St. Joseph's School- North Point


180 Degree Panoramic view of St. Joseph's School, North Point

1888---1898 | 1899---1908 | 1909---1918 | 1919---1928 | 1929--1938 | 100-Years-Ago

The Government of India acquired Darjeeling as a health resort in 1835. By 1846 the town had an excellent girls school conducted by the Loreto sisters. Several attempts were made to open a similar institution for boys, but for years none was successful. Finally, in 1887, when jurisdiction over the Catholic community in Darjeeling was transferred from the Bishop of Patna to the Archbishop of Calcutta, the Jesuits there were able to satisfy a long-standing request of Calcutta Catholics and establish a school for boys in Darjeeling.

On the slope above the presbytery was a long, low building locally known as Sunnybank. As a provisional measure, this would now house the new school. Accordingly alterations were immediately decided on and carried into effect.

To bear the heavy responsibility of maintaining the infant institution the authorities could find no one more able than Fr. Henry Depelchin, the founder of flourishing colleges in Calcutta and Bombay and pioneer of the Zambezi mission.

The veteran missionary landed in Calcutta in January 1888, and a few days later assumed charge in Darjeeling. February 13th heralded the birth of the new school. The next day classes formally opened with 18 boarders and 7 dayscholars present.

That Sunnybank provided only temporary shelter for the school was clearly realized, and it was on this understanding that the Fathers cast about anxiously for a new and permanent site. The spur of Birch Hill called the North Point location was the final choice. The transfer of the land was effected on July 10th.

The building of the structure was entrusted to Brother Eugene Rotsaert, who commenced with characteristic energy the levelling of the site, approximately 2,000,000 cubic feet of rock and soil had to be removed before building could begin, and a force of some two thousand men was employed for the purpose. Below the school site, the Maharaja of Burdwan had an extensive field known as Ladbrooke Farm. It was acquired on long lease and the property taken over at a moderate rental. Thus came to a close the year 1888. The work at North Point proceeded apace under the strenuous lead of Brother Rotsaert. Alignments were taken on May 2, 1889 and the foundations marked out. By May 10, 1889 the excavation of the foundations was completed and construction was started without delay.

By December the plinth was four feet high, and in January, 1890 the arches were begun. On April 27th His Grace blessed the foundation stone. By December, 1890 the eastern wing had been roofed over.

By June that year 1891, the whole building had been roofed over, and Brother Rotsaert now devoted his entire attention to the rapid completion of the interior. In December, to the surprise and delight of all, the building was declared fit to be occupied, and on December 8th, Fr. Depelchin blessed the new school.

It was during this year, 1892, that Mr. E. H. FitzGerald joined the staff. From then until his death in 1945 he remained with the school and contributed enormously to its success by his generous and whole-hearted devotion.

Classes reopened on February 18th, 1892, for the first time at North Point. The boys were delighted with their new surroundings and ever so proud of their school, already recognized as the premier school of Darjeeling.

In spite of the financial difficulties at St. Joseph’s material improvements were actively taken in hand from the very first year of its existence. The dormitories were panelled, spacious dressing-rooms were fitted out, and the equipment of the two laboratories-for physics and chemistry-was considerably improved. Important changes were made in the course of studies, with a thorough revision.

The first year at North Point was a decided success. The appreciation of the general public for the efficiency of Jesuit education was manifest beyond all doubt; and the boys’ systematic and thorough ways of studying, bore ample witness to the good wrought by the Father efforts.

An important and most welcome change was the creation in 1893 of the front flat, by the complete removal of the unsightly mound which stood between the building and the Lebong Road.

During the year 1893 Darjeeling residents were surprised by the excellence of the school sportsmen. St. Joseph’s met St. Paul’s for the first time in a cricket match on April 3rd, and to the amazement of many the result was a glorious victory for the North Pointers. Ten days later they won again in a season of mostly victories.

The school year of 1894 began with a serious earthquake, occuring about midnight of February 21/22 but the school suffered absolutely no damage.

