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Karachi in 1889

Karachi was developed as a port and trading center by Hindu merchants in the early 18th Century. When the British seized Karachi in 1839, it had about 10,000 inhabitants. They made it the seat of the Sindh government. Fifty years later it had grown to over 150,000 inhabitants. Situated on top of the Indus river delta, it became the port of choice for produce flowing in and out of Sindh, Baluchistan and the newly irrigated lands of the Punjab. In 1932, with the opening of the Sukkur Barrage in northern Sindh, the city again grew enormously.



These two pictures were most likely taken from the bell tower of the Trinity Church

Looking towards the St. Patrick's Cathedral over the Staff Lines

Looking towards the Civil Lines, the Sindh Club is in the foreground, and the Frere Hall can be seen at the back


View of the dense old native town by the end of the 19th century. This view is from Bundar Road.


Gandhi Garden at Karachi


Empress Market, Karachi - 1917

The 1890's saw the emergence of the Punjab as the granary of India and Karachi was the region's principal outlet. This brought many business opportunities to Karachi and the population of the city expanded. Consequently, revenues of the city also increased and public works projects were undertaken on a grand scale. Boulton Market was built in 1883, and in 1890, the grand Empress Market was constructed to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign. This monumental structure with a clock tower was designed to compete with the Crawford Market of Bombay and was designed to be 12 feet higher. The market quickly gained a position in the city's center.


Star Cinema, Front and Garden View, Karachi - 1917


Star Cinema, Proscenium View, Karachi - 1917




Elphinstone Street, Karachi - 1917


The Borree Bazaar, Karachi - 1917


Karachi Port Trust Administrative Offices - 1915

By 1914, Karachi had become the largest grain exporting port of the British Empire. A new building for the Karachi Port Trust was constructed in 1915 which was converted into a 500 bed military hospital just a month after its opening due to the outbreak of the first World War (1914-1918).


Manora Barracks Karachi


Hindu Temple Manora, Karachi


Clifton Karachi

Standing tall by the sea side in the port city of Karachi is the popular Monument Clifton (Hava Bunder)


Wharf, Karachi


Some views of the Bunder Road (now M. A. Jinnah Road)

One of the more busy roads of older Karachi, Bunder Road with the splendour of the Karachi Municipal Corporation Building in the background


Frere Hall and Bandstand, Karachi - 1918

Frere Hall Karachi(1910)

One of the well preserved heritage monuments of the British Raj, the Frere Hall in Karachi. Built in memory of Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere who promoted a lot of economic activities for Karachi, the building is situated in the center of Karachi in what is now called the Jinnah Gardens.


Government House - Karachi (1910)


Kothari Parade and Lady Lloyd Pier - Karachi

The very popular Jehangir Kothari Parade and Lady Lloyd Pier on the Clifton Beach in Karachi.This major Karachi landmark was gifted by eminent Karachi citizen Jehangir Kothari to the municipality. The foundation stone was laid by Sir George Lloyd in 1919 and the pier inaugurated by his wife Lady Lloyd in 1921. The parade boasts a kiosk with an elliptical shaped roof built with Gizri (the local elliptical shaped roof built with Gizri (the local name for the district) limestone and Jodhpur stone. It also has an octagonal seat. There is an old Hindu temple here that predates the pier.


Lady Dufferin Hospital - Karachi

Lady Dufferin took an avid interest in the healthcare for women, and was the main benefactor for the Lady Dufferin Hospital

Lady Dufferin Hospital in Karachi was built in the 1870s.Located on Chand Bibi Road, the hospital is dedicated to Lady Dufferin, wife of the colonial Governor General Lord Dufferin. It was begun in 1894.


D. J. Sindh Government College - 1887

D.J. Sindh Government Science College was founded in 1887, chiefly through the efforts of a far-sighted, prominent Sindhi philanthropist, Mr. Diwan Dayaram Jethmal whose name it bears. The College was opened on 17th January, 1887 by His Excellency Lord Reay, the Governor of Bombay in a bungalow in Thaitai Compound, situated on Bunder Road. Later on it was shifted to the present building in 1892. The College was by then a full-fledged institution with faculties of Arts, Sciences, Engineering and Law.


The old fort at the Karachi harbor (1830)


Napier Barracks - constructed in 1847


The Trinity Church

Consecrated in 1855, its exceptionally tall tower was used as a beacon for ships approaching the Karachi Harbour (last picture dates from 1890)


St. Andrews Church


Early postcard views of the Karachi Port at Manora and Keamari

In 1861, Karachi got its first railway line: a hundred mile stretch from Karachi to Kotri, a town near Hyderabad on the right bank of the Indus. In the same year, due to the ongoing American Civil War 10,000 miles away, an enormous demand for Indian cotton was created which gave birth to a brief period of unprecedented prosperity. In this time, the total trade value of the Karachi Port rose up to Rs. 6.6 corore of which, the value of exported cotton touched 80 lacs of rupees. This short period of prosperity provided for a business boom in Karachi.

In 1864, a direct telegraph connection was inaugurated which connected Karachi with London and with the interior. It was from Karachi that the first telegraph message from India was sent to England. Modernizing of the harbor commenced in 1860, and closing of the Chinna Creek and opening of the Mole were completed by 1864. By 1866-7, the government had spent about 250,000 pounds sterling on the Karachi Port. With the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, the importance of Karachi grew and it quickly became a full-fledged seaport

(Below) Farewell arch erected by the Karachi Port for the Royal visit of King George V in 1906


The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, Karachi Branch (c. 1853)


Karachi's Tramway system (started in 1900's)


Mohata Palace-Karachi


Hindu Gymkhana

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