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Howrah Station view 106.jpg
Presidency: Bengal
Coordinates: 22.572625°N, 88.363893°E
Altitude: 9 m (30 ft)
Present Day Details
Place Name: Kolkata
State/Province: West Bengal
Country: India
Transport links
East Indian Railway (Howrah)
Bengal-Nagpur Railway
Calcutta and South Eastern Railway (Sealdah)
Eastern Bengal Railway (Sealdah)
Calcutta Port Commissioners' Railway
Arrah-Sasaram Light Railway
Barasat-Basirhat Light Railway
Futwah-Islampur Light Railway
Howrah-Amta Light Railway
Howrah-Sheakhalla Light Railway
FibiWiki Maps
See our interactive map of this location showing
places of interest during the British period

Calcutta (present day Kolkata) is a large city in north-east India. Calcutta was the headquarters of the Government of the Bengal Presidency. It was also the capital of British India until Delhi became the capital on 12th December 1911. The city had a large European mercantile community.

Spelling Variants

Modern name: Kolkata
Variants: Calcutta, Kulkuttu

FIBIS resources

  • FIBIS database: Percy-Smith/Bullock papers Graves and Monuments contains some entries from the "Church of Our Lady of Delores, Baithakhana, Calcutta and Surah Cemetary. Hand written transcript taken and rearranged from 'The Registers & Inscriptions of the Church of Our Lady etc. by Rev H. Hosten Calcutta 1915", refer Churches and missions, Roman Catholic, below. This church was founded in 1810 and some of the records date back to that early period. Entries were noted in Inscriptions Volume 1, but it is not known if there are additional entries in other volumes
  • Images of Calcutta in Fibiwiki collection
  • "Eliza Fay: New Aspects" by David Atkinson FIBIS Journal Number 24 (Autumn 2010), pages 1-11. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals.
  • "The Imhoff Inheritance" by Pippa Milnamow FIBIS Journal Number 27 (Spring 2012), pages 3-13. Includes details of Belvedere House, now the National Library.

Military history

Battle of Calcutta 1757
3rd Carnatic War


Calcutta is now known as Kolkata in modern day India and is situated at 22°33′N, 88°20′E in the Ganges Delta.

Places of interest

Calcutta in 1862

The Maidan

The site of Fort William, the Maidan was (and still is) the centre of Calcutta. It was bounded on the west side by the Hooghly River and the Strand Road, and on the east side by Chowringhi Road. Government House, the Governor's residence, was at the north end of the Maidan and Belvedere, the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, was near the southern end.

Eden Gardens

The Eden Gardens were started by Lord Auckland's sisters and are beautifully laid out. They were the main gathering place of Calcutta Society in the time of the British Raj. They are also the home of India's oldest cricket ground, the Calcutta Cricket Club, and have a lake which was the home of the Calcutta Rowing Club. Beside the lake is a Burmese Pagoda brought from Prome and set up in 1856. There were many statues in the Gardens. Calcutta Eden Gardens Links to a postcard of Eden Gardens in the Fibiwiki images collection

Churches and missions

Images of Churches can be found in FIBIS Gallery, FIBIS Database and Fibiwiki


  • St James Church - see FIBIS Journal 5, "The Man Who Built St James Calcutta"
  • St John's Cathedral Church - consecrated 1787. - (for links to some digital images and transcriptions of church registers see external links below).
  • St Paul's Cathedral - completed in 1847.
  • St Peter's Church, Fort William - built 1828. 1835 Watercolour (British Library). Photograph c 1850 (
  • St Thomas’ Church, part of the Free School , completed 1831
  • 'Old' Mission Church - see article in FIBIS Journal 7, includes a list of graves. Also see Kiernander's Church
  • St Stephen's, Kidderpore. Photographs: Kidderpore Church: 2008 (
  • The contact details for the Church of North India in Calcutta is given in the website of the Diocese of Calcutta, CNI
Roman Catholic Church, Dhurrumtollah Street, Calcutta

