IISCO township - Burnpur - St Antony's church




On the outskirts of Asansol, stands an important industrial township called Burnpur (named after its original founder, a Briton called BURN).


Burn & Co promoted The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. in 1918. G.H.Fairhurst is credited with having founded the plant at Burnpur (then better known as Hirapur). Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee and T.Leslie Martin were also associated with it. Sir Biren Mookerjee joined a little later and played a major role in the development of the plant. Iron production started at Burnpur in 1922. Kulti Works of Bengal Iron was merged with IISCO in 1936. Steel Corporation of Bengal (SCOB) set up the steelmaking facilities at Burnpur in 1939. SCOB was merged with IISCO in 1952 and Martin Burn was then the managing agent of the company. Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) (later renamed Burn Standard) set up its wagon factory at Burnpur.


 Iron and steel technology advanced in leaps and bounds since the Second World War, along with massive growth in production globally. The technological leap forward left the plant at Burnpur in shambles. Rising cost of production made the once profit making organisation a loss-making unit. Coupled with militant labour trouble in the sixties, IISCO faced a situation of near collapse in the early seventies. The management of IISCO was taken over by the government on 14th July 1972. Subsequently IISCO was nationalised and made a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd.). At the time of government-take over IISCO was the third largest private sector company (after TISCO and Telco) in India.

page 49 Burnpur steel plant b

Two plants are located here: the IISCO (Indian Iron and Steel Company) plant, one of the first steel-works opened in British India; and the Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) Factory, a plant manufacturing railway carriages for coal and iron ore transportation. As a friendly gesture, IISCO handed over the ownership rights to the landed property for a church building to be used by the Indian and Foreign Catholic township residents. The St Antony's Church was designed and built by Charles-Victor Poncelet sj with financial aid from Belgium.


1. St Antony's Church, view from the opposite maidan (esplanade).


page 30 Burnpur St Antony a
Archbishop Dyer'visit
Burnpur Dyer 2



2. The church keeper's lodge.


page 30 Burnpur St Antony b


 3. Sikander & John Barla chatting in the church compound.

                                     page 30 Burnpur John

page 37 b Burnpur John Barla


4. John De Ridder relaxing on the Barakar River bank.



page 30 Burnpur jDR river d

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto - Asansol

Asansol Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Our Lady of Lourdes grotto


At Asansol, an important railway township for engine drivers and maintenance staff, this pretty church building was erected by the then British railway company running the Calcutta-Delhi line. British bricks were conveniently imported from Great Britain...

After Independence, the British company was incorporated into the Indian Ministry of Railways and the church building handed over to the Calcutta Archdiocese, with attached owner's rights and maintenance obligations. When the Burdwan diocese was erected, the Asansol Sacred Heart Church became its cathedral and the Asansol presbytery became Bishop's House.




page 29 Asansol church a


page 29 Asansol church b


page 29 Asansol grotto c




page 29 Asansol grotto d

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Holy Mass in Indian Rite


John De Ridder celebrating Holy Mass in a simplified version of the Indian rite at the Apostolic Carmel Sisters' convent.


page 48 Indian rite a
page 48 Indian rite b
page 47 Indian rite d


page 47 Indian rite c

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St Mary's High School - Entally


Girls' Sodality - Entally

1. Visit at the Victoria Memorial garden and pond.


page 28 St Marys High School - Victoria c

2  On the bank of the Hoogly, waiting for the tiffin carrier.


page 28 St Marys HS Hoogly d


page 38 Burnpur Griffiths f
page 38 Burnpur Griffiths e
page 38 Burnpur Griffiths d

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St Lawrence High School - Ballygunge

Junior Cricket team
page 37 d SLHS criket team

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Asansol Church & Presbytery

1. Celest Van Exem, dean & pp. in the Sacred Heart Church compound with Anglo-Indian girls sodality.


page 27 Asansol CVE girls



2. Archbishop Dyer (center) at the Asansol presbytery with (from left): Eardley C. Mc Donald, Robert Drugman, Celest Van Exem, Justin Maloney (Kulti), John De Ridder.

page 27 Asansol Dyer
3. Asansol: girls on the swing in the church compound.
27 Asansol swing

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Asansol - Chelidanga

1. Archbishop Dyer visiting Chelidanga village together with Fr. Celest Van Exem pp.


page 26 Dyer Chelidanga


2. John De Ridder,  chaplain of Young Christian Workers section.


page 26 Chelidanga YCW section


3. The Daughters of Saint Ann, in charge of St Maria Goretti HS, with chaplain JDR, assistant vicar. Mother Margaret-Mary (second from left front row) to be elected first Superior General when the Congregation obtained Pontifical rank status in later years.


page 26Chelidanga Daughters of St Ann


4. Chelidanga Girls Sodality with Sister Margaret-Mary and chaplain JDR.


page 26 Chelidanga Girls Sodality

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Asansol 1959

1. John De Ridder, Burnpur - Chelidanga


page 25 Asansol JDR 1959



2. Emiel Roeland, parish priest Asansol, dean Burdwan.


page 25 Asansol E Roelant c


3. Yvon de Steenhault, holding Bonzo, the fierce parish bull-terrier.


page 25 Asansol Y de Steen b

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Tivoli Park on the Bihar border



Chelidanga Boys Sodality outing in Bihar

1. Halt on the lake bank - the BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) bike is at its best.


page 24 Asansol Tivoli a


2. Asansol - entering Fr. Roelant's "lawns of the presbytery"...


page 24 Asansol Tivoli b

3. Brief stop on the road side.


page 24 Asansol Tivoli c


4. Boys taking their turn in the saddle.


page 24 Asansol Tivoli d


5. Keen motor cyclists in the making...


page 24 Asansol Tivoli e

 Outing in Durgapur : Chelidanga boys on the rooftop newly completed at SXHS

page 27 Chelidanga excursion Durgapur

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Kulti on the Grand Trunk Road - Waggons Factory Township


1. At Kulti, Burnpur Waggons Factory employees bungalows. At the D'Souzas with the Maloneys.


page 23 Kulti a


2. Sanctoria Hospital Chaplain's bungalow.


page 23 Kulti b


3. Robert Drugman's motor cycle on loan - John De Ridder in the saddle.


page 23 Kulti c


4. Flower gardens in bloom.


page 23 Kulti d

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