Category Archives: British Raj

John Lang: From Botany Bay to Bombay

John Lang was born in Sydney, a second generation Australian whose grandfather had been sent to the fledgling penal colony at Botany Bay for stealing a pair of spoons. He was educated partly at Cambridge and partly at other less … Continue reading

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Explanare, if you please; ‘Splanade, if you must!

One of the earliest memories I have of Calcutta is of my aunt coming back from her classes at Scottish Church College. It must have been from her that I first heard the word Esplanade. For a nine year old, … Continue reading

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Flowers and Flower Gardens: Instructions for the Anglo-Indian Flower Garden

“But it is not until he arrives at a bend of the river called Garden Reach, where the City of Palaces first opens on the view, that the stranger has a full sense of the value of our possessions in … Continue reading

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Today is not Calcutta’s birthday, thank you.

According to the High Court and a panel of eminent historians in 2003, this is not the day that Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock, that sullen Lancastrian who was disliked by his peers but so appreciated as an honest … Continue reading

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Tyger Tyger, burning bright; but for how long?

The destruction of the tiger and its habitat is possibly another of those things we picked up from the British. I mean one would have to first have a pile of dead tigers to then find out that they were … Continue reading

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Clive of India

Seeing that it is the anniversary of the Battle Of Plassey, Robert Clive was born in September 1725 at Styche Hall, near the village of Moreton Say near Market Drayton. His father, Richard, was a lawyer and a former MP, … Continue reading

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“Sir, I have discovered the highest mountain in the world!”

“Sir, I have discovered the highest mountain in the world!” Radhanath Sikdar, 1852. (Sikdar) In light of my earlier post on the first men to climb Mount Everest, it would be wrong to not gloat in the slightest about the … Continue reading

Posted in A Good Thing, Bengal, British Raj, Calcutta, Geography, Great Men of the past, History, Mathematics, The Himalayas | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hardly good form, old chap: Hastings shoots Philip Francis.

Today’s date has the somewhat dubious honour being the anniversary of a duel that took place between Warren Hastings and Philip Francis in 1780. Hastings had disliked Francis for a long time. The reason behind this is most likely the … Continue reading

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Hindoo Stuart and the pallid European ladies

Watching Dan Snow present The Birth of Empire: The East India Company is a very pleasant experience. He is a good looking man, knowledgeable in all the right ways and able to emphasise all the bits that need pointing out. … Continue reading

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An American abroad: Mary Curzon, Baroness Kedleston, that peacock dress and the zardosi men

My mother is reading a book on the Vicereines of India and on the cover is this portrait of a stunning woman in a stunning dress. Ma tells me she is Mary Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston and first wife … Continue reading

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