1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lucknow

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LUCKNOW, a city, district and division of British India. The city was the capital of Oudh from 1775 until it was merged in the United Provinces in 1901. Pop. (1901) 264,049. It lies mainly on the right bank of the winding river Gumti, which is crossed by two railway and three road bridges. It contains the Canning college (1864), with an Oriental department, and La Martinière college, where about 100 boys are educated, the institution being in part supported by an endowment left by General Claude Martin in 1800. There are native manufactures of gold and silver brocade, muslins, embroidery, brass and copper wares, pottery and moulding in clay. There are also important European industrial establishments, such as iron-works and paper-mills. Lucknow is the centre of the Oudh and Rohilkhand railway system, with large workshops. Lines radiate to Cawnpore, Bareilly, Gonda, Fyzabad and Rae Bareli. Lucknow is the headquarters of the 8th division of the northern army. The cantonments are situated 3 m. E. of the city.

Lucknow is chiefly notable in the history of British India as the capital of the nawabs who had dealings with Warren Hastings, and their successors the kings of Oudh, whose deposition by Lord Dalhousie was one of the chief causes of the Mutiny. Amongst the events of the Mutiny the defence of the residency of Lucknow comes only second in historic interest to the massacre at Cawnpore itself. For the two sieges, see Indian Mutiny. The name of the residency is now applied not only to the residency itself, but to the whole of the outbuildings and entrenchments in which Sir Henry Lawrence concentrated his small force. These entrenchments covered almost 60 acres of ground, and consisted of a number of detached houses, public edifices, outhouses and casual buildings, netted together, and welded by ditches, parapets, stockades and batteries into one connected whole. On the summit of the plateau stands the residency proper, the official residence of the chief commissioner, a lofty building three storeys high, with a fine portico. Near the residency comes the banqueting hall, and beyond the Baillie Guardgate lie the ruins of the surgeon’s house, where Sir Henry Lawrence died of a shell-wound, and where the ladies of the garrison were sheltered in underground rooms. Round the line of the entrenchments are pillars marked with the name of the various “posts” into which the garrison was distributed. The most dangerous of these was the Cawnpore battery post, where the stockade was directly exposed to the enemy’s fire. The mutineers had rifles fixed in rests in the house opposite, and swept the road that led through the residency enclosure at this point. Close to the residency is the Lawrence Memorial, an artificial mound 30 ft. high crowned by a marble cross.

Among the other buildings of interest in Lucknow is the Imambara, which is one of the largest rooms in the world (162 ft. by 54), having an arched roof without supports. This room was built by the Nawab Asaf-ud-dowlah in 1784, to afford relief to the famine-stricken people. The many monuments of his reign include his country palace of Bibiapur, outside the city. Among later bulldings are the two palaces of Chhattar Manzil, erected for the wives of Ghazi-ud-din Haidar (1814), the remains of the Farhat Baksh, dating from the previous reign, and adjoining the greater Chhattar Manzil, the observatory (now a bank) of Nasir-ud-din Haidar (1827), the imambara or mausoleum and the unfinished great mosque (Jama Masjid) of Mahommed Ali Shah (1837), and the huge debased Kaisar Bagh, the palace of Wajid Ali Shah (1847–1856).

The District of Lucknow lies on both sides of the river Gumti, and has an area of 967 sq. m. Its general aspect is that of an open champaign, well studded with villages, finely wooded and in parts most fertile and highly cultivated. In the vicinity of rivers, however, stretch extensive barren sandy tracts (bhúr), and there are many wastes of saline efflorescence (usár). The country is an almost dead level, the average slope, which is from N.W. to S.E., being less than a foot per mile. The principal rivers are the Gumti and the Sai with their tributaries. The population in 1901 was 793,241, showing an increase of 2.5% in the preceding decade.

The Division of Lucknow contains the western half of the old province of Oudh. It comprises the six districts of Lucknow, Unao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Kheri. Its area is 12,051 sq. m. and its population in 1901 was 5,977,086, showing an increase of 2.06% in the decade.

See Lucknow District Gazetteer (Allahabad, 1904). For a fuller description of the city see G. W. Forrest, Cities of India (1903).