The Lawrence School Cemetery

(1872 - 1950's)

History of the School and Cemetery

 

Major General Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence (1806-1857), voluntary soldier, surveyor and philanthropist along with his brothers Alexander and George started  an endowment to provide asylum and subsequently schooling to the orphaned children of the British soldiers in India whose numbers were growing in the mid nineteenth century. The institutions which were established in Sanawar (in 846), Mount Abu (in 1856), and Ghora Galli (in 1860) and in the then Toda land of  the blue mountains in Nilgiri (called Whote Mund or Whatacaymund that turned into Ootacamund in 1867) became educational institutes with the name of the Lawrence Schools. With the recognition of the British Royalty in 1920'S the school at Lovedale was named the Lawrence Memorial Royal Military School in 1925.

 

The main school building with its Italian Gothic details was designed by the great British architect Robert Chisolm and executed under Military Engineers as was the norm in the East India Company using, curiously, Chinese convicts from the Madras prison. The crafted living monument was perhaps one of the earlier works of the said architect who has designed some of the best arts and crafts period buildings in India namely the Premadasa Hall in Maharaja Sayyajirao University in Baroda, Napier Sea Museum in Trivandrum, Senate House, Madras, PWD Building and Chennai Central Railway building in Chennai and possibly more. His signature styles involved exposed brick masonry, use of domes etc.


Situated in 11-12-degree North Latitude and 76-77-degree East Longitude at 7330' above MSL, it also has its own (first European) cemetery on ancient Shola (tropical sloping grasslands, Colai in Tamil) grassland, now well wooded and fenced with a masonry compound. It is a peaceful heritage precinct protected remarkably by the school. There are presently 142 tombs, including a few of fairly recent times. The Cemetery has been restored during 2018 by a few Old Lawrencians.

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