'Ali Musjid [sic], Interior of Fort Looking Towards Kuta', 1878.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph by John Burke [1845-1900] of the interior of the Afghani fort of Ali Masjid, taken in 1878 and published in the album 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. The mudbrick fort is shown here after its capture by the British on 22nd November 1878. The fort of Ali Masjid controlled the Afghan side of the Khyber Pass. The first battle of the Second Afghan War, it was only captured after a tough and confused fight. A pioneer of photography in India, John Burke began working in Peshawar, as an assistant to the commercial photographer William Baker. Baker took up photography on retiring from the British Army in 1861 and Burke himself had worked as an apothecary in the Royal Artillery. When Baker stopped working in 1873 Burke carried on, recording the evolution of the Indian Raj in the late nineteenth century. Burke accompanied the British army on its advance into Afghanistan during the Second Afghan War of 1878-1879.