SVHTS – A BRIEF HISTORY
FEBRUARY 1927 – JULY 1964
(from the Original- "SVHTS -- A BRIEF HISTORY CIRCA FEBRUARY 1927 - JULY 1964 " -by Br. M.D.O'Donohue)
The foundation stone of St. Vincent’s School was laid by Dr. Meulman S.J., Archbishop of Calcutta, on 25 October 1919.
The history of the school dates back to1914, when a committee, Calcutta Improvement Trust was formed for opening up the congested parts of Calcutta. One of the roads, 100 feet wide, was designed to run through Chowringee Road to the Cathedral in Moorghihatta, where it was to run through the catholic male orphanage. This would leave CMO without a playground and kitchen. On a visit to St Patrick’s Asansol, Br Arsenius Ryan, the provincial of the Brothers, inspected an open partly cultivated plot of 50 bighas as a possible site for the Orphanage. The site was purchased and with the addition of surrounding plots it increased to 390 bighas, the property on which St. Vincent’s now stands. Br Joseph Moyes was selected to superintend the erection of the buildings
In 1927 Br. Gabriel Pakenham was appointed superior and the first batch of 29 boys took up residence. They were soon joined by 20 more. Official government sanction came at the end of the year. Number grew steadily as did the staff. Government stipulations were exacting so in1928 it was decided to present students for the matriculation of Calcutta University Br. Baptist Collins who succeeded Br Packenham deemed it advisable to utilize part of the extensive property for dairy farming. The herd of St Vincent’s became the admiration of the district. Br. Aidan Callaghan followed Br. Collins in 1934. Affiliation to Calcutta University was made permanent in 1937. In 1938 arrangements were made for boys to sit for the Board of Apprenticeship Training examination.
The school sailed along on an even keel till the 1939-35 ear intervened. In 1942 the British military took over the school. 350 R.A.F men occupied all the buildings except the Chapel. Seventy eight years cattle were sold for Rs. 5,715 and other accessories for Rs. 7,856. Many of the boys went to St. Michael’s Kurji and were dealt with there as a unit by the education department under the title of “St Vincent’s school, Asansol, now at Kurji”.
In February 1946 Br Adjutor O’Connor returned as superior to take back the property from the military. The buildings and fields were in a sorry state. Workers were employed to clear the debris and establish some semblance of order in the place once more. On march1st 1947the school reopened. Much of the land which as formerly cultivated by the school was let out to labours on the half and half basis. Rs. 21,117 was received from the military rental and compensation for damage to buildings and grounds
In 1949 the school took the step of becoming a technical school through the efforts of Br. J. E. McCann a building a 100 feet long and 60 feet wide was constructed and equipped for technical instruction. The provincial of the christen brothers in Australia offered the services of a qualified instructor in the person of Br Raphael Maher. The boys of St. Vincent’s were presented for the senior Cambridge examination with Metalwork, woodwork and technical drawing along with sciences, mathematics English and literature.
At the end of his term Br Maher returned to Australia in early 1955. Br C.J. Harrison came from Australia to take charge of the tech. He was joined by Br R.C. Whiting and Br. R.A. Parton also from Australia. Together they built St. Vincent’s into the professional technical institution that it is today.
-Condensed By Br. White