In transcribing the following paragraphs from the Internet Archive online version of The Imperial Gazetteer’s entry on Cawnpoor, I have expanded the abbreviations for easier reading and added paragraphing and links. The title-page bears the date 1856, but internal evidence in various entrees makes clear that the text dates from 1851. This discussion of this city in British India has particular importance because it immediately precedes the events there during the 1857 Mutiny.— George P. Landow]

LUCKNOW, a city in Hindoostan, cap. Oude, 580 miles westnorthwest of Calcutta at lattitude 26˚ 53 North and longitude 80˚ 58 East on the right bank of the Goomty, here crossed by a stone bridge of 10 irregular, pointed arches, and by a bridge of boats. The river, opposite the city, is about 100 yards wide; and is navigable, for large boats, from its junction with the Ganges, between Ghazipoor and Benares, to a considerable distance up the country. Lucknow, like nearly all Eastern cities, has an imposing and picturesque appearance from a distance, with its innumerable minarets, gilded cupolas, and brilliantly-coloured sepulchres and mosques; but, like them also, fails to realize, on near inspection, the promises of the remoter view.

Lucknow. From Salt’s Views in India, St. Helena, &c.. Click on image to enlarge it.

It may be said to bo divided into two portions the court end, and the bazaar or mercantile, which is 3 or 4 miles in length, and, in some places, nearly as much in breadth; but the streets are narrow and dirty, and the houses generally mean. In the better quarter it is other wise. Here the buildings are handsome, and the streets broad and clean; one of the finest of these, called Husan Abad, runs parallel with the river towards the bridge, and traverses a considerable portion of the northern quarter. In the centre of this street is a lofty portal, ornamented with many small towers; and, at the further extremity, is the Imaum Barree (holy palace), where the Vizir Asoph ud Dowlah is buried. There are, besides, many stately khans, and some handsome mosques and pagodas, in various parts of the city, and not a few of them in the meanest and most wretched quarters. With exception, however, of the royal tombs, and the inaumbarah, or cathedral, a beautiful structure, the principal edifices of the city are all of modern construction. The bazaars are kept on the ground-floors of the houses, which are three stories high; the two upper stories are furnished with neatly-carved verandahs, which run like balconies in front of the sitting- rooms.

The scenery around the city is very pleasing, especially along the banks of the Goomty. The river here exhibits a scene of great activity traffic-boats, small barks, and fishing-boats, rowing to and fro in ceaseless succession. Lucknow is at present (1853), and has been the seat of Government since 1774, when it was removed thither from Fyzabad. Pop. estimated at 200,000; but Von Orlich (1843), says 300,000. [II, 316]

Related material — Victorian and later material on this site


Blackie, Walker Graham. The Imperial Gazetteer: A General Dictionary of Geography, Physical, Political, Statistical and Descriptive. 4 vols. London: Blackie & Son, 1856. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 7 November 2018.

Last modified 26 November 2018