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Located opposite Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty, the college building was constructed in 1889 and designed by John Adams in the domestic Victorian Gothic style. It is listed as a Grade III heritage structure in the city. The Wilson College was founded by the Indian missionary Rev. Beginning as Ambroli English School in Girgaum, Mumbai, it later saw several changes of sites and names, eventually being called the Wilson School. Soon after their arrival in Mumbai in February 1829, Wilson and his wife Margaret Wilson began studying the local Marathi language. Margaret started a school for girls in 1829 at Ambroli House in Girgaum at Mumbai, with Marathi being the chief medium of instruction and learning. An English boarding school was opened in 1832, which later became the St.
The Ambroli English School is the direct forerunner of the present college. On 14 December 1861, the collegiate section of Wilson’s institution under the name of Free General Assembly’s Institution became the first privately owned, non-government institution to be affiliated to the university. In 1952, the management of the college came under an autonomous Board of Governors in India. Since 1963, the college functions under the management of John Wilson Education Society. The students of Wilson College are from nearly every ethnic, religious and social group, of the country as well as of the world.
Wilson in 1875, Rev Dr Dugald Mackichan served as a successor, having already served the college for six months at the time of Wilson’s death. Nine years later, Mackichan became principal and held the position until 1920, becoming one of the most distinguished principals of the college. The Postal Department, Government of India honored its founder and the institution by issuing a Special Day Postal Cover in 2004. In 2007 to commemorate the completion of its 175 years, a stamp and first day cover of Wilson College was issued. Wilson College Literary Society with the first issue appearing in 1909.
The names of the editors do not appear until 1933. The Wilsonian was published twice a year from 1909 until 1944, when it was decided to publish it only once a year. The Wilsonian has been an annual publication ever since. The building is noted for its large first-floor classrooms with interesting teakwood trusses. These classrooms are protected by deep verandahs, which overlook the Girgaum Chowpatty beach and are protected by the Mangalore tiled roof. The arched veranda with its segmental sandstone arches on the ground floor forms one of the common features of the building.