Friday, 11 May 2018

A Burmese collection

Christopher Lorimer was employed with Steel Brothers at their rice-mills in Rangoon from 1926 to 1942. He left Burma during the evacuation in 1942, using the Tamu route into India.
The papers Christopher Lorimer donated to the Archives of the Centre of South Asian Studies consist of eight boxes covering the period 1695-1944.  They include letters to his mother (1929-30) and his diaries which cover the whole of his service in Burma (1925-42) and give an insight into the social and business life of contemporary Burma ;  historical documents - the nine army commissions of the East India CO., conferred on Colonel John Crow (1779-1813 and a distant relative) which cover his career from Ensign to Colonel ; and, relating to the Mutiny period in India, the papers of Major Laughton, Chief Engineer at the siege of Delhi until 22 June 1857. He also gave 57 photographs relating to Burma.
He gave twenty seven books to the Archives, the earliest is An account of an embassy to the kingdom of Ava : sent by the Governor General of India in the year 1795 by Michael Symes. London : Printed by W. Bulmer and Co.; and sold by Messrs G.&W. Nicol and J. Wright, 1800 (Archive LOR 22)

Plant descriptions in appendix to
Embassy to Ava. Archive LOR 22

and, printed in 1828, Charles D'Oyly, Tom Raw, the griffin : a burlesque poem, in twelve cantos illustrated by twenty-five engravings. London : R. Ackermann. (Archive LOR 24).

In addition to books on the history of Burma and Steel Brothers and the Bombay Burmah trading company he also gave a book by B.E. Smythies, Birds of Burma containing 31 coloured plates from paintings by A.M. Hughes. Rangoon : American Baptist Mission, 1940 (Archive LOR 19) with a note on the fly leaf that it has been kept safe for him during the occupation of Burma and his name erased.

He continued to collect books in his retirement including India and British portraiture, 1770-1825 by  Mildred Archer. London ; Karachi : Philip Wilson for Sotheby Parke Bernet : Oxford University Press, 1979, (Archive LOR 1)

Annotations in his books give additional background to his work and family history :
I bought this book when I was on leave from the army ..
a "refugee" from Burma staying in Calcutta.
At the Officers' dance one night at the club
I had the good fortune to catch the Princes
 of  Berar in a "Paul Jones"

Archive LOR 11
Paul Chater, Assemblage of Indian army soldiers and uniforms. London : Perpetua Press, 1973 with a note "Christopher Lorimer, grand nephew of William Wyld, 4th Bengal Light Cavalry (Lancers). Their uniform was pale blue with yellow facings.

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