The beginnings of the Hall are different from those of the College. While the history of the College begins with the small school started at Egmore in 1835 that of Bishop Heber Hall could be traced back to a similar school started by Gr.Schwartz at Trichy in 1763. The school at Trichy grew and became a college in 1878. It was named Bishop Heber College after Reginald Heber (1783-1826) the hymn writer and Bishop of Calcutta. In 1932 this college was closed and merged with the Madras Christian College.
The teachers and students who shifted to Madras formed the Bishop Heber Hostel at Vepery. After a short stay at Vepery and later at Royapettah, the hostel finally moved out with the rest of Madras Christian College to Tambaram in 1937.
The beautiful Chapel, the Hall library and the Hall Coat of Arms are reminders of the transformation of the college at Trichy to the Bishop Heber Hall at Tambaram.
The Motto, in Latin, is "Nisi Dominus Frustra". This means, "In vain, without God", This motto is from the first verse of Psalm 127 which reads "If the Lord builds not the house, the builders labour but in vain".
- Orientation and ice-breaking for I year residents, by Resident staff, in the first week of July.
- Initiation ceremony of I year residents in the presence of warden, Resident Staff, Anti-ragging committee members.
- First General Body Assembly in August - passing of annual Budget.
- Inter block culturals - "Silver Tongue".
- Annual Inter Collegiate Acoustic music fest - 1st Saturday in October - "Octavia". It ends with a showdown featuring a Rock Band from India.
- Hall News Letter: "Plelican Brief"
- Hall annual Magazine: "Aazad"
- Unofficial Hall magazine - for Private circulation only - "Heber Rag".
- A painting is done in the Outdoor stage every year, for the Hall Day, in accordance with the theme of the Hall Day.
- Membership in British Council Library and Connemera Library, to enable residents use Library and Information Science facilities.
Chairman: Resh Chacko Godly
General secretary : C. Santhosh Kavin
Literary and Debating secretary: Nikhil .P. John
Library and Reading Room Secretary : Nikhil. M .Philip
Entertainment Secretary : Neil Beeto Jerin
Indoor Games Secretary : Arun .B. Jacob
Outdoor Games Secretary: Daniel Vetrivendhan
Non-Vegetarian mess Secretary: P.Sivananthan
Vegetarian mess Secretary: Mohan Kumar
Sub Warden : P. Tilak
Bishop Heber Hall Chapel :
- Sacristan : Beschi Dayaprakash
- Guild Secretary : Refin Raja
- Worship Secretary : Jerome Rufus Jebaraj
- Chapel Secretary : Jinu Ann Koshy
- Chairman: Jagan Nath
- General Secretary: Kavin Kumar
- Treasurer : Jeba Premy Thomas
The Hall has accommodation for 214 members and about ten of those would be members of the Faculty. The residence of the Warden and several other members of the faculty attached to the Hall are close to the Hall.
The rooms in the Hall are equipped with a table, a chair, a book shelf, a cot and a stool.
The Hall has a chapel, a library, an indoor games room, a theatre for Hall meetings and an open-air stage for film shows and similar other programmes. Besides the Playgrounds around the Hall, Roman Rings, a horizontal bar and a gymnasium are also provided on the premises.
The Hall office Telephone is +91 44 65909855 and the Hall mess Telephone is +91 44 22395767.
Non-Resident students attached to the Hall enrich the life in the hall by their meaningful participation in various Hall activities.
- Galarompics ( Martin Hall) - won overall shield
- Moon shadows (Selaiyur Hall) - Entertainment Shield
- Vaatika (Martin Hall) - Best Garden maintenance 2005 - 2007
- Inter Hall Athletics - Championship shield (34 times out of 64 such meets)
The rules have been drawn up carefully, after much experience, so that residents may live together in harmony and without becoming a nuisance to each other or to those outside.
- Compline timing : 8.00pm to 8.30pm every night in the chapel.
- Roll call timing : 8.30pm to 9.00pm every night
- Gate closes : 10.00pm.
Our Guild members (chapel) and Hall residents have adopted "Hope Foundation" a home for HIV/AIDS affected children ( 2 to 10 years) in Sembakkam, spending free time with them and allotting a small portion of their savings to buy goodies for the children.
A documentary titled "Ninos De La Esperanza" was produced by our residents in 2006.
Some of our students also are taken to the Government T.B.Sanatorium / HIV-AIDS ward, periodically.
Annual Sanctuary Guild Outing
2005: One day tour of all ancient historical churches in Chennai.
2006: "Workshop on Christian Leadership" in collaboration with YWAM
The first thought that comes to mind when one takes a crack at perceiving an image of the city of Chennai is the panache of music that exudes right from the shores of the Marina to the coffee shops that dot every street. At the Madras Christian College, we fall nothing short of this particular flair and Octavia, an inter-collegiate acoustics and electrics competition annually hosted by the Bishop Heber Hall, Madras Christian College is the ideal stage that coalesce both this flamboyance of music with a student crowd that takes on board this sort of a composition.
Octavia, since its inception in 1981, continues to be a household name among both music enthusiasts and college students alike. It has been platform of fillip for numerous young bands and as a result participation over the years has seen a manifold increase. With over 30 bands competing to walk away with top honors, Octavia offers nothing but quality music to those who choose to turn up. Curtailing with a rock showdown by a leading band from the country, Octavia thus manages to draw in crowds from all over the city.
The 31st Octavia is just around the corner, scheduled to take place on the 6th of October, 2012, all eyes and ears are on Bishop Heber Hall, Madras Christian College as they brace themselves to play host to this mammoth music fiesta.