Why are there Anchors on the walls of Paris Campus - République?

People who look up in the courtyard of the République Campus are sometimes surprised to see anchors hanging from the walls, and don’t having the faintest idea why they are there.

In fact, they are a reminder of the short period when the school was home to a department of maritime navigation, founded at the start of the 20th century.

Why did ESCP created the Maritime Navigation Department?

The aim of this school-within-the school was “to train future long-haul captains from among the Ministry of the Navy fellows, who will understand the resources and opportunities, the different civilisations and their languages, as well as the sea depths and celestial constellations”. The department was created through a combination of two ambitions: the school wanted to develop its activities by creating new facilities, and the State wanted to improve the level of education of sea captains. Indeed, these captains had previously not received any specific training and had to teach themselves, while they were responsible for their cargo and had to negotiate with forwarders when they made their ports of call.

ESCP hosted the Maritime Navigation Department

After discussions with the government, ESCP was chosen to host this new facility and on 21 December 1905, the higher navigation department was inaugurated by the Ministers of Commerce and of the Navy and the President of the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

And Students went to Sea

In addition to the classes given in Paris, students took a training cruise aboard the Merchant Navy training ship and the curriculum was so widely recognised that the government had the maritime department transformed into the Ecole Supérieure de la Navigation Maritime, officially preparing students for the theory examination part of the long-haul captaincy higher education certificate. After this recognition, the Central Committee of French Shipowners set up a system for boarding students who were attending the two years of study.

The transfer of the Maritime Navigation Department

The school was meeting a real need but unfortunately, following a press campaign, probably initiated by competing schools, the Under-secretariat of the Merchant Navy realised that the sea did not come quite as far as Paris, something that it had apparently not been informed of before. Hardly front-page news, but it served as a pretext to transfer the maritime department to the Le Havre Ecole supérieure de commerce in 1913.

The ties between the Sea and ESCP

However, the ties between the sea and the school have not been completely severed. For many years, students of the school did their military service in the French Navy and now, many Alumni are pursuing careers in the maritime world as shipowners, line managers, consultants, insurers, consignees...

And furthermore!

We will also mention the ESCP Yachting Association, which regularly participates in races including that of EDHEC, the "ESCP regatta" which attracts hundreds of students of all nationalities to the Adriatic Sea. Two graduates of the school, Guillaume Bras and Nicolas Saint Bris, challenged last December the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge a completely autonomous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by oar in which contestants will cover 5000 km, from La Gomera to the island of Antigua.

Credit: © Gabriel Gouteux - Banner top