Roman Catholic

  • RC Cathedral (Virgin Mary of the Rosary) - built 1797. Also known as the Portuguese Church, it was located in the area called Murgihatta (Murghihatta, now Murgighata). [1]
  • St Patrick's Chapel, Fort William - built 1857
  • St Theresa - built 1893
  • St Thomas' Church - (Middleton Row). Begun in 1841, adjacent to the Convent of Our Lady of Loreto
  • Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Boitakhana (Baithakhana), founded in 1810, as a Portuguese mission church. The address of the Church was 147 Bipin Behari Ganguly Street (Old Bowbazar Street). It is situated quite close to the Sealdah Station, and near the Railway Barracks where most of the Anglo Indian who were employed by the Railway lived.[2] A book was published in 1915 in Calcutta The Registers & Inscriptions of the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Baithakhana (1810-1914) by Fr H Hosten. A copy of this book is available in Calcutta at the Goethals Indian Library category Various Indian Missions subcategory Portuguese Jurisdiction, reference Id : 38L/135. At least some of the records appear in the FIBIS database, refer above, but it is suspected that only some of the records were copied by Percy-Smith and Bullock. From copies of baptismal records obtained from the Church in the 1960s, and held by the FIBIS research co-ordinator, it would appear that some of the registers in the 1800s were noted in Portuguese.
"Non-Christians in church flock" April 15, 2006., now an archived webpage. Article about Our Lady of Dolours.

Other denominations

  • St Andrew's Church of Scotland - opened 1818. Website for St Andrew’s Church with contact details. Previously the website advised that the church holds the Scottish Cemetery Burial Register from its inception in 1826 and Baptism and Marriage Registers of St Andrew's Church, Kolkata and for small fee would search and provide a copy of an extract. St Andrew's also holds the Baptism and Marriage Registers and some other documents for Church of Scotland cantonment Churches throughout India, Ceylon, Burma and some Gulf stations.[3] Note however this wording no longer appears. It is believed the St. Andrew's Church burial registers (11 volumes) may have been digitised some years ago, (possibly when restoration work was done by INTACH in 2013-14) but currently (2019/01) they are not known to be available online. In the past a researcher reported a lack of response to emails, so a personal visit may be necessary. Note also that this church is now part of the [Anglican/Protestant] Church of North India, refer above.
  • Greek Church - established 1780.
  • Holy Church of Nazareth (Armenian) - built in 1724. Dr. Reuben Khachaturyan/Liz Chater have transcribed all the baptisms at this church. They can be viewed on the FIBIS database. Liz also has many photos of graves at the Nazareth Church on her website.


  • Church Mission Society
  • Free Church of Scotland - started in 1830
  • London Missionary Society
  • Oxford Mission - Church of England
  • Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (Anglican)

External links

Non-Christian places of worship

As well as the temples and mosques that served the general Indian populace, Calcutta also housed:

  • Parsi temple
  • Synagogue
  • Chinese temple


See Cemeteries in Calcutta. There is also information about the crematorium.

Church Records



  • Bengal School of Art
  • Bishop's College, Circular Road - run by the Oxford Mission
  • Calcutta Medical College - formerly Bengal Medical College, founded 1835
  • Doveton College
  • Presidency College


Also refer Orphans and Calcutta schools c late 1700s

Economy and business

Colootollah street , Calcutta

Also see

External links

Encyclopedia entries
Original publication
Guides and directories

See Directories online for links to many directories with information on Calcutta.

Calcutta 1947. Photographs, at least some of which appear to come from the above album, on

Historical books online

Also see
Bengal (Presidency)
Newspapers and journals online for many Calcutta publications including the Calcutta Review

