North India

Administrative / Biographical History

In Northern India, the sphere of London Missionary Society work was centred in Bengal and the United Provinces [now Uttar Pradesh].

The Bengal mission was founded in 1816 in Calcutta by Henry Townley and James Keith, with early work being carried out amongst British soldiers and sailors. Work centred around Calcutta, with outreaches in the villages of the Sunderabunds and considerable developments in the Murshidabad district of North Bengal.

In the United Provinces the LMS had established itself at Benares [Varanasi] in 1820, and had extended to Berampur in 1824. There there were residential stations set up at Mirzapur, Kachwa [Kachhwa] and Dudhi. At the extreme northern tip of the province, the Society worked in the Kumaon province west of Nepal with mission stations at Almora and at Rani Khet [or Ranikhet], a British medical station, from 1869-98.

A mission to Gujerat (Gujarat) was set up at Surat in 1815. This was isolated from other missions, so was transferred to the Irish Presbyterian Mission in 1847. Missions at Baroda (1844-47) and Dhevan or Mahi Kantha (to 1859) were also transferred to the Irish Presbyterian Mission, bringing to an end the Society's work in Gujerat.

Support for missionary work in North India was gradually withdrawn in the first half of 20th century. Resources were effectively withdrawn from the missions in the United Provinces for use in South India. Mission stations were gradually transferred to other Societies; for example, in 1926 the American Methodist Episcopal Mission took over work at Almora, and work in Mirzapur was transferred to the Bible Churchman's Missionary Society in 1925. Economies were also imposed in Bengal, while the challenge from reform movements within Hinduism were particularly strong in the area. By 1945 the Society's work in North India was confined to Bengal and Calcutta; the remaining LMS churches joined the United Church of Northern India in 1944. The move towards Church union was completed in 1970 with the final establishment of the Church of North India.


The North India material is arranged into the following classes: Incoming correspondence: Bengal (1800-1927); Incoming correspondence: Gujerat (1817-1860); Incoming correspondence: United Provinces (1820-1927); Incoming/outgoing correspondence: North India (1928-1939); North India correspondence (1940-1960); Journals (1816-1855); Reports (1866-1940).

There is no separate North India correspondence in the accruals after 1960, and researchers should consult general India correspondence for this material.

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