Under the patronage of Charles John Canning, the then Governor General of India, Calcutta Girls' High School was founded in 1856 as a boarding school in an area known as Bow Barracks. From its inception, the school, precisely situated at 118 Princep Street, Calcutta 100071, was supported by the Evangelical sector of the city and in 1877 the responsibility of the management of the School was entrusted to Bishop J. M. Thoburn of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1878, the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of Methodist Episcopal Church sent Miss M.E. Layton to take the charge of the School, who greatly improved the academic standard and discipline of the institution. Subsequently, they also sent Miss M.C Hedrick in 1885, who was appointed to assist Miss M.E. Layton. Ms Emma Knowles, an American missionary like Miss Layton, took the charge of the School in 1890 and introduced the kindergarten department, as well as training in vocal and instrumental music in 1892.Drill classes were started by the Principal, Miss Widdifield in 1899 and in the same year Calcutta Girls’ School created history, when it sent only those girls to High School, who passed in the 1st division. At the beginning of the new century, Ms. M. Storrs took the initiative to set up the school library and reading room in 1901.
The year 1911 can be marked as an important date for the School, since in that year, as many as 16 girls were sent for the Senior Cambridge Examination and the School was renamed as the Calcutta Girls’ High School. To encourage the extra-curricular activities of the girls, clubs for Drama, Piano, Art & Craft, Badminton and etc were introduced in 1933 and in the cultural field, annual concert started as an annual event since 1938.
Recognised as one of the leading schools for girls in Calcutta, Calcutta Girls' High School is now owned and managed by the Methodist Church in India and is under the supervision of the Calcutta Christian School Society. It is also under a local Managing Committee, headed by the Bishop of the Bengal Regional Conference as the Chairman. The medium of instruction is English, but students need also to be proficient in either Hindi or Bengali. The school is recognized by the Deputy Director of Secondary Education (Anglo Indian Schools) West Bengal and is also affiliated to the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi).
The School started with the aim to provide high quality education at an affordable cost and has grown with the years under the efficient and experienced guidance of a succession of dedicated educationalists. Apart from that, it has also taken a bold step of promoting education for the underprivileged. The India Pathsala functions as a night school in the same premises for the needy children of the locality. Set up in 1973, the students of Indira Pathsala are also provided with vocational training in knitting and sewing.