Burnpur New Township - St John's School Prize Distribution day

At the end of the first year, the prize distribution was presided over by the Town administrator and Mrs. McCracken, the GEO's wife. The pupils performed a program of graceful dances and songs for the greatest delight of parents and friends.

page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize a
page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize Jadot b


page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize c

page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize d

 page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize e


page 42 Burnpur SJS Prize f

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Burnpur New Township - St John's School


Since the residential area of Burnpur town had become too congested, an extension was being planned on the northern side of the Steel plant in the paddy fields. Included in the designed infrastructure was a large two-storied school building where both a Hindi and a Bengali section were to be developped. The demand for an English section being also taken in consideration, the unoccupied (for the time being) second floor was offered to the parish by the town administrator, to start an English primary section, pending ulterior relocation.

1. Burnpur Town adminstrator & John De Ridder with ladies on the committee at St John's school location.
page 40 Burnpur St Johns school  

2. pupils with their teacher and John De Ridder, headmaster.

 page 41 Burnpur SJS teacher a 

3. IISCO GEO's wife cuts the cake while visiting the school.

 page 41 Burnpur SJS cake

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Old Goa - Bom Jesus Jesuit Church


Goa 2.jpg

 The church of Bom Jesus, "Good" or "Infant" Jesus, is known principally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier.

 In 1946, it became the first church of India to be elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. One of the richest churches in Goa, it is covered with marble and inlaid with precious stones and paintings depicting the life of St. Francis Xavier. This basilica, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, is the best specimen of baroque architecture in India. St. Francis's body was brought to Goa almost 150 years after his death. It was a gift from Medici, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It now lies in an airtight glass coffin, placed inside a silver casket fashioned by a 17th century Florentine jeweller. The chapel attracts large numbers of visitors every year. 


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Old Goa - 1964 Public exposition of St Francis Xavier's Body

G  O  A



1. Being ferried across the harbour.


page 44 Goa 3 a

2. Goa new town viewed from the sky (Indian Airlines Dakota).


page 44 Goa 3 b

3. Praying around the relic of Saint Francis Xavier


page 44 Goa 3 c

4. Pilgrims in attendance.


page 44 Goa 3 d

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Old Goa - 1964 Public exposition of St Francis Xavier's body in Bom Jesus Church


1. Old Goa Bom Jesus Church - St Francis Xavier altar. 

page 43 Goa 2 a

2. St Francis Xavier's body reliquary.

 page 43 Goa 2 b


3. John De Ridder and Justin Maloney on the esplanade next to Goa Se Cathedral Church. On the pedestal: Luis de Camoes statue.


page 43 Goa 2 c

4. Devotees hurrying to the church.


page 43 Goa 2 d

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1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Paul VI celebrating Holy Mass

Solemn Eucharist of Paul VI, on the elevated ground for better vision by the assembly.


page 46 Goa 5 a


page 46 Goa 5 b


page 46 Goa 5 c


page 46 Goa 5 d

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1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Altar location

Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, entering the altar esplanade.


page 45 Goa 4 a


page 45 Goa 4 b


page 45 Goa 4 c


page 45 Goa 4 d

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1964 Bombay Eucharistic Congress - Train journey

1. Bombay - India Gate - Taj Mahal Hotel


page 51 Goa 1 a

2. Crossing the harbour


page 51 Goa 1 b


3. Holy Mass on the railway platform during the Calcutta - Bombay train journey

 page 51 Goa 1 c 

4. Chelidanga families in the Asansol party 

page 51 Goa 1 d

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Burnpur O'Leary Cheshire Home

The young Group-Captain Leonard Cheshire RAF had been Winston Churchill's representative on the Allied team making the last preparations for launching the atom bomb. The U.S. B-29 bomber with the name Enola Gay painted on its nose, dropped the atom bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima at 9.15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. Afterwards, L. Cheshire was deeply affected by the dramatic sequels of the atomic blast on the Japanese civilian population.

