Fort Gustavus built by the Dutch at Chinsurah, West Bengal. later EIC rebuilt barracks -colonial vestiges

Chinsurah Gustavuvus fort WB

Chinsurah town,35 km from north Kolkata,  on the banks of the Hooghly river is an ideal place for dong business and once had a strong Portuguese, Dutch and English influences and the town  used to be a multicultural town. 

Bengal was, in the 17th century CE, a big center for trade in  sugar, indigo and European traders from  Portugal, France and Holland made a beeline to this fertile place to start business. The Dutch East India company  started a factory in the Dutch settlement and later fortified it for security reasons 

After 1740, the VOC's director of Bengal, Jan Albert Sichterman, commissioned a fort in Chinsurah to strengthen their presence and to protect their interests here.. The fort, with four corner bastions, was named Gustavus after the governor-general, Gustaaf Willem van Imhoff. Fort Gustavas, included Dutch factories, offices, etc. Dutch expanded their business into silk clothes, etc. They opened a silk factory in  Kasim Bazar and a garden south of Chandannagar. Now, they are gone.

Former British barracks

The huge house with large frontage and many windows built by the  Dutch served as the residence of the Dutch Governor of Chinsurah. The original building came up in  1744 and was named  Welgeleegen. The new building contains a plaque with the inscription VOC (Vereenigde Ostindische Companie, meaning Dutch East India Company) 1687.

Chinsurah garrison

Above image: Two VOC (Dutch East-Indian Company) canons are kept at the steps of the madrassa school in Chinsurah. The VOC code of arms in the canons is fading away due to aging and exposure to weather for centuries. The compound of the commissioner House still houses two VOC canons. The canons pointing out toward the Hooghly River, toretard attack from the ships on the river..........

Chinsurah garrison

The artillery wall of Fort Gustavus  and the four Dutch cannons scattered on the site  are the  only surviving features and  are vestiges of the Dutch presence here. They bear testimony  to the glory of the Dutch in this part of Bengal  centuries ago and  their trading activities, The fortification with cannons suggest they were meant to protect the Dutch settlement, their godowns and trading activities

British barracks, stairway, chinsurah.

British barracks, chinsurah, WB

Above image: British barracks, Chinsurah, WB- look at the louvre doors ..........................

When ceded to the English in the 19th-century, the EIC in   in 1827 pulled down the  building and rebuilt a new building  to serve as the residence of divisional commissioner of Burdwan  Later it  was converted into a big barrack to station British troops to protect the British interest  and also to accommodate newly arriving troops from England. 

The British Barracks, is a good example of military engineering. Begun in 1827 by Lt, J.A.C. Crommel, executive engineer, the work was over by 1829 by Cap. William Campbell, artillery executive officer.  The 266 meter long symmetrical  masonry building with smi arched opening on the ground floor and deep verandah facing the Maidan was built with proper planning. The barracks has a wooden stairway with railing  made of teak wood and large louver window  doors for better ventilation.

The barrack  in the Fort Gustavus  was later expanded  to meet additional needs. The 200 year old building later formed the Hooghly Madrassa  which was financed by Sir Syed, a charitable man 

Fort Gustavus part of it is a court,Chinsurah

Hooghly Madrasha, formally the Dutch Barrack

Today it is part of the buildings of the Hooghly Madrasah, a 19th century construction raised on the remains of the fortification.Four old Dutch cannons can still be found on the properties  of the College. Now it is only fully Govt. sponsored Madrasa and administered directly by the education department of West Bengal- Department of School Education.