I have a very old wooden chest that has "Macbean Calcutta" on the side. I googled the words and found your page..... Not sure what else to tell you. I can send pics soon

Hi Larry

First of all sorry for sending you lots of messages. The fact that you
have this chest just really brings up a lot off emotions. In this
message I would like to explain you more about my research.
3 years ago I started a trip to India with my father. He lived in
India for 6 years and in this time of his life ( in his twenties) he
tried to discover more of his roots. My grandfather is from India, his
mom and dad are from India to. My grandfathers mother was called
Prescilla Macbean and was married to Charlie Lewis. That is why my
family name is Lewis.

While making the trip to India I met Joyce Lewis who is the sister of
my grandfather she gave me the Macbean family tree and that is why I
moved to Scotland. In Scotland I started a research about the name
Macbean. Basically I found a couple of historical documents and the
last one was from Samuel Macbean. He might be the person who emigrated
from Scotland to India and married a Indian women with a western name:
Alice Biggle. ( see family tree)
The chest could have been his chest, he might have send that from
Scotland to Calcutta with his belongings during his emigration.

I'm at the point where I'm stuck and decided a while ago that I would
stop the research.
Now that you have send me this picture I start to think that it is a
sign for me to go on.
Again I'm really curious where you found this chest. Would it be
possible to write me as detailed as possible where you found the
chest, what you are using it for and if anything was still in it.
At the moment I'm studying and doing an Master in Fine Art Photography
the Macbean research is one of the main subjects I focus on.

Please understand that it is really important info and for all your
effort in emailing me and stuff I could send you a print of my
photography!

Hope you can respond,

Best Wishes


Sarojini Lewis

Re: hi
We bought the chest at a container shipment auction in Sulphur Springs Texas around 1998. It was empty except for the ten gold bars in the hidden compartment ( just kidding). Other than that I do not know much more. I will send more, and better pics when I have time. We are busy getting things purchased and ready for our BBQ restaurant to open next spring. I was always curious as to a Scottish name on a wooden chest labeled Calcutta (asuming India). You are more than welcome to use the pics

We used the chest for a coffee table in the living room until 2007 or so. At the present time it is being used as a storage for photograpghs and memory books and things (ironic we have photos in it and your study is photograpghy). I put a few layers of paint on it and removed some to add character to the piece. I have sine removed 90% of the paint. There are two key holes on the front but the locking mechanisms are gone.
Lieve Sarojini,

