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Oriental Seminary St James’ School
St. Xavie’s Collegiate School - Heritage Schools
1498    Dibyendu Banerjee    18/11/2019

St Xavier's Collegiate School, a boys’ school in Calcutta, was founded by the Jesuits, a member of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests, in 1860 and was named after St Francis Xavier, a Navarrese Catholic missionary of the 16th century, who was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622.During its early years, most of the groundwork was supervised by Fr. Henri Depelchin, the founder of the school. It will not be out of place to mention here that, the entire campus of the St. Xavier's School and College was built on the ashes of Sans Souci Theatre, which was located at 30 Park Street and resembled the Greek Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis.

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An unfortunate incident of an accidental fire in the full packed hall on an evening in November 1843, that killed one of the finest theater persons of the period, ultimately brought the curtain down on the grand English theater in Calcutta. Subsequent to the incident, the site of the grand theatre, along with the enormous building of Sans Souci was purchased by seven Belgian Jesuits in 1844, for the construction of this educational institute.

To know more about the Sans Souci Theatre in Calcutta, interested persons may visit - Sans Souci Theatre

st xaviers collegiate school

At the beginning, it was an urgent necessity to solve the space problem and start expansion work for the classrooms and to accommodate the Jesuits fathers. Due to paucity of enough funds, an appeal to the public for generous donation and assistance was published in the newspapers on behalf of the rector in 1864, which was responded well by the well-wishers. Apart from that, Fr Depelchin and his assistant and the builder Br Koppes, tried their best and personally went around collecting funds.

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The total expansion project of the school had been a long effort and it took long years, from 1934 to 1940, to complete the construction of the present imposing five-storey building of the Institution. The huge cost of the construction was collected partly from the donation by the public of Calcutta, apart from financial assistance from Belgium and the rental received from the American army that occupied the building during the Second World War.

Statue of St. Francis Xavier
Statue of St. Francis Xavier

The two buildings of the school, meant for the Primary and the secondary sections, are separated by a private pathway in between. Apart from the school buildings, the campus also housed the coeducational college and the Teacher Training college and a large hostel for the male students.

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Regarded as one of the reputed educational institutions of the city, St Xavier's Collegiate School prepares students for the ICSE and ISC examinations and offers various sports facilities to them.

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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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