Who are these men? I spotted this photo on e-bay, being sold by one of Britain's most impenitent breakers-up of family collections and albums.
It seems easy enough to see its provenance. A handful of other photos labelled with the same surname appeared further down the page. And the back of the photo is inscribed with the surnames of the sitters ... and the occasion of their team photo ...
Late Engineering Staff Sardah Canals, Oude. Oh, dear: the Sardah ... well, it doesn't seem to have been regarded as a fiasco, but it certainly gobbled up a huge amount of money between 1869 when the surveys took place, and 1872 when the whole project was abandoned as a bad idea. Much has been written about the details of the proposed construction, and in spite of the actual plans being destroyed in a fire at the storage place in Allahabad, survives to this day, contained in various writings, most notably Report on the Sardah Canal Project by the supervising engineer, John Greenlaw Forbes. This book was written in 1870-1, published by the Oude Goverment Press, as such reports were, and was like most such reports destined to sombre dustily in goverment files. But, for some reason, in 2012, someone scanned its pages, and put up for sale as a hardback on amazon! I've plodded through it, and can recommend it only to students of civil engineering and disastrous waste.
However, the blame for the fiasco certainly did not rest with these ten men. They were the men who did the actual work. Although I feel Captain Forbes's hands-on contrbution must have been limited by his vast amount of minutely detailed writing on the project.
I've tried to put full names to the ten faces. I'm afraid I've only scored a six, but here's what I have ...
(2) Assistant engineer Francis Boyle HENSLOWE (b Budleigh Salterton 1837; d Argyle Lodge, Surrey Rd, Bournemouth 17 1910) son of Francis Hartwell Henslowe; married Martha Dorothea Millward 22 December 1864. Sons Francis John deloraine Henslowe (b India 29 November 1868; d 7 October 1937), Ernest Henslowe (b Bengal 16 March 1872-1942), Frederick John Francis Henslowe (b Bengal 2 December 1874; d ?1910). Daughters Florence Mary Allwood Henslowe (b India 22 January 1866), Cecilia Annette (b Bengal 16 January 1867), Edith Annie Henslowe (b India 11 December 1869; d Carisbrooke 14 July 1962).
LEDGER James Philip 20/6/1873 12/11/1873 William Cripps Henrietta Grace not listed Attybaron, Parsonage of Lisnaskea Clergyman William Cripps Ledger LEDGER Mary Gertrude 18/5/1877 10/6/1877 William Cripps Henrietta Grace not listed Attybaron Rectory Clergyman William Cripps Ledger LEDGER Robert Ellis 27/11/1871 3/3/1872 William Cripps Henrietta Grace not listed Attybaron, Glebe House Clergyman William Cripps Ledger