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Calcutta Girls High School St. Johns Diocesan Girls Higher Secondary School
Pratt Memorial School - Heritage Schools
2383    Dibyendu Banerjee    23/06/2019

Located on 168 Lower Circular Road (renamed AJC Bose Road), Pratt Memorial School, founded in the year 1876 primarily for the education of the Anglo Indian community and the Christian Children of the locality, was dedicated to the memory of Archdeacon John Henry Pratt, an educationist.

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Archdeacon John Henry Pratt was an extremely compassionate soul and he was keen to impart education to the local girls, who were most neglected in the society. It is believed by many that, one morning while he was proceeding toward St James Church, he came upon a few local girls playing on the road. As he asked, why they were playing instead of going to school, they replied that they do not belong to any school. On further investigation, he was shocked to know that, those little girls were helpless orphans from the nearby orphanage, known as the European Asylum Orphanage. Immediately, the kindhearted person unhesitatingly contacted the St James School, situated nearby and made arrangements for the children to attend the said school. The church community under the leadership of the said Archdeacon Pratt also realized the urgent necessity of establishing a school for girls in the locality and necessary arrangements were made to purchase an old vacant building near the St James Church. Unfortunately, Archdeacon Pratt did not survive long enough to see his dream come true as he became a poor victim of the deadly disease cholera and passed away on 28 December 1871, while in Ghazipur, India.

Pratt Memorial School
Pratt Memorial School

A girls’ school in the locality was the vision of John Henry Pratt, but the actual founders of the school were the Clewer Sister. The Clewer Sisters arrived in Calcutta in 1881, to take charge of the hospitals. However, the Bishop of Calcutta was so impressed and amazed with their dedication, sincerity and hard work, that he invited them to run Pratt Memorial School.

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With the passing of time, the news of the committed hard work and persistent tenacity of the Sisters spread all over India and England and this yielded financial assistance from generous people in support of the School. Apart from that, the nuns, along with the students also raised money for the school, by sewing clothes and binding books.

Pratt Memorial School
Pratt Memorial School

Gradually, as the Pratt Memorial School flourished, the old building became inadequate to accommodate the growing numbers of students. Consequently, an old vacant orphanage building in the same area was purchased for the school.

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Meanwhile, a portion of the old building was also knocked down for an extension of the existing building. While the planned extension and renovation of the building was completed by 1883, further renovations of the main building of the school, which now looked L-shaped, were completed in 1913.

Pratt Memorial School

In the beginning, Pratt Memorial School catered primarily for the Anglo Indian and the European girls, but it became open to all from 1884. According to the syllabus of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, Pratt Memorial School prepares students for the Indian certificate of secondary education (ICSE) examination (class X) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination (class XII).

Pratt Memorial School
Calcutta Girls High School St. Johns Diocesan Girls Higher Secondary School
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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