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Paddy field, Madras

Paddy field, Madras

Photographer: Nicholas and Company

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Photo 472/1(17)

Item number: 472117

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a paddy field at Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, taken by Nicholas & Company in ca.1880. Madras lies on a low-lying, level site on the Bay of Bengal and was situated in an area of rice cultivation. Although it grew very quickly into a major city from its foundation by the British East India Company in 1639, with the exception of the very developed urban parts such as George Town (which was formerly known as the Black Town), it was composed of a collection of villages spread out over a wide area. In the 19th century, rice fields were found within its limits, irrigated by reservoirs to the west. They are described in the Imperial Gazetteer of India: ‘the better European residences are built in the midst of compounds which almost attain the dignity of parks; and rice fields frequently wind in and out between these in almost rural fashion.’

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