Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

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Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 5:49 pm

Glass images of India found in shoebox allow glimpse into days of the Raj

Plate negatives found in Edinburgh archive include pictures of King George V's visit as Emperor of India 100 years ago

Maev Kennedy

guardian.co.uk, Monday 7 May 2012 00.08 BST


Ships arriving at Chandpal ghat (quay), Kolkata – one of several images capturing life in India found in a shoebox. Photograph: RCAHMS/PA

A size-nine shoebox found in an Edinburgh archive has yielded a treasury of glass plate images of India a century ago, including renderings of the lavish celebrations for the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 and 1912, the first and last visit by a British monarch claiming the title Emperor of India.

The royal couple attended a spectacular durbar in Delhi to celebrate his proclamation as emperor, at a cost of almost £1m.

It was the only occasion that the £60,000 Imperial Crown of India, now part of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, was worn. Studded with more than 6,000 diamonds, it weighed almost 1kg (2.2lbs) and, after wearing it for hours in the blazing sun, the king complained that his head hurt.

Among the 178 glass plate negatives, found in an unlabelled box in the archives of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), are images of buildings along the waterfront in Kolkota including the enormous Writers Building – originally built for the East India Company, now a state government building – flashing with lights in honour of the royal visit.

Another shows lights picking out the H Hobbs premises where an Englishman called Harry Hobbs set up as a piano importer and tuner and lived for more than half a century: he lived to be 92, and his obituary in 1956 claimed that he was the oldest European in India.

The images are presumed to be amateur but John Falconer, curator of photographs at the British Library, who helped identify some of the scenes, regards their quality as outstanding.

The photographer remains unidentified but since the images include many of commerce and shipping, there is speculation they may have come back with somebody working in the lucrative jute trade, where many Scots were employed.

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 5:52 pm


An unknown group of people pose for a photograph during a tennis partyPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 5:55 pm


A group of washermen at a dhobi ghat (quay), KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 5:57 pm


A riverside scene with bathers, looking north from Chatulal's ghat towards Ram Chandra Goenka's Zenana (ladies) ghat, KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:00 pm


A hairdresser gives a Hindustani pudding bowl haircut, on Strand Road South, KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:03 pm


An unknown woman and two men pose for photographs in front a house and a display of potted plantsPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:06 pm


Buildings on the south-east side of the Lal Dighi (BBD Bagh, formerly Dalhousie Square), Kolkata, lit at night for the 1912 British royal visitPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:09 pm


A Muhurram procession, with a taziya held aloft, passes through a crowded street in KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:13 pm


Sadhus seated near the ghats in KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:17 pm


Ships docked at Chandpal ghat in KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  eddie on Mon May 07, 2012 6:20 pm


Two men stick dance, with an onlooking crowd, in Maidan, KolkataPhotograph: RCAHMS/PA

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Re: Discovery of old photos of India under the British Raj

Post  john smith0341 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:45 pm

Really amazing work well done this time will be very tough time i can't explain.

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