'Ali Musjid [sic] and Surroundings From Rotass...', 1878.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph by John Burke [1845-1900] of the Afghani fort of Ali Masjid, taken in 1878 and published in the album 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. Viewed from across the valley the mudbrick fort sits on a hill top in the centre, with mountains looming in the background. The fort of Ali Masjid controlled the Afghan side of the Khyber Pass. The first battle of the Second Afghan War saw its capture by the British after a tough fight on 22nd November 1878. The full title of the photograph is 'Ali Musjid and Surroundings From Rotass, Looking Down on Fort Showing Ascent With River.' 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