It is a private co-educational prep school. It is an Anglican school, founded in 1925, under the auspices of the Bombay Education Society. The school is twinned with Christ Church School, in Mumbai. Both Schools follow the ICSE curriculum and have the same crest, Barnes in blue and Christ Church in green.
Just about a hundred years ago people began to think education for their children should be provided by Government. Before that there were schools for the rich. For the poor there were very few schools and those were mostly provided by the Church and charitable people. In the early 1700s many schools were established in England. So it was that when the Rev. Richard Cobbe was appointed chaplain to the Hon. East India Company's Factory at Bombay, he founded in 1718, in a building not far from the present Cathedral of St. Thomas in Fort, a small free school where twelve poor boys were housed, clothed, fed and educated by just one master. That charity school was the grain of mustard seed from which the mighty tree of Barnes has sprung.
A hundred years passed by. Another East India Company chaplain the Ven. Archdeacon George Barnes, realised that the charity school could not possibly meet the needs of hundreds of children then without any education. So he appealed for funds and started the Bombay Education Society in 1815, the oldest society in the city interested in the welfare and upbringing of children. The first, small school was taken over. Numbers grew rapidly until it was apparent that new grounds and school buildings were essential. A large airy site at Byculla was given by Government. This time the girls were also provided for. New school buildings were opened in 1825. One of the copper plates commemorating the opening is now on the wall of Evan's Hall, Devlali. The other remains with Christ Church School, Byculla, which with the parish church there stands on part of the land given originally to the B.E.S. Much of the land was later sold to help build Barnes.
The B.E.S. schools, as they were popularly known, were primarily boarding schools for Anglo-Indian boys and girls, mainly belonging to the Anglican Church. However, day-scholars were admitted and they were of all castes and creeds. For another hundred years there seems to have been little change. Then in the early 1900s the B.E.S. amalgamated with the Indo-British institution which had been founded by Rev. George Candy, about 1837. Byculla was by then crowded and unhealthy. Plans, initiated by Sir Reginald Spence and Mr. Haig-Brown, to move the boarding part of the schools away from Bombay to the cooler and healthier Deccan Plateau began to take shape. A site of more than at Deolali was purchased. On November 17th,1923 Sir George Lloyd laid the Foundation stone of Evans Hall. Less than two years later, January 29th,1925,a special train brought the first boarders to Devlali. With old time ceremony, in the presence of many distinguished guests, Barnes was declared open by Sir Leslie Wilson, Governor of Bombay and patron of the Bombay Education Society.
This short historical sketch explains much of the present Barnes. It is still primarily, a place where the poor Anglo-Indian children of the Anglican and Protestant Churches can be given a good upbringing and sound education. It is still a Church school where Christian ideals are practised and imparted. It is a boarding school, the largest in Western India.
The memory of founders and benefactors is preserved in the names of the buildings: Barnes, Candy, Spence, Haig-Brown, Lloyd. Other names are remembered. Greaves House is named after Sir John Greaves, a prominent Bombay business man of the firm of Greaves Cotton, Director of the Bombay Education Society from 1930 and Chairman of its Managing Committee from 1939 to 1949. Royal House commemorates Harry Royal, and old boy of the B.E.S. School from the years around 1900 to 1910 who became an important officer of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Honorary treasurer of the B.E.S. for many years. One name is yet to come - the greatest of them all, the Rev. Thomas Evans, familiarly but not irreverently, Tom Evans or just Tom. After being Headmaster at the old school at Byculla since 1910, he became the first Headmaster of Barnes, without whom it would probably not have survived its early years. His portrait hangs in Evans Hall which was named in memory of him when he retired in 1934.
It is a combination of the crests of Archdeacon Barnes, our Founder, on the left side, and that of his wife, who belonged to the Carnac family, on the right. On the left side is a blue shield with the faces of three white leopards and on the right, four quarters alternately white and blue with crossed swords, three five-pointed stars and a crescent. The swords are in their natural steel colour with the points upward. The stars are blue over the white quarters and white over the blue. Similarly the crescent is white and blue. The bird is a white falcon with golden beak and legs. It is standing on a green mount with six alternate twists of white and blue underneath. The motto, in Latin, can be translated,"I shall arise with the strength I have received." This has a threefold significance. In our school days and after, we rise to even greater heights, fortified with the strength of body, mind and spirit which we have gained while in school.
Spence (Yellow)- named after Sir Reginald Spence
Royal (Red) - named after Harry Royal
Candy (Green) - named after Rev. George Candy
Greaves (Blue) - named after Sir John Greaves
Florence Nightingale - Yellow
Edith Cavell - Red
Joan of Arc - Green
Helen Keller - Blue
1.] Hear our loyal anthem, as we make it rise
To our School, with all our might;
Barnes has reared us taught us all the good we prize,
Here we've learnt what's true and right.
Onward Barnes! Upward Barnes!
Shall be our watchword and our aim,
Till the echoes ring, let us sing,
To your honour, praise and fame.
2.] Awkward cubs we were when first we came to School
Often grimy, spoilt and slack;
Heavy was the way till we had learnt the rule,
Learnt to know and keep the track.
3.] Grown we are in stature, strong we are in mind,
Now we see they nobly live,
That forsake vain glory, gentle are and kind.
Ever strive their best live,
4.] Comes the time for parting, onward we must go,
Face the world as men at length,
But we will remember all the school we owe,
May we go from strength to strength.