Aitchison College

Aitchison College (formerly Chief's College) - Lahore

The history of Aitchison College goes back to the Ward's School at Ambala which was envisioned in 1864 by Captain Tighe, then D.C. of Ambala. Established in 1868, it was originally intended for the education of young Sikh Sirdars of the District but on the insistence of Sir Henry Davies, it widened its scope in 1874 to cater for the education of all government wards living in other parts of Punjab. The present constitution of Aitchison College is still based on the set of rules framed for the Wards' School.

The growing interest in the college prompted efforts by Lt. Gen Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison, after whom the college is named, to expand the Government Wards School into a Chiefs College. North Mian Meer Road was initially selected as the new site for Chiefs College and collaboration between Bhai Ram Singh, Vice Principal of Mayo School of Arts and Col. S. S. Jacob, Executive Engineer at Jeypore came up with an architectural design for the college

Only a few days after the foundation stone of Chiefs College was laid down, it was renamed on 13 November 1886 as Aitchison College.

Design was the first win in an open competition against the best in India Bhai Ram Singh’s involvement, in 1886, with the project of the Punjab Chiefs’ College, later the Aitchison College, was the result of an India- wide competition announced in the leading newspapers of the time, for the design of the main building of the College. 

The Mayo School of Arts decided to send an entry in response to the advertisement. The decision to pit the limited experience with the best architectural talent available in India showed courage and Kipling’s confidence in the young, 28-year-old, Ram Singh. A sub-committee narrowed down the selection to two proposals. They liked the layout plans submitted by Col. Samuel Swinton Jacobs, Executive Engineer of Jeypore State, and the elevations, details, the picturesque grouping of domes, Moorish arches and decoration conceived by Bhai Ram Singh. After much deliberation it was resolved that the Colonel should be asked to adapt his plans to accommodate the elevations and architectural features prepared by Bhai Ram Singh. This was indeed a singular achievement for Ram Singh, for Col. Jacobs was a highly regarded architect

A boundary wall around the entire campus was finished in 1950. Construction of the main building, now known as Old Building, began in 1887 and was finished in 1890, along with a gymnasium and a hospital.

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