The Flagstaff Tower, Delhi, that saved many British families in 1858

Flagstaff Tower, Old Delhi,
The Flagstaff Tower, Delhi, in 1858
Among the many monuments  of Delhi, the ones associated with the Sepoy mutiny of 1857 against  the malicious and tyrannical East India Company's rule are very few. The Flagstaff Tower in old Delhi may be a small monument, but, considering the  emerging dangerous situation then, it played a big role by giving  asylum to the Europeans when they escaped from the outrageous and murderous  rebels. Many of the Europeans and their families would have experienced terrible mental agony and pain as escape from Delhi  was impossible. If this tower were not there, it is likely, many would have become victims to the fury of the lynching mob.
Flagstaff Tower, Old Delhi, dating  back around 1828, is a one-room tower in the style of battlement and castle.  Constructed by the British India Army at the highest point of North (or Kamla Nehru) Ridge, about a mile and a half north of the city gates (near North campus of Delhi university), this signal look-out  tower made of  red sandstone is one of the earliest buildings  erected  in this part of the city. In 1910, the area where the tower stands now  was the highest point on the ridge and was mostly barren, covered with low-lying shrub. It is  now a memorial and "protected monument" under Archaeological Survey of India.

During the Sepoy mutiny/freedom struggle of 1857, the  castellated tower, with its canopied look-out rising above castellated parapets, played a crucial role and was used as a refuge and "the general rendezvous point for the non-combatants, and for those of the sick and wounded.  Here, without fear or risk of attack they could  move about, assemble there and hear the news from the front where the British forces were tackling the Indian rebels.  

On the morning of 11 May 1857, when the sepoys started hunting for European personnel of the East India company and their families in the Cantonment, Civil Lines and the walled city of Delhi, the survivors started fleeing towards the Tower.  During the siege of Delhi,  the watch/signal tower sheltered  many Europeans and their families who were waiting for help to arrive from nearby Meerut.

However, after long confinement they found the interior  of the tower suffocating.  In the first week of June, 1857, there was a pitched battle between company forces and the rebels near the tower, later the British forces recaptured the ridge. Lots of soldiers lost their lives. Finally, it was in the autumn of that year, the city was finally brought under control again.