Untold lives blog

11 posts from May 2014

29 May 2014

Rolling out the red carpet

In 1912 the India Office in King Charles Street Whitehall needed to replenish its stock of carpet for general use.  The patterns selected were strikingly different from the bland corporate grey of modern offices.  Carpet samples in the archives show an oak design in shades of brown and a red Persian pattern.

  Carpet sample - brown
Noc IOR/L/SUR/6/15/13

Carpet sample - crimson
Noc  IOR/L/SUR/6/15/13

Tenders were invited for the supply of 400 yards each of Brussels carpet in the oak and red patterns.  Three firms submitted quotes: Fox & Co of Bishopsgate, Maple & Co of Tottenham Court Road, and Hampton & Sons of Pall Mall. The order was granted to Hampton & Sons who submitted the lowest tender of a total of £130 0s 0d.

Quotes for cost of carpets
Noc  IOR/L/SUR/6/15/13

Hampton and Sons was established in 1830, becoming one of the largest furnishing stores in London by 1900.  As well as carpets, the store stocked crockery, cutlery, wallpaper, chimney pieces, blinds, curtains, parquet flooring, furniture, mirrors, coal scuttles, kitchen ware, gas brackets and  lamps. The Pall Mall shop flourished until November 1940 when the building was gutted after being hit by an incendiary bomb.

The records of the Surveyor’s Department in the India Office Records contain a wealth of detail on the equipping, maintenance, and repair of the King Charles Street building (now part of the Foreign Office), from the installation of secret telephones to the procurement of lavatory paper holders.  In future posts we'll share more documents which shed light on everyday life in the corridors of Whitehall 100 years ago.

Lynn Osborne and Margaret Makepeace
India Office Records  Cc-by

Further reading:

IOR/L/SUR/6/15/13 Supply of carpets for the India Office

The Victorian Catalogue of Household Furnishings, with an introduction by Stephen Calloway (1994)

27 May 2014

Housing Shortages in Bombay in the 1860s

A subject currently much in the news at the moment is the shortage of affordable houses to buy in Britain, and the high rents being demanded, particularly in the south-east. It is interesting to note that this is an old problem, which crops up time and again in history books and archives. One file of correspondence in the India Office Records gives the example of the difficulty experienced by Government servants as a result of the high rents being demanded for accommodation at Bombay in the mid-1860s.

Street scene in Bombay c 1890

Street scene in Bombay c 1890  © NBL/Kharbine-Tapabor/British Library  Images Online 

The file is concerned specifically with the difficulty which had been experienced in finding somewhere suitable for the newly appointed Chaplain of Byculla to live. Correspondence forwarded to London regarding the problem includes letters from other Government servants who were struggling to find suitable living quarters in the city. The cost of living had risen sharply in the early 1860s, with house rents in Bombay doubling or trebling. Although this caused suffering to both European and Indian residents, it was the complaints of Europeans which most sharply caught the ear of Government. Some even blamed prosperous Indian businessmen for the housing shortage, as Lt Col W F Marriot of the Bombay Military Department put it “The houses fit for English gentlemen are those most eagerly sought by the constantly increasing class of wealthy Native gentlemen, with whom the Government Officers cannot possibly compete in the amount of rent offered”.

Surgeon R Haines, a Presidency Surgeon in the 3rd District, wrote that he faced the prospect of being evicted from his current house, at which point he would literally not know where to go. He described constantly seeking everywhere for a new residence without success, and of hearing about one vacant house where a rent of 600 rupees was being demanded, which ten years previously had been rented with difficulty at 100 rupees. He had even visited several hotels in his district, and wrote despairingly of them “several are filthy in the extreme; the food most indifferent, the noise most harassing, extending often at night far into the morning hours; the company far from select, and the expense great”. Yet, even this was hard to get as “The pressure for house room is now so great that the bulk of the occupants of the hotels are more or less permanent residents”.

Assistant Surgeon C Joynt, Surgeon to the Jail and House of Correction in Bombay, wrote of his family being forced to live in a hotel in a noisy and crowded part of the city, at an expense far beyond what his pay would cover. He described renting two small rooms at a Hotel in Mazagon “…into which light is admitted through but one window, which can scarcely be kept clean, and are destitute of any approach to privacy”. Unable to afford the “luxury” of eating in their rooms, he and his wife were forced to eat their meals at the public table. Ending his letter with the threat to resign his position, he wrote “I believe I have abundant reason to complain that, after nine years’ service, and with such an amount of work, my remuneration is inadequate to defray the expenses of living – in misery”.

