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Blurring Boundaries: The Limits of "White Town" in Colonial Calcutta Author(s): Swati Chattopadhyay Source: Journal of the Society

of Architectural Historians, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 154-179 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/991588 . Accessed: 14/06/2011 07:18
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Blurring

Boundaries

The Limits of "White Town" in Colonial Calcutta

SWATI CHATTOPADHYAY University of California, Santa Barbara

ne of the enduring assumptions about colonial cities of the modernerais that they workedon the basis of separation-they were "dual cities" divided into "black"and "white"towns.1 Obviously, the degree of separationbetween black and white inhabitants Howof variedaccordingto the particularities the context.2 the duality of black and white one ever, by emphasizing misses the idea that the critical aspect of colonial cities resided not in the clarityof this duality,but in the tension of blurredboundariesbetween the two.3In the case of Calcutta, the idea of blackand white towns is seemingly based on the perception that European residents of the town inhabitedan areathat, in terms of layout, density,architecture, and everyday life, was fundamentallydifferent and divorcedfrom that of the native inhabitants.Scholarshave emphasized the distinctiveness of the architectureof the white town-the European neoclassicism brought by the colonizers. From such a perspective, the emergence of a neoclassical vocabularyin eighteenth- and nineteenthtransplancenturyIndia is seen as a ratherstraightforward tation of English ideas on Indian soil, attenuated or disfigured(dependingon one'spoint of view) by vagariesof local labor and availabilityof building materials.4In this essayI examinethe so-calledwhite town to arguethat such racialdivisionswere neither complete nor static.The black and white towns were far from being autonomousentities; the economic, political, and social conditions of colonial O

culturepenetratedthe insularityof both towns, althoughat of differentlevels andto varyingdegrees.As an examination the residentialpatternof the white town will demonstrate, the story is more complicated.5 The descriptionof colonial Calcuttaas a city divided into black and white rests on scant evidence, on a static reading of urban plans (a reluctanceto move between the scale), and on a lack of critcity scale and the architectural ical attention in reading the change in density over time.6 The notion that these building ideas were completely importedfrom England,for example,is based on the neoclassical"look"of the buildings,with no attempt to document and examineplans and sections. The only published colonial architectureis the plan of Govplan of Calcutta's House. In other words, the existingscholarshipis ernment I nonspatial. addressthis lacunahere by explainremarkably the organizationof house plans as a means to supplya ing speculative market in which the functions of buildings changed frequentlyand residenceswere used for nonresidentialpurposesandvice versa.The blurringof boundaries lies in the heterogeneoususe as well as the heterogeneous populationwho inhabitedthe buildings.If the terms black townand whitetownwere used frequentlyin the nineteenth why they were used and the century,we need to understand natureof the inclusionsand exclusionsthey impliedin order of to sustainan imperialnarrative differenceand European superiority.

The "White" Town


In 1794 the GovernorGeneral of Calcuttaissued a proclamation fixing the limits of the town between the Hooghly River to the west and the inner side of the MahrattaDitch to the east, and between Dihee Birjeeto the south and the Chitpur nullah (creek) to the north.7 Even before such boundaries were drawn, Indian and European investors bought large tractsof land and built on them, anticipating a wide rangeof uses and renters.8 They investedin bazaars, warehouses,residentialbuildings, shops, bustees (tenanted land), godowns (large storage spaces),and gardenhouses.9 The commercialand administrative activityin the city had attracted approximately200,000 inhabitantsby 1820, by which time landed propertyhad become a lucrativebusiness.10 Buildingcosts were high, as basicbuildingmaterials like brick,stone, and durable wood had to be importedfrom outside the city. Consequently rents were exorbitantand pucka(masonry) buildings could be fruitful investments. Only a few wealthyinhabitantscould affordthe luxuryof a large house in a spacious garden; many more settled for smaller apartmentsand cheaper dwellings. The majority lived in single-room dwellingsand huts. Propertychanged hands frequently,and it was common for Indians to rent In propertyto Europeansandvice versa.11 the earlydaysof colonial rule, it matteredlittle with whom the ownerswere dealing, as long as there was money to be made. By the 1830s the salientfeaturesof nineteenth-century Calcutta's morphology had been established. They included:ribbon development along main arteries,with a preponderanceof narrowrectangularlots, demonstrating the importanceof having streetfrontproperty;the numerous ghats(stepsfor landing)along the edge of the Hooghly River,indicatingthe importanceof the riverfor commerce and communication; networkof bazaars; the adminthe and istrativecenter between EsplanadeRow and the Old Fort. The older north-south arteriessuch as Chitpur Road and Chowringhee Road were reinforced by new ones such as Strand Road and Wood-Wellesley-College-Cornwallis Street, intersectedby a host of east-west streets that connected the wholesale bazaarsand warehouses located in convenientproximityto the ghats,with the retail outlets in the city'sinterior (Figure 1). The three-tieredcommercial network of import-export, wholesale bazaars,and retail markets created a mutually supportive geography. The administrative center of the city was defined by the Mint, the Customs House and warehousesalong the river'sedge, the Writers'Buildingon the north,andGovernmentHouse and the Supreme Court on the south (maidan) edge. Because of its proximityto the port and the offices of the

colonial government, this area became the sought-after locale for European entrepreneurs.Large auction houses and tavernscommandedsubstantial spacesand chose prime on the main thoroughfaresto attractcustomerswith spots the latest arrivalof "Europegoods."These large commercial enterprises were interspersed with petty shops and dwellings of various sizes occupied by Indians and Europeansalike.From streetsbearingnamesof distinctlyindigenous origin, such as Cossitola Street (derived from kassai-tola, or butcher's neighborhood) and Nuncoo Jemadar'sLane, Europeanwigmakers,milliners, carriage makers, and undertakersoffered the best services money lived above could buy.12 While many of the entrepreneurs such as oyster sellers and the shops, smallerentrepreneurs, worked from their own houses. European hairdressers, business spilled from this area eastwardand northward, replicatingthe patternof gradualaccretionof retailersand and aroundthe bazaars wholesalemarpetty entrepreneurs kets. Beyond the administrative center, the major arteries formed a series of superblocks,the outside edges of which developedmixed use, with commercialactivitiespredominating, while the interior of the blocks became primarily residential. English visitors to late-eighteenth-centuryand nineCalcutta assertedthattherewasa white town teenth-century as well as a blacktown.13 The formerwas represented the by fine rows of houses surrounding maidan, the while its counterpart,the blacktown, was seeminglysituatedsomewhere beyond. But while most agreedaboutthe existenceof these entities, few could concur on the boundariesbetween the two domains(Figure2). The populationdistributionof the differentethnic groupsin the variouslocalitiesundoubtedly shiftedbetweenthe eighteenthandnineteenthcenturies, but was Such boundaries were any strict demarcation arbitrary. actuallyquite fluid; at no time did the white town form a homogeneous space of European inhabitants.Historians havefrequentlypointedout that the most significantdistinwas guishingfeatureof these two "towns" the densityof the urbanfabric-the sparsely distributed buildingsof the white town as opposedto the close-knitfabricof the blacktown.14 This characterization, however, does not withstand close investigation. The area of sparsely distributed single detached dwellings around Chowringhee Road, typically seen as representative the white town, was an exception, of not the rule.Much of the so-calledwhite town had a higher density and a closely knit urban fabric that embracedthe street. In fact, well into the 1830s the area around Tank centerof the city,wasregarded as Square,the administrative the fashionable European district and Chowringhee was
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 155

Figure 1 Map of nineteenth-centuryCalcutta

Boundariesas indicatedby William Baillie, 1792. Boundariesas indicatedby Leopold von Orlichand EdwardThornton Boundariesas indicatedby LieutenantR. G. Wallace

Figure 2 Map of Calcuttashowing the boundariesof white town

considered suburb.15 a Chowringheebecamethe most desirable locale for the wealthy,who wished to have the ambience of countryliving andyet be close enough to the heart of administration and Europeanshopping. For those who Balcouldafforda gardenestate,the suburbsof Russapugla, the area close to the CircularRoad, and Entally lygunge, offered plenty of choices for large plots of land. Yet many preferredto live near Tank Square,next to the shops, taverns, and smaller houses occupied by the less privileged. When both Chowringhee Road and Park Street became prime locales for commercialreal estate in the mid nineteenth century,the wealthyresidential arearetreatedfarther inwardand to the south aroundAlipore. It is worth noting here that in Bengali parlancethere was no equivalent of the white town/black town duality. From the Bengalipoint of view, the city was dividedinto a host of paras,tolas,and tulis, all terms used to distinguish localities. The parasextended over an area approximately one-quarterby one-halfmile, a spacethatwas easyto cover on foot and cognitively constituteda territory.16 Although these localitiesdid not have fixedboundariesor legal bearing, they formed a block that residentscould identifywith. The area between Chowringhee Road, Park Street, Theater Road, and Wood Street, with its preponderanceof well-off Europeanresidents,was knownpopularlyas sahibeighteenparasthat conpara,one amongthe approximately stitutednineteenth-centuryCalcutta. The landscapeof colonial Calcuttawas too complexto be usefully describedin terms of the duality of black and white towns.The city consistedof overlapping geographies and conceptionsof spaceand territory, both indigenousand foreign, that were constantlynegotiated.Not surprisingly, the line of demarcation between the white and blacktowns shifted dependingon the context and the perceptionof the observer.In the absence of clearly defined separation,the colonizers created discrete containments for both public and private sociability. The spatial choices oscillated between a theatricaldisplayof open plans and a proliferation of confiningelements-elaborate compoundwallsand railingsthat spoke a calculatedlanguageof exclusion. The desirefor strictboundaries rooted in an eighwas British obsession with classification,diviteenth-century in sion, and separation,exaggerated the colonial context by the need to distinguishbetweenblackandwhite. Such proclivitiesgainedimpetusthroughincidentssuch as the Black Hole, remindingthe Britishresidentsof the constantnative In threatto their existencein the city.17 their zeal to protect islandsof sociabilityand symbols of imperialism,the colonizers resorted to building elaborateartificesof delimitation-wrought-iron railings, masonry walls, and gates-

