The residential quarter was then, as now, “South of Park Street,” with the difference that where Alipore Park now is was a big open field with a factory, which was called the Arrowroot Farm Rainey Park, Bally gunge, was a big building called Rainey Castle, standing in its own extensive grounds, owned by a Mr. Griffiths, and occupied as a chummery. On the other side was a large building with an enormous compound called the Park Chummery, now converted into the Park, Ballygunge, while Queen’s Park and Sunny Park were waste jungly land.
There were no Canons at the Cathedral in my early days. The services were conducted as now, principally by the Senior and Junior Chaplains, the Bishop and Archdeacon occasionally taking part when in residence in Calcutta. Scott’s Lane Mission was started in Bishop Millman’s time, from very small beginnings, in the year 1872, by the late Mr. Parsons, former Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and myself. How I became connected with the opening of the Mission Was in this wise. I happened at the time to be chumming with the Rev. Mr. Stewart Dyer, his wife and family, who was Junior Chaplain at the Cathedral, and he returned one morning from early service and informed me that the Rev. Mr. Atlay, Senior Chaplain, who subsequently became Archdeacon of Calcutta, also a personal friend of mine, had, in consultation with the Bishop, decided on starting a Mission in the poorer quarter of the town, and had fixed on the district known as Baitakhana, of which Scott’s Lane formed the central portion, and had expressed a strong desire that Mr. Parsons and myself should undertake the preliminary work. I felt at first very diffident in the matter, as I had never had any experience of this kind before, but they so earnestly pressed the point upon me that I at last consented, and promised to do all in my power to carry out their wishes. We commenced in the first instance by making a house-to-house call upon all the people in the neighbourhood, and on account of our business engagements in the daytime this had to be done in the early morning.
[Illustration: Photo. by Johnston Hoffmann. St. Paul’s Cathedral.]
[Illustration: Photo. by Bourne & Shepherd Interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral, showing eastern half]
As a rule, we started on our rounds somewhere about 7 A.M., and put in about a couple of hours’ work. In our perambulations, we met, of course, all sorts and conditions of people, and one morning I recollect we got the surprise of our lives. We came across a large, wooden gateway, rather common in those days to a particular class of house, and forthwith proceeded to try to arouse the inmates. We knocked and waited for a long time and could get no answer, and were on the point of going away, thinking the house was empty, when all at once the gate was swung violently open, and a lady in deshabille,