St..Bede’s College had its humble beginning in 1904 as a Teachers Training College. It would seem pertinent to mention here that the history of St. Bede’s would be incomplete without at least a passing mention of « Chelsea », which is an integral part of our campus amongst other things.
The school was first founded as an orphanage for the children of British soldiers in 1864. The extensive and ideally situated « Chelsea » estate was purchased in course of time and the other (existing) management was entrusted to the Religious of Jesus & Mary.
All was not easy however. Mother Clare won a hard (and long-drawn) legal battle with the authorities and the local administration. The College was formally opened in the summer of 1904. From this day on, St. Bede’s and Chelsea combined to work earnestly for the development of education in India.
The period of World War I did not seriously affect the educational aspect of life in Punjab. However, the day was dawning when the peaceful security would end. India had openly and overtly launched its campaign for freedom and there were already visible signs in the horizon indicating that the campaign would not be won without sorrow or bloodshed.
Despite the turmoil, St. Bede’s and Chelsea saw through the times with courage and fortitude. It was known in town that the nuns had Muslim pupils â€“ the anxiety was at its climax’. However, under military protection, quietly at dawn one morning, a party was sent to Pakistan. Later, they heard with relief of their safe arrival at Pakistan.
In 1947, at the dawn of India’s Independence, the college which was previously meant (mainly) for Christian girl, opened its doors to students of different faiths; later, on by popular demand, they started a course for undergraduate studies as well. They grew in strength and a need was felt for additional class rooms. A new block with modern architecture and design was commissioned in 1964- it consisted of a library, class rooms and an upper floor dormitory.
It is interesting to note here that in 1967, the college superiors decided to close the college-they were of the opinion that the students would be served better in the new Jesus & Mary College at New Delhi. However, St. Bede’s being a premier institution for women in the region, an appeal was made by the HP Chief Minister, Dr. Y S Parmar, and several local dignitaries to His Lordship Bishop Alfred for the continuation of the College. The appeal bore fruit and the college was saved from extinction.
In its new lease of life, the institution has not belied the confidence and trust of both the Superiors, officers of the state and the common people, going from strength to strength both in academics as well as in extra-curricular activities and sports. In fact, every year, St. Bede’s holds several positions in the University merit lists.
Source: St. Bede’s Website