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Title: Building Calcutta : construction trends in the making of the capital of British India, 1880-1911
Author: Deb Lal, Nilina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 5346
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Calcutta of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century enjoyed global stature and connections as a consequence of its position within the British Empire as the capital of India. This study of Calcutta’s buildings aims to comprehend the architectural legacy of the period in terms of its construction history. The proposed thesis underlying the research is that Calcutta’s built environment bore witness to the intense traffic of ideas, people and goods characteristic of the era. The significance of the research is two-fold. It enjoys the distinction of being the first attempt to undertake a wide-ranging investigation into the construction history of a city in the Indian subcontinent, and indeed possibly anywhere in the world. Concurrently, the study endeavours to suggest a methodological approach for similar forthcoming studies in India and elsewhere, especially considering that the discipline of construction history is as yet at a nascent stage and such studies are only expected to multiply in number and scope in the coming years. The research effort trains its attention on two key aspects of construction history – human resource and material resource. The former is manifested in investigations into the training and work contexts of the professionals engaged in construction activity, i.e. the engineers and the architects. The latter takes the form of research into source and application of the commonly used construction materials. The methodology employed in the study encompasses a range of disciplines and related sources, especially drawing on architectural, urban, social and economic histories. Addressing the proposed thesis has necessitated directing research efforts towards situating developments in Calcutta in the context of and with reference to the metropolitan milieu. The analysis of the research findings and the conclusions thus drawn have served to corroborate the proposed thesis highlighting the incessant flux distinctive of the construction environment in Calcutta in the period of this study. The dissertation is expected to facilitate an enhanced understanding of Calcutta’s built environment for those entrusted with its care, especially those in the heritage and conservation sector, as well as contribute to the available pool of free knowledge furthering our understanding of human civilization.
Supervisor: Bremner, Alex ; Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: colonial architecture ; construction history ; Calcutta ; India