Heb inmiddels nagedacht over de foto's en de documenten. Ik kom niet op een goed idee of een context waarbinnen die twee een coherent geheel kunnen vormen. Nu ben ik de laatste paar weken wel heel erg moe en zit mijn hoofd nogal vol. Ben echt ernstig toe aan een korte vakantie.
Wat ik je wel kan melden is het feit dat mijn vader, George Samuel Lewis, gedurende zijn diensttijd in het Britse leger ook een periode in Israel, wat toen nog niet bestond en werd aangeduid onder de naam Palestine, gestationeerd is geweest. Hij heeft mij daar ooit eens iets over verteld.
Hij zat in een schots regiment en was waarschijnlijk de enige 'bruine'. Het moet vlak na het beƫindigen van de tweede wereldoorlog zijn geweest. Hij moest zich onder de bevolking mengen en verhalen rapporteren wat onder de bevolking gezegd werd. Een soort spionagewerk.
Nu je in Israel bent is het misschien geen verspilde tijd wanneer je jezelf daar een klein beetje in verdiept. De Britten zaten in Palestina onder een verdrag "The Palestine Mandate" geheten of iets in die trant. Ik heb ergens thuis nog een soort oorkonde van mijn vader. Daar staat de naam van zijn regiment op en ook zijn registratienummer. In het verleden heb ik contact opgenomen met de Britse ambassade in Den Haag met de vraag of ik verdere informatie over of inzicht kon krijgen in zijn dossier. Dit met het doel meer te weten te komen wat er precies met hem gebeurt is tijdens zijn dienst.
Via via had ik namelijk wel vernomen dat hij tijdens een veldslag in Noord Afrika shell-shock heeft opgelopen. Dat hij toen een tijdje naar huis in Shillong is gestuurd en dat hij zich vrij snel weer moest melden bij zijn regiment. Hij hoefde daarna niet meer onder de wapens, maar kreeg administratieve klusjes en waarschijnlijk dan dat spionage achtig werk in Palestina. Vervolgens is zijn regiment naar Java gestuurd en kreeg hij ook daar weer een administratief baantje. Het zou ook erg goed zijn dat wanneer je weer terug in Nederland bent je Oma eens wat meer laat vertellen over hem en hoe ze elkaar ontmoet hebben.
Wat ik je vertel is min of meer een reconstructie die ik maak op basis van verhalen die ik gehoord heb. Nadat ik terug was van mijn acht jaren India heb ik mijn vader maar twee keer ontmoet. Omdat ik Shillong vrij goed kende en ik daar ook mensen had ontmoet die hem gekend hebben stelde ik hem daar vragen over. Zoiets van: "Je moet de groeten hebben van die en die". Dan keek hij me aan met een blik van absolute twijffel en een soort radeloosheid. Hij kon ook totaal niets vertellen over Shillong of mensen die hij toen gekend moet hebben. Ik vond dat toen nogal vreemd. Te meer omdat hij bij verder navragen steeds ongedurig werd en te kennen gaf dat hij daar liever niet over wilde praten.
Omdat ik toen al had gehoord dat hij tijdens de oorlog Shellshock had opgelopen heb ik toen de conclusie getrokken dat hij als gevolg daarvan zijn geheugen grotendeels moet zijn kwijtgeraakt. Dit is een wat geromantiseerde visie, maar ik probeerde mijn leven en de band, of liever gezegd het gebrek aan een band, met hem een soort van inhoud te geven, te verklaren of betekenis te geven; mijn vader heb ik nauwelijks gekend, over het verleden kan hij mij niets vertellen als gevolg van geheugenverlies en zonder dat ik me daarvan bewust was heb ik acht jaar in India geleefd om te ontdekken wie hij mogelijkerwijs geweest is. Dichter bij hem te komen door in het land waar hij vandaan kwam te leven.
Ik zal wel een keer alles wat ik van hem weet en wat ik me van hem herinner opschrijven.
Maar goed nu is er dus de Palestina connectie. Wellicht is dat een kruispunt vanwaaruit je jouw gegraaf in het familieverleden kunt benaderen.

Zodra ik een heldere ingeving krijg over je werk en het archief zal ik je wel contacten. Dit is het voor nu. Vertel wat over je leven daar. De sfeer, de mensen, het land.

Veel liefs, Pa


produced together with Gali Gurevich

Israel 20 min. by car from Jerusalem

The different landscapes seem physical less accessible than around Edinburgh. The light is overwhelming and aggressive. There is something more difficult, something strange.
During traveling through Israel in between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem I tried to observe the view. How can I find what I have in mind. What exactly do I have in mind?
How do I feel in this layered system of complex visual details.....
The air condition of the bus is to cold slowly I fall a sleep each time I try to observe.
I forgot what I saw









eleven views

eleven views is a proposed exhibition existing of photographic portraiture within a group. The group consists of twelve students currently in the MA/MFA in Photography at the Edinburgh College of Art. We are interested in the projected identity of each other, co-existing in one environment.

Coincidently we have been placed in a group of twelve, all coming from different countries and having different backgrounds. The first people we met in Edinburgh were not all Scottish. One of the main underlying themes in this series of portraits is the exploration of the diverse cultural identity that exists in our group.

Everyone takes pictures of everyone, so do we.
We are all photographers taking pictures of photographers.
We are at the same time creating content and methodology.
We all have different perceptions of each other.

During this project some of the questions we wish to explore are:

Can we understand each other better through this project?
When you have eleven different representations of a person, will this offer a clear insight to the identity of that person?

Can you still hide your identity although eleven different people are trying to capture it?

Or will it be more about the expressions of different cultural identities seen by people from different backgrounds?

Logistically, everyone in the group photographs the other members of our group.
This will result in twelve collections consisting of eleven portraits and one self -portrait. Each collection will be a group of portraits of one person taken by all the different members of our group including the photograph taken by the person shown in the collection.

