Before Christ Church, at Simla, India's charming 'Summer Capital' in the Himalayan Mountains
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of Christ Church at Simla in Himachal Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from the The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The hill-station of Simla, now the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, was a popular resort with British residents of India in the 1820s. It also became the Presidency's summer capital when the Governor-General began to take his administration with him to the hills to escape the intense heat of Calcutta 1300 miles away. Simla was known as the 'English Convalescent Station' as its climate was conducive to good health and the Military Sanatoria of Kasauli, Sanawar and Sabathu were nearby. Christ Church was designed by Colonel J.T. Boileau and built between 1844 and 1857. This is a view of the crowds in front of the church at the end of a service, with Europeans conversing or climbing into rickshaws drawn by liveried pullers. One of a series of 100 photographs designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The series was sold together with a book of descriptions and a map with precise locations to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was touring around India. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century and revolutionised photography. They cut down exposure time and thus allowed for some movement in the image without blurring as subjects were not required to sit for long periods to produce sharp results.