Bishop Cotton Boys' School

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Bishop Cotton Boys' School
Bishop Cotton Schools crest.png
The School Arms
St. Mark's Road
Bangalore, Karnataka
Coordinates 12°58′7.0″N 77°35′55.6″E / 12.968611°N 77.598778°E / 12.968611; 77.598778Coordinates: 12°58′7.0″N 77°35′55.6″E / 12.968611°N 77.598778°E / 12.968611; 77.598778
Type Private school
Motto "Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum" (Latin)
(Neither to the right, nor to the left.)
Established 1865
Founder Rev. S. T. Pettigrew[1]
Principal John K Zachariah[2]
Enrollment approx. 7,000
Campus size 14 acres (57,000 m2)
Houses Pope, Pettigrew, Elphick, Pakenham Walsh, Thomas
Color(s) Green and gold         
Publication The Cottonian, The Cotton Mill
Affiliation Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate examination (ISC)
Former pupils Old Cottonians

Bishop Cotton Boys' School is an all-boys school for boarders and day scholars in Bangalore, India, founded in memory of Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton, Bishop of Calcutta.

The school is bordered by Residency Road, St Mark's Road, Lavelle Road and Vittal Mallya Road, and is spread over 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land in the heart of Bangalore.

School heads in the early days included George Uglow Pope, Herbert Pakenham-Walsh, S. T. Pettigrew, William Elphick, Iowerth Lowell Thomas and A. T. Balraj.

The sister school Bishop Cotton Girls High School is located across the street on St. Mark's Road and can be reached by a two-minute walk.


The school's past extends back to the British Raj and the Victorian era with its beginnings in a house on High Grounds over which now stands the great ITC Windsor Hotel , it was started in 1865 by Rev. S T Pettigrew, the then Chaplain of St. Mark's Cathedral who had a vision of starting a school for the education of children of European and Anglo-Indian families. In his own words, he wanted to "establish a day and boarding School for the Children of Christian residents in the station and its vicinity." The school was named in honour of George Cotton, Bishop of Calcutta, under whose stewardship a scheme of education was organized for the Anglican Churches in India. After India gained independence from the British in 1947, the school began to be, and is still governed by the Church of South India.

In the first five years of the school it had three principals, it was only with the arrival of George Uglow Pope, a distinguished Tamil scholar (who translated the famed Tirukkuṛaḷ into English[3]) that the present site was acquired For Rs 47,500. The boys' school and the girls' school functioned on the same campus but under different heads. Under the stewardship of Pope, the school grew from strength to strength. A collegiate section was started and the school obtained recognition from the University of Madras, he gave the School its motto - 'Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum', meaning 'Neither to the right nor to the Left'.

When Pope left India in 1892 to take up the post of Reader at Oxford University, the standard of the school began to decline. By 1906, closure of the school was contemplated.

Henry Whitehead, Bishop of Madras, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, as a last resort, invited the members of the Saint Peter's Brotherhood to save the school from closure. Herbert Pakenham-Walsh, of the Brotherhood of St. Peter, later to become Bishop, revived the school, the school still celebrates St. Peter's day amongst other traditions such as Guy Fawkes' bonfires. In 1911, the girls' school was moved across the road. William Elphick worked for a quarter of century for the growth of the school.

The last living member of the Brotherhood of St Peter in India, Father David, died of old age, he lived and worked in the school as the school chaplain.

School song[edit]

Bust of Bishop Whitehead in Bishop Cotton Boys' School

The Cotton's school song was penned by Herbert Pakenham-Walsh, of the Brotherhood of St. Peter, the words were set to music by N. M. Saunders, with its refrain "On, Straight, On", it follows the spirit of the school motto, "Nec Dextrorsum, Nec Sinistrorsum", Latin for "Neither to the Right Nor to the Left".


The house system is a feature common to public schools, the houses break a large community into smaller, more personal units, and thereby build a sense of loyalty and competition.

The formation of houses in Bishop Cotton may have occurred during 1910, since The Cotton Mill in 1910 made a mention of "Puchi teams! Puchi marks!" Pu-chi means insects. There were 125 students in the school then, and six teams were formed, the Pu-chi teams were named Jerrimangalams, Bloodsuckers, Scorpions, White Ants and Cobras. Each team was led by a captain, and boys were grouped as 'big', 'medium-sized' and 'little', the Pu-chi teams were in place till 1933.

