Kimmins High School was founded by Miss Alice Emilie Kimmins who was known as “The mother of Panchgani.” Ms. Kimmins arrived in India in 1885 working first in Lahore and then at Varanasi and later in the Zenana Mission High School in Girgaum, Mumbai.
In 1896, Mumbai was struck with two disasters, of famine and plague. And the outcomes of these two disasters are relevant to the foundation of Kimmins. Ms. Kimmins had begun to dream a school in the hills for the European children to save them from the exhausting climate of Mumbai. She shared her idea with Miss Mary Ashlin. But there were no funds to start a school. It was Miss Mary Ashlin who offered a liberal grant of Rs.300/- per month to finance the school for 2 years.
There was a protestant school run for day students in Panchgani by Miss Evans. Ms. Ashlin bought the goodwill of school and Miss Kimmins arrived in Panchgani in February 1898 with more students , mainly boys. The boys stayed at “The Ark” and the seven girl boarders with their staff settled into the American Mission Bunglow (later know as Little House).
Miss Kimmins immediately started to plan for the expansion of the school.
Under Ms. Kimmins dynamic leadership, many buildings were completed at various periods. She said that for 15 out of 22 years in Panchgani, she was involved in building plans.
Ms. Margaret Gilbert, Ex-Principal, (1969 – 1979) passed away on 14th May 2016 at her residence in England. The past students and staff from England attended the funeral on 25th May 2016. The inauguration of the new auditorium with all the modern amenities was held on 21st May 2016. Dr. David, Chairman of C.M.E.F. Trust inaugurated this beautiful building. Mr. Stanley Karkada, Managing Trustee was also present . The renovated dormitories – Boys dormitory and Little House dormitory, were also inaugurated on the same day. Ms. Augustine thanked the Trust for this added facilities. Ms. Mary Chandravati, Ex-Vice Principal of Kimmins High School passed away on 13th September 2016.The Principal, Ms. Augustine, along with the staff attended her funeral in Pune
Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalaam, Ex-Indian President passed away on 27th July 2015. A general assembly was called and had a condolence meeting on 28th morning in order to express the respect to Dr. Abdul Kalaam.
The New Science Laboratory next to the main school building with all the new facilities was inaugurated by Dr. M. D. David , Chairman, C.M.E.F. Trust, Mumbai, on 23rd March 2017. Dr. Mrs. Manjula David and Mrs.Daphne Bhalerao - Committee Members, and Ms. Augustine - Principal, were present for the inauguration.
The Government Department visited the school in connection with the preparations of smart card – Aadhar Card for staff and students and organized the same for 2 days i.e. on 22nd and 23rd August 2011. A book exhibition was organized in school for 2 days by the sisters of St. Paul. Planetarium show was organized by a specialized company call “Equinox’.
Frank All India Level Inter School Debate was held at J. D. Somani School, Mumbai and Kimmins stood in the third place. There was a panic in Panchgani as the ‘swine flu’ symptoms were found in 17 students in St. Peter’s School. A team of medical officers visited the school and school hospital for inspection and there wasn’t any case of swine flu in Kimmins. Day students were asked to stay at home for 7 days and boarders were not allowed to go out for any activities for a week. Necessary medicines were given to the girls to maintain their immunity. The Collector of Satara declared holiday for all the school in Satara district for a week because of the swine flu pandemic so we had to close the school for 4 days in advance before the monsoon vacation began. The new building in place of Pearsall dormitory was inaugurated by the Trustees of C.M.E.F. Trust. Dr. M. D. David, Managing Trustee, Mr. N.C. Amanna, Chairman, Mr.S.Shirsat, Trustee, Dr.(Mrs.) M. David, Committee Member and Ms.E. Augustine, Principal, were present for this function.
Aneri Muni, Std.X student attended a festival on “Unity in Diversity” organized at Hyderabad. The special programme was organized by Centre for Cultural Resources and Training under the aegis of Ministry of Culture , Government of India. The school was closed on 29th August 2008 on account of solidarity with other Christian Schools , which were closed in protest against the attack on Christians in Orissa. Kimmins School started organizing Inter School Debate Competition covering the schools in Pune, Satara and Panchgani. Kimmins girls attended “Panchi Utsav” organized by St. Peter’s School, The runner up trophy was awarded to Kimmins High School.
