The College provided general and vocational education for youths of sixteen to eighteen nominated by EIC Directors to writerships in the EIC overseas civil service. Attendance was generally for four 6-month terms.
Charles Grant was the EIC director who was the driving force to its foundation. It first opened in Hertford Castle, then moved in 1809 to a purpose-built site at Hertford Heath, near Hertford, now used by Haileybury. Its architect, William Wilkins, later went on to design the National Gallery in London, which bears some similarities.
In 1856 an open competitive examination replaced the system of appointment by patronage. In the wake of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, in January 1858, the British government took over the administration of India, and the college closed. The buildings of the college were reopened for educational use as Haileybury in 1862.
Other professors at the College in 1847 included
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