John O’Brien
India Office Records  Cc-by

Further Reading:

Correspondence with the Government of Bombay on the subject of providing an official residence for the Chaplain at Byculla, and on the difficulty experienced by Officers obliged to live at the Presidency in consequence of the great increase in the rents demanded for house accommodation at Bombay, November 1864 to May 1865 [IOR/L/PJ/3/1094 No.58]

Imperial Designs and Indian Realities. The Planning of Bombay City, 1845-1875 by Mariam Dossal (Oxford University Press, 1991) [British Library reference ORW.1991.a.596]


22 May 2014

Major Morrison: Loyal British Servant or Political Mercenary?

In the winter of 1786, two Englishmen arrived unexpectedly at the East India Company Residency in Bushire on the Persian coast.  Major John Morrison was elderly and evidently in charge of his younger companion, Captain George Biggs.  They declared their intention to stay several days before heading to Delhi by sea.  The Resident in Bushire, Edward Galley, had heard rumour of two “European gentlemen” at the camp of Ja‘far Khān Zand, one of the contenders for the Persian throne.  He wrote to his superiors in Bombay.  Their response was the order to ‘keep an eye over [their] motion’ until Galley was ‘better acquainted with the real object of their journey into Persia’.

  Letter from the Council at Bombay Castle to Edward Galley, Resident at Bushire, 27 January 1787Noc
Letter from the Council at Bombay Castle to Edward Galley, Resident at Bushire, 27 January 1787. [IOR/R/15/1/1, f 45v] 

Who was Major John Morrison?  And what was he doing in the Persian Gulf on business that was seemingly neither commercial nor sanctioned by the Company?

Fifteen years earlier, Major Morrison had written to John Cartier proposing an alliance with Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor.  The provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa would be given over to the English in exchange for arms, military training, and payment of the tribute owed to the Shah.   When Cartier did not even reply, Morrison travelled to England as the Shah’s ambassador and peppered ministers and men of influence (in particular Henry Dundas) with the same and similar proposals, presenting them either as commercially or strategically advantageous depending on the audience.

  Shah Alam II Noc
Shah Alam II  [Add.Or.5694] Images Online 

After campaigning for more than a decade without success, Major Morrison returned to the East, arriving at Ja‘far Khān’s camp near Shiraz in late 1786.  His mission was to settle a treaty of commerce between the Khan and his employer Shah Alam.  However when Morrison heard of Shah Alam’s imprisonment by the Marathas, he wrote to Ja‘far Khān with an extraordinary offer.  In exchange for ten lakhs of rupees, (approximately £15,000,000 today), Morrison would travel to Europe and purchase ‘great guns and small arms and other articles of war’ with which he would return to Shiraz and ‘conquer the whole Kingdom of Persia for you’.

This shift in potential ally prompted Morrison to return to England instead of heading from Bushire to Delhi. He renewed his epistolary bombardment of Dundas: keeping a Zand on the Persian throne would prevent the capital moving northwards to Tehran, as would happen under the Qajars, and closer to the influence of Russia. 

  1797 map of Persia and parts of Central AsiaNoc
1797 map of Persia and parts of Central Asia, the theatre of the Great Game [IOR/X/3097] 

Dundas was preoccupied with the French threat, and Morrison failed to get sanction for his schemes.  Was Morrison genuinely and patriotically trying to promote the interests of the Company and the English nation as a whole?  Or was he attempting to play a dangerous political game to further his own ends?  A letter sent from him in February 1792 to Lord Grenville contains a telling remark.  If his plan is not accepted, Morrison threatens, he will lay it before ‘a foreign court, who, I am convinced, will immediately carry it into execution’.

John Hayhurst
Cc-byBL/Qatar Foundation Partnership

Qatar Digital Library


20 May 2014

Engineering a career in India

“Copy despatches to India on the results of the final examinations” - a somewhat dry description of a file from the Public Works Department of the India Office.  It obscures the fact that the contents offer fascinating glimpses into the world of late Victorian technical education and the talents (or lack thereof) of the young men who underwent training in Britain before taking up positions in India. They passed through various courses of instruction at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill in Surrey, which opened in 1872.

