Art Donated to Calcutta

This week, a detailed illustration depicting St Paul’s College in Stony Stratford has been donated to the now Indian restaurant, Calcutta Brasserie.

The 17th Century building, which was founded in 1863 as a college is beautifully drawn showing how the building looked over 140 years ago. The main structure of the listed building can easily be seen today as well as the dome-shaped ceiling.

An anonymous customer handed the illustration to the manager and owner, Ali Ajmol, who has framed the fragile drawing to protect it and allow customers to enjoy the wonderful history of the building.

“It’s interesting to see how the building has hardly changed in over 100 years,” said Ali. “To think that this part of the building was used as a chapel so long ago is fascinating and one of the reasons we know our customers like to come and dine in such a special building.”

Calcutta Brasserie has become one of the most successful award-winning Indian restaurants in the region and this September celebrates its 9 anniversary on Wednesday 13.

About the building:

In 1863 the Reverend G. Sankey built St. Paul's, which began life as a public school. The architect was Henry Woodyer (known as the 'Gentleman's Architect' after a book written about his work). The spire was of a considerable size and the school prospectus showed a very grand building, in keeping with Sankey's vision. He wanted to make Stony Stratford a centre of educational importance, hence the grand buildings of the school.

The text accompanying the advert (left) spoke of the school being "conducted on Church of England principles ... to be a place of religious and good secular education. The general course of instruction includes Latin, Greek , French, Mathematics, and the usual details of a sound English Education." St. Pauls School ran successfully until the death of Reverend Sankey in 1895.

The buildings became a cigar factory in 1896 for a very short period and then lay empty for approximately 4 years. The building was not proving easy to sell, until the arrival of J.W.C.Fegan in 1900 - a wealthy and religious man, who had dedicated his life to helping homeless boys in London. He was looking for a home for his 'bold, pert and dirty London sparrows' and came across St. Paul's School. It was valued at £40,000 but James Fegan offered only £4,500. He was given two weeks to raise the finances to buy the buildings, and was successful. It became Fegan's Home for Orphaned Boys from 1900 to 1961. During those years, 4000 boys were given a good home.

The school was sold and re-opened in 1962 as a Franciscan School. This closed in 1972.

The Chapel at Fegan's Home was part of the orphanage. It was known as an Evangelical Chapel and was under the guidance of J.W.C.Fegan, where hearty evangelical services were held with assistance from the Salvation Army, the congregation expanded such that for huge summer revivalist meetings, large marquees were erected in the gardens.

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