Fascinating colourised pics reveal life under British rule in India 125 years ago

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A FASCINATING series of colourised photos has provided a new insight into life under British colonial rule more than 120 years ago.

The images, captured by American photographer William Henry Jackson, show everyday life under the British Raj, which lasted from 1858 to 1947 and covered most of the Indian subcontinent.

Two women ride an ornately decorated elephant
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Workers row a thatch-roofed boat[/caption]

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Buskers sit with stringed instruments[/caption]

They were taken in 1895 on black and white lantern slides as part of the World’s Transportation Commission, an American expedition organised by railroad magnate Joseph Pangborn.

The expedition was launched to gather information about transport systems in countries around the world, but Jackson also took opportunity to document the lives of ordinary people.

The shots show workers rowing a thatch-roofed boat along a wide river, crowds boarding a train while a vendor sells food on the platform, and two European women being taken for a ride on an elephant.

Also depicted is Pangborn being carried on the backs of four Indian porters.

The scenes of everyday life include two huntsmen holding their rifles before a hunt, a group of small children sitting in the midday sun, and buskers holding stringed instruments.

As well as India, the Commission travelled round most the world between 1894 and 1896. It visited more than 40 countries, including Britain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, almost every country in South America, and modern-day Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Jackson returned from the trip in 1896 with over 900 photographs.


He later became a partner in publishing company Detroit Photographic Company, and began to experiment colourising his photographs using techniques only then being developed.

His photos are now part of a collection held by the U.S. Library of Congress.

A fisherman holding his catch
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Jospeh Pangborn is carried around by four Indian porters
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Crowds board a train while a vendor sells food on the platform[/caption]

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A group of small children sit in the midday sun[/caption]

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A young boy carries two heavy trunks in Delhi[/caption]

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An Indian man pets three puppies[/caption]

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Three Hindu men sit in discussion, one having noticed Jackson photographing them[/caption]

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A crowd enjoying a festival[/caption]

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Workmen saw wood on the banks of the Ganges[/caption]

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In a village of thatched houses, a women holds her baby and watches a pony[/caption]

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Fishing boats jostle for prime position on the Ganges[/caption]

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A woman in a train carriage. A sign above reads ‘Native females’ and ‘Third class’.[/caption]

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Two huntsmen hold their rifles[/caption]

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A mother plays in front of the camera with her two children[/caption]

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A woman carries a heavy load of corrugated metal[/caption]

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Four men in colourful robes file into a building[/caption]


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