Empire Building by Rosie Llewellyn-Joines

About the Book

Empire Building is a new account of the East India Company’s impact on India, focusing on how it changed the subcontinent’s built environment in the context of defence, urbanisation and infrastructural development.
Rosie Llewellyn-Jones examines these initiatives through a lens of ‘political building’ (using Indian contractors and labourers). Railways, docks, municipal buildings, Freemasons’ lodges, hotels, racecourses, barracks, cemeteries, statues and canals-everything the British erected made a political statement, even if unconsciously. Hence this book is concerned less with architectural styles, more with subtle infiltration into the minds of those who saw and used these structures. It assesses, in turn, Indian responses to the changing landscape. Indians often reacted favourably to new manufacturing technologies from Britain, such as minting and gunpowder, while the British learnt from and adapted local methods.

Penguin Random House

From military engineers and cartography to imported raw metals and steam power, Llewellyn-Jones considers the social and environmental changes wrought by colonialism. This period was marked by a shift from formerly private, Indian-controlled functions, such as education, entertainment, trading and healing, to British public institutions such as universities, theatres, chambers of commerce and hospitals.
Stepping aside from ongoing colonialism debates, this is a fascinating account of India’s physical transformation during the Company period.

About the Author

Rosie Llewellyn-Jones PhD holds a degree in Urdu from SOAS University of London. A renowned historian of colonial India, she is editor of Chowkidar, the journal of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). Her books include The Last King in Indiaand Lucknow 1857.

Penguin Random House