Results of first year exams Cooper's Hill 1872
IOR/V/25/700/1 Results of first year exams Cooper's Hill 1872 Noc

Engineering theory had to be allied to practical experience, so the students were seconded to various projects lasting ten months in workshops all over the country. During this time they were encouraged to go on other work-related visits, with some travelling to France, Belgium and Holland. They were not given free rein, however, as these entries dating from 1879  sent to, and recorded by, the College authorities show:

‘F.D. FOWLER. Where employed: under T.J. Nicholls, Esq., on the new line of railway from Manchester to Bury and Bolton … Remarks: Mr. Fowler showed in the first half of his course no disposition to acquire for himself knowledge of practical details, although he had every facility for so doing. His notes, also, were very slovenly and so disconnected as to be of little use hereafter. Since then he has done better … Mr. Nicholls speaks very well of him.’

‘P.L.A. PRICE. Where employed: at the Patent Shaft and Axletree Company’s works at Wednesbury … Leave: Mr. Price has strained the leave rules to the fullest, and on one occasion absented himself from the works, without leave, for four days. Remarks: Mr. Price is evidently not a hard working man. He is a good draughtsman, but he has failed to see the reason of being sent to works for a practical course, and has considered the course as much a task as being tied to hours at school. His special report is good, so far as it goes, but is unfinished.’

‘E.R.S. LLOYD. Where employed: … with Mr. Moorsom at the Manchester Central Station … Remarks: Mr. Lloyd wishes to do well and works, but he is reserved and seems afraid to act for himself. Consequently he is not inquisitive, and so omits making notes of details because he would have to get the information from someone else.’

Fortunately by no means all the students attracted negative comments. K.H. Stephen, who spent six months at Preston and then four at Chatham, never taking any leave, and who “ … has worked very hard and has made good use of his time. He [is] spoken of very highly … “. His Notes “are very good and profusely illustrated … The special report on manufacture of cement is good.”

  Practical experience for third year students Cooper's Hill
IOR/V/25/700/1 Practical experience for third year students Cooper's Hill Noc

The date span of the volume is 1874 through to 1901. It records the provinces and departments to which the successful candidates were assigned, and even the names and dates of the ships which took them eastwards as they began their careers.

Three other volumes in the series include birth certificates, application papers, details of parentage and educational standard, and dates of admission and leaving, a reminder of the amazing wealth of biographical information to be found within the nooks and crannies of the India Office Records. 

Hedley Sutton
Asian and African Studies Reference Team Leader  Cc-by


Frank Dashwood Fowler (1855-1940) worked on the railways in India and was married in Simla in 1896.

Petley Lloyd Augustus Price (1856-1910) played rugby for England before he went to India as an engineer. He later moved to Canada.

Edward Robert Stanford Lloyd (d.1923) retired to Hove in Sussex.  He took out a patent in 1914 on his invention of a treatment to make fabric water resistant.

Kent Hume Stephen (1856-1907) worked on irrigation in Bengal and retired to Sevenoaks in Kent.


Further reading:

IOR/L/PWD/8/10-13 Cooper's Hill students: admissions and final examinations 1871-1903.

IOR/V/25/700/1-25 Calendars for Royal Indian Engineering College Cooper's Hill 1873/4-1902/3.

find my past - use the British India Office collections to trace family histories for the men of Cooper's Hill

15 May 2014

The Talented Mr Fox Talbot Part 3 - Astronomy

Today, we look at William Henry Fox Talbot’s interest in astronomy, highlighting documents now available to researchers through the British Library catalogue.

Astronomy played a fairly minor role in relation to Talbot’s other interests: he published only three papers over a span of 45 years.  Nevertheless he was highly respected by professional astronomers and contributed to ongoing research. It was also an interest that he shared with his whole family, frequently sending letters and notes to them detailing forthcoming astronomical events and phenomena.

  Talbot's listing of information on all the then-known planetsNoc
In this document Talbot has listed information on all the then-known planets. Of particular interest is his listing of the planet ‘Georgium’, short for Georgium Sidus, named by the astronomer Frederick William Herschel (1738-1822) in honour of King George III of England. We now know this planet as Uranus. MS 88942/1/363.