Shahbad tile flooring in the Principal’s office and accounts office was replaced with new modern tiles. Miss F. Inayat – Ex-Principal, (1979 – 1994) passed away on 29th March 2007. She was buried in the Christian Cemetery, Hadapsar, Pune. The roots of silver oak tree near the dining hall started breaking and it was on the verge of falling over the auditorium and kitchen godown. It was a stormy day and the Pranth Officer had given a special permission to cut down the tree. Mrs. Nalini Chaudhary, a well known career guidance counselor started organizing a career guidance course for Std.X students. Smriti Deshpande and Tanvi Acharya took part in Frank Anthony Memorial All Indian Inter School Debate Competition at Greenlawns School, Worli, Mumbai. They were qualified for the second stage of selection. The ICSE Council congratulated the school for winning the first stage of selection. Ground breaking ceremony (Prayer Service) of the reconstruction of Pearsall dormitory was held in October 2007. Dr. David, Managing Trustee of C.M.E.F. Trust led the service.
The area above the dining hall was renovated and converted into an auditorium as the space was inadequate in the old hall.
An Audio Visual room was constructed attached to the new building. Library was expanded and computer laboratory was renovated.
Skating rink was constructed. 4 new classrooms were constructed behind the new building near the hospital. Pentium IV computers were installed in the accounts office.
The flooring of the gym hall was done by replacing the shahbad stone with Kota stone.
The school centenary was celebrated in Panchgani in October 1998. It was held from 23rd to 25th October 1998. Ms. Margaret Gilbert Ex-Principal was the Centenary Coordinator. Dr. M.D. David, Chairman of C.M.E.F. Trust and Mr.S.B. Shinde, Managing Trustee of C.M.E.F. Trust and other Trust members were present. Ms. Yelland, Ex-Principal, Ms. F. Inayat, Ex-Principal, Ms. Robinson, Ex-Vice Principal and Ms. E. Augustine, Principal, also attended this programme. Dr. Mariamma Verghese, Vice Chancellor of S.N.D..T. Women’s University was the chief guest. More than 200 past students and staff attended this function with their families. Students from Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, USA, Europe and UK were present to see the school and to meet their friends and teachers. Principals of Panchgani schools and representatives of Panchgani Rotary Club were present to witness the programme. Indira Pastala, a past student was the master of ceremonies, controlling the very large audience with authority. Planting trees in the school compound was a part of the programme. Sports meet was organized with much enthusiasm involving present and past students. Ms. Yelland cut the birthday cake which was later distributed to all present. She also released a bunch of white balloons, printed with the school name and centenary date. In a drill item, the students released balloons in house colours. During the sports, a para glider passed twice over the field trailing a banner of greetings which was organized by the past students Anjali Pinto Lobo. Around 300 students attended the centenary dinner. A fete was organized on the Diamond Jubilee Sports Ground. This was well supported. Guests enjoyed a bonfire on Diamond Jubliee Sports field. A thanks giving service was organized in St. Peter’s Church. On the same day, the past staff and students served at a dinner for the present and past service employees. Many of the functions were held in a shamiana in front of the school with seating for 1000 persons. The past students and staff entered into all the functions with great enthusiasm. According to the Panchgani community, this was probably the biggest function staged in the town.
Miss Inayat retired in 1994 . Miss Anson took the charge for a short time and Miss Augustine took over as the Acting Principal in December 1995 and then appointed as the Principal in 1998.
The new dining hall was inaugurated . This was used by the girls from Pearsall, Ashlin and Willingdon dormitories.
Miss Gilbert returned to U.K. and Miss Inayat who had been appointed as the Vice Principal in 1977, then became the Principal . She was the first Indian Principal of the school.
The management (B.B.M.F. Trust), passed to the Christian Medical and Educational Fellowship Trust with Commander L. Mathew as the first Chairman of the School Committee.
The Panchgani Anglo Indian Schools (Kimmins, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s Convent) combined to provide the 2 year junior college course with Science, Arts and Commerce streams. The teaching was shared by the 3 schools. There were 37 students – 11 from Kimmins, 19 from St.Peter’s and 7 from St.Joseph’s Convent. The initial success of this venture reflected the excellent working relationship between the Principals of the 3 schools.
The 75th anniversary / jubilee of Kimmins was celebrated from 23rd to 29th October 1973.
Ms. Margaret Gilbert became the Principal of Kimmins High School. On May 1970, the construction of the new staff hostel started and was inaugurated / opened by Rt. Rev.A. W. Luther, Bishop of Kolhapur and Mumbai on 14th March 1971.