New houses were formed by combining:

  • The Scorpions and Cobras as Pettigrew House
  • The White Ants and Jerrimangalams as Pope House
  • The Bloodsuckers and Mosquito as Pakenham-Walsh House

These names were assumed after the three pioneers of the school, each team had a Head and a Captain of Games. In 1956, a fourth house was added, named after William Elphick who was Warden from 1930 to 1955. Many boys volunteered to join the new house and all new admissions to the school automatically were added to this house; in 1996, a fifth house, Thomas House, was formed.

The House Shields
  • Pettigrew House was named after S. T. Pettigrew, Chaplain of St. Mark's Cathedral and founder of the school.
  • Pope House was named after George Uglow Pope, the first warden of the school, 1871-1882. He came to the school from The Nilgiris and is remembered beyond the bounds of the school as a great scholar in Tamil. Pope gave the school its motto, "Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum".
  • Pakenham-Walsh House was named after Herbert Pakenham-Walsh in 1933. He left the wardenship of the school in 1913 and became the first Bishop of Assam in 1915.
  • Elphick House was formed in 1956 and was named after William Elphick, Warden from 1930-1955. He came to the School from Oxford Brotherhood in Calcutta, India.
  • Thomas House was formed in memory of the late Iowerth Lowell Thomas who was the Warden from 1956 to 1970.


Bishop Cotton Boys School map view

The school, administered along the lines of Junior, Middle and Senior School, works through three school terms, each ending with examinations. Students of Class X appear for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE). Students of Class XII take up the Indian School Certificate Examination (ISC), the ISC examination is equivalent to the pre-university examination conducted by the state boards of education.

Courses taught at the ICSE level include English, an Indian or foreign language, History, Civics and Geography, Environmental Education, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and a choice between Commercial Applications, Computer Applications, Economics and Physical Education, at the ISC level, the school has three main streams, the science stream, the commerce stream and the arts stream. A total of five or six subjects can be taken in ISC, the main subjects for Commerce are English, Commerce, Economics and Accounts, while the main science subjects are English, Physics, Chemistry and Maths. Electives include Business Studies, Bio-Technology, Psychology, Computer Science, Electronics and Physical Education.

Inter-school games[edit]

The school organises and conducts the Cottonian Shield, one of Bangalore's most prestigious cricket tournaments at the under 14 and under 16 levels.[4]


Past heads include S. T. Pettigrew, Reynold, Bamforth, Dubois, George Uglow Pope, Hildesley, Parker, Williams, Watling, Burton, Smith, Barry, Ainley, Miller, Herbert Pakenham-Walsh, John Drury, Dawkin, Scipio, Hodges, Elphick, I. L. Thomas, A. T. Balraj, Francis Samuel, Abraham Ebenezer, and John Ellis. John Zachariah is the present incumbent.


Annual inter-house competitions include:

  • Swimming
  • Debate
  • Elocution
  • Dramatics
  • Music
  • Spelling bee
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Indoor Games
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Music
Entrance to the Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton Auditorium in the school campus

The school also hosts the following inter-school competitions:

  • Synchronize is India's largest high school science and information technology festival that comprises events and competitions over a period of two days. Teams from schools all over India are invited, the events are:
    • Blogger - blogging event
    • Clash of The Titans - debate event
    • Spark - space settlement design event
    • Quest - treasure hunt event
    • Bloodwork - forensics event; was judged the "best event" of Synchronize 2011 and the "most interesting" of Synchronize 2012
    • Gadget Garage - engineering event, formerly known as Recon
    • Spectra - science exhibition event
    • Technocrat - IT event
    • Event X - mystery event
    • Dexterity - robotics event
    • Anonymous - ethical hacking
    • Quad Damage - gaming event; the flagship event of the fest Marc Vineeth Charles is the father of Quad Damage and gaming culture in Bishop Cotton Boys School.
    • Dexterity - robotics
The verdant Warden's Park in front of the Tower Block

The inaugural edition was held in October, 2008 and had participation by over 300 students from 24 schools, over the years the fest gathered momentum, and in 2012, it accommodated over 1100 participants, making it one of the largest high school fests in India.

