A French Crematorium for the Christians and Brahmos of Calcutta


Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 17

Christians bury their dead usually but some do cremate also, this is becoming a very common occurrence in the west where the Christian population is high and the burial grounds are limited. The bodies are cremated in a crematorium and the ashes are collected in an urn which is in turn buried in a small plot. Some also keep the ashes in a decorated urn in their house.

In Kolkata the British had arranged for a construction of a crematorium just beside Lower Circular Road Cemetery so that in the event some wanted a cremation it can be arranged. This was also done in the event a British family wanted their loved ones last resting place to be back in Britain rather than being buried in India.

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Map of the Location

This was also done so that the recent native converts who had accepted Christianity but wanted a cremation, in this case they did not have to go to the open wood fired cremation grounds next to the Hoogly River but could do in a more convenient environment next to a Christian cemetery.

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The Crematorium during Its Construction circa 1905
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 3 a
The Crematorium in Its Present State
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 3 b
The Crematorium in Its Present State
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 3 c
The Crematorium in Its Present State
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 4
The Crematorium in Its Present State
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 5
The Crematorium in Its Present State – Entrance

This crematorium was built in the year 1906 and was built by a French company named Toisoul Fradet & Co. based in Paris. This company specialised in crematoriums and have had installed several across the world Paris, Marseille, Bradford & Dessau. In Paris they had installed the Type 1 Crematorium and in the rest including the one built in Calcutta was the Type 2 model.

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Toisoul Fradet & Co. The Maker of the Crematorium
The Engineering Diagram of the Type 2 Furnace
The Engineering Diagram of the Type 2 Furnace
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The Original Furnace (Reference)
The Furnace in Its Present State – Side View
The Furnace in Its Present State – Side View
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The Furnace in Its Present State – Front View
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The Furnace in Its Present State – Inside View
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The Furnace in Its Present State – Back View
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Peep Hole of the Furnace
Letter of Appreciation Sent By Federick Pearse to Toisoul Fradet & Co.
Letter of Appreciation Sent By Federick Pearse to Toisoul Fradet & Co.
Christian Crematoriam in Kolkata 15
Other Installations of Toisoul Fradet & Co.

This crematorium was gas powered and functioned till the 1980’s but due to erratic gas supply the service was stopped. This crematorium was also used by the Brahmo Samaj community and notable personalise like Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose was cremated here.

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Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (Courtesy Agence Meurisse)

All information’s about Toisoul Fradet & Co. courtesy internet.org

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21 thoughts on “A French Crematorium for the Christians and Brahmos of Calcutta

  1. Fascinating, with most helpful information, Subhadip! Found your blog via Rangan Datta’s similar posting. I myself have passed by the crematorium, which I found by chance. Gate was locked, but was able to peer inside. Truly, a historical Calcutta heritage site. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Brian, have been doing some research lately on cemeteries in and around Kolkata and found quite a few interesting facts. One such revelation was that of French Cemetery (dosent exist anymore) in Park Street. surprisingly during my research came across the name of Casanova and how indirectly he is connected with it. I have written a blog called “Christian Cemeteries of Kolkata” in which its mentioned in details under French Cemetery, do give a quick read I am sure you will love it. I plan to take that piece from that big blog and a create a separate small blog for a quick read.

      Like

  2. The forgotten history of kolkata is also a fantasy to me. My recent field of study (tourism geog.) Is very much related to all these. I read another article and got the reference of your blog. I liked both of it very much. Thank you for providing such thrilling information to our mundane life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ekhane dhokar jonno ki kono permission lage???jodi lage tale sei permission ta kotha theke pabo??r kono sadharon manus ki sohojei ei permission ta pete pare??

    Liked by 1 person

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