Friday, 25 December 2020

St. Peter's Anglican church in Ft. William, Kolkata rebuilt by the East India company, a heritage site

St. Peter Anglican Church, Kolkata, India. bl.uk

Above image: Watercolor with pen and ink of St Peter's Church in Fort William in Calcutta. This photograph of the St. Peter's Church from the 'Walter Hawkins Nightingale (PWD) collection: Album of views of Calcutta, was taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. viewed from the flagstaff Bastion. Tumbrils & gun carriages laid out for inspection Gov. General's house in case of siege.....................

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St.Peter's Anglican church, Kolkata. commons.wikimedia.org/

Above image
: Francis Frith ( born 1822 - died 1898) was one of the most successful commercial photographers from the 1850s and 1860s. He also established what was to become the largest photographic printing business in England.  His archive consists of over 4000 whole-plate albumen prints predominantly of historical and topographical sites. Images such as these were highly desirable throughout the 1850s and 1860s.......(https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O214947/calcutta-st-peters-church-fort-photograph-frith-)francis.

St. Peter Anglican Church, Ft. William, Kolkata, Alamy.com

Happy Christmas and New Year Greetings to the readers. 

The historical St. Peter's Anglican church in  Kolkata (Calcutta)  is part of erstwhile  Ft. William that was  rebuilt 1780-81 by the East India Company on the banks of the Hooghly  river, a  major tributary of the Ganges. As the English company was on the expansion mode after Lord Robert Clive had a  firm grip on the vast territory of Bengal upon the death of  ruler Nawab Siraj-ud-Dualah in July 1757, the new fort needed an English church to meet the spiritual needs of the English company's. employees. 

Located on the southern part of the city in Gobindpore, part of Calcutta, the architect John Brohier set the church in polygonal form with a view to accommodate additional defensive measurements. The English company  faced continued threats from the local  as well as neighboring rulers.   He designed the  church in Neo-Gothic style that was widely followed in Europe. The foundation stone of the  church  inside the fort was laid in 1822. and was  opened for worship in 1825. The consecration was  done in 1828; though the work was not fully done, the ceremony was held by  one William Prinsep  who belonged to a family  that had served in India for many generations. Mr. Pinsep was a business man associated with the Calcutta firm  of  Palmer & Company.  The work on the church was completed only in 1835 for various reasons, one being sensitive political scenario. 

Location map, Kolkata. commons. en.wikimedia.org

The church is in the center of the 239 year old fort that was built under the guidance of  Capt. Hutchinson.  It was built to withstand any bombardment from the intruding enemy. It used to serve as a chaplaincy center for the British citizens of Kolkata  St Peter's Anglican Church is no longer functional and there are no church services there. It has been  turned into an Eastern Command Library to cater to the Indian military officers, etc. The fort is  the Eastern HQ of the Indian army. 

Non-functional St. Peter's Church,Ft.William, Kolkata.en.wikimedia.org

Though there  are no burials in the church it has numerous memorials  for the departed souls in the form of Cenotaph. These people  died in the battle  fought  elsewhere or abroad and the Indian army is maintaining  them well. It is one of the important heritage sites in West Bengal frequented by the British whose fore-fathers had connections with the Raj or the English company.  



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