Figure 3 Southeast gate of Government House, Calcutta, Views of Calcuttaand Its Environs,by Sir Charles D'Oyly,1835, from Jeremy Losty, Calcutta:Cityof Palaces (London,1990)

often designed after European pattern books. Since the buildingsin the largelots were sited farawayfromthe road, of the architecture the boundarywall and gate, as an extento sion of the architecture the building,displayed the outof side world the qualityof the artifactthus delimited.They devicesfor what was to be found functionedas preparatory inside. The boundariesthemselvesbecame symbols of the ruling class, as was amplyillustratedby the drawingof the gate of GovernmentHouse on the frontispieceof Charles
D'Oyly's Viewsof Calcuttaand Its Environs (Figure 3).18The

gate itself was a representationof imperialpower.As territorial markers,these protective devices that secluded the world of British inhabitantsalso worked to create a fractured public space that could never be gathered within a single imperialgesture.If the symbols and spacesof imperialismhad to be carefullyboundedto preventnativeintrusion, it also meant that the nativethreathad to be placedat the center of colonial life, disfiguringand delimiting the colonizers'desire for unboundedand unpeopledterritory. Whereverwe look, the city was heterogeneous.Exclusionarymeasures,intended to organizethis heterogeneity, were defeatedby the inherentcontradictions coloniallife. of Even within the colonizers'own domain,the realizationof a homogeneous enclaveproveddifficult.
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

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If the touch of neoclassicismintroducedto simulatea sense of grandeurgave the buildingsin the white town a note of from the outside, for Britishresidentsthe familfamiliarity on iarity disappeared the inside. On closer inspection, the interior of the houses functioned according to different rules.Mrs. Fenton, wife of a captainin the East IndiaCompany'sservice, observedin 1821 that even within the walls of these large houses she felt exposedto curiouseyes:
Youridea of a bedroom-and it was mine also-is that of retirement, a sanctuary where none can or will intrude! . . . 'who could sleep in a room where four doors and four windows all stand open?'19

There were no locks or bolts in the doors, indicating too plainlythat Indiandoorswere not supposedto be shut. Without the possibilityof closing off rooms, the boundary between the house and the outside world became ineffective. This blurringof boundaries,and the consequent lack of interiority,becameone of the more disturbingaspectsof colonial life, reminding the colonizers that the locus of a hybridculturewas in their midst.
158 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

Most British residents disapproved of the way the houses were built. Among them was RanaldMartin, a surgeon and medicaltopographerwho noted in 1836 that the buildingswere raisedby "nativesand other speculatorson their own plans at the cheapestratesand for the mere purIndeed, Indians as pose of letting to the highest profit."20 well as Europeansinvested in building for speculation in the white town, and deftly combined local planningpractices with ideas from Europeanpatternbooks to generate designs that were quite unique. Fromthe Schlach plots planof 1826we knowthatseveral in the area around Park Street, Chowringhee,and Wood Streetwere owned by Indians.21However,since manyplots were unnamedwe cannotbe certainof the exactdistribution (Figure4). Only the names of those who were considered The plotswereexceptionally wereincluded. large, prominent owned severallots in the area.In 1801 and a few individuals WilliamCamacput up for sale five such housesand a bazaar valuedependedlargely worth 131,500sicca Property rupees.22 of on the locationandthe "roominess" the house.The buildwere orientedwith theirlong axes ings, with rareexceptions, portsto the north allowingfor carriage runningnorth-south, and verandahson their south sides to catch the summer

breeze. Inside, the layoutsdiffered,dependingon the total areaof the house, but typicallythey consistedof threesets of rooms-one set on axiswith the carriage port and the south and two sets of rooms on eitherside, thus creating verandah, a three-baypattern.In the late eighteenthcenturyit wascustomaryto havethe groundfloor devotedto storageand services, as it was consideredcontaminated risingmiasma.If by the not adequately dampproofed, groundfloorcouldbe unlivable. There were many substantial single-storyhouses that differedfromthatpattern,however,obligingtheirownersto were dryandperfectly thatsuch accommodations emphasize "villa" Sealdahwas put in habitable.When AaronUpjohn's up for sale in 1800, Dring and Company'sadvertisement "flued noted that the lower-storyhouse was "well-raised," The houseconandperfectlydryat all seasons." throughout, to sistedof sevenrooms,two halls,andan open verandah the east,west, andsouth;it waslocatedon a garden"wellstocked and with choice fruittrees,exotics," was a mere twentyminHole Monument.23 utes' rideto the Black advertisements emphaTurn-of-the-nineteenth-century over sizedthe size andbeautyof the "compound" descriptions of the house,andsoughtto enticerentersandbuyersby intihousesand of to matingthe nearness the property respectable for An estates.24 advertisement a new upper-roomed masonry ParkStreet), GroundRoad(laterrenamed houseon the Burial to be rented in May 1803, noted its proximityto Captain view of the Salt houseandits commanding AnthonyGreene's WaterLakeand the countryfor severalmiles from the third floor.The house consistedof "fourrooms, a hall, and three verandahs below,the same abovestairs,with two verandahs, and a largeroom over the hall in the thirdstory,with front, and a large winding back stairs"and suitableouthouses.25 Advertisements suggestedthe pleasuresof countrylivingand roomswith generousdimensions, orchards, well-stocked of aswellasthe possibility usingthe fertilelandforagriponds, of cultural purposes.26 Exceptforthe extensiveness the adjoinof ing grounds,the description ruralpropertydid not differ fromdescriptions those locatedin the city. of significantly The hall was the principal entrance and gathering space in the house, and typicallywas of the largest dimensions. The rooms surroundingthe hall were seldom differentiatedby functionandwere often referredto as bedrooms or chambers,irrespectiveof their actualuse. House plans, however,sometimesdesignateda billiardsroom, which was considereda necessaryamenityin wealthyhouseholds,and less frequentlya drawingroom was featuredin the advertisements. Bathroomsand water closets (sometimes called were situated in close proximityto sleeping "necessities") rooms. The most fashionablehouses had marble-linedhot and cold baths.27 In 1793 Dring, Cleland and Co.

announcedthe sale of a prominentlylocated house on Old Court House Street:


house [T]hat commodious, elegant, and well builtupper-roomed with extensive premises, at present rentedfor Sicca Rupees 500 for per month by the Marquisof Cornwallis the residence of His to Aide-de-camps,situatedimmediately the northward Lordship's Jones on the great roadleadingfrom the old Court of SirWilliam House to the Esplanade,consisting above stairs of a large hall, and a bed-room and a room to the southward, a drawing-room, to the westward, with a privatestair-case, to the east, and the to same numberof rooms, &c., below, with a verandah the north. The lower storey is raised upon arches, the rooms underapprogodowns, &c., &c. priatedto Abdarkhannahs, Thereare two coach-houses, stablingforten horses, a cooka room,a bottlekhanna, palankeenhouse, anda well, &c.and upon house the same premises to the westward a small upper-roomed of a room eighteen feet square, venetianed, &c., the consisting whole standingon one bigghaand 10 cottahs of ground.28

Such a conveniently located building with extensive outhouses formed the high end of the market,and yet we are not sure that all the outhouses were of masonryconstruction. If they were, the advertisers usuallydid not failto point that out. Outhousesor the servants' wingswere built as separate structures;beyond that there was little distinction between serviceand servedspaces.In houses of more than sometimesthe only stair,proone story,the "private stair," vided access for both servantsand masters. The city dwellings, despite their smaller lots (small comparedto the suburbs,but large by today'surbanstandards),commandedsignificantlyhigher rents. A two-story house in Moorgyhatta,consisting of two bedrooms,a hall, and a verandahon each floor,with cook rooms, bathrooms, and storage, yielded 150 siccarupees in rent in 1784.29 Larger establishmentswere predictablymore expensive, and if advantageouslylocated could earn between 500 to 900 siccarupeesper month.30 If we comparethese with an advertisement a large for in England that was to be sold by lottery country house among the residentsof Calcutta,we find some clearpoints of distinction. The house, located in Walton on the Thames, boasted extensive farmhousesand a formal garden, "sevenbed chambers, drawingroom, diningandbreakfast parlours,a hall, wainscotted,and neatly fitted up with marble chimney pieces and convenient closets; two staircases, a passage, and large China closet," and a distinctly articulatedarrayof servantspacesincluding "fiveservant's bed rooms, a most convenient kitchen, scullery, Butler's pantry, larder, dairy, brew-house, tool house, and comTHE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

