The grand building of La Martiniere was built at the end of
the 18th century by Major General Claude Martin, who arrived in India from
France in 1751 as a penniless, common soldier. However, his fortunes
multiplied and by the time he came to Awadh (Lucknow), he was in a
position to loan Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula 250,000 pounds. The East India
Company gave the title of Major General to him.
It was originally named Constantia. Martin furnished it elaborately with paintings, chandeliers, statues and plaster plaques. La Martiniere was a miniature fortress with ditches, stockades, secret passages and canons.
In 1800, Claude Martin was buried here. After his death, his palace was turned into a school for boys as was willed by him. Hence, the La Martiniere School started in 1840 and by 1857 was a flourishing educational institution. During the mutiny, the school was vandalised and vastly renovated in 1858.
In 1932, the British Government decided to present the school with Battle Honours, for the supportive role of the students in the Residency. It has the unique honour of being the only school in the world to have received Battle Honours.
Impressed by its beauty, Rosie Llewellyn Jones desribes it in following words: "It is both the finest, and largest, example of a European Funerary monument in the subcontinent a wedding cake in brick, a Gothic castle and a baroque folly".