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(A Brief History 1867 - 1886)
Diocesan school comes into existence:
was born in July, 1867. It grew out of a need
for a good school in a salubrious
climate for the education of European boys of
modest means. This project was the
brain-child of a Dr. Condon, Mr. H.S. Reid
and others and under the patronage of the Rt.
Rev. Robert Milman, DD, the seventh
Metropolitan of India. The idea took shape as
the Naini Tal Diocesan School, as Sherwood
was once called.
was to be expected, there were financial
problems, but the response to appeals
to the public for funds was overwhelming and
it was not long before a mixed school under
Miss Bradbury was started at 'Petersfield'.
The success of this early beginning was
reflected in the large-scale rejection of
applications for admission, and the direct
outcome of this pressure on the school was to
separate the girls from boys, the later
shifting to 'Stoneleigh' in the
vicinity of the Ramsay Hospital.
Mention in 'The Himalayan Gazetteer':
under the wisdom and guidance of its first
Principal, the Rev. E. Baston (1869-1880),
who gave to the school its identity and
philosophy, the school rose to new heights.
To quote that authoritative work, E.
Atkinson's 'The Himalayan Gazetteer' of 1882:
'In 1872 the number of pupils increased to
100, but still many applications were refused
in consequence of the want of accommodation:
The Committee then appealed to the general
public for aid in erecting proper school
buildings and met with generous response....
In 1873 the Sherwood estate with house and
magnificent grounds was purchased by the
committee for the boys school and is perhaps
the finest site and establishment of its kind
in India. The report of the examiners show
that both in the internal economy and in the
character of the instruction imparted, the
Diocesan schools thoroughly fulfill the
designs of their founder's.
Sherwood Sojourn :
thus did the school acquire the luxurious
surroundings of 'Sherwood ' Estate, the
property of General Huthwaithe. While one
part of the school under Mr. c. Duggan was
accommodated at 'Longview', the other was
housed at 'Sherwood', now part of the
Government house complex.
Never before or since in its history has the
school enjoyed so magnificent an estate with
its wide open spaces, rolling lawns, huge
orchards and a shooting-range (now the Golf
Links) offering a range of over 600 yards.
Those were idyllic days when life moved at a
leisurely pace. The chief examination was the
Calcutta Entrance which consisted of 4 sums,
a piece of dictation and some reading. Boys
who got the sums right and passed in
dictation and spelling were promoted to the
next class ! A far cry, indeed, from the
grueling demand on the children of today.
At this point of time in 1880 the whole
school was accommodated at 'Sherwood' and the
establishment consisted of 100 boys, 8 staff,
and 2 'pakhal' ponies used to carry up water
This was the year of the great landslide.
Sherwood Estate, situated in the South of
Nainital was unaffected, but the following
year (1881) a violent cyclone tore off the
roofs of the buildings and for some weeks
some of the boys were farmed out at the
Military camp while the others lived in tents
on the school grounds. It is strange how
history repeats itself. By a strange
co-incidence, a hundred years later, during
the Easter weekend of 1981, a similar cyclone
brought devastation of a similar kith
disastrous consequences on the school budget.
1881 is memorable for another reason : The
school colours, Maroon, bottle-green and
white, borrowed from the Sherwood Foresters,
and 'elite regiment of the British
Army', was registered by a sports
committee under Mr. Hancock.
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