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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church

The pictures in this group show just two places, an old but still prestigious boarding school and the main church of Lucknow. The two are close to each other.

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Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 1

Claude Martin surveys La Martiniére, the school he endowed with a fortune created largely by lending money to his employer, Asaf ud-Daula, the Nawab of Lucknow. It stands on the banks of the Gomti at the east end of Lucknow.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 2

A plaque explains the school's establishment in 1840. Martin despised Asaf-ud-Daula but served him loyally. Having built a mansion, Martin stipulated in his will that it should become a school. Martin's estate was held up in the courts for many years, and only in 1839 did the courts uphold his will.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 3

The riverside view of the school. Martin's motto, Labore et Constantia, or "Toil and Fidelity" can be made out on the first level of the tower. That tower has only 1 staircase, on the southwest side. It could be barred and the upper floor defended by one person. So it's said, at least. The staircase was blocked in 2007.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 4

An oblique view.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 5

The central portion of the school was completed in 1796; the classroom wings were added 40-odd years later, when the school began operations. Decades earlier, Martin had marked on the ground the location of the wings.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 6

Boys in blazers.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 7

Out in the floodplain of the river, a curious column stands. At one time, it sat in a pond or artificial lake.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 8

It carries no inscriptions but was built on Martin's orders between 1800 and 1815, supposedly as a landmark for visitors arriving by boat.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 9

The library in 2007. The original marble floors were destroyed in 1857, along with all the doors and window. Restoration went slowly: as of 1905, only the ground floor had been restored.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 10

A classroom in the wings.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 11

Another.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 12

Martin's tomb is in the basement, along with this bust.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 13

A long-serving and long-lived head master.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 14

Another.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 15

A boy who made good.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 16

Another who might have, had he not died at sea in his early 20s.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 17

The school was deeply involved in the troubles of 1857.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 18

Out on the periphery of the school grounds is this tomb of Boulone Lize, described as Claude Martin's favorite of his seven mistresses. She was painted by Johann Zoffany in 1786, and the image is reproduced in Rosie Llewellyn-Jones's Lucknow: City of Illusion (2006).

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 19

Another monument, this one commemorating the commander of the regiment known as Hodson's Horse.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 20

Christ Church, adjoining Banarsi Bagh (Wingfield Park), was built in 1860 as a memorial.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 21

The interior.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 22

A victim of 1857.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 23

Another.

Northern India: Lucknow: La Martiniére and Christ Church picture 24

A survivor. Kavanagh was a postal worker, and for his bravery became one of the very few civilians to be awarded the Victoria Cross. He received it from the queen at Windsor and died at Gibraltar, aged 60, in 1882.


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