1857 and the Siege of Lucknow

1857 and the siege of Lucknow were a turning point for British colonialism in India. Up until this point, the British East India Company, a trading company, had taken control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent. Throughout this process, they relied upon alliances with local Indian rulers as well as an army of Indian soldiers. These men were known as sepoys.

In 1857, large groups of sepoys rebelled. They were supported by Indian civilians and nobles across northern India, who set about besieging and reclaiming various cities under British rule.

In the city of Lucknow around 3,000 British supporters were held under siege for 148 days. This exhibition explores the reasons behind the rebellion and examines what life was like for the British and Indian defenders of Lucknow.

Click on the images below to learn more.

A group of Indian soldiers firing and loading rifles
The British Empire in India
Group of rebelling Indian soldiers behind wooden defences.
What Caused the Rebellion?
Group of British and Indian soldiers
What Happened at Lucknow?
A group of women huddled together inside a building
Life under Siege
Model man holding rifle running in front of cannon
The First Relief
Series of wagons, carts, and elephants crossing a river on a bridge
Ending the Siege of Lucknow
Soldiers tied to mouth of a cannon
What happened at Cawnpore?
The Legacy of Rebellion
Mutiny, Rebellion or War of Independence?

Headline Image Courtesy of the National Army Museum, London