Baptist Mission in Dhaka
Reference has already been made to the early history of Baptist Mission in Dhaka. The pioneer Missionary, Leonard, and his successors had their headquarters, for about sixty years, at Chota Katra. Subsequently a house, which still stands, though in ruins, on the river side, between the Wise House and former Telegraph office, was rented and used by the missionaries for several years; Mr. Bion lived in it after leaving the Katra house, which he seems to have relinquished to Mr. Robert Robinson. Yet again a house, since demolished, in Wiseghat Road was rented, and for a time in the eighties and nineties of the last century the now rather dilapidated building at the corner of Sadarghat Road, opposite Regent’s Park Hall, served as the Mission residence. Mr. T. H. Barnett superintended the erection of the present building in Bangla Bazar. The foundation stone was laid on 29th September, 1884, and the house was completed in January 1887. About 1890 Mr. Wright Hay obtained money from friends at home and erected a Gospel Hall with mud floor and mat walls and thatched roof facing the cross roads on the west side of the compound.
Mr. William Carey, in 1903, tapped the generosity of the members of Regent’s Park Chapel, London, for the cost of a new and more commodious building. With these gills Mr. Sutton Page was able to erect the present Regent’s Park Hall. It was opened in 1905, and has been in constant use ever since for students, evangelistic and Sunday school works. The imposing pile of the buildings, which now fill the eastern side of the Mission compound – the students’ Hostel and warden’s house – were erected in 1912.
Baptist Missionaries were the pioneers of English education in Dhaka. As early as 1817 five schools were opened for the instruction of the children, and one more specially meant for the Persian language. By 1824 the number of schools was raised to fifteen with thirteen hundred pupils.
This educational work was carried on till the establishment of Government School and College.