Talbot was fascinated by comets in particular and he devoted much time to describing and studying them, including Halley’s comet when it appeared in 1835. Below are several extracts from notes he made on comets, the first dated 1822 and the last 1858.

   Notes on comets
MS 88942/1/363Noc

  Notes on comets
MS 88942/1/363Noc
   Notes on comets
MS 88942/1/363  Noc

 In 1851 Talbot published a report on the eclipse of the sun for the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Although he had been asked by the then Astronomer Royal Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), he declined to try photographing the event.  He claimed that, even if technical difficulties in achieving this could be overcome, ‘the excitement of the observer as the critical moment approached would be such that I think if he attempted to make many observations of different kinds he would probably fail in all of them' [Fox Talbot to Airy, 2 May 1851, Cambridge University Library RGO 6/119 ff. 500-501].

  Cover of Suggestions to Astronomers for the Total Eclipse of the Sun on July, 28, 1851
Talbot’s copy of Suggestions to Astronomers for the Total Eclipse of the Sun on July, 28, 1851 issued by the Committee of the British Association before the eclipse. It is thought Talbot may have contributed to the comments on photography in this publication. MS 88942/3/2/13. Noc

Talbot had long been interested in spectral analysis, having an article published as early as 1826 entitled, ‘Some experiments on Coloured Flames’. He continued with these experiments publishing another paper ‘Facts relating to optical Science’ in 1834, before moving on to other interests. However, the work he had done established the concept of chemical spectrum analysis which pointed the way towards the work of Gustav Kirchoff (1824-1887) and Robert Bunsen (1811-1899) and the proving of spectrum analysis as a useful tool in chemistry and astronomy in 1859.

  Detail of a draft for ‘Some experiments on coloured flames’
Detail of a draft for ‘Some experiments on coloured flames’. MS 88942/1/365. Noc

  Detail of Talbot’s notes ‘on some anomalous Spectra’
Detail of Talbot’s notes ‘on some anomalous Spectra’ MS 88942/1/365. Noc

In 1871, in a paper entitled ‘On estimating the distances of some of the fixed stars’ delivered to a British Association meeting in Edinburgh, Talbot proposed using spectral analysis to calculate the distance of stars from Earth. This was a relatively new field of study and although Talbot’s idea was ingenious it was not altogether practicable. However within a decade of his death, in 1877, spectral analysis was used in locating some binary star systems.

Jonathan Pledge
Cataloguer, Historical Papers   Cc-by


Further reading:

Search our online catalogue

Previous blog posts - The talented Mr Fox Talbot Part 1 and Part 2

13 May 2014

The Runaway Princess

In a letter of 2 January 1867 William Lockyer Merewether, Political Resident in Aden, recounted to his friend Lewis Pelly, Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, a recent incident involving Sayyida Salme bin Said, sister of Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid, Sultan of Zanzibar.  The Princess had  fled Zanzibar in fear of her life and had obtained passage to Aden on the British vessel HMS Highflyer.

  Sayyida Salme bin Said
Sayyida Salme bin Said, from Memoirs of an Arabian Princess  Noc

Salme was born in Zanzibar in 1844 and had spent her early youth living in her father’s palaces outside Stone Town. Following the death of her father in 1856 and her mother in 1859, she became involved in the struggles between her brothers Majid and Barghash for the Sultanship of Zanzibar. Following her brother Majid’s victory and her brother Barghash’s exile to Bombay she moved to Stone Town in the mid-1860s where she became acquainted with her neighbour, a German merchant named Rudolph Heinrich Ruete. She fell in love with Ruete and became pregnant by him. Shortly after her pregnancy became apparent, her brother Majid proposed she take a trip to Mecca, which Salme believed was an attempt to have her killed and so she fled to Aden with the help of Captain Pasley of HMS Highflyer.

Once in Aden, Salme converted to Christianity and remained there until Rudolph could join her. Just prior to their marriage in May 1867 she took on the name Emily and for the rest of her life was known as Emily Ruete.

The Ruetes moved to Hamburg in Germany. Tragedy struck in 1870 when Rudolph was killed in an accident leaving Emily a widow with three young children. She faced financial difficulites as she had been cut off from her own inheritance by her brother and was not permitted to inherit her husband’s estates. To alleviate these problems she published a book  Memoirs of an Arabian Princess which is believed to be the first known autobiography of an Arab woman and covers her life in Zanzibar from 1850 to 1865.

