Tracking Sukumar Ray at Russell Square

This is part of a series of short pieces from our London correspondent Sarbajit Mitra. While pursuing a PhD at SOAS, he has been exploring London and other areas, posting updates on facebook as he goes. He has given Heritage Walk Calcutta permission to share some of his updates on our blog.

 

Old office of the Royal Photographic Society

Location: 35, Russell Square

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Old office of the Royal Photographic Society. P.C.: The Author

 

Located adjacent to SOAS, this building is now part of University of London’s Senate House. The Royal Photographic Society is the oldest continuing photographic society in the world, and was founded in 1853 as a result of growing awareness on photography following the 1851 Exhibition. The Society was founded within the premises of the Royal Society of Arts and continued to move until 1979, when the headquarters was shifted to Bath. Between 1909 and 1940 the office was located at the above-mentioned address.

 

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Sukumar Ray’s name in the Royal Photographic Society’s membership list. P.C.: The Author

 

After completing his graduation in Physics and Chemistry from Presidency College, Sukumar Ray went to England to study printing and photo engraving on a ‘Guruprasanna Scholarship’. He initially joined the London School of Photo Engraving and Lithography (now the London College of Communication) to study collotype and lithography. However, he didn’t found the institute in London satisfactory and shifted to the Manchester Municipal School of Technology, from where he completed his degree. During his stay in London he became a member of the Royal Photographic Society and in 1922 he was made a fellow, only the second Indian to do so. The first was Prasanna Coomar Tagore.

 

 

About the Author: Sarbajit Mitra completed his M.Phil from the Department of History at Jadavpur University in 2014, after which he worked as a Research Fellow on the collaborative AHRC project between University of Exeter and Jadavpur University, Famine and Dearth in India and Britain, 1550-1800: Connected Cultural Histories of Food Security. Currently he is pursuing his PhD in History at SOAS, London. His intellectual interests lie in the histories of colonial cities, cultures of the body, visual culture, and post-colonialism.

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