) where the school stands.
Henry Lawrence en.wikipedia.org/
Above image: Brig. Gen. Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence, engraving after unknown photographer. An efficient  British military officer with East India Company with vast experience. He had a fair knowledge of Hindustani and Persian........................

The school was established by Henry Lawrence with a view  to providing  education for the orphans of British soldiers and other poor white children.  It  was founded on 15 April 1847 as Lawrence  Military Asylum  with 14 girls and boys initially  under the care of Lawrence's sister-in-law Mrs. George Lawrence and in 1853, the school had 195 pupils. Later in 1858 the name  was changed to Lawrence Royal Military School and finally to the present name. Between 1848 and 1858, the Cholera outbreak impacted this school that saw the death of 13 students. In its wake, sanitation got a special priority at schools.
..Corridor, Lawrence School Sanawar Justdial
Here, the tradition of military training is of the highest order. In 1922, Prince of Wales presented the Royal Military School with new colors. It was among the first schools to have received The King's Colors and got the honor three times. The alumni and students of this school  served the WWI and WW II with distinction in the highest tradition of bravery.  After independence, it came under the Ministry of Defence and later  Education. 

The foundation of the school was laid on 25 August 1925 and  the building was named after Field Marshal William Birdwood (13 September 1865 – 17 May 1951). This school building is built in Gothic style and is made of gray granite.  The construction  cost of the of the buildings was paid by Lawrence and other British officers, with a major  contribution from Gulab Singh, the first Maharajah of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Military officer Hodson, who later became famous for Hodson's Horse, took care of the  construction of the school's first building  and is still commemorated by the annual Hodson's Run.

In the early days,  the school admitted some Anglo-Indian children but Lawrence  wanted to give  preference to those of "pure European" parentage, as they  were more susceptible to  suffer from the heat of the plains.
Parker hall & library. Lawrence School Sanawar Flickr
 The Indian government issued a commemorative  postal stamp on 04 October 1997 to mark the sesquicentennial celebrations of the founding of the Lawrence school, Sanawar.

This school  did something  extraordinary which other schools would think twice before attempting or  withdraw from it in the middle. It created  a world record in  May 2013 by   becoming the first school in the world to have sent a team of seven students  on an expedition to climb Mount Everest. The motto of the school  "Never Give In" is quite appropriate. and it embodies the spirit of the school. Rudyard Kipling's reference in Kim, " Send him to Sanawar and make a man of him" brings out the kind of training the students used to get here in those days.

Headmaster's house, Lawrence school, Sanawar, HP> flickr.com
Sanawar is affiliated to India's Central Board of Secondary Education and  Children are admitted to Sanawar in February each year, at the age of nine and ten years. Class Five (Lower III) is preferred as the entry point. Admission is  based on an all India level competitive entrance examination, held in the preceding November, followed by an interview.
Presently, it is one among the half a dozen elite public schools in India.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lawrence_School,_Sanawar