Campion School - A Brief History

In 1942 the Jesuits purchased Wellesley House on Cooperage Road
for the purpose of housing Campion School. However, the tenants of the building resisted the school and so Campion actually started in rented premises
in New Marine Lines on January 20, 1943.

It was a truly modest beginning - a staff of four and 23 little scholars with Fr Joseph Savall sj as principal. By 1944 the students increased to 70 and Fr Joseph Savall sj introduced scouting and also organized an annual School Medical Examination

It was only on July 12, 1948 that Campion School came home to Wellesley House
on Cooperage Road.

Fr R Conesa sj took over the reins on June 4, 1949 and managed to expand the school to include the second and third floors. In 1950 he introduced the School Magazine
with an intial print run of 230.

Then in January 1951 Fr Emmanuel More sj
took over from Fr R Connesa sj as principal Under Fr More sj scouting reached it's pinnacle of glory with Fr More himself as the the General Scout Master
. In April 1952 Campion got it's own red & white school bus
purchased for a princely sum of Rs 13,500. Fr More installed a Blue Star water cooler, Introduced class libraries, provided the school office
with a Gestetner duplicator and a portable typewriter and started the Tuck Shop.

He renovated Wellesley House in 1955
(classes were conducted in pandals in the Backgarden) and a fourth floor was erected.

In 1956 Campion School attained the stature of a full-fledged High School with 382 students on it's rolls, recognized both by the Universitry of Cambridge as an A-Certificate School, a unique honour as well as by the SSC Board Poona.

My association with Campion initially began in the mid-1960s when as a little boy I accompanied my parents to attend the Parents Day
and watch my elder brothers participate in the parades, but then took a more permanent form when I got admitted into Campion in 1967.

Class I was situated in what is now the Art Room on the ground floor of Arthur House and our class Teachers were Ms Ruby Goes & Ms Miriam Aranha. Opposite our classroom in Wellesley House was the canteen where among other delicacies they sold amazing scones, patties and little packets of OK Wafers.

In those days the space between the two buildings was an open area as the Tagore Hall was not constructed till the mid 1970s. There was a garage between the buildings which made great cover when playing cops & robbers. The short break and long break assemblies were conducted here
. During the monsoon a walkway connecting the two buildings was erected using bamboo and tin sheets.

But our favourite place was the Backgarden
. It was here that every Campionite’s day began and ended. It began with the morning assembly
and ended with that that quick game of hockey
, football, cops & robbers etc after school. Day after day Hodi would begin the assembly with “At ease all of you” Then after a brief pause "tenshun”. And would then break out into the first few lines of the Jana Gana Mana. Mondays & Fridays were restricted to announcements. On the other three days one member of each house would address the assembly
. Assembly ended with the Prayer Before Class. Fr Bernard never followed the prescribed Prayer Before Class and always recited his own compositions which always ended with “ To You we glory for ever and ever. Amen”

The Backgarden was quite different then. When one entered the Backgarden from the gate between the two buildings there were were two palm trees
straight ahead  that made a natural goal for football. In later years the trees were used as a backrest/base for kitty-kitty till the same was banned. To the right of the palms were the two cannons. There was an unspoken code that the cannons were the prerogative of the senior class. There were the swings, a slide and parallel bars on the far right next to the exit that led to Fort Convent. Towards the centre of the garden was a water tap that the maali used to water the garden. The tap invariably always leaked and so there was always a wet patch in that area which was the bane of many a footballer who went slip-slidin’-away!!

Right through the day the Backgarden was packed with various activities - hockey, football
, basketball
, volleyball
, cricket, baseball
, kabaddi
, rugby and of course kitty-kitty.

75 years later Campion is still going from strength-to-strength. They have for last seven consecutive years been awarded the Best Boys Day School in India, have won football tournaments in every age group in Mumbai and have won laurels in several sports and other co-curricular activities.