Scottish Cemetery Kolkata

Friday 14 November

with one comment

Last day of site work.

Today was not only notable for the end of our work in Calcutta but also for the lamentable defeat of England in the second one day international in Mumbai by 158 runs (the defeat earlier in the week was little better) – India on a high after brutalising Australia in the test series – so not all bad news then … just as well we are a Scottish exprdition. Friday was also auspicious for India’s successful ‘suicide mission’ to the moon (???).

The usual car race to work … the traffic lights here include a digital countdown to change to go … the signal for divinely coordinated mayhem …









All working industrially to a common goal today … (?!) … Early in the morning was told by an itinerant Irish graveyard researcher that many locals don’t visit the site because it gives ‘crazy dreams’ … this has certainly been the case for the the author the last two nights … strange visions of recording sheets and crumbling stone ….

Generally a peaceful day. Undertook targeted recording of parts of the site out-with our original quadrant – the evolution of monument type is very notable – brick and plaster with limestone insets, giving way to a sandstone rather like York stone, to an increasing use of marble headstones and occasional granits and a solitary flamboyant monyument in terracotta, then low chest tombs of marble and sandstone by the early and mid 20th century …

Traced many of the missing inscription tablets to South Park Street Cemetery nearby … this a Piranasian wonderland under a shady tropical canopy – (try googling it). Many Scots were buried there before the Scottish Cemetery was established in the c1820s. The contrast is extraordinary …. the comparative simplicity of the Scottish Cemetery is very marked.










One case of burning itches today – the culprit a hairy orange seed pod named snow poker … not quite sure why …..










The usual pre-lunch ratty phase – just as the heat exhaustion begins to take hold – recommendations for local eating houses invariably led to long walks in the sun or standstill in traffic until utter desperation sets in …. However it is worth mentioning lunch at Kewpies, purveyors of traditional Bengali cuisine, recommended to us and perhaps the best meal of the week. We required considerable nannying by the long-suffering waiters to ensure banana leaves wern’t consumed and ‘no, that’s not a cricket it’s a vegetable…’ – general despair on their part. Tom was served cumin-flavoured mango juice in goblets of eastern Mediterranian Roman slipware … in consequence the establishment was liberated of its crockery and any other momentoes that weren’t nailed down …. shameful to say.

Further compared notes on the delights of site-work … attack by giant black ants, bad mozzie bites, well aimed brid droppings and other unmentionables.











Loretta very pleased with a large bunch of gladioli as vote of thanks (but even more gratified to finally have her kitchen table and chairs returned). Exhausted team paraded for group photo – grins either of relief or nailed on .. but final cup of sweet tea to finish off.


More to add in due course, and pictures too, but must leave for imminent end of project dinner – invited guests local friends including Bishop Biswas of Kolkata. Team on best behaviour….


Written by scottishcemeterykolkata

November 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm

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  1. I have a 3rd great grand mother buried in a Scottish Cemetery in Calcutta. The monument was marble with gold letters on the engraving and was surrounded by an iron railing. The engraving reads:Farewell but not forever!!!
    To the Memory of
    The beloved wife of
    Andrew Smith
    Commander of the ship Parland
    Who died at sea five days after giving birth to a male
    Child on the 25th of October 1850
    Aged 28 years
    Her remains were brought and interned here on
    the 14 December 1850
    Also her infant babe who expired shortly
    After his birth on the 20 Oct 1850 and was
    Buried at sea.
    Why (unconsolate) as those
    To whom no ( ) is given?
    Death is the messenger of peace
    And calls the soul to Heaven
    A few short years of (ever) past
    We reach the happy shore
    When death awards friends at last
    Shall meet to part no more

    The monument cost 40 pounds. I have the letter her husband, Capt. Andrew Smith, wrote to her mother.

    Is there any information available about the Scottish burial site? Or is there an agency i could contact to have pictures taken of the monument if it still exists?

    Thank you,

    Murray Walker

    Murray Walker

    March 11, 2009 at 2:40 am

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