After the death of her husband, Emily found her herself caught up in the colonial plans of Otto von Bismarck, who wanted to seize Zanzibar for Germany and allegedly intended to place Emily’s son Rudolph in charge there as Sultan. These plans never came to fruition and eventually Emily was reconciled with her family, returning to Zanzibar for visits in 1885 and 1888.

  Portrait of Sayyid Majid, Sultan of Zanzibar
Portrait of Sayyid Majid, Sultan of Zanzibar, by Hurrichund Chintamon, 1860s. From the Archaeological Survey of India Collections. Online Gallery  Noc

In 1922 Emily published a further book entitled A Princess between two worlds in which she published her letters home to Zanzibar and recounted her reactions and thoughts on life in Europe. Emily died in Jena, Germany, in 1924. A permanent exhibition about her life can be seen in the People’s Palace in Stone Town.

Karen Stapley
Archival Specialist, BL/Qatar Foundation Partnership Cc-by

Qatar Digital Library

Further reading:

India Office Private Papers/Mss Eur F126/3, ff. 26-30

Emily Ruete, Memoirs of an Arabian Princess, translated by Lionel Strachey (London, 1907)

09 May 2014

Cesspools, coal chutes and Carisbrooke Castle: The East India Company on the Isle of Wight

At first glance, there seems little to connect the Isle of Wight with the East India Company. And yet a document preserved in the India Office Records shows that, for a brief period, the island was considered as a potential location for an East India Company military training facility.

Carisbrooke CastleCarisbrooke Castle by R B Harraden (1814) Online Gallery  Noc

The report written by Richard Jupp, the Company’s Surveyor, investigated the possibilities offered by Carisbrooke Castle. Located near the centre of the island, the castle already had a long history before Jupp and his contact, Roger Stevenson, arrived in summer 1786 to take a look. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame was the fact that Charles I was imprisoned here prior to his execution in 1649.

By the time Jupp and Stevenson visited, however, the castle had somewhat faded from the limelight. But the possibility of establishing a permanent training base for the Company in Britain held out the prospect of a new lease of life for the building. With that in mind, Jupp was directed to assess the castle. More specifically, he was tasked with ‘forming designs and making estimates of the charge of erecting new barracks’. The plan was to billet ‘near one thousand recruits’ for the Company’s various armies here, as well as the officers necessary to train and discipline them.

But the castle was far from ready to receive its first batch of recruits. Jupp found ‘the inner walls … in a state of great dilapidation’. In places, they were ‘so much undermined as to render them in danger of falling’. Even more worryingly, ‘the buildings which in 1647 were called the Royal Apartments … were in ruins’. Fortunately, the Governor’s House was in better repair: it could accommodate ‘lodging for 120 recruits’.

Carisbrooke Castle gateway Carisbrooke Castle gateway by John Chessell (1884)  Online Gallery Noc

Having assessed the situation, Jupp outlined his ideas for transforming this ancient fortification into a state-of-the-art complex for a modern army. He ‘proposed erecting new barracks on the south and west sides … within the Castle Walls’. These substantial additions – each around 200 feet in length – would house 700 recruits. And Jupp insisted that they should be provided with ‘proper privies, drains, and cesspools’. He also advised the construction of a Guard House, a canteen, a new entrance gate, and ‘a repository for coals’.

Volunteers receiving the island banner at Carisbrooke Castle 24 June 1798 Volunteers receiving the island banner at Carisbrooke Castle 24 June 1798 [Maps.K.Top.15.14.a.2] Images Online Noc

The final page of Jupp’s report contains his calculations for the cost of the building works. The total estimate of £8374 translates to over half a million pounds in today’s prices. Perhaps for this reason, the scheme was shelved for another decade. But we get a sense of what young army recruits might have made of being posted to Carisbrooke by a comment in Jupp’s report. In advising that the holes in the walls needed attention, he added that this was ‘necessary for securing the walls from falling and the soldiers from making escapes’.

Richard Jupp’s report sheds light on the ways in which the East India Company recruited and trained its soldiers. Perhaps more importantly, it shows how the impact of the Company in Britain reverberated far beyond its headquarters in Leadenhall Street.

