Wednesday, December 2, 2009

calcutta port trust

This clock was purchased for R/- 1,998 & 8 annas in 1897 by the Calcutta Port Trust.

I spent several hours there yesterday searching the archives register for any trace of my great-great grandfather, Edward Alkin and also great grandfather, Charles Macdonald Shield.

At 1.50 pm, I stopped for a cup of tea.

I compiled several pages of notes and references for another visit, and did find a report 'List of River Surveyors and Assistant Surveyors since 1878' in which Charles Macdonald Shield's name appears. He joined in 1900 and resigned in 1911.

In 1899, three River Surveyors drowned.

The file for 1895, the year that Edward Alkin died, was not available. I don't know if it might have contained anything relevant. Edward was in the Sunderbans and the Port Trust documents mostly relate to the Hugli and Calcutta, though I did find a later reference to the Matla river.

Other reports included:

'Arrival of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales', 1905;
a 'Summary of accidents etc of light vessels', 1881;
'A dying River Irrigation vs Navigation', 1902;
'Acquistion by European and Anglo-Indian staff on the knowledge of the vernacular', 1925;
a 'Petition from the widow of Mr G. Thurlow, second mate light ship, Canopus, for a gratuity', 1904.

I'm curious if Kate Alkin received any compensation after Edward died. I now want to find out what he was doing out there in Madaripore, who he was working for and what the conditions were like. It is possible that the India Office at the British Museum may hold documents that could shed some light on the Sunderbans in the late 1800's.

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