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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

The “Eton” of India

The “Eton” of India.

Very many of the sons of the Railway employees go to La Martiniere College, at Lucknow, to complete their education.
(Courtesy The B.B. and C.I. Rly. Annual, Bombay.) The Residency, Lucknow.

(Courtesy The B.B. and C.I. Rly. Annual, Bombay.)
The Residency, Lucknow.

Here they are specially educated for any Department of the Indian Service, such as Medical, Opium, Engineering; Woods, Police, etc. Martiniere is the “Eton” of India. It holds a mutiny (1857) service record of consequence. During the great sieges of Lucknow the “Watergate Post” was entrusted to that College; the younger students loading and passing up the muskets of that period to the older, who did the fighting. An obelisk stands on the spot to commemorate the incident.

General Claude Martin, a French soldier of fortune, entered the military service of the Hon. the East India Company, attained to high rank and died in September, 1860. He had become enormously wealthy, and built a palace which he named “Constantia.” Architecturally, this palace is unique in construction; a veritable hybrid of Italian, Hindu, and Persian modes; yet withal an imposing building. Under his will General Martin endowed three colleges, Lucknow, Calcutta, and Lyons (France), his birthplace. Of these the College of Lucknow is the chief, and takes for its motto, “Labore et Constantia,” thus embodying the original name of the palace.

Under the terms of the will it is provided that so many boys be educated “free of charge,” others paying “quarter” or “half” fees according to circumstances. These boys are termed “Foundationers,” “Semi” and “Semi-demi-Foundationers.” As the boys wear a uniform it is impossible to tell which is which, and no distinction in treatment is permitted. Where a man loses his life in discharge of duty, and leaves his widow and family in straitened circumstances, the College steps in as regards education. Every boy is a volunteer, the College having its own officers. The status of Martiniere may be gathered from the fact that, either the Viceroy or one of the Governors, attends at and helps in the distribution of prizes at “break up,” and the “guard of honour” is provided by the students. The College grounds are extensive, over a mile square, stretching from the Canal (Ganges Gumti) to the Gumti River in an opposite direction. The building itself is fully a quarter of a mile from wing to wing, and four storeys in height, centrally. At the extreme top are two crossed arches supporting the flagstaff, from which the Union Jack floats triumphantly, as it were, on all gala days.