Cricket flourished this year under the wise and firm direction of the captain, F. Boswell, who led the team from victory to victory. Such indeed was the success that at the close of the year the team organized and carried through a successful tour of Calcutta. During the year the first cricket pavilion was erected. Though it cannot bear comparison with the present pavilion, it certainly served the purpose. The boys excelled in athletics, and secured several “firsts” at the public sports of the District. After successfully guiding the school for almost four years, Fr. Neut was, in 1895, called away to Calcutta. His successor was Fr. John Schaefer, one of the two Jesuits present when in 1887, the Jesuits succeeded the Capuchins in Darjeeling. After only a few weeks in office Fr. Schaefer took sick, and soon his condition grew rapidly worse. On October 14th, after only five months in office, he left Darjeeling and was replaced by Fr. C. De Clippeleir.

In cricket and football the school was well to the fore. Under the matchless guidance of G. O’Brien Power the cricket team was well nigh invincible, and the football XI reached the finals of the first open football tournament to be held in Darjeeling, only to be beaten by a military team by a margin of one goal.

To meet the wishes of many old boys eager to remain in touch with their Alma Mater, the school paper, the North Point Annual, was started. North point cricketers of 1896 were presented with a new pavilion built on the site of the old, which had proved inadequate. Largely responsible for the new one was a generous benefactor, Captain Lord, who had long been a warm friend of the School.

The disastrous earthquake of 1897, which wrecked Darjeeling and reduced to ruins most of the towns that lay in its path, did not leave the college untouched. Such was the intensity of the shocks that twisting motions in visible waves rapidly succeeded each other; a terrifying rumbling was heard throughout, and the cracking and rending of houses and trees produced a horrible din. The school building was oscillating more than a foot-and-a-half from the vertical, and all expected its immediate collapse. To the architect’s credit it survived the ordeal, and though much plaster fell and some minor cracks appeared, its safety was unimpaired. The western wall had suffered most, so to ensure its greater security it was firmly bolted to the main building by iron ties and binding plates.

In the following year, 1898, two serious landslides from exceptionally heavy rain caused much inconvenience. The resulting damage necessitated immediate attention, and the heavy expense incurred was wholly unanticipated.


MONDAY : Winter Camp Begins

FRIDAY : Winter Camp Ends
MONDAY : School Office Reopens
11 SATURDAY : All Boarding Staff Arrive
14 TUESDAY : Class 10, 12 Boarders Arrive
15 WEDNESDAY : Orientation Class 10,12
16 THURSDAY : Orientation Class 10,12
17 FRIDAY : Orientation Class 10,12
18 SATURDAY : Staff Orientation / Class 6 9 Boarders Arrive
20 MONDAY : LD, UD, SD Classes Begin
25 SATURDAY : Class 4, 5 Boarders Arrive
26 SUNDAY : Class 3 Boarders Arrive
27 MONDAY : PD Classes Begin
28 TUESDAY : Investiture

WEDNESDAY : Cricket Season Begins
FRIDAY : Last day of Payment of fees
SATURDAY : PD/LD/UD/SD Parents Teachers Meet Cricket Captain vs Secretary
11 SATURDAY : SUPW Classes 9-12 Cricket Match Staff Vs Students
12 SUNDAY : Cricket Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
13 MONDAY : Inter-house Basketball 3 pm
18 SATURDAY : Cricket Match NP Vs SP
19 SUNDAY : Feast of St Joseph Cricket Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
25 SATURDAY : Month End Outing

SATURDAY : SUPW Classes 9-12
SUNDAY : Cricket Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
FRIDAY : Basketball Carnival at DGH
SATURDAY : Half- Day Inter-Class Singing Competition LD,UD / Basketball Carnival at DGH
14 FRIDAY : Good Friday
16 SUNDAY : Easter
19 WEDNESDAY : Lawn Tennis NP Vs SP
21 FRIDAY : LD Spell Bee
22 SATURDAY : Fr Kinley 8 & below Basketball / Cricket Match NP Vs MH
24 MONDAY : Inter-house Volleyball 3.00 pm
28 FRIDAY : PD Inter-Class Choral Recitation/Students from Singhania School, Mumbai arrive for Student Exchange Program
29 SATURDAY : Month End Outing / Edinburgh At NP
30 SUNDAY : Inter-house Basketball/Class 11 Boarders Arrive

