ClockTower in Chincharah, WB - built in honor of King Edward VII - a British legacy

Edwardian clocktower, Chincharah,

Chincharah (Hooghly district), close to Kolkata, West Bengal. was once a village and now a small  town that carries the remnants of past colonial era - both British and Dutch who were primarily engaged in mercantile trading activities, exporting textiles, cotton, indigo, opium, etc.  Strategically located on the banks of Hooghly river with access to the Bay of Bengal, no doubt there was competition among the Portuguese, Dutch and the British to establish a settlement there.  

With Portuguese having been gone and left out of action, here the political scenario was in favor of the Dutch  East India Company, officially the United East India Company or Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) that was founded in the early 17th century.  Between 17th and 19th centuries, Chinsurah was a prosperous trading post of the Dutch East India Company. and the settlement survived  between 1615 – 1825. In the later years,  the Dutch settlement slowly fell on hard time due to competition from  English East India company and through a treaty the British took control of Chinsurah Dutch settlement, destroyed many of their buildings, kept some and made alterations to suit their administrative needs. Apart from  vestiges of the Dutch rule, Chinsurah has some structures that remain today as the legacy of  the British rule in this part of Chinsurah.  Among them, a small free-standing clock tower in a public place is an interesting one. 

Clock tower, Chinchrah,

British clock Tower, Chinsurah, WB

Located in the midst of a prime area consisting of   government offices, shopping markets, college and institutions, cultural centres, bus and ferry ramps, it an important landmark which  no visitor to this town could miss. Called  ‘Ghorir More‘ (Clock tower at the junction of four roads), though not a tall one, it is beautifully designed in vintage style with four dials facing cardinal directions.  This Edwardian Clock tower made of wrought iron with  four lamp  shades at four corners  enhances the beauty of the location when they light up at night. Amazingly, it is said, the British made clock is still functional. The inscription on the clock tower says:

Queen Victoria and Edward

Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales Edward
Above image: King Edward VII: =Previously, he was Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British throne for almost 60  long years years. During the long reign of his mother, he was largely excluded from political power. He ascended the throne after the death of queen Victoria in 1901...............

says '' EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA BRITT OMN REX   in Latin  meaning  Edward the Seventh, by the Grace of God, King of All Britain Defender of the Faith. In his memory, King Edward VII has more equestrian statues outside the UK than within it: two in India and Australia, one in France and one in Canada (donated by the Indian government)in the 1960s?).  All came up after his death in London.    Towards the end of his life he increasingly suffered from bronchitis  and the severity increased due to chain smoking. Upon death he was taken by train to Windsor where he was buried on 20 May 1910 at St George's Chapel. 

 king Edward VII of England
king Edward VII

image of king Edward VII on the Chinsurah Clock Tower

One may be wondering about the origin of this clock tower in a town that has strong Dutch cultural architectural heritage.  The Clock tower was erected in 1914 to commemorate the death anniversary of  the British emperor, Edward VII who died on 6 May 1910.  Albert Edward (9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. His death occurred in the midst of a constitutional crisis that was resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords.