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No. 102. Rangoon. Signal Pagoda.

No. 102. Rangoon. Signal Pagoda.

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(102)

Item number: 611102

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, showing the Signal Pagoda at Rangoon (Yangon) in Burma (Myanmar). In 1855 a British mission was sent to King Mindon Min of Burma to negotiate a settlement regarding Pegu, annexed by the British following the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. Linnaeus Tripe was the official photographer on this mission, his pioneering architectural and topographical views of the country are an important photographic record. In this view of the pagoda the chinthes or leogryphs (Burmese temple guardian figures) can be glimpsed facing the roadway at the entrance. The circular object hanging from a yard at the top of the pagoda is presumably a time ball. Tripe wrote, 'From this a very extended view of the town and river can be had. It is used as a signal station because of the distance at which a ship coming up the river can be descried. It is also known as Sale's Pagoda'. The Sale referred to is Sir Robert Henry Sale, who was stationed on the site with a picket during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26). Sale (1782-1845) was an army officer who had served in India, and then played an active role in the capture of Rangoon as commander of the 13th. At the time of the mission's visit the administration of the rapidly growing port was not well-developed. The pilot system did not work well, there was no pilot service and pilotage was left to private initiative, there were rival bands of pilots with their own pilot-brigs. They later combined to form the Pilot Club and this club fixed the rate of pilotage by agreement with the owners and captains of the vessels. The signalling station was at the Sale Barracks where the pagoda known as Sale's Pagoda was used for the purpose and thenceforth began to be called the Signal Pagoda of Rangoon.

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