159

On the one hand,few otherpatterns couldaccommodate the natureof display sociability becamea mode of and that public life for the colonizers.On the otherhand,the residents could neveraspireto the type of privacy they-the elite, at any that rate-had come to expectin housesin England. Visiting Calcutta in the mid nineteenth century, Colesworthy Grant observed the remarkablesimilarityof in internalarrangement the houses in Calcutta.35 main The differencewas between upper- and lower-roomedhouses, the former enjoying a cooler breeze. In the typical lowerroomed house you entered directly into the hall from a verandah or a door that was always kept open. The hall the openedon to fourrooms that answered purposeof "parViewof Hall, fromGrant, Grant, Anglo-Indian Figure5 Colesworthy and sitting rooms,-titles, not generlour, dining, drawing DomesticSketch(Calcutta, 1862) ally-the firstnever-heard in these latitudes" (Figure5).36 The bathrooms, one for the master and one for the mistress, were located on opposite ends of the house. All of modious cellars, with a variety of connected offices, a these rooms opened directly on to the grounds. In other detached laundry,Fruit-room, Coach-house, stabling for words, they could be entered from outside, necessitating four horses,with loft over, and varioususeful buildings."31 that "the premisesbe enclosed."37 The terraceor rooftop This description the imageof a reasonably elab- accessedby a stairfrom within and without, he noted, was conveys oratelate-eighteenth-century Englishcountryhouse.In con- "thegreatestextent of groundtrodden,in a way of exercise, trastwith the Calcutta houses,the functionsof the roomsare by the Europeanfoot."38 Upper-roomedhouseswould conof was tain at least two halls, one used for dining and the other for clearlystated.The unspecificity the roomsin Calcutta not relatedto the spacesbeingmultipurpose noth- breakfast.The large Chowringhee mansions sometimes (although for ing would prevent such use); rather,it was a method of containedsixteenor twentyapartments the convenience in whichtherewasno assur- of friends and visitors. The residents were not lacking in to a changing market, responding ancethatthe buildingwouldcontinuein its presentuse. hospitality"in a land where inhabitantsseem to shift with In 1799proprietors the Calcutta of unableto the monthlysteamersandpassenger Exchange, ships."39 Clearly,Grant meet theirdebtfor the construction the building, of wishedto was struckby the novelty of the arrangement. Few of these sell it. In theiradvertisement noted thatit wouldbe ideal late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century houses surthey forpublicoffices,shops,or an assembly The house.32 Theater, vive, but by readingthe survivingplansin conjunctionwith whichin the late eighteenthcenturyservedthe amateur dra- the urbanplans, we learn much about the spatialarrangematicinterests the Europeans theirpenchant lavish ments that suited the changing market needs of Calcutta of and for into balls,wastransformed an auctionhouseby Mr. Roworth while contradictingcontemporary practicesin England. andin 1808was boughtby Gopi Mohun Tagore,who transIn his discussionof Europeanresidentialdesign,Robin formedit into the New ChinaBazaar, afterhe persuaded the Evans persuasivelyarguedthat house plans embody social shopkeepersof the old China Bazaarto move to the new relations;they highlight the desirablekinds of interaction venue.33 transformation a theater a bazaar rad- withinthe householdandexcludeundesirable The of into was possibilities.40 and of of ical,butbecauseof the arrangement dimensions rooms In such a view,passages,the arrangement rooms, and the mostof the housesin the whitetownwereadmirably suitedto location of doors and windows appearas poignantclues to varioususes.Additional fromthe premises seen as social relations.They set the parametersof interpretative was profit in appropriate countryestatesas well as urbanhouses,which possibilitiesfor using the space.Studyingthe plansof nineoften containedlarge godowns and attachedshops.34 Resi- teenth-centurycolonial houses in Calcutta,one could not dences were frequentlytransformed into offices, boarding- be more awareof how differentthese houses are from their withlittleor no Europeancounterparts. houses,retailshoppingspace,andclubhouses, In other words, the building stock was The three buildings I examine at length were conmajorremodeling. in market whichneedschangedfre- structedbetween 1800 and 1860. Two of these are ordinary designedfor a speculative This flexibility camewith certainadvantages dis- buildingslocated in two differentareasof the white town, and quently. for those who made these buildingstheir homes. and the thirdis thegrandmansionin the presidency-Govadvantages
160 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

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Figure 6a House on 23/24 Waterloo Street, originalground floor plan

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Figure 6b House on 23/24 Waterloo Street, ground floor plan showing first set of changes

ernment House, the residence of the Governor General (laterVicerory)of BritishIndia.41 examiningthe strucBy turalchangesmade in the blueprints,I attemptto tracethe genealogy of house form; then, to understandthe logic of their spatial organization, I compare the house plans in terms of their site emplacement,the dimensionalarrangement of rooms, the types of accessbetween spaces,and the location of primaryspacesin relationto servicespaces. In the mid nineteenth century, traveling along Old CourtHouse StreetfromEsplanade Row,one could find on the left a narrowcity block between Waterloo Street and of RaneeMoody Gully that had the rareadvantage having two streetsopeningto the lots. The thirdlot from the other end of the block (that is, from Cossitola Street, renamed BentinckStreet)was 180 feet deep and 96 feet wide on the RaneeMoody Gullyside and 86 feet on the WaterlooStreet of side (Figure6a). It had an additionaladvantage abutting CrookedLane on the west. Despite the narrowstreets and lanes-Waterloo Streetwas only 25 feet wide with 7- to 8foot sidewalkson either side, and RaneeMoody Gully was 16 feet wide-the blocksbetween CossitolaStreet and Old Court House Street were the prime locale for fashionable offices.Consequently, shopsandprestigious manyresidential in this areaweretransformed suitsuchneeds,or, to buildings put anotherway, the building stock was amenableto both residential and nonresidentialuses. The house on 23/24 WaterlooStreetwas ideal for such a changingmarket.42 Initially, the front of the house faced Ranee Moody Gully. The front edge of the site was defined by the carriage house and servants'quarters.A couple of steps led to an 11-foot-deep portico, with a pairof symmetricaldouble columns giving it a sense of formaldignity.Six more steps at the entrance door led to a square entrance hall with a smallchamberto the left that could be used as a cloakroom. The entrancehall opened on to a centralroom 30 feet deep and 19 feet 4 inches wide, the largest room in the house, which in turn was directlyconnected to two sets of rooms on either side, each measuring 16 feet by 19 feet 4 inches and symmetricallyarranged.The centralhall and the two rooms on the south led directly to a 14-foot-wide southfacing verandah.A circularprivatestaircaseon the north face of the buildingconnected an identicalset of rooms on the second floor.In additionto the stair,the north face containedthe other servicespacestypicallyincludedwithin the house at that time-bathroom and storage (bottlekhanna). The winding staircasecontinued to the terrace above the second floor. At a later time, probablywithin a couple of decades,a largerstaircasewas built in the southeastcorner of the verandah provideindependentaccessto the second to floor (Figure6b). The 1872 Street Directoryindicatedthat
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

161

Figure 6d House on 23/24 Waterloo Street, second-floor plan showing second set of changes

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Figure 6c House on 23/24 Waterloo Street, ground floor plan showing second set of changes

the house was being used as the Adelphi Hotel. Consequently, the proprietor must have felt the necessity to add a more public stairway. The positioning of the public stairway in the verandah was obviously designed to cause minimum changes to the building, but it also opened up the potential of interpreting the house as having two "fronts." Still later, a third floor and extra bathrooms on the southeast and southwest corners of the second floor were added, serviced by narrow balconies (Figure 6c). The large staircase on the southeast was not extended to the third floor. Instead, at a later time the ground on the south was enclosed, creating three large interconnected spaces, which could be defined as more public spaces, considering their proximity to the street and their relative dimensions (Figure 6d). A third staircase (in the fashion of a grand stair but with smaller dimensions) was built on the central axis, connecting the public spaces directly with the upper floors. The central axis on the south side on the second floor was pro162 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

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Figure 6e House on 23/24 Waterloo Street, groundfloor plan showing thirdset of changes

Figure 6f Site plan based on R. B. Smart's Survey of Calcutta, 1887-1909

longed and enclosed to accommodatethe stairs from the shop. Two 10-inch walls were extended southwardalong the central axis to separatethe two staircasesand create a room on the southwestside, maintainingthe symmetryof the plan.At the same time, perhaps,the east edge of the lot was built up to provide extra outhouse and storage space. The 1892 Street Directory indicatedthat the buildingwas still being used as a hotel but had changed hands.It is not hard to imagine the manner in which the large spaces on the south and the formal central stair would be advantageous to the needs of a hotel. The turn-of-the-century urban plan (Smart's plan based on surveys between 1887 and 1892) indicated the shops and the adjacentoutbuildings, while the municipal drawingof 1911 showedanotherset of changestakingplace (Figures6e, 6f).43The formalstair on the south was eliminated, and a separatechannel of access was created to the

southeast staircase. Some of the walls in the house were replacedby iron columns and beamsto createmore generous space between the bays. The north portico was eliminated, presumably to create unimpeded access to the godowns now formed by dismantlingthe interior walls of the outhouses on the east. In addition, several entrances now opened directly on to Crooked Lane. The first two floors were used as office spaces, the third floor was used for lodging, and the large spaces on the Waterloo Street side were converted to three independent shops, which receiveda newly articulated elevation.Thus the proprietor, Woollen Mills, wasusing the site for at leastfour Cawnpoor purposes-shops, offices, godowns, and lodging-each of which could be rented independently.With the property given over to multipleuses in an attemptto maximizerental space, there was hardlyany open space left in the premises. The south-facing verandahs, supposed to welcome the
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 163

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Figure 7a House on 3 Camac Street, site plan (buildinghas been demolished)

refreshing evening breeze, had become a secondary concern. By this time, the front of the house had turned away from Ranee Moody Gully (renamedBritishIndian Street) and definitelybelonged to Waterloo Street. The changingconfigurations the house on Waterloo of Street demonstrate the principles on which houses were built and transformedin the course of the nineteenth century.The dimensionof the rooms in the initialgroundfloor plan was determined by the comfortable span of 20 feet, constructed with 10-inch-deep timber beams spaced approximately24 inches apart. The width of the rooms could obviouslybe increasedwith the additionalexpenseof increased beam depth and close spacing of beams. In the largest houses in the city, it was not uncommon to find This was the basic rooms 30 feet and even 40 feet wide.44 structuralprinciple that determined the pattern of house plans until iron columns and beams became the vogue. That, however, explains little of house planning and use. The generous dimensions and the multiple openings betweenrooms, which createdan ideal patternfor uses that were more public than private,raise some issues about the social life of the residents. Let us consider another house, one on Camac Street that had quite a few points of similaritywith the Waterloo Street house. This one, built in the early nineteenth century,was located far from the bustling crowd of Old Court House Street, in the then quiet grandeurof the suburbsof
164 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

