1860 - 1865 THREE [3] ORIGINAL LETTERS HANDWRITTEN BY NOTED ENGLISH ENGINEER, SCIENTIST, AND PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER AS HE TRAVELS AROUND INDIA WORKING FOR THE MONUMENTAL PROJECT CONNECTING BOMBAY TO OTHER EAST INDIAN CITIES

By: WASHINGTON TEASDALE

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On offer are three [3] letters from a noted but oft forgotten astronomer, engineer, photographic pioneer and scientist from Leeds, England, Washington Teasdale. The letters are from the years 1860, 1864, and 1865 and cover a time in which Teasdale had taken up a post in India working on the development of the first railways linking Bombay with other cities, a major engineering project initiated by Sir Rowland Macdonald Stephenson of the East India Railway in British India. The first letter, written in March of 1860 is addressed to “My dear Sister.” After apologizing for not writing the last week (“you cannot possibly imagine how difficult it is to write sometimes in this country and my omissions are always quite a distressing time”) he goes into a terrifying incident that happened recently “...how my Gents escaped total destruction is quite a miracle for the flames appeared to have been 50 to 60 feet high and have burnt away half the larger Banyan tree under which I am pitched had the tent caught fire...my drawers and boxes would have been blown to pieces by ___ and canisters of gunpowder all nearly filled up and put in different places.” The letter continues and discusses a little news of his life, but mostly concerns itself with responding to the previous letter received from his sister and the people they know in common. The letter ends with “the latest news of Baby...” Teasdale had a 1 year old child at that point, the daughter of his late wife, who had died giving birth to her. “She is quite well as we had thought...She seems passing from Babyhood into little girlhood, she sits up and plays with sticks and bits of wood...no attempt at walking or even creeping about yet. She seems particularly sharp intelligently tunes quickly round when spoken to and looks inquiringly about with her large expressive blue eyes. I fancy she begins to know me at any rate. The next letter is dated November 10th, 1864 and is addressed to “My dear James George.” He is James George Chadwick, Esq of Leeds, England. The letter begins, “I am presently travelling about the Country and cannot for some time return to my Head Quarters at Bombay to consult and arrange matters with my Brother and consequently find some difficulty in directing my affairs to the best advantage. Money...has ever since I came out again commanded a high rate of Interest to say nothing of its greater value in the vast field for speculation which Bombay affords.” The letter continues for a short while discussing Teasdale’s finances and the power of attorney his brother has over many of his accounts back in Leeds. He then goes on to discuss the difficulty in receiving letters in Bombay. “The Telegraph (Electric!) is absolutely worse...it is slower than the Past. John tried it once when I was at ____ I got his message in a fortnight...John’s letter and telegram started together. The former around at 4 p.m. the latter at 1 p.m. the day following!” He continues discussing news of back of home in Leeds, particularly the news that the Leeds Bank has failed and what that might mean for his shares in the bank. He finishes the letter with “the particulars of the money my Mother owes me” and lists a number of items owed to him, coming out to a total of over 1000 pounds. The final letter is dated April 13, 1865. It is again addressed to James George Chadwick and details a journey recently taken from Jodhpur to Mumbai, a distance of nearly 300 miles without stopping. “I quite enjoyed the journey from Pandua...the country was all burnt up, a now dreary wilderness than any one in Europe could possibly conceive. For the first time I travelled down the ____ incline in a Railway Carriage as the line has been open for traffic since I ascended the ____ fifteen months ago.” It was a pleasant journey he explains and he writes of it in fantastic detail. He then backtracks and discusses a recent trek he took that he enjoyed very much “in spite of the heat”. He discusses a recent funeral for a noted member of the Brahmin caste that he recently witnessed and describes the ceremony and the way in which Teasdale himself took part in it. He finishes the letter by writing that he has arrived back at his headquarters in Bombay. “I take everything cooly and cheerfully and don’t get nervous or excited about anything” he writes. Finally, he gives his pleasantries to his friend and family, asking James George that he write more about his new Baby. He signs the letter, “Your Affectionate Brother, Washington Teasdale.” The three letters are in good shape. They all display a good bit of discoloration from age, but nothing that affects the legibility of the content. The handwriting is dense, but can be easily read, especially under magnification. The blank ink has not faded significantly. Overall G+. Background: (In the great Victorian age of scientific discovery, innovation and exploration, Leeds did not lag behind. New societies were formed to bring local people together to discuss, research and experiment with the new ideas and technologies of the time. Prominent in this bubbling