'Indian Mutiny Scrapbooks'

Scope and Content

Collected papers, 1840s-1910s, relating to the Indian Mutiny, comprising manuscript notes, press cuttings including reproductions of photographs, engravings, and other illustrations, and manuscript and printed maps, and including information on British Army and Bengal Army soldiers involved in the Mutiny and the chronology of the Mutiny.

Administrative / Biographical History

Factors behind the 'Indian Mutiny' (1857-1858) included the political expansion of the East India Company at the expense of 'native' rulers, harsh land policies of successive Governor-Generals, and the rapid introduction of 'European civilization'. The trigger was discontent among Indigenous soldiers (both Hindu and Muslim), who revolted, capturing Delhi and proclaiming an emperor of India. The mutiny became a more general uprising against British rule, spreading through northern central India. Cawnpore (Kanpur) and Lucknow fell to Indian troops. With support from the Sikh Punjab, troops under generals Colin Campbell and Henry Havelock reconquered affected areas. The British government subsequently undertook reform, abolishing the East India Company and assuming direct rule by the Crown. Expropriation of land was discontinued, religious toleration decreed, and Indians were admitted to subordinate civil service positions. The proportion of British to 'native' troops was increased as a precaution against further uprisings.

Indian Rebellion of 1857: also known as the Indian Mutiny, or India's First War of Independence, the Rebellion began on 10 May 1857 when sepoys from the East India Company's army erupted in revolt in Meerut. Further civil rebellion spread, particularly across Northern and Central India. This resistance was mostly crushed by 1858, with Indian loyalties divided. The 1857 Rebellion had significant repercussions for Anglo-Indian relations for the next ninety years. [Source: Website by The Open University: 'Making Britain: How South Asians shaped the Nation, 1870-1950: http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/indian-rebellion-1857]

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Presented by Sir Cyril Philips (former Director of SOAS) in 1990.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist and database.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Related Material

see The Indian `Mutiny' 1857-8: A Guide to source material in the India Office Library and Records by Rosemary Seton, 1986

Corporate Names

Geographical Names