Bishop Cotton School (Shimla)

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Bishop Cotton School
Bishop Cotton School is located in Himachal Pradesh
Bishop Cotton School
Bishop Cotton School
Bishop Cotton School is located in India
Bishop Cotton School
Bishop Cotton School

CoordinatesCoordinates: 31°05′07″N 77°10′25″E / 31.0853°N 77.1736°E / 31.0853; 77.1736
TypeIndependent north Indian boarding school for boys
MottoOvercome Evil With Good
Established1859; 160 years ago (1859)
FounderBishop George Edward Lynch Cotton
Head of schoolRoy Christopher Robinson
GradesClass 3 – 12
Number of students500 approx.
Campus size56 acres (230,000 m2)
HousesCurzon, Ibbetson, Lefroy and Rivaz
Colour(s)Cambridge blue and Oxford blue         
AffiliationIndian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) and The Indian School Certificate examination (ISC)
Former pupilsOld Cottonians

Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, (Himachal Pradesh, India) is one of the oldest boarding schools for boys in Asia, having been founded on 28 July 1859, by Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton. Bishop Cotton also founded the Bishop Cotton school, Nagpur. Not to be confused with, the Bishop Cotton Boys' School and Bishop Cotton Girls' School in Bangalore which are founded by Rev. S.T. Pettigrew. The alumni of Bishop Cotton are known as Old Cottonians. The Bishop Cotton School, Shimla celebrated 150 years of existence in 2009.

The school has produced army officers, ambassadors, judges, Ministers and politicians.

Bishop Cotton School has been ranked among the best boys only residential schools of India by media such as The Times of India, Outlook and Education World magazine.[1]


Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton was a scholar of Westminster, and a graduate of Cambridge. In 1836 he was appointed Assistant Master at Rugby by Doctor Thomas Arnold, one of the founders of the British public school system. It was the young Mr. Cotton who was spoken of as 'the model young master' in Thomas Hughe’s famous book 'Tom Brown's School Days'. The school opened for students on 15 March 1863. Though mentioned in correspondence as the Simla Public School, it never actually bore this name. The first boy, Frederick Naylor, joined the school on 16 March 1863. Bishop Cotton reconnoitered ten sites in September and October 1864, and finally approved the South end of Knollswood Spur which belonged to the Rajah of Keonthal. After negotiations the site was acquired through the intervention of the Viceroy and the foundation stone for the new buildings was laid on 26 September 1866, by H.E. the Viceroy, Sir John Lawrence, brother of Sir Henry Lawrence, founder of the famous Lawrence School, Sanawar. In September 1868, the school moved to Knollswood, the present site. Bishop Cotton was inspired by the phrase, "Overcome Evil With Good" from Romans 12:21.

School organisation[edit]

House system[edit]

School crest

The four houses are named after people who provided financial help to the school after The Great Fire of 1905.

  • Curzon House – founded in 1909, motto Facta Non Verba. was named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India (1899–1905).
  • Ibbetson House – founded in 1907, motto Nec Impetu Nec Imperio, was named after Denzil Ibbetson, the Governor of Punjab (1907–1908).
  • Lefroy House – founded in 1906, motto Mutare Sperno), was named after George Lefroy, the third Bishop of Lahore.
  • Rivaz House – founded in 1908, motto Servamus, was named after Charles Montgomery Rivaz, the Governor of Punjab (1903–1907)

House Masters[edit]

In the Junior School, from classes III to V, pastoral requirements are met and control and supervision of the boys is by the Matrons who live next to the boys in the dormitories. The children have Class Teachers who function like House Tutors for the children of their classes.

Prefectorial System[edit]

Bishop Cotton School was again the first school in India after St. Paul's School (Darjeeling), to start the Prefectorial System. Today, the school authorities consist of the four House Captains, The School Captain, and The School Prefect.


2009 stamp dedicated to Bishop Cotton School

The school has its own curriculum for classes III to VIII. Classes IX to XII follow the CISCE syllabus.