This year will be remembered as the year of two major disasters. On March 6th , a large fire was discovered early in the morning in the Lower Ashlin wing. It was put out by the girls and a group of local friends in about 3 hours. On December 11th, of the same year, the KOYNA EARTHQUAKE shook Panchgani doing considerable damage and bringing down a large boulder from tableland. In Kimmins, two walls of the kitchen, one wall in the matron’s room in Ashlin and wall of the library were rendered unsafe. Fortunately, the school was closed for Christmas holidays and children were at home. In 1967, The Bible Medical Missionary Fellowship Trust was formed to take over the management of the school from the mission and on 30th the first meeting of the Board of Governor’s was held. Members – Mrs.S. Cashman, Rev. A, Rees, Mr. K. Hanbarhatty (Chairman) Miss Rewani, Dr. S. Paul, Rev. B. Ringrose, Ms. V. Punekar, Mrs. Ramdas and Miss Yelland.
This year was the Diamond Jubilee year of the school. The project taken up for this particular year was the leveling of the playground below the main boarding block as well as building a spectacular stand, preparing a pitch and fencing and netting the playground. At present this is known as the Diamond Jubilee Sports ground/ hockey pitch.
Ms. Marian Yelland became the Principal of Kimmins and continued till 1969.
The teaching of Marathi in Std.VI, VII and VIII was started.
Miss Pearsall has handed over the management of the school to Miss Thompson (Vice Principal) in anticipation of Home Leave. She came back from her furlough and continued as a Principal till 1948.
Snuggery new dormitory was in use and this boarding facility was for Std.I, II and III.
A concert was organized in aid of Swedish missionaries stranded in Mahableshwar because of war
Wood side – a cottage is taken to accommodate small boys. The bakery was taken over by school.
Inspectors report “The children are friendly and unafraid, very responsive and extra ordinarily well-disciplined. The school is not a snobbish school, but it is conscious in most pleasing way of what it owes to itself and its standard.
VJune 19th – Founder Day – whole holiday. The bust of Miss Kimmins presented by Mr. & Mrs. Virjee was put in Prayer Hall and there was special prayers. Examination results have been good in 1934- 35 . Ms.Pearsall said that the good results are due to good teaching and the children’s ability.
Kimmins memorial hospital was opened by Lady Lawrence – wife of the Acting Governor of Bombay.
Following the death of Miss Kimmins, Miss Pearsall became the Principal. She wrote “Only those who worked with Miss Kimmins can know the perpetual struggle very valiantly made by Miss Kimmins against weakness and adverse circumstances. Though her health was poor, her vitality was wonderful. She had one idea firmly fixed in her mind – the school. For that she was willing to endure anything and it is a lasting monument to her great love for it.
Miss Kimmins went on leave in January 1921. She had never kept in good health and passed away unexpectedly on 28th March. The news as a devastating blow when it was received in Panchgani.
“The girls are healthy and full of life and enter into all games with zest, while Ms. Kimmins and her staff exercise an excellent moral influence both in school and out. Miss Kimmins faced and overcame challenges because of her deep commitment to the school and to the children in her care. Miss Kimmins said that with God’s help, she has been able to establish a school in this presidency which has met a decided need. She expressed her aims this way. “Building in stone and mortar are of great value, but nothing compares with character building. There is a deep responsibility on those of us who have the training of the rising generation.”
The school became very widely known, with students coming from as far as Quetta, Karachi, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Madras. The curriculum was similar to that followed by a girls school in England at that time.
The Mission Hall was pulled down and replaced by two storey structure with a domestic science room and staff bedrooms above. Ms. Kimmins was certainly a master builder.
The construction of the Willingdon dormitory wing was completed.
The construction of the gymnasium was completed at a cost of Rs.9,000/-.
A cottage was bought as a school hospital (Rs.6,000/-)
Lower Ashlin was constructed with Rs.12,200/-.
Ms.Kimmins started building a bunglow with 1000 pounds borrowed from Ms. Ashlin (the bunglow in the way joining Upper Ashlin and Harley Street)
Miss Kimmins bought the American Mission Hall (for Rs.2,500/-) with the help of Ms.Ashlin and converted this hall into a school room. At the same time a piece of land (Rs.15,00/-) was bought from the American Mission which is now the Prayer Hall and land for classrooms)