Cossipore (Bengali: কাশীপুর) (also spelt Cossipur, Kashipur) is a neighbourhood in north Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal. One of the old neighbourhoods of the metropolis, it has a police station and is an assembly constituency.
The British East India Company purchased thirty-eight villages in 1717 and added them to their property at Calcutta. They later reconstituted them as fifty-five villages or mouzas (panchannogram). Cossipore was one of those villages. H. E. A. Cotton writes, “The Cossipore Reach was one of the finest on the river, and is lined by a number of villa residences.” From those days Cossipore had a number of industrial units. – the Government Gun Foundry, the Snider and Rifle Shell factories (originally constructed by Colonel Hutchinson), sugar mills and jute screw houses.
Entally, Manicktala, Beliaghata, Ultadanga, Chitpur, Cossipore, parts of Beniapukur, Ballygunge, Watganj and Ekbalpur, and parts of Garden Reach and Tollygunj were added to Kolkata Municipal Corporation in 1888.
Ward No. 1 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation covers Cossipore. It has six prominent ghats on the Hooghly – from south - Cossipore Ghat, Sadhur Ghat, Ranir Ghat, Pramanick Ghat, Ramakrishna Mahasashan and Ratan Babu Ghat.
Cossipore police station area spread over ward nos. 1 (Cossipore) and 2 (Sinthee) of Kolkata Municipal Corporation had a total population of 96,043 in the 2001 census, of which 51,401 were males and 44,642 were females. The area recorded a negative decadal growth. Part of ward no. 6 (Chitpur) is under Cossipore police station.
The more than two centuries old Gun and Shell Factory at Cossipore is the oldest surviving factory in the Indian subcontinent. It was set up in 1802 and functions under the Ordnance Factories Board. Along with technological evolution, the plant has successfully altered its product mix to suit the requirements of changing times. The plant has recently undergone large scale modernisation.Its product-mix ranges from big barrel guns to small barrel pistols, different varieties of shells and fuses and civil trade items.
It started off as Gun Carriage Agency, but after shifting of the agency first to Allahabad in 1814, and then to Fatehgarh in 1816, its importance was diminished. Finally in 1829, all the machines were shifted to Fatehgarh. However, it had the strength of springing back to life again and again. The vacant space was utilised for the much-needed expansion and renovation of the Gun Factory of Fort William. Besides casting of brass guns, it also took up manufacture of iron shot and shells.
Around 1855, breech-loading steel rifled guns had got its way to the British arsenal, but the Cossipore plant was not properly equipped to undertake manufacturing of such guns. The mini-bullet factory was transferred to Dumdum. It had little work and there were suggestions for its closure but it survived. The rifled guns, imported from England, required new elongated shells. It was decided that Cossipore would be utilised for manufacturing of the new shells. It underwent some expansion and the name ‘Gun Foundry’ was changed to ‘Foundry and Shell Factory’ in 1872. Along with the manufacturing of new elongated shell, there was requirement of undertaking manufacturing of modern fuses and cartridges to match the newly introduced breech-loading guns. So further expansion took place in 1887 and 1890.
In 1892, steel was, for the first time cast in India, at Cossipore by a Siemen’s Martin Open Hearth Plant. In 1896, a rolling mill was erected. However, the metallurgical units were shifted to Ishapore in 1903 as no further space for expansion was available at Cossipore. In 1890, a shop was erected for the manufacture and repair of fittings of imported breech-loading guns. The plant undertook the manufacture of quick-firing guns in 1905. With the return of the manufacturing of guns, the name of Cossipore unit got the present name of ‘Gun and Shell Factory’ in 1905.
New Cossipore Generating station started producing electric for CESC from the year 1949 and has current capacity of 100 MW. This is older and uses non Pulverized Fuel to generate electricity. This unit plays a major part creating an economic eco system in its own. There are a lot of people live in cossipore who are part of that ecosystem. but in 2015 it was closed.
The branch of the Ramakrishna Math at Cossipore is popular as Udyanbati. This garden house was sanctified by Ramakrishna's stay with his disciples during the last few months of his life, as also by his mahasamadhi. It was made a branch of Ramakrishna Math in 1946. Kalpataru Utsab is organised in January.