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Scottish Cemetery at Calcutta

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Established  1820
Country  India
Size  6 acres (2.4 ha)
Founded  1820
Location  Park Circus, Kolkata
Type  Private (closed)
No. of graves  1,600
Burials  John Adam
Address  159B, Karaya Rd, Park Circus, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700017
Hours  Open today · 10AM–11PMSaturday10AM–11PMSundayClosedMonday10AM–11PMTuesday10AM–11PMWednesday10AM–11PMThursday10AM–11PMFriday10AM–11PMSuggest an edit
Similar  South Park Street Cemetery, Lower Circular Road Ce, St Paul's Cathedral, Attraction, The Assembly of God C

The Scottish Cemetery at Calcutta was established in 1820 catering to the specific needs of the large Scottish population in the Kolkata area. These Scots, including soldiers, missionaries, jute traders and businessmen, were attached to numerous enterprises in the area such as the headquarters of the East India Company, and the administration of the British Raj, whose capital was here. The cemetery was utilised until the 1940s but was abandoned in the 1950s and neglected following India's independence. Well over 90% of those buried bear recognisably Scots names such as Anderson, McGregor, Campbell and Ross. Around 10% are Bengali.

Contents

Description

Extending to 6 acres (24,000 m2) the cemetery lies within the dense urban area on Karaya Bazar Road. It is roughly square in plan and is laid out largely in a grid pattern, but with more random tombs closest to the road, in the oldest, south-west section. It contains over 1600 burial plots, with at least 2000 burials. The entrance, which bears the title "Scottish Cemetery" over an archway is flanked by a gatehouse. The entire cemetery is enclosed by a high wall.

Stones are generally of Scottish sandstone or granite. Since they bear inscriptions of their makers or sculptors, it is possible to assess that almost all have been made in Scotland and transported here for use. Apart from the indigenous Indian plant life, and buildings beyond the perimeter, the cemetery has a strong Scots character.

Almost all original lead (used in lettering) and cast iron, was systematically removed in the second half of the 20th century.

Restoration

In 2008 the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust (KSHT) was set up as a Scottish Charity to commemorate and build upon the historic links between Scot land and India. Restoration of this cemetery was identified as their first priority. The site was cleared of the extensive jungle growth which had overtaken it and a full survey of monuments begun. This was done with support from the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments for Scotland.

Graves of note

  • Thomas Jones 1810-1849, a Welsh missionary
  • The director of the Calcutta Zoological Gardens
  • Numerous officers of the Honourable East India Company.
  • James Wheatley, a police constable "murdered in the execution of his duty" in 1844
  • Rev. John Adam, "late missionary to the heathen".
  • Towns of origin mentioned on the various stones include Paisley, Broughty Ferry, Sutherlandshire, Fife, Campbeltown, and many from Dundee (the latter largely linked to the jute industry).

    Scottish archive material

    A photographic album held in the Dundee archives holds photographs of 25 individual graves, taken in the mid 20th century. These 25 were re-recorded in 2008, giving evidence of the intervening decay.

    Recently, Presidency University has created a digital archive of the graves in the cemetery from its foundation to the beginning of the Raj (1858) and this can be accessed at http://scotscemeteryarchivekolkata.com/,

    References

    Scottish Cemetery at Calcutta Wikipedia


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