On June 10, 2017, I had posted links to Book 1 of “Glimpses of a Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale.” This covered the period of the first 50 years of The Lawrence School, Lovedale from 1858 to 1908. As is commonly known, the School was named after Major General Sir Henry Lawrence KCB (1806-1857) who initiated the idea of providing schooling for the children of British soldiers in India, a large number of whom were orphans. He made the first financial contributions and helped raise funds for this purpose. He and his wife Honoria had the satisfaction of seeing their dream come true with the establishment of the Lawrence Asylum at Sanawar in 1847. This is now known as the The Lawrence School, Sanawar. Some years later, in 1855 this was followed by the Lawrence Asylum at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. In the memory of Sir Henry, the main subject of our book which is the institution started as the Ootacamund Lawrence Asylum, was established in 1858.
The period from 1908 to 1958 saw some of the most dramatic periods of the School’s history. Under the Rev Padfield, it grew from its origins as a small asylum set up for orphans of British soldiers, to become a prestigious Royal Military School in 1925 at a time when the British Empire was in its heyday. This period also saw two World Wars ( 1914- 1918 and 1939-1945) and towards the second half of the century, the rapid diminishing of Britain’s imperial power. Many parts of the erstwhile Empire attained Independence, which for India came in 1947. The School had to re-orient itself from being a British Royal Military School to becoming an Indian public school managed by the Government of India in 1949, at a time when the fledgling nation itself was finding its feet.
As mentioned before, much of the material for Book 1 (1858 to 1908) came from the School archives and from research using published literature of that period. Nitya Cherian Matthai and Thomas George who were on the staff of the School prepared the initial material which was then shared with some of us who made our contributions. Obviously, there was no one alive from this period who could contribute to this writing! Fortunately, the writing of Book 2 was helped immensely by the contributions and reminiscences of Old Lawrencians from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s who are very much alive. In writing Book 2, we also had the benefit of issues of “The Lawrencian” the school magazine first published in 1911, over a hundred years ago.
In a few days from now, Book 2 will join Book 1 in the website of the Old Lawrencians Association. I shall provide the link as and when this is done.