The house, as far as the maps and street Chowringhee.45 directoriesindicate, was not used for purposesother than residentialand was occupied by single families,unlike the Waterloo Street house. This was exceptional,considering that most residencesin the last decades of the nineteenth centuryin the Chowringheearea,ratherthan being singlefamily dwellings,were either sharedby severalfamiliesor used as boardinghouses. In the area bounded by Chowringhee Street, Wood Street, Park Street, and Theater Road, there were eighteen boardinghousesin 1872, with one less in 1892, but the sharedoccupancyof houses increasedsharplyfrom twentyto fifty-sixbetween 1872 and 1892.46 The sparsenessof the single detacheddwellingsin the mapsbeliesthe densityof occupancyof so manyof these houses, which could have, on average,fifteen boardersas well as the numerousservants. The single-familyhouse at the crossing of Middleton and Camac Streets stood on a large lot 240 feet wide and 285 feet deep (Figure 7a). The house was built 150 feet away from the entry on Middleton Street. The entrance portico,however,did not faceMiddleton Street.In keeping with the norm of havingthe carriageport to the north, the path that led from the Middleton Street entrance went aroundthe house to the back of the site where the formal entrancewas located. This was the standardpracticein all south-facing lots on east-west streets such as Harrington Street and Theater Road. The desire was to create a distance from the street,yet to leave the southernaspectopen for verandahs, gardens,andinformalliving.The streetedge as usual, defined by the carriagehouse and servants' was,

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creatingthe familiarpermeablepattern,the spanningsuggested the directionin which spacescould be expandedor contracted. alsocreatedthe possibility articulating It of zones of privacy more publicto private) to the (from perpendicular centralaxisof movement. A 1905 plan of the house attemptedto createtwo poraccommodation, while the cook rooms and st torage were located on the northern end, close to the mail house but ticoes insteadof one andreturnthe house to its formerinten et separate.By 1856 an entrance to Camac Stre. had been rior configurationby eliminatingthe bathroomsaddedon ouse.47 This at the east andwest andthe storagespaceon the north (Figcreated,thus reorientingthe approachto the h< was a privilege arising from the corner site lo ocation, one ure 7c). In the processit also eliminatedthe two wallson the that other houses on the same street did not po )ssess, and it southern side of the ground floor, integratingthe space of for invariably suggestedother readingsof the site, i example, the smallerrooms on the sideswith the largerroom to form reet building anotherhouse near the Middleton Str edge. In a spacious hall. The 15-inch wall articulatingthe central fact, the site was carvedinto four separatelots in the early axiswas also removed, demonstratingthe ease with which twentieth century.48 the spacescould be modifiedon the east-westaxis. The entry sequence,the position of the sel rvice spaces, The three-bays-of-roomsprinciplewas adheredto in andthe systemof threesetsof roomson axiswerereminiscent houses where lot size permitted. An extra bay was someof the WaterlooStreethouse (Figure7b). The e entrance hall times added,parallelto the entranceaxis,to accommodate led to five rooms nestled in betweenthe servicespacesthat servicespaces,verandahs,and even an extraset of rooms. e claimedthe corers of the building.On the seco] floor,the nd The wraparound verandah used in manyhouses to was room deploymentwas similarexceptin the soul providea convenienttransitionspacethat answeredseveral ither room, two a{ ser- purposes.An early-nineteenth-century where,insteadof two wallscreating smaller djoining building on Little vice rooms, two pairsof columnson each end v wereused to Russell Street (Figure 8) displayedthe utility of the wrapdefine a largerspace.Two majordifferences m the house aroundverandah.49 house was at one time being used The fror on WaterlooStreetwerethe locationof the mainstairs, which by several boarders,and the large central space could be definedthe stairhall as an integralpartof the des as room sign,andthe interpreted drawingroom, dininghall, andbilliards north-south instead of east-west spanning of the rooms. as the proprietorchose. The verandahin this context not
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

and Figure 7c House on 3 Camac Street, ground floor plan a elevation after modification,1905. This plan demolished the bathr(ooms and stores that had been added as afterthoughts.

Althoughthe stairfacedawayfromthe entrancedoor,it crethe of a ~ated possibility a definedpathof circulation, suggesof tion takenup at a laterdatewith the addition a 15-inchwall to createa centralvestibulethroughwhich movementcould be controlled.Challengingthis path of axialmovementwas the spanning the roomsin the oppositedirection. of Although two or more doorsfromeachroom led to an adjoining room,

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only providedan extensionof living spacewhere one could enjoythe cool breeze or a delightfulview,it could doubleas servicespacein which servantscouldworkin close ancillary proximityto the main rooms. The service spaces and the verandahformed complementaryparts of the same spatial envelope. Out of England? to Despite the classicalgarbof the buildings,calculated simulate a sense of grandeur,the plans bear little resemblance to Palladianvillas or neoclassicalEnglish country or town houses.Comparingthe colonialhouseswith the examplesin JamesGibbs'sBook publishedin 1739,we find ofArchitecture some criticalpoints of difference.50 Gibbs'splans, modIn eled after Palladianvillas, the privatespaces were located near the wing ends, which were in turn connected to the servicewings by a carefuldeploymentof stairsand passages (Figure 9). In Europeanmansions of the late seventeenth and earlyeighteenthcenturies,the axisof honor was located to room sitperpendicular the entranceaxis,with the "best" The uated farthest away from the central public spaces.51 second point of difference is their axial orientation. The long axis in Calcutta'shouses was not engineered to produce an elongated frontalpresence as in Gibbs'sexamples; it typicallyrannorth-south,suggestinga formalmovement
166
JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

through a sequence of rooms from a more public entrance porch to a more privateverandahon the south. The narrow face to the street and the sense of increasedprivacyas one moves fartherinto the house along its long axiscan be interpretedas an urbanresponse,similarto Victoriantown houses and dictatedas much by narrowlots as by the bustle of city life. One glimpse of the urban plans of Chowringhee,however,makesit amplyclear that very few houses had an elongatedfacade,even when they had the lot size to indulge in such elaborations. An importantexceptionwas, of course, the Governor General'sMansion in the Esplanade,which projectedthe English countryhouse idea when it was completedin 1803. Government House was the residence of the Governor General (laterthe Viceroy) and his family and also accommodated his offices. CharlesWyatt, the architectof GovernmentHouse, supposedlyborrowedfrom the vocabulary of James Paine's plan for Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, built in 1761. Historians have considered Government House an ostentatiousyet poor copy of Kedleston,pointing out the "slackened" rhythm of the former and the difference in the facadeand roof configuration.52 difference The is not simply in the articulationof the elevationand in the proportion and rhythm of the columns but in the spatial itself. The supposedly"borrowed" arrangement vocabulary differed so fundamentallyfrom Kedleston Hall that their similarityis limited to their outlines (Figures 10, 11). The state apartments of Government House were approached a grandstairon the north that led to a transby verse hall on the first floor. The ground floor was entered by a portico underneaththe grandstair.The stairwas large enough for an elaborateretinueof servantsand for soldiers to presentarmsat the side. The north transverse hall, used as the breakfast room, could be entered through five doorways, although the centralone was distinguishedfrom the other four. From there the processional route continued into the large colonnadedcentralmarblehall, the audience or durbar hall, used as the granddining room, and then into anothertransverse calledthe throneroom,which finally hall opened on to an apsidalportico. The marblehall had a cofferedceiling,but in contrastto KedlestonHall all the rooms were lit from the side. The second floor was laid out similarly,with the centralhall (with a polished teakfloor) being used as the main ballroom . The transversehall above the throneroom was the publicdrawingroom and the one over the breakfastroom, the small ballroom.The ground floor was taken up by the offices of the aides-de-campand contained another dining room for use during summer.As in other buildingsin Calcutta,everyspacewas interconnected with adjacentspacesby numerousdoorways.Even here, the

main body of the mansion was elongated north-south, a peculiardecisiononly mitigatedby the idea of doublewings that extendedto gatherthe view and breeze of the maidan. The council chamberoccupied the first floor of the northwest wing, andthe rest of the wing spacescontainedthe private apartments, a scheme similar to that of Kedleston, althoughdifferingin theirindividual layouts.The open plan of the main buildingwas closed off by a wrought-ironrailing and four imposing gatewaysdelineatingthe premisesof GovernmentHouse. Significantly,all the ancillaryoffices, cookrooms,stables,and staff accommodationwere located not only outside the building but across the street on the north. This, however, did not imply that servantsdid not mansion,merelythat stayaroundthe clockin the governor's there were no spaceswithin the main building specifically designed to accommodatethem. In Kedleston Hall the processionalway into the state apartmentswas more tightly controlled (see Figure 10). A single entry to the large centralhall definedthe route, then led into the grandstair hall and finallyto the salon and its connected portico. From the centralhall a set of doorways on the entranceside and anotherpairlocated on the opposite end of the room began the system of clearlyarticulated movement through the mansion into the dining room, music room, and library (Figure 12). Each of the main rooms was protectedby a smallvestibule or anteroomor a passageor stair.Unlike GovernmentHouse, the carefuldisclosure of the rooms at Kedleston and their highly articulated walls createda separateidentity for each room. They

resembled a set of discrete figures brought together by a careful choice of connectors that emphasized the unique uses of the rooms (Figures13, 14, 15).The identitiesof the state apartments were accentuatedby the skylitvaultedand domed ceilings. In its lackof equivalencein room definition,Kedleston was radically different from Government House (Figure 16). In Government House the main spatial organization retainedthe three-bayprinciplecommon in Calcutta,with The domed salon adjunctspacesattachedon the periphery. of Paine'sdesign for Kedleston brokewith the rectangular symmetryby being an integralpartof the internalarrangement. In contrast, Government House's south portico, despite being surmountedby a dome, was a separateentity next to the transverse (albeitattached) hall;it did not disturb the integrityof the interiorrectangular As configuration. if to emphasizethe equivalentrelationshipsof the spaces,the entire building was contained within the same roof. The only change in wall articulationwas the differencein wall thickness,which increasedon the exteriorof the building. The concept of strategicallyplaced stairs and passagesin KedlestonHall, prescribing pathsof movement,was absent in GovernmentHouse. Here the privatestairswere hidden within walls and moved to the extremitiesof the fourwings to create a series of uninterruptedspaces.The stairs connecting the two main floors were located in the galleries next to the centralspaces.But the stairsdid not directtraffic by closing off certain areas,and passagesdid not open to rooms selectively-and it was not for want of space.

