The school had a very humble beginning with only five students. Col. William Brown realized that just educating Indian boys would not serve the purpose of education but they had to be given or helped to be prepared for employment so that they could join the main stream and partake in decision making. This vision for vocational training realized and implemented by him in 1926, was brought in by ICSE Council in the form of plus two in the year 1978. Sadly though plus two became an extension of Std. X and vocational concept got mired in controversy mainly because of the social conditions prevailing along with lack of perseverance to make it acceptable.
Col. Brown was a ‘Cambridge Blue’ and had also in his tenure of service grew to love and play Hockey with equal competence. His wife supported and helped him in his endeavor and was loved by the students. Col. Brown known to be a strict disciplinarian and hard taskmaster had a gentle side when it came to children. It was not uncommon that usually one or two of them would take a lift on his shoulders from the Dining Hall after dinner to the Hostel. This event usually began between the Jack fruit tree and the Bel tree which exist even today.
The school for Indian boys attracted attention from various sections of the Indian community. Wealthy Indians mainly erstwhile Prince Lings & Jagirdars took advantage of this new opening and admissions grew steadily. The members of the staff had more Europeans than Indians, but by 1942, the strength of teachers had evened out. Col. Brown was an eminent educationist & had a foresight too. During the course of his study at Cambridge in England, he had befriended Col. T.F.O. Donnell M.C. who was the Principal at Meerut College, who after having retired took over as Principal of the School as per Col. Brown’s wishes.
Col. Brown used his contacts and good will with the Indian Army and managed to persuade them to allow him to hold Pre-IMA classes in the school. This gave a further fillip to The School and as the movement for Independence was steadily coming to a boil, farsighted parents wanted to encourage their children to join Army and the civil administration. Col. Brown was very successful in achieving both these goals, what is even more significant is that the school enabled and trained the boys to adapt themselves to the rapidly changing ways of life. Having taken care of giving the students a purpose in life and building their self-confidence, he further consolidated their character through a high level of discipline and team work, therefore it was no surprise that the school won the All India Hockey Championship Tournament which because of its popularity added grace and fame to the school.
While the School was making rapid progressive strides, the health of both Col.and Mrs. Brown was causing great anxiety and concern. Mrs. Brown expired in the early thirties and her passing away had telling effect on her husband Col.Brown. The Assembly Hall (as it is known now) was called the Memorial Hall till the late sixties and was built in the memory of Mrs. Brown, and it was opened by lady Linlitlhgow the then Vicereine of India. His niece Mary was married to Major Cleave and they were asked to come and help in the school. Cleave was appointed the first Bursar of the School.
Around this time Miss Oliphant joined the School as Matron and later went on to establish the Welham Boys’ and Girls’ Schools. Mrs. Mary Cleave was an asset to Col. Brown School but her husband somehow could not fit into the pattern, ideology and the ethos of the school. Col. Brown therefore was compelled to search out his old friend and Colleague Col. Thomas Francis O’Donnell, who promised to accept the legacy of the school but needed time as his tenure as the Principal Meerut College was still not over. Col. Brown died suddenly on 18th April 1942.A great educationist, a visionary, an Indophile who loved Indians and worked tirelessly for their well-being left a void, which Major Cleave was unable to fill.