'The Lawrence Asylum' was built as a memorial to Major General Sir Henry Lawrence, CB, BT, LT.COL., ADC to Queen Victoria, K.CB, who early in 1856 offered a sum of Rs.5,000 down and Rs.1,000 per annum if action were taken to found, at some Madras hill-station an Asylum similar to those already established at Sanawar and Mount Abu. In February of 1856, a meeting was held in Ootacamund to make every effort to carry out the project. From the beginning, difficulty arose as to the religious principles to be inculcated at the institution. However, a prospectus for 'The Ootacamund Asylum for the Orphans and other children of European soldiers in India', on a strictly Protestant basis, was issued. A committee was formed with Bishop Dealtry as its President.
The committee then sought the aid of the Government, but the latter said that their action would depend on the support received from the Army. It must be noted that the Commander-in-chief objected to the restriction of the institution to Protestants. The Government also stated that the institution must adopt the rules of the Sanawar Asylum from which the committee proposed to deviate.
In his will, Sir Henry Lawrence had commended the scheme (founding of an Asylum at a hill station under the Madras Presidency) to the care of the East India Company. This led to the project being revived in 1858. At a meeting held in Ootacamund, in August of the same year, it was resolved to found the institution by adopting the Mount Abu rules. A new committee was formed of which Bishop Dealtry was again the Patron. Early in 1859, the 'Stone House' was purchased at the cost of Rs.22,600 for the institution.
Thus was born what we now know as The Lawrence School, Lovedale.
Lovedale is situated about 6 kilometres from Ootacamund, on the central plateau of the Nilgiri Hills. It is about 7200 feet above mean sea level and its climate is temperate throughout the year. The school stands on its own estate, about 710 acres, and the local railway station, Lovedale, which is on the Ootacamund-Mettupalayam metre gauge hill Railway adjoins the School estate.
The School was primarily instituted on 6th September, 1858 in the memory of Major General Sir Henry Lawrence, KCB to provide vocational education to the orphans and the other children of European soldiers in India. The erstwhile School was located in a building known as ‘Stone House’ at Ootacamund in the Nilgiris. With the passage of time, the School metamorphosed into one of the premier residential public schools of the country. The Senior School is housed in a magnificent two-storey building along with a towering campanile of 130 feet, built in Italian Gothic style amidst 700 acres of pristine forests.
The School was under British administration until May, 1949, after which the school was handed over to the Government of India. On the 6th of September, 1949, the School was presented the Indian Union colour, which replaced the old King’s Colour. After the takeover by the Government of Independent India, it was run as a public school, open to all, with a 40 percent reservation of seats and a 20 percent fee subsidy, for children of Defence Personnel.
The administration of The Lawrence School, Lovedale is vested in an autonomous body known as the Board of Governors appointed by the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource development. The School is neither exclusive nor elitist and it maintains a Secular and Cosmopolitan culture. In fact, the School is a miniature India, for children from many communities from all parts of the country and overseas, study here. They are brought up in an atmosphere that fosters a spirit of co-existence and respect for the feelings and beliefs of others.