  • "Calcutta" Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 9, page 260 c 1909
  • "Bengal and Fort William" , page 1, A new account of the East Indies, being the observations and remarks of Capt. Alexander Hamilton, who spent his time there from the year 1688. to 1723. Trading and travelling, by sea and land, to most of the countries and islands of commerce and navigation, between the Cape of Good-Hope, and the Island of Japon, Volume II 1727 Google Books. reprint edition of 1739 edition, (from Digital Library of India).
  • The early annals of the English in Bengal, being the Bengal public consultations for the first half of the eighteenth century, summarised, extracted, and edited with introductions and illustrative addenda by Charles Robert Wilson Volume 1 1704-1710 1895, Volume 2 Part 1 1711-1717 1900
  • The Good Old Days of Honorable John Company; being curious reminiscences illustrating manners and customs of the British in India during the rule of the East India Co. from 1600 to 1858; with brief notices of places and people of those times, &c. &c. &c. Compiled from newspapers and other publications by W. H. Carey. These books principally refer to Calcutta.
    • Volume 1 1906 (reprint of original published 1882), Volume 2 1907 (reprint of original published c 1882-1887), Volume 3 1887
  • Selections from Calcutta Gazettes : showing the political and social condition of the English in India Volumes I-III by W S Seton-Karr; Volumes IV-V by Hugh David Sandeman. Volume I 1784-1788 1864; Vol. II 1789-1797 1865; Vol III 1798-1805 1868; Vol IV 1806-1815 1868; Vol V 1816-1823 1869.
[Volume VI] The Days of John Company. Selections from Calcutta Gazette, 1824-1832 Compiled and edited by Shri Anil Chandra Das Gupta 1959.
Selections. The Supplements to the Calcutta Gazettes 1871-1874 1874
"Grand, George Francois (1748?-1821)" page 174 Dictionary of Indian Biography by C E Buckland (Indian Civil Service, retired) 1906 1766 Bengal Army; 1776 nominated to a writership; 1779 court action involving his wife (see Busteed's book Echoes immediately above); subsequently divorced and she went to Europe and married Talleyrand; 1782 Collector of Tirhut and promoted the indigo manufacture in Bihar to his own advantage;1788 appointed Judge and Magistrate at Patna, and eventually dismissed.
The Ritchies in India; extracts from the correspondence of William Ritchie, 1817-1862; and personal reminiscences of Gerald Ritchie compiled and edited by Gerald Ritchie 1920 William Ritchie was of the Calcutta Bar and Inner Temple, Member of the Council of the Governor-general, appointed Advocate-General c 1856 and twenty years resident in Calcutta, who died March 22, 1862, age 45. His mother was a Thackeray. Gerald Ritchie was a Bengal Civilian 1875-1901.
Some Account of Endowments and Institutions in connection with the Diocese and Archdeaconry of Calcutta by John H. Pratt, M. A., Archdeacon of Calcutta 1865., mirror from Central Secretariat Library, Government of India. Catalogue title includes Inntitution. Includes details of some schools in other areas.
Official report on the medical topography and climate of Calcutta : with brief notices of its prevalent diseases, endemic and epidemic by James Ranald Martin, Presidency Surgeon 1839
Edited by Alfred Spencer: Volume 1 1749-1775 Index, Volume 2 1775-1782 Index Google Books. Volume 3 (1782-1790) and Volume 4 (1790-1809) Volume III; Volume 1V
Edited by Peter Quennell: The Prodigal Rake: Memoirs of William Hickey 1962, 2nd file are available to borrow from Books to Borrow/Lending Library.
A subsequent edition, edited by Roger Hudson, was published in 1995 under the title Memoirs of a Georgian Rake, and is available at the British Library UIN: BLL01007249327
  • Letters from the Island of Teneriffe, Brazil, the Cape of Good Hope, and the East Indies by Mrs. Kindersley 1777 The letters from India commence with Letter 18 in Pondicherry June 1765 and conclude with letter 67 from Calcutta in 1768. Letters 20-21, and 64-67 are written from Calcutta. Jemima Kindersley was the wife of a Bengal Army Officer. For further details, including letter transcriptions see Travel accounts online.
  • Calcutta in 1774 page 41 Genuine Memoirs of Asiaticus by Philip Dormer Stanhope 1784. Google Books. The book contains letters written from 1773 to 1778.
  • A voyage in the Indian Ocean and to Bengal, undertaken in the years 1789 and 1790. Containing an account of the Sechelles Islands and Trincomale ... To which is added, a voyage in the Red Sea. Including a description of Mocha, and of the trade of the Arabs of Yemen ... by L de Grandpré, an officer in the French Army. 1803. Volume I, Volume II. Includes chapters on Calcutta. Also published with a slightly different title.
