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Royal Commonwealth Society : Panorama of Ootacamund [i.e. Udagamandalam] by A.T.W. Penn

Penn, Albert Thomas Watson, 1849-1924, photographer

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>A panoramic view of Ootacamund (also known as Udagamandalam) made from four jointed prints, measuring a total of 1074 x 205 mm. The prints are linen backed and contained in boards stamped with the title. The view is taken from Elk Hill looking northwards and encompasses the lake at the west, the centre of the town and the outlying bungalows running to the head of the valley in the east. Points of interest in the view include: Ooty Lake, at this period with its eastern end still unreclaimed (print 1); Bombay House, built in the mid 1830s and the official residence of Lord Elphinstone in 1840 (centre of print 2); St Stephen's Church, built 1829-31 (extreme left of print 3); Stonehouse, the oldest building in Ootacamund and later used as Government Offices (extreme left of print 4).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Ootacamund: </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Situated some 60 miles south of Mysore in the Nilgiri Hills, Ootacamund was founded in the 1820s and grew to be the main hill station in the Madras Presidency. It also became the summer headquarters of the Madras Government.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Albert Thomas Watson Penn was born at Street, Wells on 30th March 1849. His first appearance in India appears to have been in around 1875, in which year he was advertising in Thacker's Directory as a commercial photographer at Ootacamund (also known as Udagamandalam). He lived and had a studio at Cranley Cottage from 1880. In 1911 his business was styled 'Ootacamund Photo Establishment'. Apart from visits to Europe he continued in Ootacamund until circa 1913, in later years also running the Reliance Auction and Commission Agency and the Farrington (or Farington) Hotel. He is not recorded in later directories although he evidently remained in India after his retirement. He died of cerebral apoplexy at Coonor on 19th October 1924 and was buried there the following day in Tiger Hill Cemetery, All Saints Church (Madras burials: IOR/N/2/136 f. 212).</p>

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