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About Mayo: History


 
THE STOW YEARS

Mr. V.A Stow
1931 - 1943

The major decision was taken by the British in 1932 when Mayo College was handed over to the princes of India by the British Government. Twenty-two leading Princes all Old Boys, signed the Transfer Deed of Mayo College as patrons and the Maharaja of Dholpur replaced the viceroy as President of the General Council which was also the Governing Body. With the handover, Mayo became a non-government entity. Mr. Stow with the consent of the General Council, which was equally keen, initiated steps to upgrade academics and games, standards of which had begun to flag in the post-war period and in turn retarded the influx of students to Mayo severely denting its finances.

The College Section was reorganised as a separate self-contained unit of Mayo with its own boarding house and teaching arrangement. Under the special charge of an English staff member with the designation Asst. Warden, a separate building was used for conducting College section classes with a separate reading room, library and office for the College section.

Other innovations included re-equipment of the library, open-air map of India, carpentry-manual work classes, gardening, first aid, auto repairs, horse and stable management. These activities were aimed at creating interest in and learning things, which would be useful in later life for the landed aristocracy.

With all these changes and innovations and the energy and drive of Mr. Stow who seemed adept at twisting the arms of Princes and parents to give generous donations as “leaving gifts”, Mayo made rapid progress and numbers increased from 98 in 1931 to 170 in 1939.

The visit of the Viceroy Lord Irwin to Mayo College on March 7th 1931 as Chief Guest at the Silver Jubilee Prize Giving was a highlight of Mr. Stow's period. A student of the Stow era writes: “An interesting story was the protest of the Indian staff ladies objecting to Mr. Stow's early morning inspection visits on a horse to the staff quarters and his habit of riding around and even looking into the backyard over the wall. Faced by the ire of Indian staff's wives at this encroachment of their privacy, which was conveyed to him by his wife, Mr. Stow expressed his apologies and stopped visiting backyards in the mornings or other times and confined his inspection to gardens from the road unless invited in.

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