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A glamorous young girl by the name of Elizabeth Sanderson arrived in Calcutta in 1775 in style and elegance and she made every bachelor in the city turn towards her. Daughter of a Colonel in East India Company’s army, for a few days she became a topic of discussion in social gathering and club houses as one could not shut the blabber-mouths. Obviously the rumor mill had begun to work overtime ever since her arrival in Calcutta. The girl was stunningly charismatic and soon carried a tag "the Helen of England British India. The more she appeared on the social circuit, the higher the number of officers wanted to seek her hand.
One day, the British bachelors were in a state of shock and heart broken when she married a wrong man of her choice; he was no way suitable to her temperament. More painful is the fact this charming woman chose one Richard Barwell, an official of
E. I. Co and a friend of Warren Hastings. He was a well-known womanizer and gambler and the couple lived in the house known today as Kidderpore House. She had two sons by him. Later Richard's heavy gambling losses, laxity of his private morals, amorous exploits, etc., showed him in bad light and he gained notoriety. In between his romantic escapades and gambling spree, he distinguished himself in his service.
But this lovely woman, as ill-luck would have it, did not live long in Calcutta. It was the edit of God that she had to tragically die of "fever" (Malaria?) shortly afterwards. Some say she died because of tough labor and difficult child delivery. She was barely 23 years old at the time of her death. A nice woman who had no pretensions about her beauty. Nor was she proud of her beauty. A pale of gloom enveloped over Calcutta on the day of her death and funeral.
She was buried in the South Park Cemetery, Calcutta. The tomb of Elizabeth Barwell - a huge stone pyramid one - is the largest in the grave yard at the Park street Cemetery, Kolkata.