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Original photographic views of Calcutta old and new used in illustrating Mr Montague Massey's 'Recollections of Calcutta for over half a century', in aid of the Red Cross Fund

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3022AA-BB

Scope and Contents

Albums containing photographs of street scenes and architectural views of buildings in Calcutta, in various sizes with the majority captioned. Titles of uncaptioned prints which have been composed for this catalogue are enclosed in square brackets. The majority of the prints are blue toned collodio chloride prints and in several the contrast is rather harsh. This is particularly true of the older material which are either later prints from the original negatives or copy prints made by re-photographing an original print. The albums contain a detailed documentation of Central Calcutta and selected outlying areas.

Most of the prints in the album are reproduced in Massey (1918) and page references to the reproductions are given below the print listings, together with the photographer (generally, but not invariably, credited by Massey) and the approximate date. Photographs by Johnston and Hoffmann, Samuel Bourne, Bourne and Shepherd, J.F. Pearson and the Calcutta Phototype Company.

While of interest as a general anecdotal history of life in Calcutta in the latter half of the 19th century, Massey's book supplies little precise historical or architectural information on the buildings and streets illustrated here. There are good street maps of central Calcutta in Firminger (1906), Suhrawardy (1924) and Thacker's directory for Bengal (1865-1884).


  • Creation: 1864 - 1918

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


2 album(s) (125 images in 2 albums)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented to the Royal Commonwealth Society by E.W. Bowrey, November 1953.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: South Asia, fiche number 59-62.


The full citation for this publication is: Massey, Montague (1918), 'Recollections of Calcutta for over half a century', Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Company. The following works have been used extensively in preparing this catalogue: Eastwick, Edward Backhouse (1882), 'Handbook of the Bengal Presidency', London: J. Murray; Murray, John (1909), 'A handbook for travellers in India, Burma and Ceylon', London: J. Murray; Firminger, Walter Kelly (1906), 'Thacker's guide to Calcutta', Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Company; Cotton, Harry Evan Auguste (1907), 'Calcutta, old and new', Calcutta: W. Newman and Company; Playne, Somerset (1917), 'Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa', London: Foreign and Colonial Compiling and Publishing Company; Suhrawardy, Hassan (1924), 'Calcutta and environs', Calcutta; Curzon, George Nathaniel (1925), 'British government in India', London: Cassell; Macmillan, Allister (1928), 'Seaports of India and Ceylon', London: W.H. and L. Collingridge; Nilsson, Sten Åke (1968), 'European architecture in India', 1750-1850, London: Faber; Harrold, Pauline (1972-1973), 'The India Office Library's prints of Calcutta', 'India Office Library and Records Report', 1 April - 31 December, pp. 7-24; 'Thacker's directory for Bengal' (1865-1884), Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Company.


This description was entered by MJC.



Includes index.
2004-03-10 14:42:41+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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