When he retired from the RAF, Gr.-Cpt. Leonard Cheshire (later Lord Leonard Cheshire, V.C.) decided to open rehabilitation homes for disabled patients, in Great Britain and other countries of the world. He had worked in India and loved the country. He was invited by Mr. John McCracken, the IISCO British managing director, to open a home in Burnpur. He came himself to lay the foundation stone for the O'Leary Cheshire Home. The building was later on achieved by the Steel Plant engineers.  Homes would years later be opened by the Cheshire Homes Society in Serampore and Bangalore.

present: Gr-Cpt. L. Cheshire; Mrs. wife of  IISCO Managing-Director; Mr..., IISCO Town Administrator; John De Ridder, priest-in-charge.


Laying of foundation stone ceremony:

page 48 Cheshire Home a
page 48 Cheshire Home b

 page 48 Cheshire Home c


Burnpur O'Leary Cheshire Home completed:


page 48 Cheshire Home d

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empty space



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Burnpur - the new presbytery building is opened

At long last, after so many years, a priest's residence and office is available next to St Antony's Church.

1. St Antony's church and presbytery

 page 39 Burnpur Bungalow inside c 

2. Burnpur bungalow


page 39 Burnpur b


3. John De Ridder busy at his desk on the bungalow first floor.


page 39 Burnpur Bungalow inside d


4. JDR and Koka, the keeper's half-breed watchdog 

 page 40 Burnpur Koka

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Burnpur - St Antony's Church and presbytery

When completed, the presbytery building handsomely fitted into the church surroundings and was much appreciated for its convenient disposition. The generous donations both of materials and transportation facilities granted by the IISCO and Waggon Factory managements, brought this project to its conclusion at record speed.


page 39 Burnpur a 2
page 39 Burnpur b 2
Later transformations of
St Antony's Church & Presbytery
photos submitted by Br Frank Gale ICB Asansol (August 2009)








New developments in the ASANSOL DIOCESE

see the link below


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Foundation work for the presbytery

In the Burnpur IISCO township, the need for a presbytery bungalow in the St Antony's church compound was felt more and more and the parish commitee decided to entrust its construction to John De Ridder. Under the guidance and with the assistance of a group of devoted parishioners, professionally both engineers and contractors, he therefore conceived and built the structure best adapted to the requirements of a priest's residence and parish office. The work started with the foundations being digged on location opposite the church-keeper's hut.

page 49 Burnpur foundations a



page 49 Burnpur foundations c




page 49 Burnpur foundations d

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Asansol - St Patrick's School


Asansol SPS.jpg

On pastoral visit to Asansol parish, archbishop De Souza pays a visit to St Patrick's Senior Cambridge School and meets the I.C.Brothers' staff & parish clergy.

sitting, front row: archb. De Souza, pp. C. Van Exem (bearded) , School Principal I.C.Br. X, back row: second from right: John De Ridder - others: I.C.Brs & 2 diocesan priests.


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Chelidanga Hindi Girls' Sodality of Our Lady

At the Maria Goretti School, Hindi girls would gather once a week for pratical teaching and common prayer. But at the end of a term, outings would allow them to see the countryside.


page 38 Sodality a


page 38 Sodality c
page 38 Sodality d
page 38 Sodality b

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Chelidanga Girls' Sodality outings at the Griffiths'


Maria Goretti HS Girls' Sodality 1963
The IISCo Financial Officer Mr. Griffiths and his wife more than once graciously invited the sodality for tea in their garden in the Burnpur township. Girls were also very fond of taking a stroll along the Hoogly river bank whenever they got a chance to leave their village. 
In attendance: Chaplain John De Ridder


page 36 Burnpur Griffiths a

page 38 Burnpur Griffiths b

page 38 Burnpur Griffiths c

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Durgapur ISCo Township: new St Xavier's High School

1 Broad avenues are being drawn for the Durgapur Iron & Steel Works township.
page 34 Durgapur Township a
page 34 Durgapur Township b
page 34 Durgapur Township c


page 34 Durgapur Township d
page 36 Durgapur Township b


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 a


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 b


page 33 DurgapurTownship 3 d

2. Opening day ceremony when the groundplot with a building in construction for the Durgapur St Xavier's HS was handed over to Albert Wautier (center),  the Calcutta provincial, by the Township administrator.
In the background: C. Van Exem, pp et John De Ridder
page 36 Durgapur Township c


page 36 Durgapur Township d

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Bettiah church & girls'school