  • Calcutta in September 1800, Part 10, page 41 from Cursory Remarks, on board the ship Friendship by Mary Anne Reid, continues part 11 and part 12 Google Books. (Full details in an India List post.[7])
  • Indian Recreations; Consisting Chiefly Of Strictures On The Domestic And Rural Economy Of The Mahomedans & Hindoos by Rev William Tennant, lately one of His Majesty’s Chaplains in India. Second edition, enlarged and corrected 1804, first published 1803. Volume I With a Glossary Of Indian Terms page vii Contents page xxi. Contains chapters on Calcutta. (Volume II, Contents page v). Google Books.
  • "A Young Civilian in Bengal in 1805" by Isaac Henry Townley Roberdeau, appointed Writer 29th August 1799, page 110, Bengal Past and Present-Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society, Jan-June 1925., Digital Library of India Collection.
  • Calcutta in 1810 commences page 131 Journal of a Residence in India by Maria Graham 2nd Edition 1813 Illustrated by Engravings. Google Books
  • Sketches of India; or, Observations descriptive of the scenery, &c., in Bengal. Written in India in the years 1811-14. With notes on the Cape of Good-Hope and St. Helena… ‬1816 Google Books. By an unknown author. Also available as a British Library digital file. The author has been described as "... certainly not in the services, shows no sign of having been in Company employ (although he is published by the booksellers to the HEIC), and gives no indication as to the purpose of his visit to India. We can only presume that he was a well-informed, and well-connected gentleman of means.[8]
  • The Original Letters from India of Mrs. Eliza Fay A new edition with an Introduction and notes by Rev Walter Firminger 1908 Originally published in 1817 as Original letters from India; containing a narrative of a journey through Egypt and the author's imprisonment at Calicut by Hyder Ally. To which is added, an abstract of three subsequent voyages to India. By Mrs. Fay. Calcutta, 1817. A further edition, edited by E M Forster, was published in 1925 which is available, mirror from Digital Library of India . A Review page 109 BPP Volume 30, 1925, indicates the latter edition is preferable.
  • Calcutta c 1819 commences page 106, Sketches of India by 'An Officer for Fire-Side Travellers At-Home' [Captain Moyle Sherer] 2nd edition, with additions 1824 The author's Wikipedia page indicates he was with the 34th Regiment of Foot.
  • Calcutta in 1836 commences page 7 of Book 2 Travels in South-Eastern Asia, embracing Hindustan, Malaya, Siam, and China: with notices of numerous missionary stations, and a full account of the Burman Empire; with dissertations, tables, etc by Howard Malcolm 2nd edition 1839 2 volumes in one Google Books
  • The stranger in India : or, Three years in Calcutta by George W. Johnson, Advocate of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. 1843 Volume I, Volume II Google Books
  • An Anglo-Indian Domestic Sketch. A letter from an artist in India to his mother in England [by Colesworthey Grant] 1849 Includes the artist's sketches and descriptions of domestic life in Calcutta, and description of places such as the various Bazars, including the Burra Bazar "occupied or visited by merchants and travellers from all parts of the East".
  • Yesterday and To-day in India by Sydney Laman Blanchard 1867 He was in India c 1854-1864. He was initially editor of the Bengal Hurkaru. Sidney Laman Blanchard (1825–1883)
  • "Adulterated Liquor sold to Sailors and Soldiers in the Bazars of Calcutta" and "The dangers to which Sailors and Soldiers are exposed in the Bazars of Calcutta" from On the preservation of the health of seamen, especially of those frequenting Calcutta and the other Indian ports by Norman Chevers MD, Surgeon, Bengal Army 1864 Google Books
  • Indian Gods Sages And Cities by C Cesary 1881. version, mirror from Digital Library of India . Contains much information about Calcutta. Includes Third Part page 101 which includes the area around Calcutta, and Fourth Part. Notes. On Calcutta and Its Suburbs page 156. The latter includes on page 172 information about Catholic schools and orphanages. Note: From the page numbers, many pages appear to be missing, including page 173.
    • Catholic Institutions in Calcutta c 1881 page 172 reprint of original published 1881 at Calcutta by Catholic Orphan Press. Preview Google Books 1987
  • Jottings and recollections of a Bengal “Qui hye!” by Louis Emanuel [1886] British Library Digital Collection.
  • Indian Sketches and Rambles by J Bowles Daly 1896 Contains chapters on Calcutta, including "The General Hospital" page 60
