Bill H. Jenkins

Apr 242018
 

Waverley Gate

Wellington Statue, 2 Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 3YY

This major traffic intersection provided access to armed forces offices in Register House, and was an important area for ‘old India hands’. In John Bayll’s tavern, now site of the Waverleygate building, the East India Club was founded in 1797. In 1799, they contributed 20 guineas to survivors of a fire in the Cowgate and in 1801, 50 guineas to a house of industry. Opposite, at 10 Princes Street, Poole’s Coffee House, was the local of military men, including veterans of Indian campaigns, such as Seringapatam and Assaye, led by Lord Wellington (1769-1852), whose equestrian statue still dominates the area.

The Wellington Statue in front of Register House.

The Wellington Statue in front of Register House.

 

Shakespeare Square and Princes Street by John Le Conte, 1857.

Shakespeare Square and Princes Street by John Le Conte, 1857.

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Apr 242018
 

Location of Portuguese CanonCalton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA

The ‘Portuguese Cannon’ tells several chapters of European expansion. Bearing a Spanish royal coat of arms – Spain ruled Portugal at the time- it was sent out in the 17th century for service in the Portuguese Indies, stretching from Mozambique to Macao. The cannon then got into the hands of the rulers of the Arakan (west coast of today’s Burma/Myanmar) from where in 1785, according to the Burmese inscription, it was taken to Mandalay. In 1885, Upper Burma fell to British forces and the cannon was exhibited at the Edinburgh Fair of 1886 and after that, taken to Calton Hill.

View of Spanish Coat of Arms and the Burmese Inscription.

View of Spanish Coat of Arms and the Burmese Inscription.

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Apr 242018
 

Royal High School

New Parliament House, 5-7 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH7 5BL

The dominant secondary school in Edinburgh until 1824, the Royal High School’s list of former pupils engaging with India is too long to recount, but included David Yule (1858–1928), Calcutta merchant and industrialist, ‘Empire’s Richest Man’. In the 18th and 19th centuries probably about the Edinburgh schools’ average of 10% of alumni went out, enough for Royal High School clubs in India and Malaya. Many of these men donated trophies, prizes and scholarships for sporting, or academic brilliance to the school, such as the India Prize given annually by a Calcutta newspaper editor for best essay on Indian culture.

Portrait of David Yule, RHS FP and Calcutta businessman.

Portrait of David Yule, RHS FP and Calcutta businessman.

 

The Art Room before the First World War.

The Art Room before the First World War.

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Apr 242018
 

Burns Monument

Burns Monument, 1759 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH7

The idea to erect a monument to Burns was first proposed by John Forbes-Mitchell of Thainstone, Aberdeen, in Bombay in 1812. Expatriates raised a ‘considerable sum’ (£27,500, 2018 prices) and John raised more when he was back in Britain. A committee was formed with the Duke of Atholl as Chair, in 1819 at the London Freemason’s Tavern. Three of its members made their money in India: George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith; Charles Forbes, head of Forbes & Co. of Bombay; and his relative, John Forbes-Mitchell. Thomas Hamilton, the architect, also designed the Alloway Burns Monument and the Royal High School (opposite).

Inside the Burns Monument.

Inside the Burns Monument.

 

The original Burns Statue by Flaxman, now in the Portrait Gallery in Queen Street.

The original Burns Statue by Flaxman, now in the Portrait Gallery in Queen Street.

 

John Forbes-Mitchell of Thainstane, 1820s.

John Forbes-Mitchell of Thainstane, 1820s.

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Apr 242018
 

Old Forsyth's building

30 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2BY

‘Foreign and Colonial Outfitters’ a sign on the former Forsyth’s store speaks of Edinburgh’s Indian retail trade. Oriental carpets, rhododendrons or cashmere underwear were well expected imports, as were Melrose’s Teas (93 George Street). An Edwardian trade directory listed over 50 Edinburgh businesses exporting goods to India. India Pale Ale (see Oxford Bar’s window, Young Street), whisky and clothes, hats, boots, saddles, pulpit robes and “St Bernard’s Starch Enamel”, ‘regularly received’ orders from even ‘the highest circles in India’. More unexpected sales were stained glass, bullock weighing machines for bazaars, and ‘Edinburgh Shortbread sent in 1904 to Thibet’.

Forsyth's Globe.