A large majority of Catholics in Chelidanga village, Asansol are from Bettiah, Bihar, a prosperous Christian community near Patna. They come to work in the Asansol Railways Yard and the Burnpur plants: the Indian Iron Steel Company (IISCo) and the Burnpur Waggons Factory. But they regularly visit their home town of Bettiah to keep in touch with their cultural roots.
page 25 Asansol Bettiah Church


page 25 Bettiah school e

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Asansol - Chelidanga - St Joseph's Junior High School



In the Chelidanga village of Asansol Township, the St Joseph's (then Junior) High School caters to the Hindi-speaking community and educates children of several ethnic groups.


1. John De Ridder and JHS top class.

page 32 St Josephs HS



2. JDR ready to bestride his bike.

page 32 St Josephs HS JDR

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Asansol - St Maria Goretti Hindi Junior High School for Girls

North of the Asansol railway quarters, the village of Chelidanga harbours an important Hindi-speaking community of labourers, natives of Ranchi and Bettiah.

They have secured lucrative jobs in the several local industrial plants: the Railway Maintenance machine tools Sheds, the Burnpur IISCO Steel Plant and the Waggons Factory, and further north of Asansol, even the Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory. Two schools which would in time become full-fledged High Schools with Hindi as medium of instruction, were slowly developed through the years by Robert Drugman, to provide excellent teaching to the avid children of this community: for the girls, the St Maria Goretti HS, entrusted to the Daughters of St Ann, the diocesan congregation, and for the boys, the St Joseph's HS entrusted to layteachers with R. Drugman as headmaster. These schools have enjoyed a remarkable reputation of efficiency and achieved splendid academic results.


1. Sister of St Ann teaching an open air class. JDR in the background.


page 32 St Maria Goretti HS


2. Girls enjoy looking after the convent calf.


page 32 St Maria Goretti Calf

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Asansol - Anglo-Indian Schools

Asansol is an important railway link on the Calcutta-Delhi line. In the early days, the railway staff of drivers and maintenance officers belonged mainly to the English speaking Anglo-Indian community which counted many Catholics.

Catholic schools were therefore founded to cater to their children's educational needs. Thanks to the easy journeying facilities afforded by the railways, youngsters from all-over North India, Nepal and neighbouring Burma, eagerly joined one of these two boarding-schools for boys, the St Patrick's Senior Cambridge School (250) and the St Vincent's Training School (200), both entrusted to the Irish Christian Brothers.


page 31 Asansol St Vincents a


page 31 Asansol St Vincents b


page 31 Asansol St Vincents c




page 31 Asansol St Vincents d

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IISCO township - Burnpur - St Antony's church




On the outskirts of Asansol, stands an important industrial township called Burnpur (named after its original founder, a Briton called BURN).


Burn & Co promoted The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. in 1918. G.H.Fairhurst is credited with having founded the plant at Burnpur (then better known as Hirapur). Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee and T.Leslie Martin were also associated with it. Sir Biren Mookerjee joined a little later and played a major role in the development of the plant. Iron production started at Burnpur in 1922. Kulti Works of Bengal Iron was merged with IISCO in 1936. Steel Corporation of Bengal (SCOB) set up the steelmaking facilities at Burnpur in 1939. SCOB was merged with IISCO in 1952 and Martin Burn was then the managing agent of the company. Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) (later renamed Burn Standard) set up its wagon factory at Burnpur.


 Iron and steel technology advanced in leaps and bounds since the Second World War, along with massive growth in production globally. The technological leap forward left the plant at Burnpur in shambles. Rising cost of production made the once profit making organisation a loss-making unit. Coupled with militant labour trouble in the sixties, IISCO faced a situation of near collapse in the early seventies. The management of IISCO was taken over by the government on 14th July 1972. Subsequently IISCO was nationalised and made a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd.). At the time of government-take over IISCO was the third largest private sector company (after TISCO and Telco) in India.

page 49 Burnpur steel plant b

Two plants are located here: the IISCO (Indian Iron and Steel Company) plant, one of the first steel-works opened in British India; and the Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) Factory, a plant manufacturing railway carriages for coal and iron ore transportation. As a friendly gesture, IISCO handed over the ownership rights to the landed property for a church building to be used by the Indian and Foreign Catholic township residents. The St Antony's Church was designed and built by Charles-Victor Poncelet sj with financial aid from Belgium.


1. St Antony's Church, view from the opposite maidan (esplanade).


page 30 Burnpur St Antony a
Archbishop Dyer'visit
Burnpur Dyer 2



2. The church keeper's lodge.


page 30 Burnpur St Antony b


 3. Sikander & John Barla chatting in the church compound.

                                     page 30 Burnpur John

page 37 b Burnpur John Barla


4. John De Ridder relaxing on the Barakar River bank.



page 30 Burnpur jDR river d

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto - Asansol

Asansol Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto


At Asansol, an important railway township for engine drivers and maintenance staff, this pretty church building was erected by the then British railway company running the Calcutta-Delhi line. British bricks were conveniently imported from Great Britain...

After Independence, the British company was incorporated into the Indian Ministry of Railways and the church building handed over to the Calcutta Archdiocese, with attached owner's rights and maintenance obligations. When the Burdwan diocese was erected, the Asansol Sacred Heart Church became its cathedral and the Asansol presbytery became Bishop's House.




page 29 Asansol church a


page 29 Asansol church b


page 29 Asansol grotto c




page 29 Asansol grotto d

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Holy Mass in Indian Rite


John De Ridder celebrating Holy Mass in a simplified version of the Indian rite at the Apostolic Carmel Sisters' convent.


page 48 Indian rite a
page 48 Indian rite b
page 47 Indian rite d


page 47 Indian rite c

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St Mary's High School - Entally


Girls' Sodality - Entally

1. Visit at the Victoria Memorial garden and pond.


page 28 St Marys High School - Victoria c

2  On the bank of the Hoogly, waiting for the tiffin carrier.


page 28 St Marys HS Hoogly d


page 38 Burnpur Griffiths f
page 38 Burnpur Griffiths e
page 38 Burnpur Griffiths d

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St Lawrence High School - Ballygunge

Junior Cricket team
page 37 d SLHS criket team

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Asansol Church & Presbytery

1. Celest Van Exem, dean & pp. in the Sacred Heart Church compound with Anglo-Indian girls sodality.


page 27 Asansol CVE girls



2. Archbishop Dyer (center) at the Asansol presbytery with (from left): Eardley C. Mc Donald, Robert Drugman, Celest Van Exem, Justin Maloney (Kulti), John De Ridder.

page 27 Asansol Dyer
3. Asansol: girls on the swing in the church compound.
27 Asansol swing

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Asansol - Chelidanga

1. Archbishop Dyer visiting Chelidanga village together with Fr. Celest Van Exem pp.


page 26 Dyer Chelidanga


2. John De Ridder,  chaplain of Young Christian Workers section.


page 26 Chelidanga YCW section


3. The Daughters of Saint Ann, in charge of St Maria Goretti HS, with chaplain JDR, assistant vicar. Mother Margaret-Mary (second from left front row) to be elected first Superior General when the Congregation obtained Pontifical rank status in later years.


page 26Chelidanga Daughters of St Ann


4. Chelidanga Girls Sodality with Sister Margaret-Mary and chaplain JDR.


page 26 Chelidanga Girls Sodality

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Asansol 1959

1. John De Ridder, Burnpur - Chelidanga


page 25 Asansol JDR 1959



2. Emiel Roeland, parish priest Asansol, dean Burdwan.


page 25 Asansol E Roelant c


3. Yvon de Steenhault, holding Bonzo, the fierce parish bull-terrier.


page 25 Asansol Y de Steen b

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