John McAleer
University of Southampton


Further reading -

British Library, India Office, MSS. Eur. D. 1099, ‘Mr Jupp’s Report of Carisbrook Castle, 1 August 1786’

British Library, India Office, E/1/79, Roger Stevenson to East India Company, 5 July 1786

Bowen, H. V., ‘The East India Company and Military Recruitment in Britain, 1763–71’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 59 (1986), pp. 78–90

McAleer, John, ‘“The Key to India”: Troop Movements, Southern Africa and Britain’s Indian Ocean World, 1795–1820’, International History Review, 35 (2013), pp. 294–316

Thomas, James H., ‘County, Commerce and Contacts: Hampshire and the East India Company in the Eighteenth Century’, Hampshire Studies 68 (2013), pp. 169–77

Thomas, James H., ‘Housing East India Company Troops in the 1790s: A Forgotten Survey’, Archives 26 (2001), pp. 123–33

Thomas, James H., ‘The Isle of Wight and the East India Company, 1700–1840: Some Connections Considered’, Local Historian 30 (2000), pp. 4–22


07 May 2014

The rise and fall of the East India Company

Tonight BBC2 is showing the second and final episode of the series The Birth of Empire: the East India Company.  Dan Snow will discuss the shift from trade to empire, and the increased state control of the Company.  We will see the defeat of Tipu Sultan and the treasures that were looted after his death; the creation of the Indian civil service; the problems caused by religious differences; and how the relationship between the British and Indian peoples changed in the years leading up to the ‘Indian Mutiny’ and the subsequent death of the East India Company.  

Here are more of the interesting stories discovered by Robert Hutchinson, the historical consultant for the series.

Stunning architecture

The British were amazed at what they found in India. One intrepid traveller arrived at the Taj Mahal in 1796 and described his awestruck reaction:

– ‘I was mute with astonishment. We arrived at the tomb and then again I paused, lost in wonder and admiration to see a building as large almost as St Paul’s magnified also with four turrets, nearly the height of The Monument and all of pure white marble was a sight so truly novel, great and magnificent that imagination itself could have painted it…’ [IOPP/ [MSS Eur B284 f.4v]

A distant view of the Taj Mahal, Agra
P395 T. Daniell, A distant view of the Taj Mahal, Agra (London, 1801)  Noc  Images Online

Exotic wildlife

The popular guide to life in India, called the East India Vade Mecum warned in the early 19th century: ‘Snakes have been found in the beds wherein gentlemen were about to repose. A lady was called in by her servant to see a snake that lay contentedly between two of her infants while sleeping in a small cot. This perilous situation produced the utmost anxiety’.

  A Saumpareeah or snake catcher exhibiting snakesA Saumpareeah or snake catcher exhibiting snakes, from The costume and customs of modern India (London, c.1824)  Noc  Images Online


In 1808, Maj. Gen Charles Stuart – ‘Hindoo Stuart’ - published a book, Vindication of the Hindoos, in which he attacked the spread of unauthorised evangelical missionaries in India, claiming that: Hinduism little needs the meliorating hand of Christianity to render its votaries a sufficiently correct and moral people for all the useful purposes of a civilized society.

He wrote of the dangers of these ‘obnoxious’ missionaries whose efforts to convert Indians to Christianity was ‘impolitic, inexpedient, dangerous, unwise and insane’.  If a Hindu’s religion is insulted, he warned, ‘what confidence can we repose in the fidelity of our Hindu soldiers?’

Hindu temple CalcuttaNoc Hindoo temple near the Strand Road, from Views Of Calcutta And Its Environs Images Online

Death of the East India Company

The last Company Governor General seemed to sense impending trouble. The speech made to the farewell banquet given by the EIC Court of Directors by Lord Canning before he sailed out to India, (arriving in Calcutta in February 1856) contained these prophetic words: ‘I wish for a peaceful term of office but… we must not forget that in the story of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise at first no bigger than a man’s hand but which, growing larger and larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us…’

East India Company coat of arms c.1730
East India Company coat of arms c.1730 originally hung above the chairman's seat in the Directors' Court Room at East India House, Leadenhall Street  Images Online  Noc


Read our previous blogs about the programme and its exploration of the East India Company archives:

The Birth of Empire: the East India Company

Dipping into the archives with Dan Snow

See more about Birth of Empire here