cauldron of ideas and activities was an engineer and amateur scientist, Washington Teasdale. After years working far away in India he returned to his hometown of Leeds in the 1870s and threw himself enthusiastically into the rich life of the town, joining all the forward-thinking groups and playing his part in local initiatives and research, particularly in photography, microscopy, and astronomy. He was born in Brunswick Place, Leeds, in 1830, in the house of his maternal grandfather, Christopher Heaps. His own father, John Teasdale, was a London commercial agent, who died when he was only eight, so he and his two younger siblings were brought up by their mother Mary in their grandfather’s comfortable home. Christopher Heaps, a Leeds Councillor, ran a prosperous plumbing and glazing business, and had shares in the major project to provide Leeds with fresh water. By the 1840s he could afford to move his family away from the smoke and grime of town to a fine new mansion in beautiful grounds on Headingley Hill – ‘Rosehurst’ in Grosvenor Road. This became Washington Teasdale’s home (and early in the next century was briefly the home of the Nobel Prize-winning physicists William Henry and Lawrence Bragg). From boyhood Washington was fascinated by science and technology and in this age of great public works he decided to train as a civil engineer, though he still found time for his scientific hobbies. One of his early passions was photography. When he was only 22, he presented a carefully tabulated paper to the Philosophical Society on one of the new experimental photographic processes. He joined the fledgling Photographic Society and was briefly active in photographic publishing. But as a civil engineer he looked for other challenges. Around 1855 he took up a post in India working on the development of the first railways linking Bombay with other cities, a major engineering project initiated by the Stephensons. He immersed himself in the culture and language – it was said that he went on thinking in Hindustani for the rest of his life! But his years in India were marked by personal tragedy. In 1857 his fiancée from Leeds, Elizabeth Fretwell, the daughter of a Leeds grocer, embarked on the long voyage to India to join him, and they married in Bombay Cathedral. A year later she died in childbirth, and his little daughter, brought back to Leeds by his brother, died here aged two. He never remarried. Around 1870 he retired and returned to Leeds, to Rosehurst. Now he had wealth and leisure to pursue his personal passions across the sciences – microscopy, meteorology, geology, geometry, mechanics, and especially photography and astronomy. All were explored with enthusiasm and delight. He belonged to all the learned societies in Leeds and travelled often to London, where he was a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society. He gave lectures, illustrated by his own slides using his innovative equipment; presented learned papers; experimented and investigated; and was regarded in Leeds as the expert on everything scientific. He enjoyed the company of a wide circle of like-minded friends, active in art and music as well as the sciences and the natural world. In later years he moved to a smaller house, 255 Hyde Park Road, where he collected a treasure-trove of scientific apparatus, curios, and works of art. He continued his pioneering work in photography (some of his work features in the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford) and was the driving force behind the reestablishment of the Leeds Astronomical Society in 1892. Under his presidency the Society was revived, its telescope, originally constructed under Sir John Herschel’s supervision, set up on the roof of the Higher Grade School in Woodhouse Lane, and regular meetings established with papers, discussions, observations. The Society remains active today, after more than a century. He died in 1903 while away at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, aged 73. He has been described as the archetypal Victorian scientific amateur: Leeds was all the richer for his contribution to its intellectual life.); Manuscript; 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, WASHINGTON TEASDALE, 19TH CENTURY SCIENTISTS, LEEDS, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM, CIVIL ENGINEER, PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHERS, ASTRONOMER, EAST INDIA RAILWAY, BRITISH INDIA, INDIA UNDER BRITISH RULE, BRITISH RAJ, BOMBAY, JODHPUR, RAILROADS IN INDIA, SIR ROWLAND MACDONALD STEPHENSON, RAILROAD LINKING BOMBAY TO OTHER CITIES, JAMES GEORGE CHADWICK, VICTORIAN ERA, AMATEUR SCIENTISTS, BRITANNICA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL

Title: 1860 - 1865 THREE [3] ORIGINAL LETTERS HANDWRITTEN BY NOTED ENGLISH ENGINEER, SCIENTIST, AND PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER AS HE TRAVELS AROUND INDIA WORKING FOR THE MONUMENTAL PROJECT CONNECTING BOMBAY TO OTHER EAST INDIAN CITIES

Author Name: WASHINGTON TEASDALE

Categories: 19th Century Manuscript, Books and Manuscripts General Overview, All, 19th Century Ephemera,

Publisher: BOMBAY INDIA, BRITISH EAST INDIA, LEEDS, ENGLAND, 1860

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 0009116

Keywords: Keywords: History Of Washington Teasdale 19th Century Scientists LEEDS ENGLAND United Kingdom Civil Engineer Pioneering Photographers ASTRONOMER