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THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 167

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These formaldifferencesin the articulationof walls, stairs, and passageswere critical.They did not simplyrepresenta differencebetween Kedleston'sbaroquenessand the more static classicalgeometry of GovernmentHouse. They did not proceed from purely aesthetic or symbolic considerations, nor were they due solely to climaticdifferences.The differences residedin the form of sociallife they were meant to accommodate. The design of Government House anticipateda pattern of social interactionthat flourishedin other large Calcuttaresidences,albeitat a less grandscale.In his discussion of colonial houses in Calcutta,Sten Nilsson remarkedthat the large lots allowedfor infinitevariationsin the planning of these large buildings.53 the contrary, On eighteenth- and nineteenth-century houses were remarkablysimilar, and followed a predictablearrangementof rooms based on the three-bay or three-bays-and-one systems. What differed were the dimensions and the number of rooms one could affordto build. The most significantdifferencebetween these colonial houses and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuryBritish contemporaries,of course, lies in the degree of openness

allowed in the former and in the articulation of servant spaces. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century plans of wealthy English households had alreadybegun separating servantspacesfrom servedones, an idea thatwas elaborated and extendedby Robert Kerr in his 1861 discussionof the "Gentleman'sHouse."54If we take from Robert Kerr's repertoire a mid-nineteenth-centuryexample,we find an elaboratesystem of hallways,stairs,and passagesdelineating paths of movement, and providingeach room with its own specificenclosureandidentity (Figure 17). Kerrwrote of at length of the classification rooms basedon such principles of privacy:
It is the first principlewith the better classes of Englishpeople that the FamilyRooms shall be essentially private,and as much

as possibleFamily It Thoroughfares. becomes the foremostof


all maxims, therefore, however small the establishment, that the Servants' Department shall be separated from the Main

shall House,so thatwhatpasses on eitherside of the boundary


be both invisibleand inaudibleon the other.... that most unrefined arrangement whereby at one sole entrance-doorthe visitors rubshoulders with the tradespeople, how objectionable it
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA

169

cipal rooms: they could just as well be used for bedrooms, billiardsrooms, or offices. Given the variousmodels available to the builders, why did they decide on such an of arrangement rooms?Surelyall of it cannotbe attributed to changing market needs; Government House certainly was not built for speculation!For such a patternto become acceptable,it must have fulfilledother needs. "A Long Opera" The house at the crossingof Middletonand CamacStreets discussedearlierwas demolishedin the firsthalfof the present century.No longer could the marketaffordthe luxuries in floorplanof mansion Bearwood, Kerr, ground Figure17 Robert of 80-by-20-footrooms.56 sociallife andsocialrelations The Berkshire,from Kerr,The Gentleman's House (1862) that such a plan embodiedbelongedto a differentera.It was a time when numeroustall windowsand doorsprovidedthe in maximum possiblecross-ventilation a housewithouta central courtyard.When the chief fear of disease was rising is we need scarcely say when a thin partitiontransmits the miasma,andheatwas considereddeadlyin itself,tall ceilings andnumerousairpassages sounds of the Scullery or Coal-cellarto the Dining Room or provideda sense of opennessthat The soothed residentspsychologically well as physically. as Study.... channelsof moveof [A]swe advance in scale in style of living,a separate Stair- articulation private spacesby secondary of Englishhouseswas case becomes necessary for the servants' use; then the pri- ment foundin Gibbs'sor Kerr's plans a secondaryconcern, since it would invariablyclose some vacy of corridorsand passages becomes a problem, and the lines of traffic of servants and family respectively have to be paths of air circulation.Instead of analyzingthe colonial houses as inept copies of Englishresidences,it may be more kept clear of each other by recognised precautions ... Inshort reasonable to see these buildings as accommodatingthe in a small house or a large one, let the family have free pashouse(Figure18).From Indianmodelof the urbancourtyard without encounteringthe servants unexpectedly;and sage-way such a perspective, colonialhouse designwas an attempt the let the servants have access to all their duties without coming unexpectedly upon the family or visitors. On both sides this pri- to adaptthe principleof the Indianhouse of single-loaded within the geometryof a singlerooms arounda courtyard vacy is highlyvalued. In fact, the dimensionsof the centralhall in roofed entity. It is matter also for the architect's care that the outdoor some house plansexplicitlysuggestits use as the focal point work of the domestics shall not be visible from the house or of gatheringand as a sourceof accessto individual or the windows of their Offices overlooked.55 rooms,in grounds, that It much the same way as a courtyard. is not surprising Kerrnoted that the both the WaterlooStreetandLittle RussellStreetresidences In concludinghis discussionon privacy, hallswere used as boardcentral lines of thoroughfarein Italianplans favored (see Figure 8) with courtyard-like open his suggested remedy was the inghousesat one time. Centrallylocated sharedspacessurpublicity. Consequently, refined to rounded by rooms that could be rented individuallyor as "indirectroutes of the Medieval arrangement" suitesseemed as if they had been plannedwith such a use in suit nineteenth-centuryneeds. Grantprovidedanotherpointof view for housesattemptedto pro- mind.Colesworthy If nineteenth-century English vide each room with a zone of seclusion, why was not the understanding these house plans.57He noted that the residenceswas derivedfrom of same attempt made in Calcutta?The primaryprincipleof arrangement the Europeans' houseswas the subordination the bungalowplan of "middlingclasses of natives,"which Calcutta's nineteenth-century on of individualspacesto a largerunity generatedby the large consistedof one or two rooms surrounded verandahs by the centralhall(s)(see Figure 8). In this arrangement, halls all sides: "The European resident improving upon this, by provided the main path of circulation as well as living or enclosesthe verandah erectingeithera mat or brickwall, dining space, and set up the equivalentrelationshipof the and in like way,throwingpartitionsacrossthe corners,conother principalrooms to the hall/central space by room- verts the verandahinto little rooms for the convenience The throughcirculation,ensuringmultiplereadingsof the prin- eitherof himselfor visitorfriends."58 three-baypattern
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with a large centralroom producedfrom such a line of reawell with the patternderived soning coincides remarkably andperhaps fromthe courtyard houses, togetherthey explain the dominanceof the three-baypattern(Figure19). Much of the conformityof the Europeanresidencesin this period was predicated on the need to accommodate large gatherings and so to make up for the scarceness of public placesof recreation.In the words of a resident,men of rank kept an "excellent table, those of small income a Breakfasts broughtfifteen people to the table good one."59 and dinner,twenty-five.Meals were conductedmore in the style of medieval English houses and less like their nineteenth-century counterparts. Late-nineteenth-century Britishvisitors looked backwistfullyto the dayswhen upcountryvisitorsand newcomersenjoyedthe generoushospitality of the residents, with no need to resort to hotels. The large houses and their numerousservantscould easily accommodateseveralguests, who often stayedfor a while. Even for casualvisits, each personwas accompaniedby his or her retinue of servants,adding to the numbers already presentin the household. Such a large space, busy with attending servants, recallsthe paintingof Lady Impeywith her servants(attriibuted to ShaykhZain-al-Din; Figure 20).60Lady Impey was the wife of ElijahImpey,the ChiefJustice of Calcutta. The picture,paintedin 1780, shows LadyImpey sitting on a low stool in the center of a large room. The walls of the room are paneled, the venetianed French windows and doors are adornedwith valences,and the scantfurniturein the room is placed againstthe narrowwall spaces.A carpet large enough to cover the entire floor forms the field of action, its bordersdefining the edges of the room. One of the several doors in the room shows part of a bedroom. SeventeenIndianand one Europeanstaffare shown either waiting on the lady or engaged in their household work. The figures in the painting are composed so as to delineate a set of visuallypermeablespaces.The figuresthat are closest to the lady,such as the boy fanning, the ayah(maid servant),and two men, possibly the banian(manager)and khansamma (cook), constitute the center of the composition. The sircar(accountant), tailors,weavers,and the dhobi form the next circle, while the gardener, (washerman) and bearer,and a couple ofsoontaburdars chobdars (standardbearers/guards)define the outer edge of the event. The painter was not necessarilyportrayingall the actions that would take place in one room, but rather all the actions taking place in closely interconnectedlayers of space that together formed one singularevent of household work in clear view of the lady of the house. Zain-al-Din'spainting bearsthis similaritywith John Zoffany's1784 depiction of
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 171

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residence in Calcutta,based Figure 19 The originof the Anglo-Indian on the drawing by Colesworthy Grant,c. 1860

c. Figure 20 LadyImpey with her servants in Calcutta,attributedto ShaykhZain-al-din, 1780, from Jeremy Losty, Calcutta:Cityof Palaces (London,1990)

the Auriol and Dashwood familiesin Calcutta(Figure21). In Zoffany'spainting,the servantsnot only form the envelope of the composition, but their figures are inserted in the very center of the composition, where they serve at a tea party.Without carefulattentionone could actuallymiss the blackboy holding the platewith the teapot.As in Zainal-Din's painting, their proximityto the subjectdepended on the job they performed. It is this proximity of figures and virtuallyunimpededvisual access that were embodied in the plans of Calcutta'scolonial houses. In other words, the service spaces were inextricablylinked to the served spaces, constituting one fabric, even when the site plan showed physicalseparateness.
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JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

