Pictured here is a clock tower built in 1880 in Chandannagar’s Strand Promenade. Featuring a clock gifted by Joseph Daumain St. Pourcain in 1845, the building served as a police unit and jail, and continues to house the town’s police station to this day.
The photograph is among several of 19th century Bengal captured by an unidentified photographer. Chandannagar or Chandernagore as it was then known was one of the earliest trading towns set up by the French East India Company. Its roots can be traced to a trading post established by the French on the banks of the Hooghly in 1673.
The French East India Company had been set up barely a decade prior in 1664, had opened its first factory in Surat in 1668, and found itself having to play catch up with the Portuguese, Dutch and British who had already claimed chunks of the Indian subcontinent. The trading post by the Hooghly proved very fruitful and in 1688, they legally acquired control over the land from the Mughals, creating the town of Chandernagore within the following decade and quickly building its earliest landmark – a stretch of fortification on the waterfront known as Fort D’Orleans.
To read more about the town of Chandannagar, click here.
TitleClock Tower and Jail, Chandernagore (Chandannagar)
Album TitleUntitled Album with views of West Bengal
Accession No.2016.5.1 (63)