Forsyth’s Globe.

 

Foreign & Colonial outfitters sign.

Foreign & Colonial outfitters sign.

 

IPA Window at the Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street, EH2 4JB.

IPA Window at the Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street, EH2 4JB.

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Apr 242018
 

National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL

The Gallery does not have an ‘India’ category in its collection, but over the last 120 years, over 600 India-related objects have been acquired: 17th century etchings; 18th century topographical drawings; portraits and photographs of Scots who have left their mark on Indian history; and the work of modern and contemporary artists. Examples include Willison’s impressive full-length oil portrait of his patron, Mohammed Ali, Nawab of Arcot; displayed are Wilkie’s towering portrait of Major-General Sir David Baird at Seringapatam – a text-book image for the fourth Mysore campaign of 1799; and the portrait of Patrick Moir, Sheriff of Calcutta in 1810.

The David Baird painting and bust in the National Gallery.

The David Baird painting and bust in the National Gallery.

 

Portrait of Patrick Moir in the National Gallery.

Portrait of Patrick Moir in the National Gallery.

 

Picture of Nawab of Arcot at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, currently in storage.

Picture of Nawab of Arcot at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, currently in storage.

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Apr 242018
 

Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ

The RSE, created in 1783 for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge” moved into this building in 1909. About 240 of its Fellows worked in India, including Sir Ronald Ross, who documented the link between mosquitoes and malaria, and Viceroy Lord Linlithgow. About 40 Fellows had Indian names, the earliest being educator, jurist, barrister and mathematician Asutosh Mukhopâdhyay in 1886. Several fellows gave the RSE Indian materials. Notably, Frances Simpson in 1819 gave four sculptures from Bihar/Bengal. George Swinton, in 1827, gave three Burmese sculptures; the head of a dugong; snakes; corals; an alligator and many other items.

Letterbox of Royal Society.

Letterbox of Royal Society.

 

Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee.

Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee.

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Apr 242018
 

Scott MonumentScott Monument, E. Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ

In 1821, Scott wrote: India is ‘the corn chest for Scotland, where we poor gentry must send our youngest sons as we send our black cattle to the South’. Scott’s novella, A Surgeon’s Daughter, is partly set in India and friends serving there helped with details. Family, like brother Robert and cousin James Russell, were in the East India Company; his wife Charlotte received about £40,000 annually (today’s value) from her brother in India. Walter helped his nephew to an Indian position – but discouraged his sons: Walter went to Madras only after his father’s death, and died en route home.

Statue of Sir Walter Scott.

Statue of Sir Walter Scott.

 

Watercolour portrait of Sir Walter Scott's son Walter in Hussars' uniform.

Watercolour portrait of Sir Walter Scott’s son Walter in Hussars’ uniform.

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Apr 242018
 

India Buildings.

India Buildings, Victoria St, Edinburgh EH1 2EX

The name of this building, erected 1864-6, was possibly copied from a Liverpool office block, built in 1833-34 and named by Liverpool merchants celebrating the end of the East India Company’s monopoly on trading with India. The Buildings have a dramatic interior, with a domed, balconied rotunda. In January 1906, Pandurang Mahadev ‘Senapati’ Bapat (1880-1967) is said to have read an essay ‘British rule in India’ at a meeting here of the Independent Labour party. Bapat lost his Indian government scholarship, travelled to Paris in 1907, joined Indian radicals, returned to India in 1908 and became a freedom fighter.

India Buildings plaque.

India Buildings sign.

 

Postage Stamp of Senapati Bapat.

Postage Stamp of Senapati Bapat.

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Apr 162018
 

George Heriot's.George Heriot’s School, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ

John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841), former pupil and donor of George Heriot’s, went to India as a surgeon in 1782. An early introducer of indigo, and farmer of sugar and opium, he also started the teaching of Hindustani and use of Devanagari letters at Fort William College Calcutta, 1801. Returning to Edinburgh, he joined the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Horticultural Society, the East India Club, and the Scottish Military and Naval Academy. He erected an aviary containing exotic birds outside his house on Nicolson Square. After his banking enterprise failed, he moved to London, taught Hindustani, and died in Paris.

 

Plaque to George Borthwick Gilchrist.

Plaque to George Borthwick Gilchrist.

 

Portrait of John Borthwick Gilchrist.

Portrait of John Borthwick Gilchrist.

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