Fitzwygram Barracks and Bazaar, Dagshai Postcard

Last week’s postcard took us to the small cantonment town of Kasauli in India, tonight we have a related image of the even smaller hill station of Dagshai. This town is located a few miles from Kasauli and at a height of 5689 feet above sea level. This image, clearly produced at the same as the last shows part of one of the barrack blocks and the bazaar:SKM_C284e18092511330 - CopyThe barrack block is the large red brick building perched on the summit at the left:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy - CopyThe Fitzwygram barracks were constructed in the late 1870s for the use of married men. The bazaar is a little further down the hillside:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy - Copy (2)Dagshai was set up in 1847 by the East India Company and as well as military cantonment, was home to a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. This was clearly inadequate for the garrison as an 1877 report had noted:

The hospital is too small for the requirements of this station, and it is unprovided with requisite offices, contagious and other special wards for the isolation of particular cases. The hut now used as a women’s hospital is altogether unsuitable and quite insufficient. A new guard-room and proper prison cells are also much needed. The re-roofing of the old barracks now completed (July 1875), is a great improvement.

The influence of the climate of Dagshai in perfecting the restoration to health of the men of the 37th regiment who arrived there in 1873, is beyond dispute. The sickness and mortality in this corps in 1874, has been less than in any year since its arrival in India in 1866. Residence at Dagshai is, as I have already more than once reported, a perfect cure for malarious fevers, provided the troops be permitted to remain there two consecutive seasons at least.

Dagshai was also the location for the last execution of a British Army soldier for mutiny. In 1920 the Connaught Rangers mutinied in support of Irish independence. One of the ringleaders, Private James Daly, was taken to Dagshai prison and on 2nd November 1920 executed in the prison courtyard. The prison is still in Dagshai, but is now a museum. Dagshai itself has apparently changed little from the date of this photograph, the location is so remote and the roads so poor that wheeled traffic cannot reach it and so it remains unsullied by modern transport. It is the location of a school and has a population of over 2700 and it is regarded as a minor tourist spot, having the majesty of Simla without the crowds of tourists. Incidentally it is reputed to have the most haunted graveyard in India!

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