Aerial View of Fort William & Hooghly Calcutta, 1930
This is a rare old 1930 photo of Fort William and the River Hooghly in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Calcutta was the first city of the British Raj until this capital was shifted to Delhi. The pronouncement of shifting the capital was made by King George V at the Delhi Durbar in 1911.
In 1687, Job Charnock, an agent of the East India Company secured permission from the Mughals to secure a base at Sutanati (now in north Calcutta). The original Fort William was built and named after the reigning King of Britain William III. The work on this first fort began in 1696 and was completed in 1701.
Its shape was that of an irregular tetragon occupying a site near the River Hooghly. Siraj-Ud-Daulah ascended the reign as the Nawab of Bengal in 1756. He was an independent representative of the great Mughals for the east. Since the British had strengthened the fortification and added new buildings without permission.
They disobeyed the demand of the Nawab to demolish the new additions. The infuriated Nawab took action, in four days of severe fighting his troops seized Calcutta and destroyed the fortification. Later, a new fortification was built, also named Fort William. It was commissioned by Robert Clive, East India Company’s Governor for Bengal.
The fort’s construction began in 1757 and was completed in 1773. And is based slightly north of the old fort on the banks of the River Hooghly. The shape is that of an irregular octagon with an area of 5 sq km. Shown is a rare aerial view of the fort and the River Hooghly and harbour. Click on the photo for better view.
Did you know- the fort is today the property of the Indian Army. The headquarters of the Eastern Command is based here.