Harcourt Butler Higher Sec. School, Delhi shifted classes to hill station Shimla in hot months during colonial days

Harcourt Butler Higher Secondary School, Shimla

If you walk down the memory lane to the colonial era during the Raj  some schools in Delhi would  move uphill to the Summer capital of the Empire  Shimla and  held  classes during the summer season in a cool congenial place surrounded by wooded areas. Shimla had been  the summer capital for a long period  and shifting of some Delhi schools became a necessity in the wake of  shifting of the capital of the empire from Calcutta (kolkata) to Delhi in 1911. The announcement  was made by the visiting royalty king George V who along with his consort Queen Mary attended the Delhi Court (Delhi Durbar) as the Emperor  and Empress of India. The British community felt uncomfortable during the summer months here  because of hot winds and terrible heat. They took refuge in cool places on the hills nearby.  Thus Shimla was one of the earliest hill stations discovered by the British. The other popular hill station discovered by John Sullivan, the collector of Coimbatore district  was Ooty (7400 ft) in the Nilgiris hills of  Tamil Nadu and it was also one of the earliest hill stations in the British empire.

Gov.Sir. Harcourt Butler, British India  npg.org.uk

Harcourt Butler Higher Secondary School (now known as Harcourt Butler Senior Secondary School) on Mandir Marg (earlier known as Reading Road), New Delhi that completed 100 years in 2017 was one among the Delhi schools that ran classes in Shimla during the summer months. The school, previously known as  Bengali Boys School  was also named after him. In 1917 it was named after Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler who held the post of Governor of the United  Provinces  (UP).  Delhi schools never  shut down the classes for summer vacations and moved their pharpahanalia up hill in April and would get back once the hot summer months were over on the plains, about 6 months later in October. The school at Shimla was a two story structure in Phagli, Jakho Hill and the students had to climb roughy 1000 feet to reach the school, 

For roughly six months the summer resort of Shimla was the seat of power and the Raj officials took certain important decisions while enjoying cool ambiance, nice weather  and  week-end adventures in the wooded hills nearby.    

Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler,  educated  at Harrow School and Balliol College, University of Oxford, and completed the Indian Civil Services in 1890),  wanted the Indian natives to develop advanced skill in sciences, particularly in the technical fields.  Harcourt Butler, was the member for education in the Viceroy’s Executive Council in India and played a key role in setting up of schools in the city. In the 1930s the matriculation exam was held by the University of Panjab, Lahore, now in East Punjab, Pakistan.

Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler, when he was the governor of the United Provinces, on 25 November 1921 formally laid the foundation of the present main (administration) building. The Government Research Institute at Cawnpore was renamed  Government Technological Institute at that time. In 1928, the G.T.I. was given the name Harcourt Butler Technological Institute. It is now one of the best institutions  in India. 

The practice of shifting the classes and the entire teaching staff, etc began in earnest in 1911 and continued till 1939. The practice ended because of interference of WWII that shook the hegemony of the British Empire. At stake was  Britain's economy  though much of the war expenses were met from India.