The Calcutta Boys' School was founded by the Rev. James Mills Thoburn (Methodist Missionary to India, and later Missionary Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church), and was opened in 1877. It was endowed by the late Robert Laidlaw and others interested in the education of the sons of the Anglo-Indian and domiciled European community.
THE ORIGIN of The Calcutta Boys' School is closely linked with the establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church (now the MCI) in India. On January 9th, 1873, the Reverend Dr. William Taylor, a famous evangelist, founded the work of the Methodist Church in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and established the first Methodist Church in Zigzag Lane, Bowbazaar, which in 1874 shifted to Dharamtalla Street (now Lenin Sarani) and was later named the Thoburn Methodist Church in memory of Rev. James Mills Thoburn (1836-1922) D.D.;LL.D., (later Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church).
Rev. Dr. William Taylor was succeeded by Rev James Mills Thoburn in 1874. It was Bishop J.M. Thoburn who founded The Calcutta Boys' School in 1877. The school was first located on the rear veranda of the Thoburn Church Parsonage, then located on Dharamtalla Street opposite the Thoburn Church (currently the B.H. Smith & Co.) with its opening in Mott's Lane, and then housed in a room on Corporation Street near Whiteaway's. Later, the seat of learning was shifted to the room at the corner of Princep Street opposite Wellington Square while the resident students continued to live in the Parsonage.
Main Building in 1893
The school finally acquired its own building at the current location on S.N. Banerjee Road in 1893, thanks, in large measure, to the generosity of a man who could be regarded as the chief patron of the school : Sir Robert Laidlaw KT (1856-1917). Sir Robert Laidlaw (M.P. for the East Renfrewshire, Scotland, from 1906-1910 and founder-chairman of the great business houses 'Whiteaway, Laidlaw and Co.' and the 'Duncan Durian Rubber Estate, Ltd') donated the land and erected the Main building in 1893 and the Renfrew House in 1902. He endowed the school with the 3 magnificent 'Waverley Mansions' in 1903 and established The Calcutta Boys' School Endowment Trust in 1904.
THE HOUSE SYSTEM : was inaugurated in 1916. The names of the houses were THOBURN (Red), LAIDLAW (Green), WARNE (Light Blue) and PRITCHARD (Dark Blue). Bishop F.W. Warne, a Canadian by birth, arrived in Kolkata as Pastor of Thoburn Methodist Church in 1888 and played an active role in social work in the city and also in sustaining CBS in its early years as a board member and thereafter as Chairman from 1900 (having been elected Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church). Mr. C.J.A. Pritchard was a valued member of the school committee. Later, however, in 1933, HENDERSON (Blue) House replaced Pritchard House in honour of Reverend George S. Henderson, an eminent Pastor of Thoburn Church and founder Chaplain of CBS, and the colour of WARNE House was changed from Light Blue to Gold.
In the list of Principals two great names stand out – Mr. H.C. Fritchley and his son-in-law, Mr. C. Hicks. Till 1931 when Mr. Fritchley (the first Anglo-Indian Principal of CBS) assumed office, there had been a series of foreign Principals who were mainly English or Church men. In 1931, the school finances were at such low ebb that the Managing Committee resolved to close down the school. Then Mr. Horace Christopher Fritchley, a teacher in CBS since 1912, offered to run the school and put it back on its feet. He introduced a series of austere disciplines. He also abolished the system of giving out prizes on Sports' Day and taught his staff and pupils "to love the game beyond the prize". Within a very brief period, The Calcutta Boy's School cleared all debts and was financially stable. The Middle building, erected in 1962, has been named The Fritchley Building to commemorate the dedicated services of Mr. Horace C. Fritchley. In 1953, Mr. Clifford Hicks, a teacher and Headmaster of CBS, took over as Principal. During his tenure of 22 years, Mr. Hicks became a legendary figure in the field of education. He was nominated as Member of the West Bengal Assembly in 1967. Mr. Hicks emphasized both high morals and high academic standards. If he is remembered for raising the school to a high level in terms of academic results and strict discipline, he is also remembered for his inspiring Chapel messages. Ex-students fondly refer to those days as the 'Golden Days of CBS'. The school library has been dedicated to the memory of Mr. Clifford Hicks.
Under the able guidance of the present Principal & Secretary, Mr. Raja McGee,The Calcutta Boys' School has extended beyond its mother campus on S.N. Banerjee Road to disseminate the light of education in Sonarpur and Beliaghata as well. The new branch schools were established at Sonarpur in 2008 and in Beliaghata in 2010.The Calcutta Boys' School together with its branches is distinctively a Christian Minority, Anglo-Indian institution and every influence is exerted in the formation of Christian character and the development of true citizens of India.
School Anthem :
1. Hail Alma Mater we sing to thee,
Thou more than worthy of our loyalty,
Guide of our youthful days,
Our praise to thee belongs,
Accept Alma Mater now our heartfelt songs.
2.Hail! Alma Mater, we sing to thee,
Enshrined forever in our memory,
Thy Living Spirit leads us,
In the way of truth,
To thee Alma Mater, rise the songs of youth.
3.Hail! Glorious C.B.S we pledge to thee
Ourselves, our love and our loyalty,
Here we have learnt
What it is that makes a lad so strong,
With thee C.B.S is just where we belong.