Apr 242018
 

SIte of Scottish Naval and Military Academy.Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 2AB

The Scottish Naval and Military Academy, founded 1825, trained young gentlemen for the British and East India Company’s forces, and, from 1829, shared with the Riding School a new building on Lothian Road opposite Castle Terrace (now the Caledonian Hotel). From high poetic texts James Ballantyne taught ‘Persian, Hindoostanee and Arabic’, 1832-45 before becoming Superintendent of Benares College. At its peak over 100 students learned things like ‘the chief cities of Hindoostan’ or, like Patrick Lindesay earned an Indian sword for ‘gentlemanly conduct’ and a medal for military drawing. The school was demolished for railway use in the early 1860s.

Portrait of James Ballantyne, circa 1845, by Hill and Adamson.

Portrait of James Ballantyne, circa 1845, by Hill and Adamson.

 

Patrick Lindesay's Indian style sword of honour, awarded for 'Gentlemanly Conduct', 1833.

Patrick Lindesay’s Indian style sword of honour, awarded for ‘Gentlemanly Conduct’, 1833.

 

Robert Pope's Medal for French and Hindustani.

Robert Pope’s Medal for French and Hindustani.

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Apr 242018
 

St John's ChurchSt John’s Episcopal Church, Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ

In 1818 the growing episcopal congregation of Charlotte Chapel, Rose Street, built a new church, St John’s, on the corner of Lothian Road/Princes Street. Its wealthiest members at the time, Alexander Tod, East India Company captain; his ex-deputy, Thomas Robertson; Alexander Dyce; John  Downie; and Alexander Falconer, all made fortunes in India. A memorial window (number 9) is dedicated to George Swinton, by 1833, top civil servant in India, from where he sent important scientific specimens, from elephants’ eyeballs to first samples of Burma crude oil to Edinburgh. Four of his sons served in India, three dying on active service.

The George Swinton Memorial Window.

The George Swinton Memorial Window.

Memorial to Alexander Bruere Tod, HEICS.

Memorial to Alexander Bruere Tod, HEICS.

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Apr 242018
 

37 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7JF

The first written mention of curry being eaten in Edinburgh is found in the memoirs of Bombay-born Janet Maughan. A lavish 1830s dinner party or “burra khana” at No. 37 usually had four starters ‘often including a curry’. Janet’s father, Philip Maughan, had served in the East India Company Marine Service, surveying the Gulf of Cutch and also the approaches to Macao and Canton. Later Indian business dealings lost him money, but an Indian curry remained a favourite dish. Sir Andrew Fraser, the controversial Lt.-Governor of Bengal, 1903-08, lived later at No. 58. Both men were buried in Dean Cemetery.

View of No 37's door.

View of No 37’s door.

 

Portrait of Sir Andrew Fraser, 1909.

Portrait of Sir Andrew Fraser, 1909.

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Apr 242018
 

1-9 Randolph Cliff, Edinburgh EH3 7TZ

This randomly-selected block of buildings, without obvious India connections, is a good example of India links visible in census returns. In 1871 at No 2 lived Hugh Macpherson, four of whose sons served in India: Samuel (political agent); William (lawyer); John (lunatic asylums) and Arthur (High Court judge). At No 3 Sir John Sinclair and his wife Margaret were lodging to attend the funeral of their son George (Bengal Army). Their other son Alexander (also Bombay Army) had already died that year. His two orphans Mary (9) and John (6) were with their grandparents, Sir John and Margaret.

Randolph Cliff sign.

Randolph Cliff sign.

Dr John MacPherson, Calcutta doctor.

Dr John MacPherson, Calcutta doctor.

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Apr 242018
 

22 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DF

Charlotte Square has seen colourful India links. No. 22 was home to Lady Gordon and her granddaughter Jane Cumming, described as a “Dark skinned girl, a native of India” in an 1810 trial: two girls’ schoolmistresses sued for defamation, having been accused of lesbianism. Sir John Peter Grant, judge in India, lived at No. 6. His son, Lt-Governor of Bengal, had published the 1860 play Nil Darpan, criticising British indigo planters. At No. 18 lived Lt-Gen. Alexander Dirom, author of Narrative of the Campaign in India (1794), and at No. 31 resided William Adam, counsel for the East India Company.

Book on the court case involving Jane Cumming Gordon, the 'dark-skinned girl'.

Book on the court case involving Jane Cumming Gordon, the ‘dark-skinned girl’.

 

Front page of Neel Darpan.

Front page of Neel Darpan.

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Apr 242018
 

45 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2HT

William Blackwood & Sons, an Edinburgh publisher and bookseller, was based here at 45 George Street 1829-1972. In 1851 William’s son (also William, 1810-1861) resigned from the East India Army, returning to Edinburgh to run the firm until his death. Blackwood’s produced cheaper ‘colonial’ editions of bestsellers especially for India. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1817-1980) provided a conservative alternative to the radical Edinburgh Review (founded 1802). Blackwood’s tended to admire imperial achievements in its India articles, the Edinburgh Review was more critical. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, managed by Edinburgh publishing firms from 1768-1901, included many considered articles on India and Indian affairs.

India map by John Bartholomew, Edinburgh publishers.

India map by John Bartholomew, Edinburgh publishers.

 

Blackwood's magazine with an article on The Press in India.

Blackwood’s magazine with an article on The Press in India.

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Apr 242018
 

Standard Life buildingAberdeen Standard Investments, 1 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LL

Rugby fans know the Calcutta Cup, originally gifted to a Calcutta rugby club by Standard Life, an example of Edinburgh business’ India involvement. In 1845 Standard Life started to calculate risks of insuring British lives in India for emigrants needing life insurance. By 1903 Indians were insured as well. The reduction in Europeans in India in the 1930s and 1940s led to the business closing by 1946, after 100 years. Impressive Standard Life buildings with their distinctive biblical wise and foolish maidens (Matthew 25:1-13) remain in Edinburgh (look at the top of the building) but also in Kolkata and Mumbai.

The old '10 Virgins' on the Standard Life Building in George Street, Edinburgh.

The old ’10 Virgins’ on the Standard Life Building in George Street, Edinburgh.

 

The 'Calcutta Cup' Rugby Trophy.

The ‘Calcutta Cup’ Rugby Trophy.

 

Standard Life Building in B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata.

Standard Life Building in B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata.

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Apr 242018
 

Melville statue

St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD

Although not erected for his India involvement, the Melville Column commemorates Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville (1742-1811), long resident at No 5 George Square. It symbolises how he dominated many of Edinburgh’s personal links to India. In 1784, the private East India Company was brought under some government control by a Board of Control, the chair of which for 20 years was usually Henry Dundas. Powerfully involved in India personnel decisions, he sponsored many young men on their India careers, after the sale of offices was abolished, usually in return for political favours and support from Edinburgh friends and clients.

Close up of Melville's Statue.

Close up of Melville’s Statue.

 

Portrait of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Portrait of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

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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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