Every boy goes on for tertiary education at the end of year XII, and the success rate for the board examination is usually 100%. The teaching system is backed by a remedial address system, and since the boys and staff are residents, every teacher is accessible at any time if a child seeks help. The school has provisions for helping children with special needs. The school runs The Learning Centre, which is an education centre for non-resident, mentally handicapped children of Shimla town.

Buildings and grounds[edit]

The staff are housed in Linlithgow house. Next to this is the Holy Trinity Chapel and between them is Canning Gate and Lawrence Gate which can be identified with The Lawrence School, Sanawar crest bearing the legend "Be ready". Viceroy Lawrence laid the foundation stone of the school at the present site.

Facing the main school building are Rivaz, Ibbetson and Lefroy dormitory houses. Curzon dormitory house is at the right back end. Opposite Lefroy is the War Memorial and Museum with a cannon and an aircraft further along. Between Lefroy and the War Memorial is an arched hedge that leads past a tiny rose garden to the Headmaster’s Lodge and the Lady Willingdon Swimming Bath. In front of the porch is a fountain commemorating Sardar Sohan Singh.

The main hall of the school is Irwin Hall. Behind this is the Senior Master’s Lodge to the left of which is the park and to its right Litster Hall and the laboratories. Sports facilities include the Bawa Squash Courts and Shankar Hall for indoor badminton.


From classes 3 to 8 the boys live in dormitories under the care and supervision of Matrons, boys of the same age group are together. The Remove Building commemorates Ronald and Zoe Hakim (Staff 1969–86; HM: 1987–94). Each dormitory has about 34 boys.Class III and IV lives in Linlithgow, Class V lives in Iron's Dormitory, Class VI lives in Sinker Dormitory, VII lives Stooks and Class VIII lives in Lewis Dormitory.Dormitory From class IX the boys move up to the Main School, which dates back to the 1860s, and live in their Houses with all boys of a particular house together. They are under the direct control and supervision of their House Masters, Captains and Prefects.

Old Cottonians Association[edit]

The OCA was started in 1910 when 17 Old Cottonians assembled in the Freemason's Hall in Simla. The Old Cottonians Association is spread all over the world.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • H.S.Bedi, Justice, Supreme Court of India
  • Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, The Butcher of Amritsar
  • General Akhtar Abdur Rahman, military governor of Baluchistan and head of Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan
  • DIG Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Punjab (Ibbetson 1951–61)
  • William Kirkpatrick, MP for Preston (Conservative), 1931 (1891–96)
  • Maj Roy Farran, MLA, Minister of Utilities and Telephone, Canada (Curzon 1932–34)
  • Fali Nariman, Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India, MP (Rajya Sabha), Padma Bhushan (Ibbetson 1942–44)
  • Virbhadra Singh, Government of India (Ibbetson 1947–51)(born 23 June 1934) is the former Chief Minister of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. He has previously held several national political offices and has also been Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh state on six occasions, between 1983–1990, 1993–1998, 2003–2007 and from 2013–2017. He was the elected member of Lok Sabha in 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 and in 2009. He is a member of the Indian National Congress.
  • Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Indian economic policy-maker, member of the Indian Planning Commission in the NDA Government from 1998. He became the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office, International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 9 July 2001. On 16 June 2004, he was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission by the UPA and was reappointed to the post by the Government on 5 June 2009 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • Sukhpal Singh Khaira, member of the Legislative Assembly, Punjab, India.
  • Ruskin Bond, Padma Shri, Author (I 43–50)[2] In 1992, Ruskin Bond received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his short story collection, Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, given by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Literature. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children's literature.
  • Jeev Milkha Singh (born 15 December 1971) is an Indian professional golfer who became the first player from India to join the European Tour in 1998. He has won four events on the European Tour making him the most successful Indian on tour. He is the highest ranked Indian golfer in the world and first broke into the top 100 in October 2006.
  • Kumar Gaurav, actor
  • Lalit Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of IPL
  • Ratan Tata, Tata Group, Curzon
  • Mayank Dagar, Indian cricketer who plays for Kings XI Punjab

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "3 School Rankings of 2012". Education World.
  2. ^ Ruskin Bond tribute site Archived 15 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine. accessed July 2007

External links[edit]