MONDAY : Class 11 Classes Begin
THURSDAY : Edinburgh at NP
FRIDAY : Science & Technology Exhibition
SATURDAY : Edinburgh at NP / Science & Technology Exhibition
SUNDAY : Football Season Begins
TUESDAY : Football Match Captain Vs Secretary 3.00 pm
12 SATURDAY : LD Quiz Volleyball Carnival at SP
13 SATURDAY : SUPW Classes 9- 12 Volleyball Carnival at SP
15 MONDAY : Football Match Staff VS Students at 3 pm
20 SATURDAY : 8 & below Volleyball / Lawn Tennis NP VS SP
21 SUNDAY : Football Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
22 MONDAY : Inter-house Football 3.00 pm
26 FRIDAY : PD Concert
27 SATURDAY : Month End Outing
28 SUNDAY : Football Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
29 MONDAY : Football Selection
30 TUESDAY : Football Selection
31 WEDNESDAY : Football Selection

SATURDAY : SUPW Classes 9-12
SUNDAY : Football Cup-tie PD/LD/UD/SD
15 THURSDAY : First Semester Exams Begin
16 FRIDAY : Exam
17 SATURDAY : Exam
19 MONDAY : Exam
20 TUESDAY : Exam
22 THURSDAY : Exam
23 FRIDAY : Exam / Summer Holidays Begin at 10.30 am
23 FRIDAY : Educational Exchange Program to China for 7 days

SUNDAY : Inter-house Football
12 WEDNESDAY : Football NP Vs SP
15 SATURDAY : ISC Cultural Fest (Quiz Debate/Singing/Dance/elocution) Joraj Memorial Football
16 SUNDAY : Inter-house Football
19 WEDNESDAY : Football Match NP Vs MH
22 SATURDAY : Half-Day Musical Concert / TT Carnival At NP
27 THURSDAY : Shahid Divas
28 FRIDAY : PD Elocution
29 SATURDAY : Month End Outing / Alumni Quiz
30 SUNDAY : Inter-house Football
31 MONDAY : Feast of St Ignatius / Play - Inigo

WEDNESDAY : Football Match NP Vs SP
THURSDAY : Vernacular Elocution Hin-NP, Nep-SP, Ben-MH
SATURDAY : Half Day LD, UD Elocution Badminton Carnival at SAS
MONDAY : Football Match NP Vs SP
11 FRIDAY : PD Quiz
12 SATURDAY : SUPW Classes 9-12
15 TUESDAY : Independence Day / Boarding Activities
17 THURSDAY : ICSE/ISC Football Carnival at GMS
18 FRIDAY : ICSE/ISC Football Carnival GMS
19 SATURDAY : ICSE/ISC Football Carnival GMS
21 MONDAY : Athletics Season Begins
26 SATURDAY : Month End Outing
28 MONDAY : Athletics Heats

FRIDAY : NM Masters Elocution at LC
SATURDAY : Bill German Inter-School Quiz for Primary Division
TUESDAY : Teachers Day
SATURDAY : Swimming Carnival At MH
16 SATURDAY : SUPW for Classes 9-12
18 MONDAY : Height & Weight (Kurseong)Mahalaya
19 TUESDAY : Height & Weight (Kalimpong)
20 WEDNESDAY : Height & Weight (Darjeeling)
22 FRIDAY : Concert/ Art/ Photography Exhibition
23 SATURDAY : Sports Day 1967 & 1992 Batch Reunion
24 SUNDAY : Concert at 1 pm 1967&1992 Batch Reunion / Dinner for Boarder Parents 5.30 pm
25 MONDAY : Rectors Day 8.30 am/ 1967&1992 Batch Reunion /Puja Holidays Begin at 11 am
30 SATURDAY : Dussera

MONDAY : Gandhi Jayanti/ All Boarders to return to School after Puja Vacation
TUESDAY : Classes Resume
21 SATURDAY : Bhai Tikka
30 MONDAY : PTI Meeting At GMS

SATURDAY : Meeting of heads of Anglo-Indian Schools at GMS

15 FRIDAY : Second Semester Exams Begin
18 MONDAY : Second Semester Exams
19 TUESDAY : Second Semester Exams
20 WEDNESDAY : Second Semester Exams
21 THURSDAY : Second Semester Exams
22 FRIDAY : Second Semester Exams / Winter Vacation Begins at 3 PM
23 SATURDAY : All Boarders Leave
30 SATURDAY : Results