Bird & Company

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Bird & Company

'Bird & Company' was established by the brothers Sam and Paul Bird in Allahabad in the mid 1860's. They started as a contractor for the East Indian Railway(EIR) and North Western Railway(NWR) loading and unloading goods at stations. They moved their head office to Calcutta and became a Managing Agent with interests in the mining and jute industries[1].

The following account by Aniruddha Bose gives a fascinating account of 'Bird & Company'[2]:-

The first and most successful of all the large labour contractors at Calcutta Port was 'Bird & Co' founded in 1864 by Captain Sam Bird, the firm supplied labour for infrastructure projects all over the Indian subcontinent.

Labourers from 'Bird & Co' first came to work at the Port in the year 1873. The firm had won a Contract from the provincial government of Bengal which, faced with famine, had sought to import some 70,000 tons of rice into Calcutta. The Contract was to "Take delivery of all the rice... from alongside any ship, lying within the limits of the Port of Calcutta ... land and make over such rice at railway stations or depots etc of the East Indian Railway, the East Bengal Railway or any other railway. The Contract lasted through the year 1874 and was concluded after 'Bird & Co' coolies had unloaded over 4000,000 tons of rice.

In the year 1880 the Calcutta Port Commissioners' Railway awarded a Contract to 'Bird & Co' to load and unload wagons of the railway line that ran throgh the length of the Port providing it with a vital link to the growing Indian railway netrwork. 'Bird & Co' coolies began work that summer and continued through the rest of the decade.

In 1917 the Managing Agent and merchant company F W Heilgers & Company, also with interests in coal and jute industries was aquired by 'Bird and Company [3].

Coal Operations

  • Burrakar Coal Co
  • Reliance Coal Co

Coal Ships

  • Bird Line, operating two 6,000 ton coal shipos (the Flamingo and the Florican)

Contract Labour

They supplied contracted labour to East Indian Railway(EIR), East Bengal Railway(EBR) and Calcutta Port Commissioners' Railway

Managing Agents

The following are known as having 'Bird and Company' as their Managing Agent:-

Jute Mills

The following Jute Mills are listed on FIBIS page 'A List of Jute Mills in India' as having 'Bird & Company' as Agent:-

The following Jute Mills are listed on FIBIS page 'A List of Jute Mills in India' as having 'F W Heilgers & Company' as Agent, in 1917 taken over by 'Bird & Company' :-

  • Kinnison Jute Mill, near Barrackpore, Calcutta
  • Naihati Jute Mill

References

  1. “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry WB60 page ....
  2. Google Books "Class Conflict and Modernization in India: The Raj and the Calcutta Waterfront 1860-1910" by Aniruddha Bose; Retrieved 9 Oct 2017
  3. “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry WB83 page ....