The way we would represent the photographs is as follows. We would frame each collection (12 portraits) in one large frame. The collection of photographs will be printed on one single surface, each image will be postcard size, 3 x 5 inches or 6 x 4 inches. The viewer can make connections about who in the group photographed who and which photograph was taken by the person shown in the frame.

Members of the group:

Polina Laposeva , Chihiro Yuasa, Marcel Pedragosa , Zhenwei Huang , Andrew B. Tunnard, Milionis Fotis , Karen D. Stentaford, Chia-Jung Lee , Qi You , Iain M. Sutherland, Suzanne Delaney, Sarojini Lewis




Goodbye Polwarth Gardens!

Dear Natasha Collins (and other managers for 100 3f1 Polwarth Gardens)

I write to you as a response to the email I received from Natasha Collins stating that there will not be a good will gesture from the landlord of this property. There is a gesture being made by your director for a new flight of 43 ponds.

Yesterday I have spoken to Alexandra Simpson from Letwise to advise me on this unfortunate situation. She advised me to write you the following statement;

I am very happy that your director wants to make a gesture of 43 pounds for a new flight. Though I would like to state that there has been a mistake made by your collegue from the financial department concerning the end date of lease. This is provided on the note that I send Natasha Collins earlier on.
I do not wish to be held responsible for your mistake and therefor do not intend to pay another month of the rent.

I understand that you want to provide me a new flight ticket to help me stay until the end of the lease as stated in the document but I have made many family arrangement for July and will no longer be able to stay in the property you provide.
Because Natasha Collins discovered the mistake that has been made no longer than two weeks ago, there is not anough time for me to change the family arrangements that have been made.

Since your collegue made this mistake in November I do not see why this mistake has been discovered not longer than two weeks ago.

I understand I do not get my deposit back until everyone leaves the property, after the final bills are due, you can give my deposit back on my account with the Bank of Scotland; xxxxxx

The meter readings at this moment are 18037.148 for the gas meter and 01498 KWh for the electricity meter.

Once again I do not wish to be hold responsible for the final months rent. I hope you understand these reasons and we can come to a solution that would be more agreeable for me.

Yours truly,

Sarojini Lewis

Sarojini Lewis
Gerard Scholtenstraat 120
3035ST Rotterdam

0031-104656879















The documentation of the Roslin Glen resambles the way I found documents relating to my family history.
In my archive you can see the sister of my grandfather ..see march 2008.
Last month I wrote her a letter to get more information about Samuel Macbean.
He was her and my granfathers - grandfather
This is a copy of the letter:

Dear Aunt Joyce

How are you? I hope you have a good healthy state.
More than a year ago we met in the Mother Teresa House in Calcutta.
I was very happy to meet you. I have never met my father’s father and so it was a very special moment to meet you.

At the moment I am studying photography at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.
I brought the family tree you showed me in Calcutta to Scotland. I am eager to learn more about this part of the family. I spent time studing documents in the India office in the British Library and found some documents including burial cerificates and baptism certificates.

The last document I found was about Samuel Macbean. In the family tree it shows that he is your grandfather. I cannot find anymore information about older generations in the family tree. Samual Macbean was burried in Dacca.
I would be very happy to find out more about his life. Was he the person who emigrated form Scotland to India? Do you know his place of birth and the date of his birth. The name Macbean facinates me. I would like to find out who in the family tree was Scottish and were they would be from in Scotland. I would like to photograph this place in Scotland for my final Master project for the Art School.

I would be happy to know more about your family and the history of the family tree. Woudl it be possible to write me about it?
In four weeks I will move from my room in Edinburgh back to the Netherlands were my mother and father are living. If you could write me the best thing would be to send the letter to my mothers address.

I really hope you can help me, it is so hard to find out something without family who knows more about this history.

For me it is very important to know more about the past!
Hope you have the possibility to write me back,

With much love


Sarojini Lewis

Sarojini Lewis
Gerard Scholtenstraat 120
3035 ST Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Telephonenumber in Scotland:
0044-7969495887


she did not reply yet......

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