Bhagirathi (Begum Sambru) palace, Old Delhi changed hands before 1857 attack on the building

Bhagirathi palace (Sambru's) Delhi

More often than not it is frequently mentioned that the old SBI building in Chandini Chowk in Old Delhi  called Bhagirathi palace  (also called Begum Samru ki Haveli)   was owned by Begun Sambru, wife of  mercenary army owner during the 1857 Delhi siege.   Walter Reinhardt Sombre. After his death, not only did she inherit  vast wealth, but also his well-trained troupe of soldiers. Heading the  this group of mercenary soldiers she was of great help to the Mogul kings. 

old Begam Sampu's palace (bank of Delhi) in 1857.

The palace  was built in a garden gifted by  Mogul ruler Akbar Shah to the Begum when he ascended the throne after the death of Shah Alam in 1806. It was Begum's intelligent negotiations  that averted an offensive into the capital. The forces of Quadir Khan and others were ready to strike Delhi.  She, at one instance in another battle saved the emperor Shah Alam from imminent death in the battlefield.

Bhagirathi palace (Sambru's)

Above image: This is the picture of  Begum Samru palace or Bhagirathi palace far  before restoration work on the building. Begum Sambru alias Joaana had close friendship with the Europeans, hence the building was built by her in European architecture. After the 1857 rebellion the building was sold to London's Lloyds bank by the owner and  Delhi' wealthy financier. Lala Chunnamal. you can see  Lloyds bank's faded name at top.  the streets around the Bhagirath Palace constitute the largest wholesale markets for electrical and electronics in the country.......... 

Begum Sambru or Joanna, Ruler of Sardhana,

Political scenarios kept changing with the passage of time.  The northern states were engulfed by the first war of independence in 1857 against the oppressive English rule.  The destruction of Bhagirath palace that housed Bank of Delhi  during the 1857 uprating was imminent as it was  subject to bombardment by the English company's  powerful army.  The Indian rebellion was in full force and there was nothing to stop it. The British company's atrocities, racial disparity and unjust rule  drove the Indians to the edge of the cliff.  

It is said not linking with  Begum Sambru,  this palace building in Chandini Chowk   was a silent spectator +to the vicious event that is part of Indian freedom struggle.   If you take the history a few decades back to 1847 David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, great-grandson of Walter Reinhardt Sombre, the mercenary army owner  sold this Delhi palace to a well-known money lender of  Delhi, Lala Chunnamal he was the  wealthiest man of Shahjahanabad in those days.  So neither Sambru (as he was called) nor his wife begum Sambru was the owner of the building when the raid took place on the building.  

George Beresford, a British banker and financier founded a bank called Bank of Delhi  and he began the banking operations  on the premises of  Lala Chunnamal, who was also a big investor. In a chaotic political situation and uncertainty that sprang up due to Delhi siege by the revolting Indian soldiers, etc., the place was unsafe for the Europeans.   On May 11, 1857, when the mutiny broke out in Delhi, bank manager Mr. Beresford and his family along with few clerks were at the bank. with the beginning of a fierce gun and mortar attack on the bank and Mr. Beresford with his wife and 5 daughters moved up to the terrace of the structure to put up a fight.

Though they fought with valor  as a last attempt to save their lives, they were no match for marauding  armed Indian soldiers. The rebels over powered them and killed them on the roof.  George Beresford, his family  were caught unawares and slain mercilessly

 They were buried in the  graveyard  of  St. James', one of the oldest churches in India. When the British  overcame the siege, their revenge against the natives was several times more vicious, bordering on savage killing. Subsequently  Lloyd's bank  became the owner of the building. Over a period of time the old banking legacy continues and presently SBI is functioning  in the same building which was repaired and renovated in the recent past