The La Martinière Girls College, Lucknow was founded in 1869 in accordance with the last will and testament of French adventurer Major General Claude Martin with the objective of providing “liberal education” with English as the medium of instruction. The school was initially located at Moti Mahal and known as Lucknow Girls’ School.
Subsequently after the government donated Khursheed Manzil and the land surrounding it to the La Martiniere Trust for the express purpose of running a girls’ school, the school shifted from Moti Mahal to its present site in 1871. The school is open to pupils aged five to 18 years of all religious denominations. The school is affiliated with the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination and offers its class X ICSE and class XII ISC exams. It currently has more than 2,200 students on its muster rolls.
Khursheed Manzil or the “House of the Sun” is the main building of La Martiniere Girls’ College. It houses the college office and residential quarters for students. It is a large double storeyed mansion marked by six low towers. Planned by Saadat Ali Khan, it was completed by his son Ghazi-ud-din Haider. It is built in the form of a castle fortified by a twelve foot wide moat over which there was formerly a drawbridge. During the first War of Independence, 1857, Khursheed Manzil served as the Mess House of the officers of the 32nd Regiment.
Apart from the main building, Khursheed Manzil, additions and improvements have been made. There are now fourteen main college buildings connected by covered corridors, housing large and airy dormitories, dining halls, library, laboratories and classrooms. The college auditorium is a separate building, located near the main entrance. The college also has a small hospital in the charge of a qualified nurse and an Honorary Doctor. The college grounds apart from the lawn, gardens and orchards; also house badminton, basketball and tennis courts, a large playing field and a swimming pool.
There are 69, spacious, well lit and ventilated classrooms on campus. To promote the spirit of competition, to facilitate the teaching learning process and to encourage well-decorated classrooms an award has been instituted for the best classroom of the month. A photograph of the winning classroom is featured on college website.
There is a well stocked Fiction and Reference Library and the college subscribes to a variety of magazines and newspapers. A computer in the library gives students access to the internet. There is a library lesson every week in the school curriculum. The library is also equipped with audio and video CDs on various subjects. The new junior school library has books for students of classes I to V.
There are two computer laboratories in the school, one for the junior school and the other for the Middle and Senior School. The senior school computer laboratory houses 40 computers with internet connections.
The Physics Laboratory
The physics lab is huge and spacious and is a favorite haunt of the senior girls. It is upgraded with new apparatus frequently and offers all modern facilities.
The Biology Laboratory
The Biology lab natural treasure trove displaying an elephant’s skull, preserved twin foetuses, a giant pitcher plant, creatures from the sea and colourful models and charts. The lab that can seat 40 students is well equipped with microscopes, glassware and reagents for the practical classes.
The Chemistry Laboratory
This lab is one of the best in the city. About 250 students perform experiments every week with very high quality apparatus. Only branded chemicals are used.
La Martiniere Girls’ College introduced Biotechnology as a subject for Class 11 in 2003.
The Biotech laboratory is equipped with apparatus prescribed by the council — Autoclave, Laminar airflow cabinet, Water bath/shaker, Incubator, Hot air oven, Magnetic Stirrer, Centrifuge, Hot Plate, UV Trans illuminator, Spectrometer, Gel Electrophoresis apparatus, PH Meter etc.
The Meditation Centre was built by the children themselves in 2003. It is the venue for moral science and yoga classes or quiet meditation.
Sports facilities include a volleyball court, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a large playing field and lawn tennis courts.
Art, music and dance, and audio-visual rooms are also provided on campus.
The school is affiliated with the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) and offers its class X ICSE and class XII ISC exams.
At the class XII level it offers three streams – humanities, commerce and science.
Class X students are prepared for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and class XII students for the Indian School Certificate Examination.
Extra-curricular activities such as art, dance, drama, elocution, debating, etc are encouraged.
Lower Preparatory to class X: Girls who have attended recognized schools, which teach in the English medium and are able to receive instruction through the medium of English at their level, are considered for admissions. Admissions are normally made in March against existing vacancies on the basis of entrance tests and interviews. New students coming on transfer are considered for admission in July subject to the conditions mentioned above.
Admission to class XI is not automatic. All students have to apply for admission. New students will be considered for admission only in March, if vacancies exist. All admissions to class XI are provisional until the results of the class X board examinations are declared. Students from other examinations also require an Eligibility Certificate from the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination Board, New Delhi, before the admission is regularized. Any student who fails to obtain a pass certificate in the class X Board Examination will have to be withdrawn immediately. If a student, accepted for the admission does not report in time, the offer will automatically be cancelled.
The La Martinière Girls College Lucknow is among the few educational institutions in India, and possibly in the world, depicted on a postage stamp. In 2007 when the girls’ school celebrated its 138th anniversary a postage stamp was released and a first day cover was issued by Department of Posts with a picture of Khursheed Manzil.
The college offers high-quality boarding facilities for its students on campus. A hostel superintendent, two dormitory matrons, a qualified nurse and two housekeepers supervise the catering section. Boarders play games such as volleyball, basketball, badminton, tennis and table tennis every evening. Swimming and judo are also taught.