  • Resurgence is India's biggest and most anticipated commerce and economics fest that compresses the complexity and diversity of the commercial sphere into ten events which play out over a span of one day. Teams from educational institutions all over India are invited, the events are:
    • Area-51 - Cottonian version of the board game Monopoly
    • Dalal Street - mock stock exchange
    • Fallout - corporate law event
    • Find X - commerce based treasure hunt
    • Impex - import-export trade simulation
    • Innovation - creating, marketing and innovating new products
    • Mangerio - test of management skills
    • Meltdown - corporate crisis management
    • The Third Degree - commerce and economics quiz with a Cottonian twist
    • Workforce - HR based event

Resurgence is the revival of the school's old fest which was discontinued in 1997, the first edition of Resurgence was launched in 2009 and has been going strong ever since. Over the past four years it has grown considerably as a fest to levels of national recognition, entertaining and educating over 1000 students from all over India year after year.

Fourth Eleven Field at Bishop Cotton Boys' School
  • Co-Mun - The school plays host to the Cottons Model United Nations, which is a simulated UN conference, and features participants from all over the city to compete to win awards such as Best Position Paper, Best Delegate and Best Delegation. The school has been hosting one of the largest MUNs in the country which offers quality debate to students, this year Cottons hosted 750 students and it was reported to be the best MUN in the city.
  • Exquizite is a quiz competition held in August every year for schools all over India. For the past five years, this quiz has been hosted by quizmaster Giri "Pickbrain" Balasubramaniam.
  • Cotton's INXS - annual music competition in western rock and pop music

The school has students participating and winning in national level and international level competitions such as Model United Nations (MUN) around India, most notably the Indian Model United Nations (InMUN) , the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) and the Ivy League Model United Nations, the school has participated in the Asian Regional Space Settlement Design Competition (ARSSDC) hosted in Delhi since 2008 (2011 winners, 2012 runners up) and the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) hosted at the NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas since 2011 (2011 winners, 2012 runners up).

Sesquicentennial celebrations[edit]

Bishop Cotton Boys' School began its sesquicentennial celebrations on June 29, 2014, St. Peter's Day, the celebration was inaugurated by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The celebrations were concluded on December 23, 2015 by a ceremony attended by His Excellency The Right Honourable The President of India, Sri Pranab Mukherjee,[5][6] the Hon'ble President of India commended the school for its service to society for the last 150 years and urged it to become a premier centre of learning in the world.[7] The ceremony was also attended by the Governor of Karnataka, His Excellency Sri Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Siddaramaiah, Moderator of the Church of South India, The Most Rev. Govada Dyvasirvadam and Bishop of the Diocese of Central Karnataka of the Church of South India, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Prasanna Kumar Samuel.

Old Cottonians[edit]

There are Old Cottonians [8] all over the world, with active alumni associations in India, Australia and the UK.

St. Peter's Day and Old Cottonians' Day are observed every year on 29 and 30 June respectively when Old Cottonians visit their alma mater.

Notable alumni[edit]

Armed forces[edit]

Positions of responsibility[edit]


  • Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
  • Philip Wollen, ex-Vice President of Citibank; philanthropist and social justice advocate


Other notable alumni[edit]


  • In Mehmood's movie Kunwaara Baap ("Single Father"), his son attends Bishop Cotton Boys School.

Friends of Cotton[edit]

  • The Old Cottonians' Association
  • The General KS Thimayya Memorial Lectures - An Old Boys of Cottons Endeavour


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Principal's Biodata". Bishop Cotton Boys' School. Retrieved 26 February 2018. 
  3. ^ Pope, G U; Drew, W H; Lazarus, John; Ellis, F W. "Tirukkural: English Translation and Commentary". Project Madurai. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Cottonian Shield: The School Cricket Legacy Continues". DNA. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  5. ^ "Bishop Cotton boys' school should aspire to be one of top three schools in the world: President". Retrieved 2016-01-02. 
  6. ^ "Press Releases Detail - The President of India". Retrieved 2016-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Press Releases Detail - The President of India". Retrieved 2016-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Bishop Cotton Boys' School: Alumni". The General Thimayya Trust. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  9. ^ "India's Most Eminent Nuclear Physicist". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. 
  10. ^ Life Fellow