Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A photo from Oudh: or, Way Down upon the Sardah Canal.


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).
(3) Captain (later Major, Lt-Colonel) John Greenlaw FORBES (b Calcutta 20 August 1837; d Ben More, Walmer, Kent 26 February 1910) son of Major General William Nairn Forbes, architect and military engineer. Married (1) Mary Eliza Amelia Forrest 31 May 1860 (2) Augusta Nixon Ewing (d 13 August 1933). Sons William Greenlaw Forbes (b India 9 March 1861; murdered Burmah, 21 April 1886), George Forrest Greenlaw Forbes (b Simla 1 June 1962; d Bengal 22 February 1901), 
Executive Engineer, Department of Public Works, Oudh. Royal Engineers. Fellow of Calcutta University. Joint Secretary to the Goverment North-Western Provinces/Public Works Department
(4) Assistant engineer James Campbell LEDGER (b Limerick ?1833; d 23 November 1889) son of Zachariah Minnit Ledger bookseller. Ledger was with the Sardah project throughout ('prepared designs'), and later worked on the Bhopal Railways. A member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1866) he was given a lengthy obituary in their journal. No family is ever mentioned, so one assumes that the other 'Ledger' photos on e-bay are wider family. And it's a family that I've investigated before!
(5) Executive engineer William Frederick Flood HANDCOCK (b Annaduff, Leitrim, 30 May 1831; d Brook House Asylum, Clapton 24 January 1886) son of Rev John Gustavus Handcock of Annaduff and Frances Flood Jessop. Which gets him into Burke's Peerage. Which says he died at the age of ten. An orphan at the age of seventeen. Unmarried. He was in on the Sardah project from it conception along with Forbes and surveyor Colonel John Clibborn. I subsequently see him at Champarun (1874) and being promoted to Executive Engineer 1st class in 1877. Returning to England, he lived at 12 Buckingham St, Strand, until his removal to the lunatic Asylum. The Asylum itself suffered a fire the following year in which a patient was burned to death.
(6) Assistant engineer R H FROUDE  'of the Oudh Irrigation Department'. Published in Professional Papers on Engineering. Seemingly not a relative of engineer William Froude of Dartington.
(8) Executive engineer SCOTT. Alas the are at least four of them, so I can't say which ...
(9) Executive Engineer Thomas Edward HEAFORD (b Odessa 8 January 1836; d Allahabad 8 May 1878). Son of Joseph Heaford 'merchant of Odessa' 'railway shareholder', 'retired corn merchant' from Stoke Lacy in Herefordshire and Sarah Elisabeth née Jackson (d 27 May 1888) of Canada. Brother of civil engineer Albert Samuel Heaford (20 December 1840). 1851 in Scotland. 1865 civil engineer in Cape Town. Unmarried. 
(10) Assistant engineer Edmund Albert PARSICK (b Agra, India 12 October 1840; d India) FGS son of John Parsick. Married Olive Deas Caw 9 March 1888. Daughter Gladys Margaret Parsick.

I'll keep trying for the others, but in the meanwhile let's briefly dip into the other Ledgers. I said I'd encountered Z M Ledger's family before ...
Here it is. I wonder if all the photos are from the same dismembered hoard.

Well, now we have M[ary?], E[lizabeth?] and William photographed in Lisnaskee, Fermanagh.

But when? And is that William the same as this William?

And is this his wife? 'Mrs William Ledger'. Photographed in Dundoran, Enniskillen. When?

In the same bundle is a snap of a baby named Philip. And a picture of 'Robert and Philip Ledger' some years later ..

Well, I see Rev W Ledger of Lisnaskea (sic) mentioned in 1879. But that's the Rev W C Ledger, rector of Lisnaskea, whom we met in the previous blog. His children? James, Mary and Robert. Grrrr.
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

This should have been easy. The connection of Ledger with Lisnaskee/a ... William Ledger of Lisnaskea at Glasgow Veterinary College in 1889? And ... yes! son of the Rev WC and Henrietta born 6 October 1868 at Shinrone ... There he is in the Scots census at 161 Shamrock Street, '21 student of medicine' with, heavens! a wife Martha and a 4-month daughter Mary C. He's a vet in 1894. Now what have we here. William Ledger, surgeon, wife Constance, 9 year-old Constance ('deformity of hip') and 4 year-old Marion, all of Fermanagh, heading for Chicago? 155 Garfield Boulevard .. brother ... 22 June 1899.
Here he is ...

Few fibs in there. But looks like he's joining up and heading for Aldershot. 
But the others aren't clicking into place ...

Have a shot ... I'm going out to water the flowers ... then a bit o' chardonnay ... and a beautiful new book. HANKY-PANKY. A biography of the dreadful 'Ernest C Rolls'.

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