The connectednessof the spaces and the presence of numerousIndian subjectsmirroredthe habitationpattern of an extendedIndianfamily,an idea that manyBritishmen had adopted in their cohabitation with Indian wives and mistressesin the eighteenth century.61 Such "unrestrained colonization" increasingly was seen as a problemamongthe British, and a deep distrust of miscegenation set in. This included sanctions againstwearing Indianizedclothes and Indian fabricand marryingIndian women. Between 1787 and 1793, in response to corruptionamong the East India Company'sservants,Governor General Lord Cornwallis set in motion the processof Europeanizingthe administrative structure,first by relegatingIndiansto minor roles in

administration and second by encouragingCompany servants to distance themselves from natives and native lifestyle. The premise of these decisions was that Indian lifestyle was inherently corruptingto morals, and that, in order to secure individualsin the administrationagainst moral degeneracy,strict social boundariesbetween rulers domesand ruledwere necessary.62 the 1830sinterracial By were frownedupon by the establishment tic arrangements and anxiously denounced by the increasing number of The marital and European women who came to India.63 sexualliaisons that bred "half-castes" one of the more was detestedand problematicaspectsof Anglo-Indianlife, particularlyconsideringthat the most light-skinnedoffspring The could pass as Europeans.64 presumptionwas that halfto overcome their flawed origins could be castes unable identifiedby their peculiarlyIndiantastesand habits.Consequently,wearingIndianfabricor smokinga hookahwere considered severe breaches of etiquette among European women. These women felt the need, andwere told by their

male counterparts the necessity,to cultivatea bourgeois of free from native influence. Mrs. Fenton, as a interiority newcomer to India, was told, for example, never to wear Indian fabric in case she were to be mistaken for a halfcaste.65 Such protocols could be maintainedin fashioning dressesbut not in other aspectsof dailylife. But the hybrid culture of interracialrelations did not as disappear Lord Cornwallishad envisioned.While interracialmarriages becameless frequentamongthe higher-ups in the administration,and all forms of racialmixing were designatedas problematic,the hybrid culture did not and until the spatialarrangement colonial of couldnot disappear life was refigured. The tensions inherent in a policy wherebythe Britishseparatedthemselvesfrom the natives on moraland administrative groundswhile at the sametime being dependenton them was never more apparentthan in the attitudestowardthe sexualproclivitiesof Europeansoldiersandthe lowerclassof Europeans. Throughoutthe rule of the East India Companyand the subsequentcontrol by

Figure 21 John Zoffany, TheAurioland Dashwood Families, Calcutta,1783-1787


THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 173

Figure 22 James Moffat, The Bottle and the Bed Scene at Calcutta,c. 1805. Note servant watching from doorway while master and mistress argue.

Figure 23 Ayah Stealing a Child,"Confessions of an Oxonian,"c. 1825

the BritishCrown, the policy of providingBritishsoldiers with Indian prostitutes-which meant making room for Indianprostitutesspecifically designatedfor Britishsoldiers in cantonmentsand regimentalbazaars-was retainedeven And underseverecriticismfrom manyfronts.66 even for the crust of the administrationin Calcutta, the spatial upper arrangementof domestic space would not be substantially refigureduntil the turn of the twentieth century.Consequently,althoughMrs. Fenton despisedthe thought of her maidservant(the "black-faced thing") alwaysat her elbows, she submittedto the prevailingdomesticpracticesbecause in Calcutta, she told herself, one could not apply British rules of self-sufficiency. In his treatise,RobertKerrdecried"speculative villas" that failedto separatedifferentactivitiesin the house andto provide separatedomains for servantsand residents. The buildersof Calcutta's speculativevillas worriedlittle about for the servantsand spent most of the money on arranging the construction of the main house. The servants'spaces were an afterthought.Kitchen and ancillaryservice spaces were never an integral part of colonial houses in India becauseof the differingperceptionof servants' needs in this context. The lack of articulationin the colonial context expresseda disinterestin spendingany more than the bare minimumfor the accommodation servants. of The distance betweenthe house and the servants'rooms was expectedto compensatefor the lack of clearlyarticulated territory,but it did not ensurevisualprivacyof the type found in British houses.And in the urbancontext, the distancebetween the house and the servants'quarterscould not be great. From her window,a newcomerto Calcuttain 1812,LadyNugent, the wife of the Commander-in-Chief, couldsee her servants at work,since much of the preparations, includingcooking,
174 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

On took place outdoors.67 her arrivalshe found a houseful of servants,"the inferiorsarrangingthemselvesin the hall, the superiors attending us to the drawing room," and observedthat "it seemed to be the duty of ten or twelve to remainon the staircase,and in the passage... andwe were both sadly annoyed with the number of salaamsthat are made, whenever we move from one room to another."68 The house, she added, "is really full of these people." In and 1835 Emma Robertswas "struck ratherscandalizedby the strangeposition"occupiedby servants:
None of the inferiordomestics keep themselves, as in England, in the background:the watercarrieralone confines his perambulationsto the back staircases, allthe others, down to the scullions, make theirappearancein the state apartments,whenever they deem it expedient to do so; and in Bengal, where the lower order of palanquinbearers wear very little clothing, it is not very agreeable to a female stranger to see them walk into drawing rooms, and employ themselves in dusting books or occupations of the like nature.69

If the presence of servantsis barely acknowledgedin Zoffany'spaintings despite their proximity,it was because being conscious of their presence was too uncomfortable. This was a time before electricallygeneratedfans replaced the punkha pullers,who sat in an adjoiningspaceandpulled fanssuspendedfrom the ceiling in the room wherethe master or mistress contemplated sleep, work, leisure, or a moment of privacy.In a society so acutelyrace-conscious, Britishresidentshad to conduct their most privateconversations within the earshot of native servants, who were always present in an adjacent space in case they were needed. The small chambersand verandahsnext to bed-

rooms and dining rooms were adjunctspacesthat answered the needs of comfort.The spatialadjacency servantsand of masters,the threat of sexualtensions, and the crucialrole the servantsplayedin raisingEuropeanchildrencombined to producethe specterof racialdegeneracy.70 Such proximcameto be regarded ity occasioneddistrust,andthe servants as a necessary nuisance.Amateurpaintersleft impressions of the untrustworthiness native servantswho were privyto of disputes between husbandand wife (Figure 22) and more paranoiddepictions such as that of an ayah(maid servant) stealing a child with the intent to offer her as a sacrifice (Figure 23). Several attempts were made starting in the eighteenth centuryto control the salaries,duties,and activities of servants,but with little effect. And yet no one suggestedabolishingthe system. During the age of the East India Company, the directors in London considered large retinues of servants excessive. Those in India ignored such rebukesas an inabilityon the part of the directorsto understandthe circumstancesof a Even when they professedto detest the serforeign land.71 or habits of the Indian staff, the colonizers derived vility profound satisfactionfrom their presence. This was, after all, what rulingwas all about.This was playinga partin the theater of empire. Many, like the Eden sisters, in their descriptionsof the pageantryof Calcuttalife, could hardly containtheir satisfaction amusement.Emily Eden, who and arrivedin Calcutta in 1836 with her brother Lord Auckland, the new Governor-General, felt "Robinson-Crusoeish,"occupyinga tiny islandof civility:
My particularattendant, who never loses sight of me, is an
astonishingly agreeable kitmatgar. ... He and four others glide

Allthe halls were lighted up; the steps of the portico leading to them were covered with all the turbaned attendants in their white muslin dresses, the native guards galloping before us, and this enormous buildinglooking more like a real palace, a palace in the "Arabian Nights," than anything I have been able to dream on the subject. It is something like what I expected, and yet not the least, at present, as faras externals go: it seems to me that we are acting a long opera.73

behind me whenever I move from one room to another; besides these, there are two bearers with a sedan at the bottom of the stairs, in case I am too idle to walk ... There is a sentry at my dressing room, who presents arms when I go to fetch my keys. There is a tailor,with a magnificent long beard, mending up some of my old habitshirts before they go to the wash, and putting strings in my petticoat, &c., and there is the ayah to assist Wright,and a very old woman,
called a metranee, who is the lowest servant of all.... George

never stirs without a tail of fifteen joints after him. Williamhas reduced his to three, but leaves a large supply at home; and Fanny has at present three outriders, and expects more; but it is rather amusing when by an accident we all meet, with our tails on.72

Describing a dinner at GovernmentHouse, her sister of Fannymade overt suggestionsaboutthe theatricality the setting:

The brilliantlylit walls,the grandscale of the building, and the deploymentof nativeservantstransported Fannyto a world that seemed more like a dreamor a theatricalperformancethan a real-life artifact.She was familiarwith the formalityof English country houses. This Calcuttahouse was, however,the "realpalace,"a realitythat paradoxically only seemed to reside in fairy tales. Fanny was clearly unsureabouthow to describeher newfoundfact of life that seemed to slip between real possibilitiesand unreal imaginings. Instead, she chose the analogy of the opera, which she thought would convey the blending of the real sensory experiencewith the make-believestage set that demanded a certain suspension of disbelief. Only in such a world could the hybridjuxtapositionof figuresand artifactsmake sense-juxtapositions that dissolved the boundaries between that which was familiarand that which was foreign. The physical elements that enabled Fanny's long operawere the grandstairsand porticoes;the formalprogressionof connectedspaces,creatinga seriesof vistas;and the embellishmentof the edges with servantsand staff.But the interior of the residence did not represent an opera stage that calculatedthe separationbetween audienceand performers and planned entries and exits by selective deployment of screens. The open-plan, central-room design made it more like a theater-in-the-round. In the Europeanmodel of the large house, all the spatialdevices were garneredto accentuatea beginning-middle-endscenario of movement through the public apartments;one passed through a series of tightly bounded spaces with selective vistas. In the Calcutta houses, once beyond the front entrance, the interior space functioned not on the basis of a series of frontal planes but on a concentric arrangementthat allowed multiple points of entranceand dispersal.The numerous doors and windows provided an almost uninterruptedview of the surroundings.In a very could createthe sense large building,such an arrangement of endlesslyrepetitivespacesthat one could only conjurein dreams. Such pleasuresof imperialismwere gained at the price of being watchedby the servants.The same channels that extendedone'sview of the surrounds would permitthe others' gaze to be turned inward:
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 175

