Godrej Coffer at the Armenian Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

The Godrej coffer at the Armenian Church in Calcutta


On our Culture Kaleidoscope Tour (http://www.calcuttaphototours.com/tour3.php) that takes one through the various communities that made Calcutta home one of the stops in the Armenian Church on Armenian Street in Calcutta. There, stuck into the wall just at the entrance to the church one sees this "Collection Box For The Poor". The inscription on it tells that it is from 1929 and was presented to The Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth by Cecil Gregory Apcar in the loving memory of his mother Hossanah Aram Apcar who departed this life in Calcutta on the 25th March 1929.

It was truly amazing when this picture which was uploaded to Facebook prompted a friend of mine Chirodeep Chaudhuri an established photographer who has recently launched a splendid book titled "A Village in Bengal" to share this picture with Vrunda Pathare who works at Godrej and is in charge of a wonderful initiative at Godrej - Godrej Archives (more about it on there Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Godrej-Archives/394151247287699)

Vrunda shared that they had picked up a similar safe at Chor Bazaar and they were quite surprised that another of those existed and that too in a public place like this.

The caretakers of the Church say that though they have the key to the coffer, the coffer itself cannot be opened since the lock does not work anymore. It does have some layers of paint and opening it might need some efforts. It would be awesome to see it open and functioning again! Maybe something Godrej can help with?

The following are some pictures and information about these coffers courtesy Godrej Archives.

Godrej Coffers and Cash-boxes from a catalogue of Godrej Security Products, 1940s
Priced at Rs.55 and Rs.65, the Godrej Coffer was used to store business papers or valuables when a safe was considered too expensive. The coffers were small enough to be fixed in cupboards or to counters and could even be built into a wall as in the case of the Armenian church, at an additional cost (of Rs. 3) of course


Burglar-resisting Coffers
This truly was an awesome find! Stay tuned for more of such gems hidden in the lanes and alleys of Calcutta.

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