The school was founded in accordance with the will of Major General Claude Martin, a Frenchman who accepted the post of Second Lieutenant in the East India Company’s army, when the French domination in India came to end. In 1779, at the age of 42 and with the rank of Major he was permitted to transfer his services from the East India Company to Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab Wazir of Oudh. Martin lived in Lucknow from 1776 till his death in 1800, a period of 24 years. He was given a promotion in military rank from time to time. Arriving in Oudh, from a Major he became Lieutenant Colonel and finally in 1795 Major General.
He had great love for boys and girls and he wanted to help them by giving them a good start in life. Probably the idea of founding these schools (La Martiniere College at Lucknow, Kolkata and Lyons) had been in his mind for many years. He did the best possible turn for thousands of boys and girls from his own time up to now, as he provided the means for giving them an excellent education and for boarding them, too, at a figure, which is surprisingly moderate.
He died in Lucknow on 13th September, 1800 and according to his wish he was buried in the vault prepared for his remains in the basement of Constantia, which now houses La Martiniere College, Lucknow.
No provision had been made in the will of the Founder for the formation of a Girls’ School in Lucknow though he had made arrangements for a Girls’ School at Kolkata and Lyons. It was not, therefore, possible to utilize the funds of the college for this purpose, but there was money available under the “Female Education Fund” which the trustees put at the disposal of a New School- La Martiniere Girls’ School, Lucknow.