St Thomas' School is a kindergarten to higher secondary school for boys located in Kidderpore, India. It has one of the largest campus areas in the city of Kolkata comprising of three football size fields, two basketball courts and children's playgrounds. The campus also houses the St. Thomas' College of Engineering and Technology and has a church called the St. Stephen's Church. The school has adjacent division St. Thomas' Boys' School (STBS). The students of this school are nicknamed as Thomasites (boys).
The moment one enters No. 4 Diamond Harbour Road one is brought to book with nature for a sprawling 26 acre campus with a scenario one rarely comes across in the city, leaves one envious both to teach and be taught in an environment which reckons in being very close to a health resort.
Today the Institution has a skyline juxtaposed with administrative regular school and hostel blocks leaves us wondering as to how deep are its roots. The ethos of the school seem to echo the essence of an age old manuscript. “A Proposal for the Institution of a free school society in Bengal, 1789, which Declares” “The want of some Public Institution in the large Settlement, for the education of the Children of both sexes, has been gradually becoming more sensible as the place itself has increased”.
Delving into the past the school, can trace back its origin to 1789 when the document “A proposal for the Institution of a free school society in Bengal suggested the settling up of a fund to finance needy children of the society”.
In 1790 a 15 bigha plot with a house was bought at what subsequently came to be known as “Free School Street”. Both the boys’ schools operated from there. Today part of the land houses the food and rationing offices. It was only at the beginning of this century that the authorities decided that the “Free School Street Premises” was “Unsuitable” and thought of shifting the school to Ranchi.
The idea was abandoned as parents objected and the choice fell on “Kidderpore House” at 4, Diamond Harbour Road. In 1914 the “Free School Society” approached the government for “Kidderpore House” and the school started in full from there in 1916. In 1917 it was decided, that the “Free School” would be converted, into the St. Thomas’ School for better management and in 1923 the “Calcutta Free School” was officially named St. Thomas’ School after the Apostle on whose day the original “Free School Society” had been founded.
World War II saw “Kidderpore House” converted into a military hospital and the school was shut down. The boys section was shifted to Takdah near Darjeeling. With the war coming to an end the boys were shifted onto the campus for the first time.
There were radical changes after independence when the Viceroy and Governor General left India and the nation’s President became patron and the school opened door to non-Europeans and other communities.
Over centuries the sky like at “4, Diamond Harbour Road” has been interspersed with new buildings that have come up to accommodate the boys.
There has been no looking back since 1789!
NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA