<p>This watercolour depicts one of the Assam Company’s tea storehouses at Gauhati as it would have appeared during the early 1840s. A government official converses with a company agent, while tea is being loaded onto a steamer in the background. Gauhati was an important point on the approximately 1,000 mile river route by which tea was transported from north-east Assam’s factories to Calcutta for sale. During the early years of the industry, country boats with their cargoes of about 150 tea chests were poled down the Dikhu River to the Brahmaputra, and then down to Gauhati. Here they were offloaded to await the arrival of a government steamer, which completed the voyage to Calcutta. Sometimes the country boats would make the entire journey. A return voyage upriver against the current, carrying staff, labourers and stores, could take from 10 to 15 weeks.</p><p>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FRCMS%20365%2F5%2F21'>here</a></p>
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