The History of La Martiniere

Claude Martin, the founder and namesake of the La Martiniere schools is best remembered as a colourful and eccentric adventurer. Claude Martin began life as a poor French boy, born on 4th January, 1735, to a cast maker of Lyon, Fleury Martin and his first wife, Ann Vaginay. He signed up with the French Compagnie des Indes and came to India, seeking his fortune, However, when the French lost their colony, Pondicherry, he enlisted , with their Arch enemy, in the Bengal arm of the British East India Company in 1763.

A gallant soldier, he rose to the rank of 'Major-General' in 1775 and moved on to become the go-between for the Nawab of Oudh and English. Once he had become a trusted confidante and purveyor of European luxuries to the Nawab, Claude Martin amassed himself a huge fortune.

Claude Martin was a man of vision and he left generous endowments left for founding of Schools. He had willed these for the education of children in India without specific mention of his Lucknow,  Kolkata and Lyon, Force creed.

He wanted to "give the children of both Lyon and India, the instruction which I received with so much difficulty. I want to make it easy for young people to get access to knowledge, specially the sciences."

The responsibility of giving shape to the institutions Claude Martin had intended was given to 'the Government or the Supreme Court'. Therefore, after much deliberation, in October 1832, the court at Fort William passed an order decreeing the establishment of a school 'called and distinguished by the name of La Martiniere' and thus La Martiniere was born.

The history of the school is incomplete without the mention of Sir Catchick Paul Chater, an ex-student of La Martiniere For Boys, who went on to become the benefactor of the school. To honour his contribution to the institution, Sir Paul Chater's name was included in the School Prayer.

Major General Claude Martin passed away on 13th Sept, 1800. La Martiniere, Kolkata was finally opened on 1st March, 1836. Originally a single school, it was housed in what is today the boys' school campus. In 1840, La Martiniere for Girls became a separate entity...and since then there has been no looking back.

The Girls' school has acquired a reputation for excellence in both curricular as well as co-curricular activities, and has maintained that standard till today.

The Legacy continues...

Established in 1836, La Martiniere For Girls is deemed to be one of the most prestigious and premier institutions of the country. Not only it is known for its academic excellence, but is also reputed for the innumerable extra-curricular activities it encourages.

Spread over acres, La Martiniere offers the facilities of a well-stocked library, two spacious auditoriums, an athletic ground, a basketball court and a swimming pool (situated in the present Boys school campus). Athletics, Debating, Dramatics, Social Service, Music are but a few of the varying opportunities provided to young Martinians to help find their sphere of interest.

Immense importance is given to the all-round development of the students, and they are encouraged to become sensitive, responsible individuals, who can contribute to society.

In the journey through La Martiniere and beyond, every student upholds what the school believes in - the school motto - Labore et Constantia - By hard work and consistent efforts one can reach great heights.

Every Martinian strives to reach great heights in her own way .
The Alumni is spread all over the globe and owe their success to their beloved school.

The School aims to build women who lead with integrity and compassion. According to a National Survey our school has been rated as the best girls’ school in India.


This was designed by Major general Claude Martin himself. It is supported by seven flags each bearing the design of a fish, the emblem of Oudh. These flags represent his journey over "the seven seas" to India. The devices on the escutcheon (shield) epitomise Claude Martin's Career: The ship recalls his voyage to India where, centre of the shield, he firmly established his fortunes in Oudh, as an officer of the East India Company. This is represented by the lion with the pennant. The setting sun behind the castellated building on the right of the shield, indicates the sunset of his days and the important part which the building of 'Constantia' played in his twilight years.


First Day Covers and Stamps in Celebration of 175 Years
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