Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Centenary of the Royal College Curepipe Building (1914-2014)

The Mauritius Post issued a Special Commemorative Cover (SCC) on January 13, 2014 to mark the centenary of the Royal College Curepipe (RCC) building.

The RCC is an all-boys secondary school considered as one of the best and most prestigious secondary schools of Mauritius.  Made of blue basalt, the present building, inaugurated on January 13, 1914, ressembles Buckingham Palace in London. with its characteristic symmetrical rectangular form 

History of the Royal College

1800: Inauguration of L'Ecole Centrale, considered to be the most plausible root of the Royal College, in Port Louis

1803: L'Ecole Centrale transformed into a 'lycée' and subsequently know as 'Lycée Colonial'

1810: For six months, after the British conquest, the 'Lycée Colonial' was used as a military hospital

30 April 1811: The school was reopened by the name 'Collège Colonial'

14 October 1817: The 'Collège Colonial' was authorised being styled 'The Royal College' by the Prince Regent George

18 May 1871: Different locations were rented from private individuals to accommodate a branch of the Royal College for the first time in Curepipe to house students living far off Port Louis

1888: Rs100,000 were provided for setting up an official building of the Royal College Curepipe at Mare aux Joncs

May 1892: A severe cyclone hit Mauritius and the quarters of the Royal College of Port Louis were destroyed

7 December 1892: Foundation of a new building was laid down in Port Louis and the opening took place in 1895

The RCC Motto: 'Terae Quis Fructus Apertae', standing for 'Fruit of the Cultivated land', which could be translated as 'Education provides culture'.

Establishment of the Royal College in Curepipe

May 1899: New building converted into the Civil Hospital following a plague outbreak in Port Louis

5 June 1899: All classes held in Curepipe partly in the official building and partly in some neighbouring buildings rented to that effect

1905: Debate held about a permanent site of the Royal College

1907: Report of a Royal College Site Committee indicating Quatre Bornes as the best location

1912: It was decided that the college would remain in Curepipe

1 October 1912: Sir Robert Chancellor, the then Governor, and Mr. Paul Le Jufe de Segrais, the then Director of Public Works, laid down the foundation stone of the present building, which was to replace the prvious one.

1913: Land was acquired and the construction of the building was completed

13 January 1914: The building was inaugurated.

1920s: A police station, a Court House House and a gymnasium was built on a strip of land forming part of the school playing field.

15 April 1922: Inauguration of the monument of the Unknwon Soldier (War Memorial or Monument aux Morts)

Somewhere along the line, an auditorium, a semi-circular block of classrooms, a block of science laboratories and a canteen were added to the infrastructure of the Royal College.

The RCC building over the years...

2002: Major renovation works, at the cost of around Rs60 million, were carried out; Form I-V classes were held in a building a few kilometres away in Floréal.

2003: Renovation completed and the Royal College reopened as a Form VI College but was thereafter converted back to a Form I-VI National College.

25 June 2009: Vasant Bunwaree, the then Minister of Education declared: "It would be advisavble to devote some space in the building to set up a Royal College Curepipe museum."

1 October 2012: Centenary of the laying down of the foundation stone

13 January 2014: Centenary of the inauguration of the building.

N.B.:  The two timelines above are from the SCC insert; any factual approximations and/or mistakes are not mines.

Technical Details
Release date: 13 January 2014
  -Rs2 Vagrant Depot, Grand River North west
  -Rs7 Former Postal Museum, Port Louis (now the Central Mail Office)
  -Rs16 - Carnegie Library, Curepipe

All three stamps are from the 'Stone Buildings' issue of October 9, 2005.

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