Tuesday, 8 May 2012

1912 photos of Calcutta found in a Peter Lord shoebox in Edinburgh

Amazing collection of photographs depicting life in India a century ago are found in an old shoebox. A tennis party pose among tea trolleys: full-length dresses and sun hats for the ladies; shirt-sleeve order, neat moustaches and optional pipe for the men. 

One image shows buildings in the city of Calcutta lit up over the Lal Dighi body of water, commemorating a British royal visit, while another depicts ships arriving at the Chandpal Ghat, the main landing site for visitors to the city along the Hooghly River. 

All 178 of the plate-glass negatives were found inside a size-nine Peter Lord shoebox by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in Edinburgh. All 178 images were found in a Peter Lord shoebox in Edinburgh and are about 100 years old. 

A tennis party poses (one, far right, with a pipe) among tea trolleys in this 
photo taken in India around a century ago. 

Two men stick dance in front of a crowd in Maidan, Calcutta. The dance
represents a mock fight between legendary warrior Durga and the mighty 
demon king Mahishasura. 

Buildings on the south-east side of Lal Dighi, Calcutta, lit at night for the 
1912 British royal visit by King George V and Queen Mary.

Archivists have confirmed some of the images were definitely taken in 1912, 
when the royals visited. It was the only trip by a British monarch to India 
as Emperor of the subcontinent. 

King George V and the Queen arrive in Delhi in 1911. 

A crowded riverside with bathers at Chandpal Ghat in Calcutta, the main
landing site for visitors to the city along the Hooghly River. 

A street scene in an unknown location, capturing life in India at least 
a century ago. 

Ships arriving at Chandpal Ghat, while crowds gather by the docks.

A Jain temple complex in Calcutta. RCAHMS hopes that members of the 
public and photography enthusiasts might be able to shed more light on the
photographic discovery.

A street hairdresser giving a 'Hindustani haircut' (pudding bowl) 
in Strand Road South, Calcutta.

Celebrations for the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Calcutta in 1912. 

A Muhurram (sacred month) procession through a crowded Calcutta street 
with tazieh theatre performance in the background. Tazieh drama re-enacts heroic
tales of love and sacrifice. 

Calcutta is lit up for the royal visit; right, a group seated in two ferry canoes moored in a stream at an unknown location. 

Waterside with a group of washermen at a dhobi ghat (open-air laundry zone). 

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