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Page:The Lucknow album 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli.djvu/23

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was intended for the reception of the indigent sick, but was never used for that purpose. It is said that some of the ladies of the Oudh Court, having conceived a fancy, obtained possession, and made use of it as a place affording retirement, where they could hold occasional merry-makings in secret. The house has been thoroughly renovated, and is now the residence of the Secretary to the Chief Commissioner, and may be considered one of the most enviable residences in Lucknow.

Immediately on the right commences a long range of buildings, the whole together known as the Begum Kothi. In the days of the King, these comprised the palace of the Queen mother of Oudh. After the departure of Her Majesty to Europe, in 1856, the buildings remained occupied, strictly as a zenana enclosure, by members of the Queen's household; but, during the mutiny, the rebels took possession and garrisoned them. On the reoccupation of Lucknow by the British, they each had to be taken by storm. The high wall was levelled, and the several fine buildings, which were hidden from view, have been converted into handsome shops and public offices. The first is, the shop of Messrs. Nowrjee and Company; the next is the extensive printing establishment of Moonshee Newul Kishore; a press that, from the large quantity of work carried on, is, in all probability, the largest in India. Next is the shop of Messrs. Cursetjee's sons, and adjoining is the Government Post Office, formerly an Imam-barra, or mausoleum; it is reported that in this building the late Post Master, Mr. Mackenzie, discovered a quantity of hidden treasure. The next conspicuous object is Mr. Joseph Paton's celebrated clock-tower: it contains no clock, because a portion of the machinery was stolen, and as the building has since passed into other hands, the empty tower remains to mark the memory of the builder.