I am in my boudoir,very much the size of the PictureGalleryat GrosvenorHouse; three large glass doors on one side look over the city, three more at the end at the great gate and entrance: they are all venetianed up at present. There are sets of folding doors open on to the bedroom and two bath-roomsat the other end; and three more on the other side into the dressing rooms and passage that lead to this suite of rooms, for everyone has their suite. Emilyand I are on opposite wings, far as the poles asunder, and at night when I set about making my way from her room to mine, Iam in imminentperilof stepping upon bales of livingwhite muslin that are sleeping about the galleries . . . In this climate it is quite necessary to have every door open, but I am making a clever arrangement of screens to screen everybody out; though it seems to me that people push to extreme the arrangement to prevent having the slightest trouble, even of thought.74

It took the designers over sixty years from Robert Kerr'stime, and about a centuryfrom the time of the Eden sisters'sojourn, to recognize that the more undefinedthe servants'spaces, the more uncontrolledwere their movements and spheres of action, an aspect that had been well understood and taken care of in contemporary English houses. The situationof being surroundedby servantswithin the household was analogous to the organization of the largerurbancontext,which can be seen by highlightingthe servantspacesin a map (Figure24). The practiceof having servantspaces next to the entranceand backwalls created little islands, which could be interpreted as protected or besieged depending on one's point of view. Significantly, most of the residencesdid not even face the publicstreet to announce their grandeur,being satisfied with an abrupt demarcationbetween the private domain and the public sphere outside the walls. The open plans of the buildings were arrested by strictly defined compound walls. The with publicstreets buildingsthat set up a directrelationship and articulateda transition space were shops and public buildings.Otherwise,neighborssharednothing exceptthe walls that separatedthem. Even in a localitywhere the residentswere predominantly Europeans,the house next-door remaineda relativelyunknownentity.Neighbors were usuallytenantswho were there for a brief time. The high walls and ample interveningspaces resulted as much from suburbanoriginsas from the uncertaintyof marketneeds. The wallsand the distancefrom the neighboringhouses became tools for the owner to mitigateunknownchallenges. Althoughmost Britishresidentsseemed to agreeabout the novelty of life in India and took pride in the pageantry that the colonial buildings afforded, few recognized or
176
JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

of from of Survey Figure24 Portion Chowringhee R. B. Smart's


Calcutta,1887-1909, with servants' spaces shown in black

acknowledgedthe essentiallyhybrid nature of the spaces. The solid boundarywalls, often designed so carefullyafter natives patternbooks,providedprivacyfromthe respectable but not from the laboringpopulation.Attitudestowardthe native population and the need of the real estate market produceddiscretecontainmentswherethe colonizerscould provisionallyparticipatein the long opera. The pleasures of imperialismdid not simply necessitate the native presence among the colonizers-indeed, they were besiegedby native practicesin the very center of domestic life. British attemptsto fix the signs of difference,in orderto resist the

effect of the hybrid, proved difficult given the infrastructure of colonial dwelling. Colesworthy Grant, an astute observer,noted that few Europeanswere willing to admit that they were productsof a hybridcolonial culture.While town was disthe neoclassicalarchitectureof the "native" missedas inauthentic,the colonizersrefusedto see how the houses they residedin were hybridconcoctions,a hybridity In that went beyond stylisticambivalence. other words, the problem did not lie in the proportion of the facade, the rhythm of the columns, or the dimensions of the entablature; it was something more fundamental,more immediately felt when using the space. There were more similaritiesbetween the buildingsin the so-called white and black towns than was commonly accepted.Having lived in these colonialhouses, Britishresidents were cognizant that hybriditydid not simply reside in the foreign body and the native town; rather,hybridity was a troublingpresencein the formationof theirown identity, an ambivalentspacethat they themselvesoccupiedand whose impact they deeply felt. The difficulty resided not narcoincidentwith imperialist only in generatinga "reality As rative."75 the Britishrecognized,whatwas disturbingthe was effect was not a distantOther;the disturbance "reality" the consequence of everydaypracticesthat inflected their of own behaviorandtheir abilityto sustaina narrative superior difference. The openendedness of spatial meaning unsettled dearly held ideas of public and private, self and other, by refusingto grant colonizers a sense of interiority within the safe confines of which to constructan imperial self. That is what made colonial cities like Calcuttaprobof lematicandnecessitatedthe obsessivearticulation delimeven when such territorial markings iting practices, inhibitedthe colonialdesirefor a sovereignspaceandwhen, in fact, the boundariesdid little to preventpermeability.

categorieswith classdistinctions,see LauraAnn Stoler'sdiscussionof coloColonial Categories:EuropeanCommuninial categoriesin "Rethinking Studies Society History in and ties and Boundariesof Rule,"Comparative 31, no.l January1989): 134-161. 48-51. For a readingof the 4. For example,see Evenson,Indian Metropolis, of neoclassicism Indianarchitecture, G.H.R. in see "unsuccessful" adoption and Tillotson, The Tradition IndianArchitecture: Controversy, Continuity of (New Haven, 1989), 12. Change 5. Few scholarshave done justiceto the complexconditionsthat resultin hybridformswhen buildingideasare carriedfrom one region of the world house to another.For an exception,seeJohnMichaelVlach,"The Brazilian vernacular house type," in Nigeria: the emergenceof a twentieth-century Folklore no. 383 (1984), 3-23. 97, JournalofAmerican in Architecture India(Lon6. See Philip Davis, Splendours theRaj:British of Architecture in Nilsson, European don, 1985); Evenson, IndianMetropolis; in India;Sinha, Calcutta Urban History. see 7. For full detailsof the proclamation, A. K. Ray,ShortHistory Calof cutta(reprinted., Calcutta,1982), 116-119. 8. Proceedingsof the CalcuttaCommittee of Revenue,24 October 1774, in cited in Sinha, Calcutta Urban History,18. in 9. See the detailsof wills in Sinha, Calcutta UrbanHistory. 10. The census data of the time are not reliable,but the availablefigures indicatethe following changesin the populationof the city:
1821 1822 1831 1837 1850 1866 179,917 230,552 187,081 229,714 361,369 358,362 1872 1876 1881 1891 1901 428,458 409,039 401,671 470,835 542,686

Notes
1. In the case of India, see Norma Evenson, TheIndianMetropolis: View A Towards West(New Haven, 1989); Anthony D. King, ColonialUrban the SocialPowerand Environment Culture, (London, 1977); Sten Development: Architecture India,170-1850 (New York,1969);Pradip in Nilsson, European in Sinha, Calcutta Urban (Calcutta,1978). History 2. In cantonment townsin Indiathe separation betweenrulersandruledwas more of a possibilitythan in the presidencytowns of Calcuttaand Bombay, where the Europeancommunitywas a minoritywithin a largeIndianpopulation (see King, ColonialUrbanDevelopment). even in cantonment But towns, the physicalseparationwas not alwaysadequate,as Kenneth Ballof hatchet's discussion prostitution the ContagiousDiseasesAct demonand strates(Race, and ClassundertheRaj:Imperial Sex Attitudes Policies and and theirCritics [New York,1980]). 3. Sucha notion of dualcitiespresumesthat the categoriesof colonizer/colonized arestatic.For an alternative point of view that complicatesthe racial

in 11. For an idea of the natureof propertytransactions the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, consult W. S. Seton Kerr,Selections from Calcutta vols. 1-5 (Calcutta,1864). Gazettes, 12. Ibid. in 13. In 1822 Lt. Robert Grenville observed in FifteenYears India:Or Sketchesof a Soldier' Life (London) that "Chowringhee, Park Street, Dhuromtola,the Jaun Bazaarand Esplanadenow form the Europeanpart of the town" (65). Two decadeslater Leopold von Orlich (Travels India in SindeandPunjab [London,1845],45) andEdwardThornton (The including Gazetteer the Territories underthe Government the EastIndia Company of of andtheNativeStateson the Continent India,reproduced P.T. Nair, ed., in of Calcutta theNineteenth in seemed convinced [Calcutta,1989],986) Century that the city was dividedinto two distinctpartsformedby a line from Beebee Ross Ghat eastward. OrlichandThorntonwere probably both quoting the Bengal Agra Guideof 1841. Thornton, however,pointed out that a and considerablepart of the "Europeandivision"was inhabited by natives, "chieflyMussalmansand the lower caste Hindoos, while very few Christians have their abode in the native quarter." William Baillie's1792 map indicated the area aroundTank Square(between Beebee Ross Ghat and Row),the stripsalongBytaconnah/Bowbazaar Street,Dhurmtola Esplanade and the Chowringheeareaas inhabitedby Europeans. Street, in 14. Evenson, IndianMetropolis, Sinha, Calcutta UrbanHistory,7-8, 23; 20-27. 15. EmmaRoberts,Scenes Characteristics and (London, 1837), ofHindoostan Old and Hand9; Henry Cotton, Calcutta: andNew:A Historical Descriptive book the City(1907; reprint ed., Calcutta, 1980), 136. For the developof ment of the suburbsof Calcutta,see John Archer,"Colonial Suburbsin SouthAsia, 1700-1850, andthe Spacesof Modernity," RogerSilverstone, in ed., Visions Suburbia (London, 1997). of
THE LIMITS OF "WHITE TOWN" IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA 177

16. Until the mid nineteenthcenturythe namesof theparaswere mentioned in mapsof Calcutta.For a discussionof IndianandBritishideasof mapping the city,see KeyaDasgupta,"ACityAwayfromHome: the Mappingof Calin 1995). cutta," ParthaChatterjee, Texts Power ed., (Minneapolis, of 17. On 20 June 1756, in a conflict between the East India Companyand the Nawab of Bengal, the victorious Nawab'sforces threw their English prisonersinto a small room where many died of suffocation.One of the prisonerswho survivedwas John Z. Holwell, who retired to England to Narrawrite a highly embellishedaccountof the incident,titledA Genuine and who Gentlemen Others wereSufDeathsoftheEnglish tiveoftheDeplorable focated in the Black Hole (London, 1758). This narrative grasped the as imaginationof Britons,and Calcuttabecameknownprimarily the site of the BlackHole. and 18. Sir CharlesD'Oyly, Views Calcutta Its Environs (London, 1835). of A See alsoJeremyP. Losty, Calcutta: ofPalaces, Surveyof the Cityin the City 1690-1858 (London, 1990). Daysof theEastIndiaCompany 19. Elisabeth Fenton, A Narrativeof Her Life in India, TheIsle of France 1826-1830 (London, 1910), and Tasmania (Mauritius), During the Years 14-15. 20. James RanaldMartin,Noteson theMedicalTopography Calcutta (Calof cutta, 1836), 63. 21. "Planof Calcutta and its Environs surveyedby the Late MajorJ. A. Schlach for the use of the Lottery Committee and containing all their with additionfrom the SurveyorGeneral'sOffice and from improvements recent surveysmade by CaptainT Prinsep," 1825-1832, reproducedin and Anil K. Kunduand PrithvishNag, eds., Atlasof the Cityof Calcutta Its Environs (Calcutta,1990). 22. Seton-Kerr, Selections from CalcuttaGazettes,vol. 3, 550. Eight sicca were worth 1 pound sterling. rupees 23. Ibid., 547; also, vol. 5, 117. 24. Ibid., vol. 3, 557. 25. Ibid., 567. Gazette 3 January1805 containedthis advertisement: of 26. Calcutta the landedproperty, Russapuglah Valuable estate, for privatesale by Tulloh &Co., comprising: and The valuable extensive grounds,gardens,and premisesat Russaof the now let on lease at SiccaRs. 178 permonth,formerly property puglah, the B. Turner, oppositeto the gardens Esq.,adjoining mainroad,immediately and one hundred seventy-five belongingto R. W. Cox, Esq., and measuring in country. healthy high, beegahs of remarkably fertileground, an open, airy, of Thewhole laidout witha variety fruits,flowers,andothertrees, and possessing the very desirableadvantagesof havingan extensive sheet of and excellentwater stockedwith fish of differentkinds; meritsthe noticeof or desirousof very extensive premises for agriculture other any gentleman viz.:purposes.On the groundsare the followingbuildings, house, Thepremisesconsist of a well raisedpuckabuiltlower-roomed containinga large hall32 by 28 feet, plasteredwith Madraschunam;two largerooms 23 by 17, fourother rooms, 15 by 12 each; an enclosed verandah to the south, and open one to the north,each 28 by 18; with bottlekhanah,cook rooms, godowns, coach-house, stablings, and other useful out-houses. conOnthe same premiseis also erecteda neatpuckaroofedbungalow two a sleepingroomswith closets to taining largehall,puckabuilt; octagonal to verandahs the northand south, venetianwindows all each; open pillared with puckabuiltcook room,bottle-khannah, round; godowns and otheroutSelectionsfromCalcutta houses (Seton-Kerr, Gazettes,vol. 3, 581-582). One bigha(alternatively means pantry/storage. Bottle-khannah spelled beeto is yards; gahor biggha) aboutone-thirdof an acre,equivalent 1,600square
178 JSAH / 59:2, JUNE 2000

is one cottah(or catha)is 80 squareyards;and one chittack chattack) 5 (or squareyards. Estate vol. 27. Seton-Kerr, Selections Calcutta from Gazettes, 1. The Belvedere house in Alipore,in the suburbsof Calcutta,had provisionsof hot and cold baths.James Palmer, an undertakerattemptingto diversifyhis business, notified the ladiesand gentlemenof the settlementthat he had procureda large assortmentof marbleslabs due to "the practiceuniversallyadopted among the genteel families of the Settlement, of having baths in their houses, lined, or only floored with marbleslabs, likewiseHalls and other (285). Apartments" 28. Seton-Kerr,Selections vol. Gazettes, 2, 543. Abdarkhanna from Calcutta see meanswine cellar;for "bottlekanna," n. 26. vol. 29. Seton-Kerr, Selections Calcutta from Gazettes, 1, 34. The samenotice of containedan advertisement a smallersingle-storyhouse on the east of China Bazaar, "highlyraisedfrom the ground"and containinga hall, two cookroom, and necessaryhouse, bedrooms,a verandah,a bottle-khannah, and standingon five cottahs, yielding 100 siccarupeesin rent. in 30. For example,the following advertisement appeared 1786: A commodiousand elegant House formerlyoccupied by the late Edward Wheeler,Esq.and at presenttenantedby the Hon'bleCharlesStuart,at the monthlyrentof Sicca Rupees 900, consistingof 2 halls,8 largechambers, with 4 open verandahs,a grandstaircase, and backstairs,closets, &c., all The and furnished, in complete repair. firstfloorraised7 feet fromthe highly ground,and has underit eight excellent godowns. The premises occupy three beeghas, fourteencottahs,and six chittacksof ground.The detached and offices are extensive andconvenient,fit to accommodatea largefamily, Selections fromCalcutta allpuckabuilt(Seton-Kerr, Gazettes,vol. 1, 167). 31. Ibid.,vol. 2. 32. Ibid., vol. 3, 533. 33. Ibid., vol. 4, 432-433. contained"pucka to 34. One of the houses,locatedadjacent Tiretta's bazaar, sheds 200 ft long and 32 feet wide." Seton-Kerr,Selections from Calcutta vol. Gazettes, 1, 292; also vol. 2, 517. Sketch Domestic 35. ColesworthyGrant,Anglo-Indian (Calcutta,1862). 36. Ibid., 8. 37. Ibid., 11. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid., 9. Architectural 40. Robin Evans, "Figures,Doors, and Passages," Design48, no. 4 (1978):267-278. 41. These buildingsare chosen from a corpusof ninety-fiveexamplesthat I havedocumentedin the courseof my research.Builtthroughoutthe nineteenth century,they supportthe generalityof the patternI analyzein this paper. 42. Building drawingsfrom the archivesof Mackintosh Burn Pvt. Ltd., of Indexno. 2087, dated 1911. Blueprints this buildingandothersdiscussed in this essaywere all preparedin the firstand second decadesof the twentieth century to seek municipalpermission to add bathroomsand make other alterations.Consequently they contain traces of previous changes made in the buildings.My discussionis based on the changesindicatedin these drawings. 43. Map of Calcuttabasedon surveysconductedbetween 1887 and 1892by Plan. R. B. Smart,revisedin 1909;hereafterreferredto as Smart's 44. The urgeto havesuchlargespacesunimpeded columnscausedstrucby with turalproblems.The dancefloorof the TownHall hadto be reinforced extrabeams,while the London Tavern's largeballroomwas rumoredto be unstable,an accusationthat causedthe proprietorsto bring out an advertisementvouchingfor its safety.

45. The house is indicatedin Schlach's1826 map. Buildingdrawingsfrom MackintoshBurnPvt. Ltd., dated 1905. 46. Thacker's 1872, 1892. Directory Calcutta, of 47. An entryto CamacStreetis shownin a map of Calcuttaprepared W. by inAtlasoftheCityof Calcutta. Beforethat the Heyshamin 1856, reproduced house probablyhad a Middleton Street address. 48. Smart's Plan, 1887-1892, revisedin 1909. 49. Plan of 1/1 Little Russell Street, from the archive of the Calcutta MunicipalCorporation. and 50. James Gibbs, BookofArchitecture: Containing Designsof Buildings Ornaments (London, 1739). House(New Haven, 1978). 51. MarkGirouard,Lifein theEnglishCountry Architecture India. in 52. Nilsson, European 53. Ibid. House 54. RobertKerr,TheGentleman's (1864;reprinted., New York,1972). 55. Ibid., 67-68. Old 56. Cotton, Calcutta: andNew, 121. Domestic Sketch. 57. Grant,Anglo-Indian 58. Ibid., 6. in on with Connected the 59. WilliamHuggins, Sketches India:Treatise Subjects and Civil Characters theEuropean, Government; andMilitary Establishments; of the Customs theNativeInhabitants (London, 1824), 110. of 60. ElijahImpey and his familylived in a large house on Middleton Row, now occupied by the Loretto Convent. I am gratefulto Dr. Oliver Impey to for informingme thatthe paintingis attributed Zain-al-dinbut thatthere is no hardevidenceto provehe is the painter. 61. See Ballhatchet, Race,Sex and Class (see n. 2). 62. For an accountof the East IndiaCompany's policy on dresscodes that prohibited the Company'sservants from wearing Indian clothing, see BernardS. Cohn, Colonialism itsForms Knowledge: British India and The in of (Princeton, 1996). 63. See, for example,LadyMariaNugent, A JournaloftheYear 1811 Tillthe

a to in Year 1815,Including Voyage andResidence India,witha Tour theNorthof in underthe BengalGovPart of the BritishPossessions that Country, western ernment (London, 1839), 123. to and 64. See, for example,Lord ViscountValentia,Voyages Travels India, the and in 1802-1806, vol. 1 (LonCeylon, RedSea,Abyssinia, Egypt, theYears don, 1809),242. 65. Fenton, Narrative ofHer Life,82. Sex 66. Ballhatchet, Race, and Class. 67. Nugent, Journal,112. 68. Ibid., 85. 69. EmmaRoberts,Scenes Characteristics and (London, 1837), ofHindoostan 7. 70. Laura Ann Stoler, Raceand the Education Desire(Durham, 1995), of 157-164. Old 71. Cotton, Calcutta andNew, 76-80 (see n. 9). 72. Emily Eden, Letters from India(London, 1872), 84-85. 73. Ibid., 91. 74. Ibid., 91-92. The 75. Homi Bhaba,"SignsTakenfor Wonders," Location Culture (Lonof 115. don, 1994),

Illustration Credits
All architectural drawingsand photographs,unless mentioned below, are by the author. London Figure 3. CourtesyBritishLibrary, Figures6f, 24. CourtesyCalcuttaMunicipalCorporation London Figure20. CourtesyDr. OliverImpey and BritishLibrary, 21. CourtesyR.H.N. Dashwood Figure Figures 22, 23. Courtesy Oriental and Indian Office Collection, British London Library,

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