  • Hotch Potch and Kedgeree “being mainly Sir Allan Arthur’s personal experience in the “Land of Humour” in Scotland, India and elsewhere…Also a number of Caricatures and Sketches by Mr F C Macrae and others”. Catalogued 1916, K.K. Venugopal Collection. Contains many references to Calcutta, including the Calcutta Scottish [Volunteer Regiment] and Royal Calcutta Turf Club.
  • John Barleycorn Bahadur: Old Time Taverns in India by Major H Hobbs [Harry] 1944 (2nd edition with Index, first published 1943?), Digital Library of India Collection. Some other, but not all, publications by this author, published in Calcutta, are available at the British Library. Author details in photograph description from Canmore, Historic Environment Scotland.
  • Report of the Commissioners for the Improvement of the Town of Calcutta Third Half-yearly Report 1850, Fourth Half-yearly Report 1851, Tenth Report, for the year 1853 Google Books
  • Selections from the Records of the Government of Bengal: no 10: Report on the Establishment of Water-Works to Supply the City of Calcutta 1853
  • Report on the Drainage and Conservancy of Calcutta by David Boyes Smith M.D., Sanitary Commissioner for Bengal 1869 Google Books
  • Municipal Calcutta: Its Institutions in their Origins and Growth by SW Goode 1916., mirror version from Digital Library of India.
  • "The City of Calcutta" from Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa : their history, people, commerce and industrial resources by Somerset Playne, J W Bond, edited by Arnold Wright 1917
  • While Memory Serves by Lieut.-General Sir Francis Tuker. Digital reprint edition reproduced by Sani H Panhwar, originally published 1950. Covers the two years 1946 and 1947, "told by one who watched events from the Headquarters of Eastern Command" of the Indian Army, (he was G.O.C. in C.), including riots in Calcutta. Tuker appears to have been physically based in Delhi, but visited Calcutta, and there is much information about Calcutta.
  • Monsoon Morning by Ian Stephens 1966. A picture of India in 1942-44 by the editor of The Statesman, mainly depicting events seen from Calcutta. Lending Library.
  • Bengal Past and Present-Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society
Bengal, Past and Present, Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society was first published 1907 and is a very valuable source of information. Volumes are available at the British Library. There are published indexes, each of one volume, as follows: Volumes 1 (July 1907)-8 (June 1914); Volumes 9 (1914)-18 (1919); Volumes 1 (1907)-85 (1966); Volumes 1 (1907)-104 (1985). In addition, the British Library has an index for Volumes 19-29.
Note that a different Journal, with a somewhat similar name, is the Calcutta Historical Journal, published by the University of Calcutta, first published July 1976, available at the British Library
A broken range of volumes to 1939, plus 1955 is available online, see Bengal, Past and Present, Journal of the Calcutta Historical Society
  • Transcriptions from Registers of St John's, Calcutta by E W Madge as they appeared in Bengal Past and Present. Each listing contains many pages of biographical notes. Some articles are available online, as mirror editions on, originally from Digital Library of India. Other articles are available at the British Library. Note: Records for Baptisms 1767-1777 have been transcribed and are available on the FIBIS database in the category Publications.


  1. "Shortly after the English came, the Portuguese who were the only people who kept fowls, were allotted a quarter which came to be designated as Murgihatta". Comment by A K Roy page 31 Calcutta Mosaic: Essays and Interviews on the Minority Communities of Calcutta Google Books
  2. Munro, George [Joyce] Entally Rootsweb India Mailing List 1 December 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. Previous Home page and Archive St. Andrew's Church. Retrieved 28 October 2014
  4. "Calcutta v/s Kolkata ... Revisiting A Yank's Memory" June 6, 2015 Wunderlust. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  5. Footnote in "The Muharram Riot Of 1779 And The Struggle For Status And Authority In Early Colonial Calcutta" by P J Marshall Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Golden Jubilee Volume 50 2005
  6. William Hickey: Memoirs of a Georgian Rake, now an archived webpage.
  7. Evers, Maureen. Journals Rootsweb India List 30 December 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  8. ViaLibri list of books published in 1816 Scroll to book 13. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  9. Reprinted in Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet, littérateur, scientist, page 330 by William Sloane Kennedy 1883,, originally from Atlantic Monthly, January 1858.